Reading Summaries and Reviews

SMART is an outward facing organisation that is open to research led improvements.  As such it is vital that we keep up to date with new developments in all aspects of education including learning, leadership, national and local policy.  With so many excellent books and ideas published and such little time to read them all, it is helpful to have short summaries that help us to focus in on which books to read.  Click on any of the items below to read a summary.  Most items are then available to borrow from our staff libraries.

If a book you have read has inspired you to write a short 1 or 2 page summary please upload it here so we can publish it for others to see too. 

Review by Claire Ollerenshaw

Making Every Maths Lesson Count

‘Making every Maths lesson count’ outlines six principles to support great maths teaching. It is a book for anyone involved in maths education and I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestion that ‘whether you are just starting out or have been teaching for 30 years, you will find something of value in ‘Making Every Maths Lesson Count’.

Summary by Kathryn Pipe

Understanding How We Learn – A Visual Guide

This book states it sets out to review basic processes – perception, attention and memory… focussed on applied research.

PART ONE – Evidenced Based Education and the Science of Learning

Emphasises the need for strategies to be scientifically tested, “after all would you give your child a pill that had never been scientifically tested?”  This part spends much time detailing how the research is carried out – combination of lab work and in the class…

    Review by Sarah Hercod

    Children Learning Outside the Classroom

    ‘Interdisciplinarity… a form of resistance against the bureaucratisation of education’ (Giroux, 2001)

    How is this book organised?

    This collection of essays, edited by Sue Waite, draws heavily on the experiences of academics, outdoor educators and teachers.

    Chapters are written by different contributors, yet follow the same layout:

    Summary by Kathryn Pipe

    Make it Stick, The Science of Successful Learning

    The book begins by agreeing the following the points with readers:

    • Learning requires memory
    • We need to keep learning and remembering throughout our lives
    • Learning is an acquired skill (the book sets out to persuade that this point is true)

    This book details strategies to support increased learning and longer retention of learning – giving research and details to support…

      Review by Linda Griffin

      Leading on Pastoral Care

      "Behaviour is an unmet need"

      This book is broken down into 3 sections:

      • Defining pastoral leadership
      • Providing effective pastoral leadership,
      • Reviewing your work.

      Very early on I was questioning how well we ‘know’ our young people even though we pride ourselves on knowing them.  Without this deep knowledge we are unable to ensure that they can truly participate in their day.

      Short Summary by Dan Buckley

      Education Exposed – Leading a school in a time of uncertainty by Samuel StricklanD

      This book is more an opinion piece than research, drawing heavily on only a handful of educators. Despite this it provides an excellent, well written 92 page summary of the principles that have guided Sam as Headteacher of a highly successful school that rose to success under his leadership avoiding the ‘fad driven approach to education that has engulfed our profession’…