Thank a teacher. Thank a few.

I have very few memories of my first teacher or school. I was only there for a year because my parents’ move to their dream new-build bungalow was short lived, curtailed by my dad changing his mind about where he wanted to live. And who he wanted to live with. Turns out it wasn’t in this fabulous bungalow with the underground garage, three double bedrooms and a balcony. And it wasn’t with us, with my mum and me.

My next school feels like my first school. From what is now Y1 to Y4, teachers in a small village school, a hub for kids from even smaller Lincolnshire villages, kept my attention and allowed me to feel safe, secure and stimulated. Mrs Jacomb was our teacher in Y1 and 2. She and I spent lots of time together as my mum dropped me off early for school on her way to work, and I was that 5 year old who chatted away obliviously while the teacher wanted to get on with her preparation. This was 1972. Full time working mums, and therefore breakfast clubs, were as futuristic as hoverboards and mobile phones. I adored Mrs Jacomb. When I passed my A levels, and even though we’d moved away from the village nine years earlier, I found her phone number and called to give her the news. We’d kept in touch on and off through mutual acquaintances and a few cards. Her husband answered, and when I explained my reason for calling, to thank her for the time she’d given me in those early needy days, he told me that she’d recently died. She’d had cancer and declined very quickly. So I’ll say it now, thank you Mrs Jacomb, for making me feel happy at school when the rest of my world was in turmoil.

A few more years and a few more family upheavals later, and we moved again. My next school was bigger, a red brick Victorian complex with its old divisions of Boys’ and Girls’ playgrounds now repurposed into Infant and Junior areas. It transpired that my previous school had been a ‘better’ school and in this school I spent two years essentially doing nothing. In Y5, I always finished the work before the others – this was before the days when differentiation was a big thing – so I was sent off to do jobs. I tidied the stationery store, I made coffee for teachers and took it round to classrooms and I freshened up the corridor displays. By Y6, I’d pretty much given up trying with the work. I always worked through the hardest exercises. I always finished first. Luckily our teacher had also all but given up on our education too, and took healthy advantage of the fact the our school had its own swimming pool. We went swimming every day for months. So thank you school number 3 for my love of all things stationery and the organising thereof, and of swimming as often as possible for as long as possible.
Next school, the first of my two secondaries, and something of a culture shock. Mrs Brown was strict. She was our form tutor and our French teacher. She had the highest expectations and woe betide you if you didn’t do your damnedest to try to meet them. I liked Mrs Brown. I liked so many of the teachers in this school. Everything about the place was so grown up, clever and interesting. Of course another series of family time bombs detonated and I had to move schools again. You’d think I’d be used to this by now, but actually moving schools at 14 left me feeling the most vulnerable I’d ever felt. Yet again, the teacher who noticed my awkwardness, like Mrs Jacomb years earlier, became my hero. Roland Humphry was my English teacher for GCSE and part of A level until he had to retire with MS. He was bearded, snub nosed and small. He wore a sleeveless cardigan and an open-necked shirt. His speech and movement were already impaired by the disease that would eventually limit his career and his life. But he was so intelligent, wise, insightful, funny and fair, so knowledgeable about Literature with a love he passed on to every one of us, so amazing in his permissiveness in lessons, letting us talk and write about almost anything. I chucked a bit of anti-Tory message into an essay in 1982, during the Falklands War, and he loved it. Adrian Mack wrote a story about sex and he didn’t even get told off. Mr Humphry was a god to us.

When I thank a teacher, thank a few in fact, I’m thanking them for all they did for us as children but also all they did for future us as adults and as teachers too. I’m thanking them for showing us how a teacher makes a child feel, about themselves, their learning, their happiness and worries, and how teachers can help fill in the gaps the children didn’t even know were there.

Missing you already

Already I miss the sounds of your voices;
I miss the smiles, the laughs, the whole class falling to a warm hush of concentration;
I miss the hands up, the questions, and the opportunity to make you all groan when I answer ‘Well…’,
I miss those moments of catching one of you working so hard, the tip of your tongue is just visible, one of you thinks he can write a note on a post-it without being noticed (nice try), one of you leans towards a friend to point out an error;
I miss the sounds of you all approaching down the corridor, then shuffling your seats, dropping bags on your the floor;
I miss ‘Hi Miss’, ‘Morning Miss’, ‘Bye Miss’, ‘Thanks Miss’.
I miss ‘What are we doing today Miss?’
I miss replying ‘I don’t know… What do you reckon?’
I miss ‘Oh Miss’
I miss it.

Questions for Mr Bruff Romeo and Juliet playlist

Questions based on Mr Bruff’s Romeo and Juliet playlist

Credit to Mr Bruff for creating the videos. Link to the accompanying ebook:

Remember to think about how scenes might relate to the whole play.

Rough guide to differentiation: hml tags refer to broad groupings of higher/mid/lower prior attaining students. This may or may not be helpful, depending on school context 0 feel free to ignore!

The numbering goes awry somewhere along the way…

1/50 mh

The origins of Romeo and Juliet

  1. Why is there controversy about the origins of Shakespeare’s plays?
  2. Who was the original writer of the ‘Gulietta & Romeo’ short story?
  3. Which related texts were published in 1562 and 1567?
  4. Have there been any other versions since Shakespeare’s?


2/50 h

Why have a prologue?

  1. What is a prologue?
  2. Why was a prologue needed in Elizabethan theatre?
  3. How would the prologue help the audiences?
  4. How does the prologue break the illusion of reality?

Nb – we usually call this breaking the FOURTH wall


3/50 all

The prologue as a sonnet

  1. What is a sonnet? Explain as fully as possible.
  2. What is Shakespeare saying through this sonnet form?
  3. Why are love and hate both mentioned?


4/50 all

Close analysis of the prologue

Explain the 5Ws covered in the prologue

Who is involved?


What happens?


What’s the time frame of the play?


5/50 – this one is 15 minutes long, packed with detail.

Act 1 scene 1 all

  1. What did the prologue promise?
  2. How does 1.1 follow on from the hints already given in the prologue?
  3. Write a few bullet points about Verona.
  4. How would the audience respond to Samson and Gregory’s discussion?
  5. What kinds of wordplay are used in this scene?

Even better – h

  1. What’s the significance of the character names? What could Shakespeare be symbolising?
  2. Summarise and explain the wordplay behind the “carry coals” discussion.
  3. What other types of wordplay happen?

