A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

October 28, 2014
by Jean

Introducing Lisa Shepherd

Hello! I’m Lisa Shepherd and I am one of the tutors on the FDLT course.

Lisa-Activities Co-ordinator.webI will be working with year 2 groups in Oadby and at the University on completing the small scale school based research projects. I have already met with both of the groups and heard some of their great ideas and am very much looking forward to supporting them on their research journeys. I also teach on the SEN and Inclusion course and am very pleased to be a BALT dissertation supervisor for the first time this year. It is such a privilege to support students completing their important and inspiring research projects in education.

I am a Creative Practitioner and Dramatherapist who works with children, young people and adults in a variety of educational and community settings. I devise and deliver projects in schools and specialised educational settings, day centres and residential homes, prisons, libraries, community organisations and charities. I enjoy the process of research and write up my own work regularly. I was very pleased to get my article on the use of comedy as a creative vehicle for expression with young people for whom English is an additional language published in the Support for Learning Journal recently.

My passion is theatre, drama and the creative arts and I enjoy writing for performance, directing, puppeteering and on occasion performing myself without a puppet friend to hide behind! I also enjoy travelling and have worked with children and young people with SEN in the USA and Romania. In my spare time I enjoy making just about anything…sewing clothes and furnishings, up-cycling furniture, making puppets and puppet films and making a variety of strange props for performances by local youth theatre and amateur dramatics groups.

You can follow me on twitter @TheatreTherapy and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Imaginary-Ordinary/403267633048038 where I post about what I am up to and all things creatively and socially minded which interest me.

October 24, 2014
by Jean

stories of assessment

Last week Dylan Wiliam tweeted this:


I know that lots of you have thought about formative assessment as part of PDT1004 and in other modules when you are reflecting upon practice. I know from talking with you in sessions that many of you are involved in formative assessment and  it would be interesting for him hear from Teaching Assistants and HLTAs so please do send him  any stories of formative assessment to the email address he has listed above.

October 14, 2014
by Jean

The Educators – Salman Khan

sal khanThe last radio programme  in the series The Educators featured Salman Khan, who set up The Khan Academy. It uses online video lessons with a mission statement that reads: ‘For free. For everyone. Forever.’

You can read more about The Khan Academy here:

The Khan Academy

You can read an article about Salman Khan here:

Guardian article

The first videos that Salman Khan posted were focused on secondary mathematics. If you are studying for your GCSE maths maybe you should have a look.

Salman Khan has also given a TED Talk that you can watch here:

TED Talk

Towards the end of the programme Khan talks about ‘flipped learning’ and the ‘flipped classroom’. By this he means that pupils or students complete set work outside the classroom and then in the classroom the teacher helps them understand it and gives them personalised support. The Education Endowment Fund is evaluating this approach and you can read more about it here:

EEF Research into flipped learning

If you have any experience of flipped learning or The Khan Academy please add your thoughts in the comments below.



October 4, 2014
by Jean

Review of standards for teaching assistants

Yesterday the government announced a review of the standards for teaching assistants. You can read the press release at this link:

Press release – DfE 3rd October 2014

The review is expected to report back to the Secretary of State in spring 2015.

st review


The review will be chaired by Kate Dethridge, Principal of Churchend Primary Academy in Reading. She will be supported by an expert panel listed below.

review panelAs you can see, some of them are Teaching Assistants and HLTAs.

Kathryn Booth is @kathrynsa1 on twitter. Her school is in Dorset.

Kath Robinson is a Senior teaching Assistant. Her school is in Sheffield.

Karen Jackson is a HLTA at a Specialist Science Collge in Gatehead.

Daniel Macafee is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at a secondary school in Manchester.

It would be interesting to know if any of the TAs or HLTAs are or have been on Foundation Degrees and also if any of the teachers on the panel were TAs and followed a foundation degree route into teaching.

As TAs, HLTAs and people who work with TAs and HLTAs in schools and at university this will be an interesting process and we need to be aware and look out for opportunities to contribute. If you were on the panel what would your views be?