Allocating teachers: why is it so hard?

Secondary school timetabling involves the complex process of matching resources (teachers and rooms) with a group of students at a specific time. Get it wrong and you’d have to ask a teacher to clone themselves to cover two classes at once or have children roaming the halls with nothing to do.

Why is it so hard to schedule the right teacher with the right class?

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Curriculum design & timetabling for Project Based Learning

Curriculum design & timetabling for Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is increasingly seen by schools as a way to equip students with the skills they will need as adults. Its introduction into the school curriculum timetable can be a serious challenge, however: classes need to be longer, and team teaching is desirable as are team planning sessions. Examples from English schools provide some solutions.

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TeachMeet: Technology for personalised learning


Very well organised and very interesting presentations. Thank you.
High quality presentations, ideas and products talked about.

On 13th May Wapping High held its first TeachMeet. It was an opportunity for teachers of all phases to come together with social entrepreneurs and share ideas and best practice. TeachMeets are informal, relaxed training and networking events for teachers, by teachers. Technology for Personalised Learning

The theme of the event was technology for personalised learning. Presentations were given on Google classroom, Trello, CV+, Into Film and REAL projects. Tea and cake was an added bonus. If you would like details of future events please contact or @kerstyncomley

We'd like to thank the school's student ambassadors for helping facilitate the session. One teacher from a sixth form college in west London commented that the student ambassadors were exceptionally welcoming and professional. 

Links to the presentations

REAL projects

Keys to technology for personalised learning using REAL projects. The presentation slides are here.


IntoFilm provides free access to over 4,000 films from our catalogue, and resources to help support using film in the classroom.


CV+: CV creation for secondary school students. This is a link to the video we used in the presentation. Teachers can download the "CV+100 Membership" document here.

We'd like to thank everyone who presented for giving up their time to help support our first TeachMeet.

This event was supported by UnLimited and Santander.

Transforming traditional curriculum design

Traditional curriculum design is based on the delivery of segregated silos of knowledge, however, learning is more effective when it fulfils a real need and integrates of a variety of knowledge and information. In this Google Education on Air presentation we examine recent case studies from Wapping High School to demonstrate how technology is being used in the UK to embrace the concept of schools as communities of learners where students and teachers learn with and from each other.

Education on Air: Transforming traditional curriculum design, Wapping High School & The Innovation Unit

Education on Air: Transforming traditional curriculum design, Wapping High School & The Innovation Unit

Listen to the presentation here
View the presentations slides here

What would you teach in 15 minutes?

Traditionally, secondary school timetables are constructed from a limited number of standardised blocks of time; a single period might be 50 minutes. The timetable is imposed upon the teachers who must then craft their lesson around the specified amount of time. Does this method provide the best opportunities for learning and teaching? Would the freedom to decide the length of the class enable teachers to offer a wider more effective range of learning experiences?

What do you think

Imagine that as a teacher you had the opportunity to decide on the length of your classes. Would you want to? Would it be useful? What might you teach in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 50 minutes or 2 hours?

Please reply with your thoughts and ideas – we’d love to hear from you.

Ideas to get you thinking

Knowledge that students acquire in school is often quickly forgotten [1]. Even though many things can now be quickly looked up on the internet it is still useful to have some knowledge at our fingertips, for example language vocabulary. Research [2] has shown that relearning at periodic intervals improves retention. So, how about a French lesson that was followed up by a series of 15 minute vocab booster lessons.

Trips are an excellent way to deliver learning in an engaging and motivational way. However, often a trip takes longer than a single lesson period. What if a teacher had the power to incorporate a 2 or even 3 hour into their next teaching module?

[1] Kuepper-Tetzel, C E et al. (2014) The lag effect in secondary school classrooms: Enhancing students’ memory for vocabulary, INSTRUCTIONAL SCIENCE Vol: 42 Issue: 3 Pg: 373-388

[2] Bahrick, H. P., & Hall, L. K. (1991). Lifetime maintenance of high school mathematics content. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 120, 20–33.