Even better – further details – h

  1. Why might it be significant that this level of aggression happens at the start of the play?
  2. How is 1.1 different from the prologue in terms of the clarity of the language?
  3. Link the discussion about “moves” to what you have learned about the significance of the characters’ names.
  4. What does the “take the wall” discussion and other wordplay show about Elizabethan ideas about power and politeness?


6/50 Sexual imagery in 1.1 – quite detailed

  1. What does the amount of sexual imagery used by Samson and Gregory suggest? How would the audience respond to this?
  2. Explain the meaning of “bite my thumb”.
  3. What is an ‘aside’ and why does Shakespeare use this dramatic technique?
  4. Explain how both comedy and conflict are used in 1.1.

Even better – h

  1. What is the significance of the names of Abram and Balthazar?
  2. Why is the use of “sir” significant?


7/50 1.1 continued

  1. What might be the significance of Benvolio’s name? (link to other ‘ben’ prefixes)
  2. And Tybalt’s name?
  3. What is a ‘protagonist’?
  4. What is an ‘antagonist’?
  5. How do the stage directions link back to the prologue?

Even better – h

  1. What is the significance of “you know not what you do”? (expl ‘allusion’)
  2. Explain how Shakespeare has used language in “heartless hinds”.
  3. What structure does Shakespeare used to describe the things that Tybalt hates?
  4. How is Lady Capulet mocking her husband?
  5. Comment on how Lady Montague uses alliteration.



Act One, scene 1 The Prince’s Speech

  1. Why is the Prince’s description of the Capulets and Montagues as “rebellious subjects” important?
  2. What else is suggested about the families?
  3. How does the Prince use language in this speech? Write examples and explanations.
  4. How does the prince’s speech link back to the prologue?
  5. What does “bred of an airy word” mean?
  6. Make notes on Mr Bruff’s summary of the scene.

Even better – h

  1. What is the significance of the name ‘Escalus’? (expl the link with ‘scal’ and the idea of balance, and judgement)
  2. What attitudes to swords and weapons have been shown so far?
  3. Comment on the use of “canker/cankered” (explain it means more than ‘rusted’…links to disease, cancer etc)
  4. When Mr Bruff says ‘putting 2 + 2 together’ what is he suggesting about how an audience understands the play’s structure?
  5. How does the Prince show his power in Verona in this speech? (this would be a good question for a Lit exam question practice)



1.1  continued

  1. What is the significance of the name of Montague?
  2. Is Benvolio telling the truth about what happened? (class can link back to previous information and match quotations from this scene to earlier quotations)
  3. Who first mentions Romeo in the play? What are the circumstances?
  4. What is the significance of Romeo’s name?
  5. How is nature imagery being used to suggest Romeo’s feelings?
  6. Why will the audience be eager to see Romeo for themselves?

Even better – h

  1. How does Benvolio suggest that Tybalt is a poor swordsman?
  2. Who is Aurora? Why is this classical allusion used here?
  3. What do you notice about the rhyming used by Montague at the end of his speech? (expl that RCs are often used to show an ending to a phase of speech because the audience would hear the sound pattern)


10/50 – there isn’t one!


11/50 Introducing Romeo

  1. How would you describe Romeo’s state of mind in the first part of the discussion with Benvolio? (ignore the discussion on ‘relativity here – it’s not v good)
  2. How can we tell that Romeo trusts Benvolio?
  3. What are Romeo’s thoughts about the Montague/Capulet fight that happened earlier?
  4. Explain some of the confusing expressions that Romeo uses in this scene.
  5. What do we learn about Rosaline?
  6. What is Benvolio’s advice to Romeo?

Even better – h

  1. Is Romeo genuinely in love?
  2. Is Romeo a tragic hero?


12/50 Act One scene 2 ‘translation’

  1. Does Capulet think it’s a good idea for Paris to marry Juliet?
  2. How is Capulet’s conversation with Paris similar to Benvolio’s conversation with Romeo?
  3. How do Benvolio and Romeo discuss Rosaline’s beauty?

Even better – h

  1. How does Benvolio refer to love when he and Romeo enter?
  2. How does the introduction of Paris create a plot complication?
  3. How has Shakespeare used the character of the servant?


13/50 1.2 ‘analysis’ – h

  1. Why might it have been seen as OK for Juliet to marry Romeo at 13/14 years old in Elizabethan times?
  2. How are Paris and Romeo shown to parallel each other?
  3. What is the significance of the name Paris?


14/50 Act One scene 3 ‘translation’

  1. What do we learn about the Nurse?
  2. How does Juliet speak differently to her mother compared with the Nurse?
  3. What do the Nurse’s memories of Juliet as a child reveal about their relationship, and about the Nurse’s character?
  4. How are the Nurse and Lady Capulet similar?


15/50 1.3 ‘analysis’ (not v good)

  1. What is suggested about the role and status of women in society?


16/50  Act One scene 4 The masked ball

l – m

  1. Mercutio, Benvolio and Romeo discuss their entrance to the Capulet ball – what does this discussion show about
  2. Their worries about gate-crashing the Capulet party
  3. Their own characters
  4. Their views of love (especially Romeo)?
  5. Explain Shakespeare’s references to music and dancing

Even better – m

  1. How does Shakespeare use the idea of ‘light’, both in the sense of light/dark, and light/heavy?
  2. How is the dramatic technique of foreshadowing used in this scene?

Even better – h

  1. Explain Romeo’s uneasiness
  2. Sum up what you know so far about Mercutio’s ‘Queen Mab’ speech.


17/50 1.4 continued

  1. What types of imagery are used in Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech?
  2. What does this speech warn us about?
  3. What does the speech tell us about Mercutio’s view of love, especially in contrast to Romeo’s?

Even better – h

  1. How does the imagery in Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech become darker and more serious?
  2. What else do we learn about the character of Queen Mab as a literary character?


18/50 Act One scene 5 ‘translation’

  1. How does Shakespeare show Capulet as a friendly, welcoming character?
  2. How does Tybalt’s “This by his voice…” change the mood of the scene?
  3. Give examples from Tybalt’s speech which show that he is angry.
  4. Explain Capulet’s response to Tybalt – how and why does he try to calm his nephew?
  5. Explain examples of the imagery used by Romeo when he first sees Juliet.
  6. How do Romeo and Juliet use religious language to flirt with each other?
  7. How do Romeo and Juliet react when each realises who the other is?
  8. What does Juliet say to the Nurse about Romeo?

Even better – m

  1. When Mr Bruff says ‘Romeo didn’t hear any of that’, what is he suggesting about how the tension of the scene has been created?
  2. What is the Nurse’s reaction when Juliet asks who the young man (Romeo) is? Why does she do this?
  3. What does Juliet say to the Nurse about Romeo?

