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

at Leicester and UN

March 10, 2015
by Jean

Next Northampton Inspire network meeting

On Monday 23rd March we will be holding our next Northampton Inspire Network Meeting.

This will take place in the Sulgrave building – go to reception and you will be directed from there. it will start at 4.30pm although refreshments will be available from 4pm.

We will be creating immersive sensory experiences around a theme.

IMG_5936-z64choThis session explores cheap and effective ways of creating multi sensory environments for visual and sound stimulation using portable dark and white rooms. We will experiment with a wealth of light and sound equipment, create images using luminous paint, and project sensory iPad apps and video onto 3D objects. The aim is to create controllable experiential activities that encourage engagement and interaction for all learners, and to think about creative ways of theming these. We have been inspired by the work of Richard Hirstwood: http://youtu.be/ihMSw8BIXF4 and http://youtu.be/PkIKpOn7y98.

You can book free tickets here and feel free to let others know about the meeting – it is for students. teachers, teaching assistants and other interested people.

January 23, 2015
by Jean

TeachMeet Wednesday 4th February

What is TeachMeet?

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 11.23.49Come along to an evening of sharing teaching and learning ideas. We’ll have mini presentations on creative classroom activities across the curriculum and there will be lots of ideas you can start using straight away. Everyone is welcome to join in: teachers from all types of schools, teaching all subjects and age groups. The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about any aspect of learning from teachers.  It is a chance for teachers to meet to hear ideas from each other and be inspired by colleagues. Presentations can be on absolutely anything that you’d like to share from practice: the futuristic theme simply refers to the way our Events Management students are helping to style the venue.


We are delighted to welcome Sally Hamson, Head of Wollaston Community Primary School to help host our TeachMeet. We’ll also have refreshments and some exciting technologies to explore such as Oculus Rifts, Robotiky robots, Raspberry Pi add-on kits and green screening demos. Rebecca Heaton and Jean Edwards will be drawing some visual minutes for us to document the presentations.

You can sign up for a free ticket by clicking the link to the right of this post.

You can read some more information about the presenters at the TeachMeet wiki wiki

You can tweet about the event using #TMNorthants2015

Here’s a provisional list of presentations:


Seven Minute Micro-Presentations:

1) Digital Leaders from Standens Barn Primary: Imaginary Worlds @SnakeyChalmers

2) Wayne Chalmers and Helen Caldwell: School and University Digital Leaders working together @SnakeyChalmers @helencaldwel

3) Scott Turner: Making and programming Junkbots @ScottTurnerUoN

4) John Ginger: Programming with Robotiky robots @Robotiky

5) Katharine Childs: The impact of CodeClubs @primaryicttech

6) Jennifer Hogan from Irchester Primary School CodeClub: Our Story @Lab13_Irchester

7) Karen Fretwell: Exploring Lego Fusion @Bluesrunner

8) Nicholas Tollervey: How can @ThePSF help teachers (a request for feedback & collaboration)? @ntoll

9) Kevin Hewitson: Helping learners develop learning skills, attitudes, attributes and behaviours @4C3d

10) Sway Grantham: Inspiring Curiosity with Edmodo @SwayGrantham

11) Kat Howard  Student Ownership @SaysMiss

12) Mark Allen: Change is Hard: slaughtering some sacred cows @edintheclouds

13) Neil Smith: Mini band: making music with Pis, Arduinos and SenseBoards @neilnjae

14) Ian Pratt @sciencelabman

15) Stacey Ramm @Tiffybum Using Google Classroom 

16) Mike McSharry You Bought It -You Name It @mikemcsharry

17) Farid Charidine Using AudioBoom to provide verbal feedback  @fcharidine

18) David Whale IET Schools Liaison Officer and STEM Ambassador, Essex: Teaching Coding using MinecraftTeaching Coding using Minecraft @whaleygeek



Two Minute Nano-Presentations:

1) Helen Caldwell and James Bird: Lessons in Teaching Primary Computing: The MOOC @helencaldwel

2) Sway Grantham: Why? @SwayGrantham

3) Neil Smith: The BCS Certificate @neiljae

4) Anna Cox: Padlet Ideas to Inspire

5) Isabel Trott Kitchen Chemistry

6) Julie Jones Professional Development of Teaching Assistants

7) Jane Badger

PLEASE NOTE this event is in the Newton great Hall at Avenue Campus – there is a map on the wiki.

