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About

My name is Tom Sherrington.  I am a Headteacher and a teacher.  I am interested in exploring contemporary ideas in teaching and learning and school leadership and regularly contribute to conferences and CPD sessions locally and nationally.

I am now the Headteacher of Highbury Grove School in Islington, having taken up the post in September 2014.  Highbury Grove is a very exciting school with an amazing track record of improvement over the last few years.  We are on a mission to try to make it one of the best schools of its kind.  Over the coming months and years, this blog will tell the story.

In May 2014, I published my first book, Teach Now! Science. The Joy of Teaching Science.  It may not be the most comprehensive book you’ll ever read but hopefully it serves as a handy rough guide for new teachers and trainees.

Previous Jobs:

I’ve been a teacher since 1987 and owe a great deal to all the schools I’ve worked in.  Each of them has been extraordinary in some special way:

Winstanley College, Wigan:  A Sixth Form college with 900+ students.  Learned a lot about independent learning, teaching Physics properly and seeing a great education as being much more than just subjects and lessons. Met Tom Billington – the first huge influence on me as a teacher; it is all about passion, commitment and integrity.

Holland Park School, Notting Hill.  Seven extraordinary years from Teacher, Head of Year to Assistant Head. The flagship comprehensive of the 1960s, now up against it in the 1990s.  Struggling to break 30% 5A-Cs, (nevermind inc EM) – 1500 students, big, chaotic, a roller-coaster every day.  The inclusive spirit was fabulous but we used to say it was 90% ethos, 10% achievement.  A baptism of fire in terms of behaviour management and eye-opening in terms of the scale of the challenge facing kids from the full range of inner city families.  We laughed a lot and cried quite often too! It was frustrating and challenging but we all loved the place. So many stories and I owe it so much..

Alexandra Park School.  Haringey. Joined Headteacher Roz Hudson as Deputy Head to open a new school in 1999. Starting with Year 7, we set out to create the ultimate community comprehensive. 10 years on, it is doing really well and I’m very proud to have been part of it.  The early years were an amazing learning experience; appointing all the staff, shaping the ethos and being absolutely committed to our simple ‘success for all’ tagline.  We believed in it and were determined so set the highest possible expectations.  I felt out of my depth with some of the challenges at times, but surrounded by the most talented bunch of teachers and support staff, we pulled through and put the school on the map!! (Roz Hudson remains my greatest inspiration. ) Twitter ‘big hitter’ @TeacherToolkit was one of my colleagues in those early days.

British International School, Jakarta.  A fabulous, unforgettable  three-year adventure for me and my family.  I learned to appreciate the power of an almost total achievement culture; how to sustain it and use it to good effect.  Wonderfully eclectic staff and students from around the world; facilities out of this world.  I also learned about the IB Diploma and all that it brings; a narrow 3 A level diet really can’t compare.  I also became Head of Secondary and developed a taste for the joy of Headship.  The holidays were pretty good too- from Bali and Kalimantan to Sydney and Queenstown.

‘Saya Guru’ means ‘I am a teacher’ in Bahasa Indonesia. I am only a guru in the sense that it means ‘teacher’; all teachers are gurus!

King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford.  As many blog followers will know, I worked at KEGS from 2008 until 2014; many of my posts are based on the work we did during that time.  This is the entry for my About page from a few years ago:

I work at @KEGS_Chelmsford, a Grammar school in Essex where I have seen learning activities that I’ve never seen anywhere else; these ideas would work anywhere and I am on a mission to encourage and challenge teachers to take more risks and release the full creative potential of the learning process. KEGS is an extraordinary school – and, having been a committed comprehensive teacher for many years, it was an unusual career move.  However, in these pages, I hope to capture some of the experience of making the journey;  after five years I still regularly have jaw-dropping, eye-opening moments where firstly I think ‘wow, that is incredible’ and secondly, I think ‘ but surely this could be happening in every school; I wish I’d tried this back in London’.  Although it is a highly selective school, I regard KEGS as a genuine beacon, illustrating what is possible in learning if we have enough courage and confidence. Every day at KEGS is a joy and I feel genuinely privileged to work here with such extraordinary students and members of staff.  Most of the best lessons I have ever seen, I have seen at KEGS.

