New Year, New Start

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By Ben Jackson

As a teacher, I used to love going back into school in January. Having had the chance to relax and unwind after a long and hectic Autumn Term, I would reflect on everything that had gone well and all those many things I had learnt, that I wish I had known in September!

A lot of Autumn Term is spent getting to know your new class — learning about each individual child and finding out what makes them tick. By the time the Spring Term comes around, as a teacher, you are in a much better position to build on each child’s strengths and support them where you know they will need it.

I always viewed January as a fresh start. The children would often come back to school after the Christmas break in a more reflective, thoughtful frame of mind. Having always taught Year 6, I put this down to maturity and the sudden realisation that this was the year they would be starting secondary school!

Finding the time to take a step back and reflect on my own practice is something that I wish I had been able to do more as a teacher. I am now in the position where I work with thousands of teachers and I can see just how important it is. Those teachers who have managed to embed thoughtful reflection into their weekly (and sometimes daily) practice have found it has a huge, positive impact on their teaching and as a result, children’s learning.

Schools that use Balance to support their teaching, learning and assessment, are able to use this tool to encourage reflection amongst their teachers. By setting aside time each week to share their assessments and reflect on what has worked well and what could be done better, teachers are able to support each other and grow and develop as professionals. Balance encourages lots of moderation and talk between teachers to make sure successes are celebrated and areas that need further development are given the time and resources to improve.

The Class Analysis section in Balance is full of all that vital information that teachers seek when planning intervention groups and when devising strategies for how to move learning forward. If you would like to learn more about how Balance can help teachers to become more reflective practitioners by providing them with the information that they need to identify gaps and move learning on, please complete this form or drop us an email on

In the meantime, have a very happy and productive 2019 and remember — however busy things get, it is important to take a minute to stop and reflect.