Even better – h

  1. How is the setting of the hall, and the inclusion of servant characters, used to build up the tension?
  2. Compare/contrast Capulet’s conversation with his cousin with his later conversation with Tybalt.
  3. How does the pace of the scene change when Romeo and Juliet realise who the other really is?


19/50 1.5 ‘analysis’

  1. Explain the optimistic and pessimistic views of Romeo’s experiences of love.
  2. How is the language of religion used in Romeo and Juliet’s conversation?
  3. How is this different from Romeo’s ‘love’ for Rosaline?
  4. How does Shakespeare use a sonnet form in Romeo and Juliet’s conversation?

Even better – h

  1. How does the rhyme scheme and the vocabulary of the sonnet show that Juliet is being influenced by Romeo?


20/50 Opening of Act Two ‘translation’

  1. How is the storyline of Act One recapped at the start of Act Two?
  2. How does Shakespeare use foreshadowing in Mercutio’s speech?
  3. How can the audience tell that Mercutio is unaware of Romeo’s changed feelings about Rosaline?

Even better – h

  1. Which aspects of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship does the chorus focus on?
  2. How is dramatic irony used after Romeo climbs the wall?


21/50 2.1 ‘analysis’ (short) – h (+explicit)

  1. How do the language (of death) and the form (of a sonnet) in the chorus foreshadow the play’s ending?
  2. Why are references to the medlar tree significant?


22/50 Act Two, scene 2 ‘translation’

  1. How does Romeo use
  2. Sun/moon images to describe Juliet
  3. Star imagery to describe Juliet’s beauty
  4. Religious imagery?
  5. How does Shakespeare use the dramatic technique of an ‘aside’?
  6. How can we tell that Romeo and Juliet are cautious about talking to each other again?
  7. Why does Juliet say that Romeo should not swear by the moon that he loves her?
  8. How does Juliet use the language of weather and plants to talk about their relationship?
  9. How do the Nurse’s calls build tension?

Even better – h

  1. What do all of the examples in (1) have in common?
  2. How does Shakespeare contrast Romeo’s idealism and exaggeration with Juliet’s practicality?
  3. How does Shakespeare continue the dream/night motif in this scene?
  4. How does Juliet talk about her love for Romeo – discuss 3-5 examples.


23/50 2.2 ‘analysis’

  1. What is a ‘blason’? How is it used here? Refer to techniques and context.
  2. Even better – how does Shakespeare criticise the form in another sonnet?
  3. If Romeo uses a blason form in his descriptions of Juliet, what does this say about him?

24/50 Act two scene 3 ‘translation’ In Friar Lawrence’s cell

  1. How does the audience know what time it is?
  2. What kinds of imagery does the Friar use to describe the time?
  3. What else do we notice about the Friar’s thoughts and language? (What is he talking about, and how?)
  4. Try to explain how he talks about ‘opposites’ in this speech?
  5. Even better – which comments earlier in the paly does this speech remind you of?
  6. How does the Friar greet Romeo? How does he show his concern for Romeo?
  7. How does Romeo react to the Friar’s questions about Rosaline?
  8. Even better – What can we tell about the relationship between Romeo and the Friar from this conversation?
  9. How does Romeo explain where he has been – and how does the Friar react?
  10. How does the Friar react to Romeo’s news about his love for Juliet?
  11. How does Romeo try to explain that this time the love he feels is different?
  12. Explain how Friar Lawrence thinks Romeo and Juliet’s relationship might be a good thing.


24/50 2.3 ‘analysis’

  1. Explain what foreshadowing is – and what its purposes are.
  2. What does the Friar say about plants? How does this create foreshadowing?
  3. Explain what fate is and how Shakespeare uses the theme of fate in the play.
  4. Even better – explain how fate and foreshadowing work together.



25/50 Act Two scene 4 ‘translation’ and ‘analysis’ (long)

Much of this scene is written in prose instead of verse – explain this)

  1. What does the conversation show about the friends’ knowledge of Romeo?
  2. What do we think will be in Tybalt’s letter?
  3. How does Mercutio’s speech create foreshadowing?
  4. What does Mercutio suggest about Romeo’s bravery?
  5. Even better – How is this also foreshadowing?
  6. What does Mercutio say about Tybalt as a fighter?
  7. Which aspect of modern fashion is Mercutio complaining about?
  8. How is Romeo’s language when speaking with Mercutio different from the language he uses when speaking with and about Juliet?
  9. Find the quotation which shows that Mercutio thinks Romeo is better company when he is back to his ‘normal’ self.
  10. Explain how Mercutio and Romeo tease the nurse.
  11. Explain the arrangements that Romeo and the Nurse make.

(‘analysis’ section next)

  1. Explain how malapropisms work in this scene.
  2. Is Shakespeare showing that ‘love at first sight’ is possible?

26/50 Act Two scene 5 ‘translation’

  1. How can we tell that time is passing?
  2. What can we tell about Juliet’s thoughts and feelings at this point?
  3. How does the tension build up?
  4. Explain how the scene ends happily.

27/50 2.5 ‘analysis’

  1. Is this scene merely a comic interlude?
  2. Explain how Shakespeare has used this scene to change the mood and pace.
  3. What do we learn about Juliet, and her relationship with the nurse?

28/50 Act Two scene 6 ‘translation’ and ‘analysis’

  1. Explain the ‘mixed message’ in the Friar’s speech.
  2. How is foreshadowing used in this scene?
  3. Is this like a typical wedding scene? Why/why not?
  4. What do we learn about Shakespeare’s use of structure? How does the end of Act Two fit in with Freytag’s 5 Act structure?

29/50 Act Three scene 1 ‘translation’

  1. How can we tell from Mercutio and Benvolio’s discussion that we are building up to a climax point?
  2. How does Mercutio tease Benvolio?
  3. What does ‘an’ mean, eg, in ‘An I were..’?
  4. How does the tension between the Capulets and the Montagues start, and build up, in this scene?
  5. How does this conversation link back to Act One scene 1?
  6. How is Tybalt’s line “here comes my man” ironic?
  7. How is Mercutio foreshadowing his own death?
  8. How does dramatic irony – when the audience knows something that a character doesn’t – work in the Romeo-Tybalt confrontation?
  9. Which characters are increasing the tension and which are trying to decrease it?
  10. What does “ere” mean in “ere it be out”?
  11. Sum up what Mercutio says about the Montagues and Capulets as he dies.
  12. What does “you shall find me a grave man” mean?
  13. What does Romeo’s soliloquy show about how he feels about himself?
  14. How can we tell that Romeo has become really angry when Tybalt returns? Look closely at Romeo’s language.
  15. What does Benvolio advise Romeo to do? Why?
  16. Why does Romeo refer to himself as “fortune’s fool”? Is he right?
  17. Benvolio retells what happened in the fight. Is he telling the truth? Match the points in his explanation with points in the fight itself.
  18. What is the Prince’s judgement?