May 2014: I contributed this piece to Rory Gallagher’s excellent ‘Who I am What I do’ blog.  It gives a bit more background.

Discussion

33 thoughts on “About

  1. I was wondering if you might be interested in having more details of a forthcoming report by a charity on a literacy crisis. They are keen to see bloggers helping them to raise awareness.
    If this is of any interest at all, please email kateonthinice@gmail.com and I can tell you more

    Like

    Posted by Kate on Thin Ice | May 22, 2013, 4:49 pm
  2. Dear Mr Sherrington,

    My name is Michael Martyn and I am currently working as an intern at The Education Foundation, the UK’s Education Think Tank.

    We are currently preparing a Report on ‘The Rise of Teacher Blogging’ and its importance when it comes to Education in the UK today.

    I would be grateful if you you could send any views you have concerning EduBlogging. One way in which you could frame your views would be to answer the following questions as a reply to this email…

    What are the reasons why you started to blog?
    What aspect do you blog about: a) policy b) CPD c) life as a teacher ?
    What impact do you want your blog to have?
    Do you follow other teacher blogs? If yes, which ones and why?
    Where do you see teacher blogging in the UK going in the future?

    Many thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Michael Martyn

    The Education Foundation

    Like

    Posted by Michael Martyn | August 7, 2013, 3:23 pm
  3. Hi

    I’d be grateful if you could email tsherrington@kegs.org.uk outlining the terms etc.
    Thanks
    TS

    Like

    Posted by headguruteacher | August 13, 2013, 4:08 pm
  4. Dear Tom,

    Although we are miles apart and come from different cultures, the essence of teaching- being a guru- is the same.

    I live and work in Alexandria, Egypt. I have been a teacher for years. Now I am into staff development. I find your blog very interesting; will be visiting more often.

    Best regards,
    Rawya

    Like

    Posted by Rawya | December 16, 2013, 1:34 am
  5. Hi Tom
    I’m interested and inspired by your comments about teaching abroad! I’m just applying for DH and HT posts in Dubai, I wondered if you had any advice!

    Thanks
    Ann

    Like

    Posted by Ann | February 9, 2014, 9:24 am
    • Hi Ann

      My main advice is to do it! It’s worth it. Most schools operate on the same basis as ours so you need to talk about leadership in the same way: maximising student outcomes, improving teaching, using data, CPD, celebrating achievement etc. On top of that there is a crucial role for schools being a community hub, providing extra curricular opportunities, a focal point for expat parents and so on. Also there are issues and opportunities around languages, international mindedness, students that come and go, EAL and so on. Hope that helps.
      Good luck.

      Like

      Posted by headguruteacher | February 9, 2014, 3:05 pm
  6. Hi Tom. I’m Charles 71 years old and still learning, now retired but I am helping my son, Duncan, introduce http://www.classcharts.com which helps teachers manage student behavior.

    He has over 16 years experience teaching in schools and started making software a few years ago.

    http://www.classcharts.com is award winning behaviour management software. Class Charts combines seating charts with behaviour management to provide world class behaviour analytics. It now links with SIMS. Improve your classroom management with Class Charts!

    Please try and find time to take a look – I am hoping to capture your interest for your work/blog & would like to hear what you think.

    Thank you

    Regards

    Charles.

