Key Voices #86 – ‘Back on Track’ with Mary Myatt

The Key

“Looking at things and thinking actually, what value is this adding to my life? And what value, in a professional sense is this adding to children’s learning and if it’s not, I give myself permission to get shot of it.”

This week we talk to Mary Myatt, Education Thinker and Writer about her book Back on Track: Fewer Things, Greater Depth. Mary explains why she wrote the book and she shares her thoughts about how best to help children catch-up lost learning.  We then dig deeper into her ideas about curriculum and teaching. We focus particularly on understanding why subjects are being taught, the importance of teaching concepts thoroughly and using high-quality texts and materials. She also expresses concern about some practices, particularly around administration, assessment and tracking that divert teachers attention away from focussing on pupils’ learning. 

We go on to talk about how to build trust in schools and how leaders can meaningfully consult with teams.  Mary also explains how governors might be able to hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils with less “data” in front of them.  We close by wondering what external assessment might look like in this academic year and with some hopeful thoughts for the future. 

“There is a subtle shift that is needed, instead of saying we are going to “do” this today,say we are going to “learn about” this today - and instead of asking children if they have finished, say  “tell me what you’ve learned.” 

Mary has kindly shared the curriculum grids she mentioned in this week’s podcast with us. You can see them here and here 

You can also find the Austin’s Butterfly video Mary mentions here 

If you are interested in hearing more from Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who Mary quotes at the end of this podcast, you can hear her TED talk here 



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