30/50 3.1 ‘analysis’

  1. Why does Romeo want to avoid a fight?
  2. Where are we in the structure of the play, in terms of Freytag’s model?
  3. Explain, with examples, how and why different types of dramatic speech are used in this scene – blank verse, rhymed verse and prose.


31/50 Act Three, scene 2 ‘translation’

  1. What does Juliet talk about in her soliloquy?
  2. What doesn’t she know yet?
  3. What is the Nurse’s message to Juliet?
  4. What does Juliet think the Nurse means?
  5. How does the dramatic tension build up in this scene?
  6. How does the Nurse describe Tybalt?
  7. Explain Juliet’s mixed feelings about Romeo.
  8. Why does Juliet change her mind and defend Romeo?
  9. How can we tell that Juliet’s relationship with the nurse is deteriorating?
  10. Why does Juliet say that she has nothing to cry about?
  11. What does Juliet think is worse than Tybalt dying?
  12. How does the Nurse cheer Julie up at the end of the scene?


32/50 3.2 ‘analysis’

  1. What two pieces of news does Juliet receive in this scene?
  2. How does she react to the news?
  3. How can we tell that Juliet is growing in maturity?
  4. How are references to light and dark used in this scene? What does this suggest about Romeo and Juliet’s relationship?
  5. How can we tell that Juliet’s relationship with the Nurse is deteriorating in this scene? Include quotations in your response to this.


33/50 Act Three, scene 3 ‘translation’

  1. How is tension shown in Romeo’s discussion with friar Lawrence?
  2. How does Romeo react to news of his banishment?
  3. Which two words are repeated…and with what effect?
  4. What does Romeo say about “flies”?
  5. How does Romeo’s behaviour here contrast with Juliet’s in the previous scene?
  6. Why doesn’t Romeo want to talk any more with the Friar about his banishment?
  7. How do Romeo and the Friar both react to the knocking at the door?
  8. What does Romeo ask the Nurse?
  9. How does the Friar ‘lecture’ Romeo?
  10. How should Romeo be happy, according to the Friar?
  11. How is foreshadowing used?
  12. What is the Friar’s plan?
  13. What is Romeo expecting Juliet to say to him?

Even better

  1. Look at the Friar’s mentions of girls/women…what’s his attitude to femininity?


34/50 3.3 ‘analysis’

  1. Give reasons why Romeo’s reaction could be said to be unreasonable?
  2. What does this say about Romeo’s character?
  3. What news seems to change Romeo’s mind?

Even better

  1. Explain how Romeo can still be considered to be a tragic hero, on the basis of his behaviour in this scene.


35/50 Act Three, scene 4 ‘translation’

  1. What does Capulet talk to Paris about?
  2. How does Shakespeare create dramatic irony in Capulet’s plan to get Juliet to marry Paris?


36/50 3.4 ‘analysis’

  1. How has Capulet changed his mind about Paris in a short space of time?
  2. What does this scene show about the themes of ‘young and old’ and ‘fate’?
  3. What conclusions or judgements can the audience make about Capulet at this point?
  4. Why does Capulet seem so confident that his daughter will agree to marry Paris?


37/50 Act three, scene 5 ‘translation’

  1. How does the scene start?
  2. Explain how they discuss what time it is – and why this matters.
  3. How does Juliet change the mood of the scene when she says “Hie hence, begone, away”?
  4. What does Juliet say about how time will pass while Romeo is away?
  5. How is foreshadowing used?
  6. How do we know Juliet isn’t used to seeing her mother so early in the morning?
  7. What does Juliet say about how she is feelings?
  8. What does Lady Capulet assume is the problem?
  9. What does this reaction show about Lady Capulet?
  10. How is wordplay used by Juliet to refer to Tybalt and Romeo?
  11. How is dramatic irony used in the conversation between Juliet and her mother?
  12. Explain how the word “dead” is being used by Juliet to both tell and conceal the truth.
  13. What is Lady Capulet’s “joyful” news?
  14. What is Juliet’s reaction? And how does she refer ironically to Romeo at this point.
  15. What does Capulet say about Juliet’s emotions?
  16. Explain the ship and storm metaphor that Capulet used?
  17. How do we know that Juliet doesn’t have a choice to marry Paris as far as her parents are concerned?
  18. What do you notice about the sentence types and punctuation in Capulet’s “Soft..” speech? What does this show?
  19. How does Capulet react to Juliet’s refusal?
  20. How can we tell that Capulet’s anger is increasing?
  21. How does the Nurse defend Juliet?
  22. How does Capulet react to the Nurse?
  23. How can we tell that Capulet is increasingly exasperated in his “God’s bread..” speech?
  24. How can we tell that Capulet considers Juliet to be his possession?
  25. How does Juliet try to appeal to her mother?
  26. How does Lady Capulet respond to her daughter?
  27. How does the Nurse shock us when Juliet tries to appeal to her?
  28. Where does Juliet say she is going, and why?
  29. What does Juliet’s soliloquy reveal about her relationship with the Nurse now?
  30. What does Juliet say she has the power to do?


38/50 3.5 ‘analysis’

(Ignore the first 45 seconds of this)

  1. What do we know about arranged marriages in Elizabethan times, and why would be this important in Romeo and Juliet?
  2. Explain some of the insults and threats used by Capulet towards his daughter.
  3. How would different audience members respond to Capulet’s anger in this scene? (Consider contemporary and modern responses.)
  4. Make notes on any key phrases/ideas presented in Mr Bruff’s example response.


38/50 – yes, there are two 38s! Act Four, scene 1 ‘translation’

  1. How does the Friar show his unease about Paris marrying Juliet?
  2. What can we tell about Juliet’s and Paris’s thoughts about each other?
  3. How is foreshadowing used in Juliet’s appeal to the Friar?
  4. What is the Friar’s suggestion?
  5. What is Juliet’s reaction to the plan?


39/50 4.1 ‘analysis’

  1. What has been the Friar’s role so far in the play?
  2. Is the Friar’s advice and planning reliable?
  3. Why do Romeo and Juliet have such confidence in the Friar? What is Shakespeare saying about the Friar?