September 9, 2014
by Jean

Introducing Dom Murphy

Dom Murphy mugshotHello, I’m Dom Murphy, on the tutors on the FDLT course. I’ll be working with all three Year 1 groups so I look forward to meeting you very soon.

I also work with the Year 2 groups and on the BALT programme where I focus on the Professional Practice in Education module.

Before working at the university, I taught in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, mainly in primary, wearing many hats over the years: in my time I’ve been subject leader for (deep breath) Mathematics, P.E, Design Technology, Outdoor Education and History and ended up as a headteacher.

In my spare time, I try to keep fit by canoe racing and coaching.

March 15, 2014
by Jean

What happens after FDLT and BALT?

Fiona Wilce was a Teaching Assistant on our first year of the FDLT course more than ten years ago. She went on to gain Qualified Teacher Status and within seven years she had become a Headteacher!








Fiona was appointed Headteacher of a primary school in Rutland in September 2013.

Fiona is now helping transform the lives of more than 160 pupils at St Mary and St John C.E.V.A Primary School where they have just been ranked top of Rutland Primary Schools in the expected national standards of Level 4+ in the end of Key Stage 2 SATs.

Fiona commented:  “I have definitely found my vocation in life. I have loved every moment of my rapid teaching career, but my real passion lies in education leadership. I feel privileged to lead such a fantastic school. We are well on our way to becoming outstanding and I am incredibly proud of all the children and my amazing staff team.”

Julie Jones, Head of Division at the University of Northampton commented: “The decision to do the Foundation Degree in Learning and Teaching started a challenging and rewarding career path for Fiona. I am so pleased that she has achieved so much in the career which she loves. It is a privilege to have shared in Fiona’s tremendous commitment and enthusiasm whilst she studied at the University of Northampton and I am delighted that she is using her expertise to inspire children’s learning.”

Fiona has also led the school to great sporting achievements in the county with Year 5/6 Girls Football, Year 5/6 Tag Rugby and three pupils selected to represent Rutland at Twickenham. Both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 teams won the Gymnastics competition overall with many individual medals in the different disciplines too. Fiona received the prestigious ‘Outstanding Contribution to Primary School Sport Award’ in the summer from her previous Sports Partnership in Leicestershire.

The Ofsted Report concluded: “The head teacher has made a very positive start, has quickly established high expectations, built trusting relationships with staff and parents and is leading the school effectively… Good and sometimes outstanding teaching helps the pupils make rapid progress… and pupils’ attainment is above average in reading, writing and maths.”

If you are a graduate from the FDLT / BALT we would love to hear and share your story – do get in touch.

February 9, 2014
by Jean


Each year when we attend graduation we are reminded of the extraordinary achievements of our students on FDLT and BALT!

This morning Julie Jones, Alison Flint, Wendy  Yarnall and I were privileged to see our FDLT students 2011-13 and our BALT students 2010-13 graduate at the Derngate in Northampton. As academics we look on from the stage as our cohorts of students take the stage one by one to be congratulated by the Chancellor of the University of Northampton and receive their degree certificates.


When we see our students for each one we can recall their interview and their progress through the first tentative steps when writing a 1000 word essay seemed like such a huge challenge and it seemed like such a juggling act to manage family, work in school and university assignments. We’ve seen such development and change in them so its great to see them at this formal recognition of all their work. Today it seemed like our students got so many cheers and whoops from family and friends as they crossed the stage – their families have been such support to them all the way through. We were especially proud that one of our students gave the vote of thanks!

After the ceremony we were so pleased to see happy graduates, meet families and catch up with what they are doing now.


We, the staff of the FDLT and BALT, wish our graduates every success with their future plans.