    Like

    Posted by Charles Wilson | April 22, 2014, 11:09 am
  7. Dear Tom,
    You may/not remember interviewing me in Singapore in 2008 for the post of Teacher of Japanese at BIS Jakarta. I was pleased land the job but disappointed to discover, on my arrival, that you had moved on. My four years at BIS saw some successful and rewarding Japanese language teaching and a much less successful attempt to promote a genuine environmental agenda at the school. But ultimately what made me leave was a growing realization that MFL provision, as it is currently structured in the UK and by extension BIS, is detracting from, rather than contributing to general foreign language competence across the demographic that those schools serve.
    I have conceived of and written up an alternative model of MFL provision and I would very much like to invite your perspective on it. Thus far, those who have read my document have failed properly to understand its intent and for the last year I have not shown it to anyone! I very much hope you have the time to drop me a line; if you are interested I will then forward the document to you!
    Very best regards
    Duncan Gray
    Formerly Japanese@BIS Jakarta, currently EAL@Ratcliffe College and from July 2014 ELA@KEystone Academy Beijing

    Like

    Posted by Duncan Gray | May 9, 2014, 6:30 am
  8. Hi Tom,
    When my local school told me that the mother of a new pupil said her son couldn’t take part in sports “because he’s left-handed” I realised there were still a lot of myths and misconceptions about left-handers. Thinking back to my own childhood as a left-hander I wrote the fictional story of Vicky, who wants to make her Gran proud, but has problems related to being left-handed. Left-handers will identify with the problems, and also be inspired that Vicky eventually triumphed BECAUSE she is left-handed.
    At the end of the book is information for parents and teachers. I feel the book would make a useful addition to any school library. It’s available as an e-book and is also in print. The e-book version will be FREE on Amazon.com from the 4th to the 8th of March 2015. This is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D30CIJU
    I was wondering if you could put me in touch with someone who might like to review it.
    Many thanks
    Jan Hurst-Nicholson

    Like

    Posted by Jan Hurst-Nicholson | March 1, 2015, 9:45 am
    • Hi Jan – I don’t know of anyone off hand. I’m left handed (and colour blind) and I never feel these things merit special attention; they’re just part of life. However, if people see this and want to follow up that’s great.

      Like

      Posted by Tom Sherrington | March 1, 2015, 10:37 am
  9. Greetings from Albania,

    I am Lindita from Tirane Albania. I am a teacher for almost 20 years. This year I decided to start my PhD on the role and responsibility of the homeroom teacher in the class. The scope of the main research is to identify different models of homeroom teachers developed by the different schools of thinking as well as different researchers.

    I would appreciate any kind of information or orientations on the matter.

    Thank you in advance.
    Best,
    Lindita Treska

    Like

    Posted by Lindita Treska | March 10, 2015, 9:43 pm
  10. Hi Tom ,

    Are you available to hire as a guest speaker for conferences? If so could you please send me your contact details.

    Thanks

    Amy

    Like

    Posted by Amy Anderson | May 14, 2015, 12:07 pm
  11. Hi Tom

    I would like to use some of the materials from your website in an on line training course that we are creating on boys learning. In particular the Bill Roger’s section. Please would you advise about the situation with regard to copyright.

    Like

    Posted by Jane | October 21, 2015, 1:32 pm
    • I’m happy to give my stuff away as long as other people don’t have to pay for it. So, if you are asking people to pay, I’d ask you not to use it. You would need to go to other Bill Rogers sources. Let me know and thanks for asking. Tom

      Like

      Posted by Tom Sherrington | October 21, 2015, 2:07 pm
  12. Dear Tom, I came across your blog when I was looking for some inspiration for my PD sessions with unqualified teachers at my independent school in Wimbledon, where I am part of the staff development team. I thought I recognised the name and realised you appointed me as head of key stage three at BIS Jakarta I 2008 – although I worked under Paul Starkie as we didn’t overlap. Thanks for this wonderful blog – I have referred my trainees to it several times.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Alison Abbott (was Roper) | November 24, 2015, 11:42 am
  13. Hi would you like to speak at our teachmeet in Poole Dorset on 25/2/16?

    Thank you so much for all your helpful posts.

    Joe

    Like

    Posted by Joe Burkmar | December 9, 2015, 8:42 pm
  14. Hi Tom,

    I see from the book you’ve written that you have a perspective’s axe to grind.

    However, as a biology teacher for 25 years and author of 3 books I know for a fact that the theory of evolution is not the fact of evolution. It is, as your teacher Christina Wilkinson rightly stated, a theory.