40/50 Act Four scene 2 ‘translation and analysis’

  1. What preparations are being made for Juliet’s wedding to Paris?
  2. Why would Capulet be enjoying Juliet’s apparent change of mind?
  3. Why is the timing of the wedding important, and how does this add to the tension?
  4. What is the irony about Juliet’s decision to take control of her own life?


41/50 Act Four scene 3 ‘translation and analysis’

  1. What can we tell about Juliet’s relationship with her mother from this scene?
  2. What sorts of thoughts go through Juliet’s mind before she takes the potion?
  3. We see signs of Juliet’s growing maturity in the play – do you think she has made the mature decision here?


42/50 Act Four scene 4 ‘translation and analysis’

  1. How does Shakespeare show that the wedding preparations are well underway?
  2. How do the Nurse and Lady Capulet show concern that Capulet is staying up all night? Why do we need to see the family in this way at this point in the play?
  3. Why is this scene dramatically important?


43/50 Act four scene 5 ‘translation’

  1. Why does the nurse have quite a long speech at this point?
  2. How does the nurse’s smutty humour come across as inappropriate here?
  3. How does Capulet describe death?
  4. How are ‘flowers’ referred to in this scene?
  5. How does the language used here link back to the language of Act 3 scene 5?
  6. How does the Nurse’s reactions to Juliet’s death differ from Lady Capulet’s?
  7. How are Paris’s reactions similar to Capulet’s?
  8. What is Friar Lawrence’s role in this scene? How does his language show his priorities?
  9. How does Friar Lawrence’s language reveal his intention to reunite Juliet with Romeo?
  10. Why are we left with ‘minor’ and servant characters at the end of this scene? How do the musical references link back to other scenes earlier in the play?


44/50 Act four scene 5 analysis

  1. How does Lady Capulet show that she really cares for Juliet?
  2. How could her words also be viewed selfishly?
  3. How does Capulet’s language linking sex and death appropriate in the Elizabethan context?


45/50 Act Five scene 1, Mantua, ‘translation’

  1. How do Romeo’s words parallel the recent action of the play? But how is this ironic?
  2. How does Romeo behave when Balthasar enters?
  3. Explain how Romeo reacts when he hears the news of Juliet’s death. What does he think and talk about, then what does he do? How does this action fit the way Romeo has behaved previously?


46/50 Act Five scene 1 analysis

  1. Explain how Romeo’s mood shifts when Balthasar delivers the news.
  2. How does Romeo’s reaction further demonstrate his immaturity?
  3. Explain how we seem to have ‘forgotten’ the prologue’s foreshadowing at this stage.
  4. What does Romeo’s knowledge of the apothecary show about him?



47/50 Act Five scene 2, Friar Lawrence’s cell

  1. How does Friar John explain that Friar Lawrence’s plan has gone wrong?
  2. How does the shift of character and setting add to the tension?
  3. How confident do we feel about Friar Lawrence’s new plan to write another letter?
  4. How do we again see the theme of fate?


48/50 Act Five scene 3 ‘translation’

  1. Who do we see at the start of this scene? Why might this be unexpected?
  2. Does Paris’s grief seem genuine?
  3. What does Romeo’s language reveal about his state of mind?
  4. How does Balthasar express his worries?
  5. Explain the food metaphor that Romeo uses about Juliet’s tomb.
  6. Does Romeo speak aggressively or respectfully to Paris. Explain your answer.
  7. Look at the lines before Romeo and Paris fight – who is the ‘better’ young man here? Would Paris have made a better husband for Juliet?
  8. How does Romeo refer to light at this point in the play?
  9. What dramatic effect does Romeo’s speech have?
  10. How does the pace of the play change when Friar Lawrence speaks with Balthasar?
  11. Explain the significance of the timing of Juliet waking up.
  12. How does the arrival of the watchman accelerate the action?
  13. Why is it dramatically significant that the watchmen take over the conversation at this point?
  14. How does the Prince’s language recall the Prologue – and with what effect?
  15. What news does Montague bring?
  16. How does friar Lawrence explain what has happened, and his role in the events? Look at how he explains how things went wrong.
  17. How can we tell that the play is nearing its end?
  18. How does the audience feel to see Capulet and Montague making peace at this point?


49/50 Act Five scene 3 analysis

  1. How is the setting of night-time used similarly here to other points in the play?
  2. How is Romeo’s exchange with Paris similar to Romeo’s final exchange with Tybalt?
  3. How are Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths different?
  4. Explain Freytag’s dramatic structure.
  5. How does this part of the play reflect Freytag’s structure?
  6. How is the ending of the play tragically ironic?







In a bit of a stew

A customer walks into a cafe, sits down, expects soup. They always have soup here. There is no description given of the soup. The soup here is usually OK, and anyway, they’re used to it. A chef makes the soup based on their previous experience of making soup here, and hopes it suits the customer and the boss. It usually does. A new chef starts at this cafe. The customer is expecting their soup, the boss is expecting things to go well. What are the chances – even though they’ve been making soup for years – that the soup in the new chef’s head will match the soup the customer expects and the soup the boss approves of?

A teacher moving schools faces exactly this uncertainty. Changing jobs and changing schools means changing expectations, often without awareness of what these are until after the decisions and commitments have been made. ‘What do you mean, you don’t like pasta in minestrone? There’s always pasts in our minestrone.’ Fair enough if you ordered minestrone but not so great if you thought you’d be getting creamy mushroom. 

The parallel in teaching is to start from scratch, stepping into the unknown of a new school, new classes, unfamiliar texts or topics to teach and a new culture to learn, each of these ingredients unknown in advance, with different chefs’ methods undisclosed until you’re judged on how well you’ve guessed them by both the ‘customers’ and the bosses?

For a teacher with years of experience behind them, the ingredients for all the soups are available, the methods are known, but they won’t all work together in one pot and you don’t know anyone’s order or preferences.

Assuming there was a cupboard big enough to store the baggage of your career so far, what would you take forward with you, and what would you discard?

The soup in your head at this stage might be simmering some of the following – 

Planning by exam mark scheme statements or assessment objectives 

Planning by curriculum coverage

Planning with differentiated objectives

Planning with a central question

Planning with a main Blooms-derives objective 

Planning with WALTs and WILFs

Planning with a simple title

Planned, differentiated questions

Individual questions, pair questions, group questions 

3 part lessons…

4 part lessons…

6 part lessons…

3 part lessons, differentiated 3 ways each

4 part lessons, differentiated 4 ways with self- peer- and teacher- assessment

Mini-plenaries, ‘pace’ and progress checks at 20 minute intervals

Models, scaffolds, visualisers, WAGOLLs and WABOLLs

3 pen marking

Whole class marking


Hands up

No hands up

SLANTs and 54321s

You might get to see a fellow chef at their work, maybe taste their dishes. You might get some quick customer feedback. You might get some knowing looks or disparaging glances or comments, ‘Oh, you do it like that, do you?’ You might manage to give everyone exactly what they want, even though they didn’t tell you or you didn’t explain what you could offer. Of course you might also make someone ill. Or they really might not like what you have. 

But there’s still a chance that your soup is the best soup in the world for someone out there. 

Timetable Complexities

*transferred from Staffrm


Increasing pressures on the curriculum are causing timetablers to find ever-more inventive solutions. Timetabler Joe Bradford, of the Sunshine and Starburst Academy in North Yorkshire, explains his most recent predicament: “We are extending the school day every other Thursday, implementing Saturday remote home-study supervision and we teach all the way through the holidays for exam revision. We just have to.”

The Sunshine and Starburst Academy is not alone in feeling stretched to deliver everything that needs to be taught.

Tracey Ullswater, a timetabler for academy chain We Are The World in North Yorkshire, has devised a particularly creative scheme: “We operate an eight-and-a-half day timetable rotation,” she outlines, “and on day 6 we run from 7am to 12, where we break for Community Charity Challenge until 4, then we come back to school for flipped learning algebra exploration in KS4 and SOLO exploration PE in KS3.”

Billy Rochester, an explorer in Year 10, told us: “We get to do all sorts at this school. It’s not like my old school where you just did subjects. I used to do English, now I do Communicate in the Community and I used to do Geography but now we do All Around The World. It’s mega.”

Mrs Ullswater continued: “Our We Are The World academy chain follows the Embrace curriculum. That means we don’t leave anything out. A typical Day 3 might include Gardening for Engineers, followed by Pornography awareness for Organic Farmers, followed by Religious Education in our Computer Literate World. It’s very varied, very ‘real-world’ and applied.”

When asked about exam courses, Mrs Ullswater explained: “We need to keep the stu…I mean explorers in schoo..I mean the academy until 7 most evenings so that we can actually tea…I mean facilitate their exam subjects. Some times I think the exams get in the way of the real learning! But hey! This is the modern world!”

Head Facilitator, Barry Doncaster of the neighbouring academy, The Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better Trust, says it’s the same situation there. “We follow the Nothing Left Out curriculum plan. There’s really ‘nothing left out’! We have to extend Citizenship every week to include whatever new idea has been thought of this time! Oh my days! So there’s hardly any time for traditional subjects. We’re preparing the younger people for a more demanding world…’s all relationships and erm..learning to do things..erm..not just learning about them.”

All students go on to further study. “Most of our students go on to the local college to retake GCSEs” Mr Doncaster told us.

Northern Education Forum

Northern education is talked about frequently. Northern educators, on the other hand, are talked to rather less frequently. We are regularly told about the deficiencies of the education we offer; we are less regularly listened to about the challenges that shape the education we offer.

This is unjust.

We do not deny there are improvements to be made. We do not deny that change needs to happen. But we reasonably expect to have a voice of our own when discussing how these things might be achieved.

We are as skilled, as passionate, as well-informed as our colleagues in other areas of the country – we deserve to have our voice heard. And too often it feels as if it is not, with discussion and access always based far away from the villages, town and cities that we teach in.

This needs to change.

And so, we propose the creation of a Northern Education Forum. We’ve put together a Google Form [sign up here] for those who may wish to register their interest in being involved. The details of its remit, its membership, and its role will be fleshed out over the coming weeks.

But in the meantime, we have one simple question:

You in?

Sarah Ledger

Amy Forrester

Rebecca Stacey

Lisa Pettifer

Michael Merrick





This short post in support of the Chartered College of Teaching and #teacher5aday is built around a number of premises

No teacher wants to be doing the wrong thing.
We want to #notice and #learn throughout our careers
No teacher has all the time in the world to find out what the ‘right’ things might be.
We need time and space to #connect with others through ongoing career development and learning
No teacher enjoys uncertainty regarding their role in the life chances of children.
Being able to #volunteer to support one another in professional learning, through Chartered College of Teaching mentoring or regional hubs will be beneficial for all.

We often hear about how teachers in other countries can enjoy more non-contact time, more CPD time and more time to plan, mark and review – and of course we become misty-eyed (with desperate envy) at the thought. And we often think back to the days at the start of our careers when we were full of energy – even if quickly exhausted – and enthusiasm and crazy commitment and determination to make the world a better place just through the power of our lessons on apostrophes and semi-colons.

What these situations have in common is the feeling, the fear, that we might not be doing as well as we could, or should or would if the conditions were all in our favour. But let’s face facts: the conditions are what they are, and they are beyond our control.

As members of the teaching profession we have to come to terms with feelings of failure and inadequacy as well as the joys of our successes and our pupils’ achievements. We have to balance work and life. We have to keep up with developing professional knowledge. We have to constantly refresh our own studies and develop our skills.

The Chartered College of Teaching will strive to help us – and create the conditions for us to help ourselves and each other. One of its main aims in these early days is to enable our professional development through access to on-going learning. None of us wants to be doing the wrong thing, or has all the time in the world to check out the latest thinking on the ‘right’ thing – but what if the Chartered College can help us with that?

There is a number of ways that the CCT can support us in this learning that needn’t be too burdensome in terms of time and energy given the demands of workload and the ever-changing needs of different contexts:
Members now have access to a number of academic journals
The CCT is also planning a series of research digests, shorter summaries of research giving the ‘cut to the chase’ essentials
The College is establishing links with organisations like the Education Endowment Foundation which offers opportunities for schools to take part in and receive the results of educational research projects
Through the website, blogs, newsletters and events, the College will also enable our access to leading educational debaters, academics and organisations.

At the launch conferences earlier in the spring, College members debated a number of topics relating to the uses of ‘research’ and ‘evidence’ including-
Why should teachers be evidence informed?
What is the relevance of evidence to classroom practice?
What advice do you have for teachers engaging with evidence?
How can the Chartered College of Teaching help?

More importantly, though, the CCT will create a community of connected professionals, organise regional hubs and events and develop teachers’ ownership of the profession, so please #builditwithus

That Was Then

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the College of Teaching. I wouldn’t have received the mentoring, support, stimulation to develop my teaching, or the confidence to engage with others on a broader platform had I not committed to the College all those years ago, when I became an NQT. I’m now part of a profession which has grown and grown in status and professionalism since the early days of the College. Teachers voices are heard and respected, of course they are. Views are sought about professional development, examinations and assessment and curriculum. Of course they are.