    Is there a Creator or not? Of course, the watch-guards of militant humanism, atheism and scientism are primed to attack any deviation from their creed – for materialism is centrally dependent on the theory of evolution being fact. They inhabit all walks of life.

    I have no idea whether you bandwagon with the abovementioned group or are an even-minded man perhaps unaware of all the facts. The simplest way I can introduce you to a group dealing with the scientific facts (although there are hundreds more) is one that, likewise, inevitably has trouble with ‘religious materialists’. Google, for example, Discovery Institute in Seattle. Perhaps even hear and read what these scientists say (though if you’ve already disagreed you probably won’t have time!).

    The evidence for Darwinian micro-evolution is powerful and agreed by everyone. But the evidence for Darwin’s hypothetical extrapolation, macro-evolution, is unclear and highly debatable.

    Many very powerful arguments are adduced from sources worldwide against both chemical evolution and macro-evolution – not least since the very basis of biology is information in the form of symbolic code viz. DNA. You might, rather than allow the hounds of ignorance, lack of scholarship and bigotry to attack, support an open curriculum – not as regards current and definite biological facts but also regarding life’s history which requires abductive (best-guess) logic regarding the interpretation of facts. I hope also, you support those courageous and correct teachers who give the lie to evolution as a fact!

    best wishes,

    Mike

    Like

    Posted by Michael Pitman | February 4, 2016, 7:29 pm
    • It’s a worry that a biology teacher doesn’t understand what a theory is in science. It is a fact that we have common ancestors with all other mammals, for example. It’s beyond question based on a wealth of evidence. I’m a humanist atheist – there’s nothing militant about it. For, me there is no need for religion to explain any aspect of human existence; all religions are man-made; that’s my position. I do, however, accept that many religious people also accept evolution as a fact. Because it is. There’s nothing courageous about the desperate need to support a creationist view of our origins; it’s a delusion pure and simple. This blog is now littered with a tragic array of creation-justifying pseudo-science. It’s stunning really. I did not expect this. Now I know what we’re up against.

      Like

      Posted by Tom Sherrington | February 4, 2016, 7:52 pm
  15. I think there are For and against on both sides of this discussion. I am not qualified to speak from a scientific point of view however I cannot believe in a creator who permits all the horrible things to happen the world in the name of religion. Charles

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Charles Wilson | February 4, 2016, 8:27 pm
  16. Hi Tom, Your belief/ mind-set is accepted. Uncritical acceptance of evolution as a total explanation is not. It is only ‘fact’ for a materialist (as you say you are). But even information, the very basis of biology, is not material; nor reason, purpose, mathematics or mind itself (don’t let’s go down the avenue of nonsense that equating brain with mind has to follow). Thus suppression of other people’s rational position is entirely unacceptable and arguably irrational. ‘Now I know what we’re up against’ speaks volumes for your crusade. There are many points you have clearly not grasped. Take my advice. Do a little investigation starting, perhaps, at the point I suggested. Come back when you have made a fair and thorough study. Otherwise unbalanced bias amounts to hot air.
    And I can assure Charles I do, like thousands of other scientists, understand the science and both scientific interpretations of the origins argument.So-called ‘creationism’ doesn’t even enter in. It’s only that, like Tom, the Humanist Society, the AAAS, ACLU and other such organisations are locked in the same religious/ philosophical battle. They think that only they are right. Perhaps they are and perhaps they’re not but you don’t allow your enemy oxygen, do you?!
    Can we count you in or out of rational response, Tom?

    Best wishes.

    Like

    Posted by Michael Pitman | February 5, 2016, 12:58 am
  17. Ey up mr guru
    I’m trying to subscribe on your web page it it’s not working, it just goes to a page of code, help!
    Ms geogger

    Like

    Posted by Jen kempster | April 23, 2016, 9:33 am
  18. Hi Tom

    I wonder if you would you be interested in a writing opportunity with the British Council? Please feel free to email me or let me know your email address if interested and I can let you know the details.

    Thanks

    Meg

    Like

    Posted by Meg | June 15, 2016, 3:33 pm

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