Teaching has changed a lot since 2015.

Before then, once you qualified and did your NQT year, you were pretty much at the mercy of your school for the rest of your development. Some were great with CPD, others not so. Teacher Standards were pretty fixed, either you did something or you didn’t and schools didn’t always know the best way to engage you, or the best experiences to offer in support of you, if you weren’t quite there yet. You got your annual appraisal and a set of targets, but there wasn’t as much joined-up thinking as there is now about how one year’s experience can form the basis of the next year’s progression.

And it seemed to change in 2015.

That was when the momentum began to build for the College of Teaching, when its core purposes, membership, structure and reach began to be debated. Teachers began to get together to plan a long term strategy for the profession as a whole – the profession I now belong to and benefit from. Those teachers were careful to build slowly, to develop the College from some central principles about keeping teachers at the helm, drawing in advice and support from wider professional influences and making sure that teachers developed research literacy so that they could look objectively and systematically at classroom practices.

Since those early days in 2015, teaching has developed a long-term career structure, so that once you find your feet in your first job, you have a clear view of your next stages of development. You’re encouraged to network, read and research, carry on with the enthusiasms that brought you into teaching in the first place. If I want to stretch myself further, I now know that the College can connect me with mentors, offer me guidance on what to study, recommend appropriate CPD a or put me in touch with another teacher who has structured some research on an issue I want to look into. At least I know that my intentions as a teacher are matched and supported by a professional body which, like me, wants to ensure that all pupils are enabled, challenged, supported and valued.

Having been a teacher for over 10 years now, I’m considering applying to be a Fellow of the College of Teaching. It’ll take a while. I’ll need to take on some new projects and extend my role and influence as a teacher. But I’m ready for this and I know that the College will guide me to structure a programme that meets the needs of my pupils and school, local teacher partnerships and local community. And I know I can continue to develop as a teacher – I don’t want the next 10 years to be the same as the last. And in that time, I know I’ll have lots of expertise to ‘pay back ‘ into teaching, and the College, of course, makes sure that I’ll do that in order to support the next generation of teachers.

A teacher, 2028
Currently a pupil, in 2015

A-Z of NQT induction

This September, our NQTs are arriving full of trepidation, yes, but also full of up-to-date subject knowledge, recent experience of other settings and a new, but possibly fragile, commitment to teaching— let’s make sure our school provision and induction arrangements value these new starters and their qualities.

Time and again we hear of widely varying NQT experiences, from those who have joined departments or schools with active and effective support protocols and CPD practices, to those who have been treated neglectfully by the people or systems around them. What can we do to make sure we don’t throw away all the potential NQTs offer?

The A – Z of NQT induction

A address issues as they arise – a little guidance and advice, offered regularly from the sidelines, is more likely to be accepted as a normal and constructive part of the relationship between NQT and team leader, than a once in a while focus on a serious problem which might have more emotional strain attached. Also, allow time for messages to sink in, and review regularly through informal chats as well as formal meetings.

B book appointments in advance – make regular discussions part of the mentoring process. Doing this allows time to talk and for the NQT to mull over some ideas, raise an issue, or respond to a target, before the scheduled appointment. Committing to a time and place sends a message that this time is important. Also, in your own ‘schedule’, build in time to allow for the unexpected.

C class management induction – support and guidance, and clarity of expectations for all parties, will never be wasted here. With each new recruit, you’ll need a different balance of each. Beware the honeymoon period. Keep an ear to the ground and check with your NQT and other colleagues – is your new recruit coping OK after the start of term dust has settled? Were you aware of any issues from the training period? Better to follow up sooner rather than later. Chat to key form tutors to see if any informal feedback has been offered by pupils.  Make sure the NQT is fully aware of the school’s systems as well as the extent of their own responsibility.

D departmental routines might be second nature to you, but can seem overwhelming to the new starter. Make sure key events, are flagged well in advance. When the NQT doesn’t know what they don’t know, they may easily miss an event on the calendar that seems really clearly signalled to you – repeat key dates and messages: details are easily lost in discussion.

E ebb and flow – the workload of a teacher is often irregular. Encourage your mentee to plan ahead for the busy times so as not to overload themselves.

F follow up any niggles, from your NQT, pupils, other staff, parents – misunderstandings need to be unraveled and a relationship built on finding solutions sets the tone for future development.

G go the extra mile for your NQT, if it seems appropriate. You won’t want to hold their hand and encourage them to be dependent on you – but at the same time, they are looking to you to assist them in completing their professional training – and they are entitled to your support. Part of your position is to develop others, remember.

H home life is important to all of us – be aware of any particular issues that might affect a new starter’s settling-in.

I information – make sure data, important internal documents, online forum membership details, usernames and passwords are shared. Leaving your NQT in a position of ignorance is unfair.

J jointly prepare and plan – if you’re not sure about an NQT’s confidence in the classroom, build some shared planning into your meetings. You’ll want to keep an eye on the ’quality control’ within your department/phase anyway. I’ve known Heads of Department meet NQTs each day after the last lesson to discuss outlines for the following lessons – in so doing, you’re scaffolding and modelling your expectations, and you’ll soon see when you can reduce the time needed to oversee.

K knowledge development is so important to teacher development and an expectation that the newcomer will continue to work on their subject knowledge and signature pedagogies is essential. Even in the early days, you might be discussing what the NQT might be teaching the next term or next year, and what they will need to develop in the meantime.

L listen to what the NQT doesn’t say, as much as to what they do. Did you notice that when discussing their classes, they avoided mentioning that year 10 class? Did you wonder why..?

M merge, match and mentor – coordinating a team is about finding the right combinations of individuals for specific projects. Try to match up your NQT with a suitable buddy for part of a key project.

N new developments happen all the time but NQTs don’t yet realise this. Being able to support the team through change from whatever starting point or focus they currently have is all part of steering the team in the long-term.

O observations need to be arranged, in as many forms as possible. Enable the NQT to observe other teachers in the department and around the school – they need to see what the standards and routines are. It would be unfair to judge them on these expectations without giving them these opportunities first.

P pressures come from all angles – and the newcomer can’t always separate the major from the minor – encourage some perspective through humour, shared experiences and discussion with a range of mentor figures.

Q question your NQT all the time – you’re the leader and there’s a lot about the day to day work of your team that you need to know about. Set the expectation that you’ll be asking about homework, test results, behaviour, etc – from here, it’s easier to mould and shape rather than acting retrospectively after a formal review, observation or intervention.

R reporting to your Local Authority or other senior body needs to be timely and accurate. Ensure that you’ve planned your own time in terms of observation, feedback, review, data collection, etc, so that you’re properly informed at the appropriate points in the year. Give your NQT the opportunity to address any areas of weakness in good time for new practice to become properly established and embedded, rather than just featuring as a tick-box exercise.

S share your anecdotes, disaster stories and worries – your whole team, and your NQTs in particular, need to see that mistakes can be rectified and barriers overcome.

T timing – gradually aim to increase the challenge and independence experienced by the NQT. Share your thoughts with them, and encourage them to plan their stages of development with you.

U understand that the NQT’s field of vision is not the same as yours – some NQTs can barely see to the end of the lesson, never mind the end of the day, week or term – if there are worries about their performance, you’d hope to have been alerted to this by the ITT tutors, but if this isn’t the case, you might need to contact them to ask for more information about how to support your NQT.

V variety of input – experienced mentors draw on a broad range of strategies to help the development of NQTs: other colleagues, internal INSET, external training such as through the LA, your academy group, Teaching School or other partnerships; printed materials, podcasts, videos and internet sources – knowing which to offer when is part of your getting to know your mentee.

W wishing they were different ain’t gonna make it so – once appointed, this teacher is in charge of the education of children. Make sure your interventions and supports keep this as the main focus.

X x-ray vision, 6th sense, 2nd sight, intuition, radar, call it what you will – if you get ‘that feeling’ that something’s not right, it’s best to check it out.

Y you – mentoring an NQT can be a great pleasure and privilege. It can also be draining, frustrating and time-consuming. Pass any serious concerns to your line manager and look after yourself when it comes to work-life balance and how you show your team that you’re coping.

Z zoo, zither, zinnia and zumba – we all love our treats, so a little gesture of appreciation once in a while, a little act of kindness, even something as simple as stepping in with photocopying on a really busy morning, making the coffees or leaving a Ferrero Rocher on the desk just says ‘I know what it’s like’ – and that might be all it takes to give a boost to a new starter looking for a little reassurance.

There is talk of a recruitment crisis in teaching. ‘Surely not?’ I hear you chorus… Just in case we are running short of new teachers, though, it’s best that we make the most of the ones we’ve got. Remember that an NQT is not the finished article and we owe our new colleagues a duty of care. Strong NQT provision creates the best foundation for a fulfilling and valuable career as a teacher – and isn’t that what we all want?


New year, new CEO, new College of Teaching

Ross McGill, known on his blog as Teacher Toolkit, produced this blog about the College of Teaching and the recent announcement of Dame Alison Peacock as CEO of the organisation.

This is the comment I added

I am a supporter of the CoT – I think there is a real need for it. I realise that not everyone thinks this, and, well, that’s fine…you don’t have to join or have anything to do with it if you don’t want to.

Ross has pointed out a lot of positives, as well as some concerns and recommendations of his own. Here are some of my thoughts.

Teachers need a voice within the media and when dealing with policy makers when those Sunday morning pronouncements and unanticipated policy changes are made. How many times do we hear of a new policy via the Sunday papers, see it commented on, recommended or rejected before we ever hear from anyone who’s spent or is spending their career in the classroom? Yes, we have the unions…we wouldn’t want to be without them in their extremely valuable role in protecting and promoting our pay and working conditions. But the profession itself should be in charge of pedagogical discussions and should have representation in policy development.

The broader the teacher base here, the better. If the CoT develops by recommending one style of teaching over another, or by closing down debate on the validity of different methods, then it’s not going to develop teaching or the teaching profession at all. But my understanding is that that’s not going to happen – one of the key aims of the CoT, as with other chartered professional bodies – is to develop, not inhibit, the knowledge base of the profession and to further career long teacher learning through improved access to research and validated experts. When I spoke to newly appointed CEO Alison Peacock last week, she made the point that teacher expertise must also be recognised and that rather than only importing ‘expert’ views into teaching practice, often seen as a ‘top down’ judgement on teachers, we should also be developing teachers’ opportunities to share their expertise and successes in rigorous ways. Regional CoT hubs and national discussion groups can enable this, and can form a reliable knowledge base from which teachers can draw in developing methods and resources.

You might not feel that you need any of this. Perhaps you work within a big MAT who really have developed extensive CPD systems, career development channels or networks of advisers? Ark and Harris, among others, have developed excellent practice. Dixons have developed training that supports and challenges teachers to develop practices that focus almost forensically on learner development. And while 60% of secondary schools are academies, not even all of these are well connected and well developed in terms of mature CPD provision. Many stand alone schools offer brilliant CPD but don’t have much chance to share their models with others. Most importantly though, and always my main focus when I think about the TEACHER at the heart of the profession, is the issue of recognition. If I’ve been a lead practitioner, or worked in an SSAT school, or undertaken TEEP, or a recognised leadership course, these are externally accredited and therefore portable qualifications.

Part of the CoT’s membership offer and chartered structure will enable a teacher to develop skills and learning in ways that their current employer might not be able to offer. It can provide access to knowledge and an academic world that many of us in rural or outlying districts find difficult. Yes, researchEd provide great events – the sort of events I personally feel teachers should be accessing – but it’s not easy for us all to get to these. They did a Leeds event, yes. That’s three hours away from me. A York event, likewise. A London event means a £113 train ticket, a 5am start, and often an overnight stay as well. We need an organisation that can bring similar events to our doorsteps, organised by local teachers, partnered with local teaching school alliances and HE institutions.

The CoT’s charter means that it can exist “in perpetuity”. It can exist beyond the lifetime of the current government, and the next and the next… It can provide a steady path for the profession whatever political changes might come. It’ll take a long time to get it fully up and running as a mature professional organisation and there’s a danger of expecting too much too soon. In reality, the CoT doesn’t really exist ‘yet’. It’s in development. It’s just moved into a new stage with the announcement of Dame Alison Peacock as CEO, with her role to commence in January 2017. It’s like announcing your pregnancy as you move into the second trimester. There’s still a long way to go and a lot of growth needs to happen.

Teachers, if they want to see this organisation succeed, need to get involved in shaping it. They need to discuss membership proposals, CPD ideas or regional needs. Chase up the links Ross has suggested here and look at the site, the @CollofTeaching Twitter feed or the College of Teaching Facebook page. Sign up for newsletters and consultations. Think of where this could take us in years to come.