Celebrating a year of Blog 6

Celebrating a year of Blog 6
Date13th Oct 2021AuthorNoni CsogorCategoriesPolicy and News, Student Life, Teaching

It’s been almost a year since Blog 6 launched on the 16th of October! In honour of that milestone, and our 100th post too, we’ve rounded up the top 10 most popular articles from that first year that you might want to revisit. The big themes that come out are Covid and mental health, and while some are hyper-specific to the challenges we were experiencing at the time, from TAGs to mass testing, there’s a lot to be said for revisiting for new lessons that are still relevant (and to feel grateful that, as tough as things still are, we are through some of those difficulties). Enjoy!

The Top 10 Most Popular Blogs in Year 1 of Blog 6

10. The Exam Replacement Problem of 2021, Stephen Tierney, January 2021

"A moderation process after teachers have awarded grades is going to lead to merry hell breaking out and a blame and counter-blame game played out." This take on how exams should proceed after the January lockdown was not the same as ours at SFCA, but it’s worth reading to see how a strong argument could be made for a number of possibilities at the time – and to relish in being past summer 2021 today!

9. Exam grades can never be ‘accurate’. But they can be ‘reliable’. Dennis Sherwood, December 2020

This piece from Dennis Sherwood looks at a deeper question than what we should do in any particular year – even in normal times, are exam grades accurate or, failing that, reliable? And can they ever be? He gives a provocative answer - and even more provocative possible solution. 

8. Our snowflake generation... or the guinea pig revolution? Anonymous, May 2021

We were proud to publish this amazing personal reflection from an AP in the sixth form sector, about why it is so destructive to compare today’s young people to previous generations, and how they have demonstrated significant resilience in the face of a very difficult set of challenges. 

7. Imperfect learning, Nick Allen, September 2021

This year, many colleges are thinking about ‘lost learning’ and how to combat it. Nick Allen’s blog reframes ‘lost’ learning as ‘imperfect’ learning – and all learning is, to some extent, imperfect. He also writes about how you can think about addressing some of those imperfections as an individual teacher or leader and also at a subject or college level.

6. Academic resilience: why sixth formers need it and how to build it, The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning at Eton College, January 2021

SFCs are constantly helping young people to navigate big transition points, so it’s crucial to think about how we can best foster academic resilience in young people. This blog is a summary of what we know about this characteristic from the available research.

5. Experiencing mass testing at Newcastle Sixth Form College, Gerard Garvey, December 2020

In the autumn term last year, several schools and colleges undertook mass testing pilots, prior to the planned rollout to all institutions in January. Of course, due to the lockdown, national mass testing didn’t take place until March. Gerard’s blog for us about his college’s early experiences with testing was key to demystifying the process.

4. What colleges can do for their students’ mental wellbeing right now, Dave Wilson and Fionnuala O’Reilly, January 2021

This blog accompanied our report with BIT, Supporting Students through the Pandemic, and provided some helpful suggestions and thinking around how you can have the greatest impact on students’ wellbeing given limited time and resources. This one, and the report itself, are definitely worth a re-read – its lessons aren’t limited to the pandemic period.

3. How has Covid affected the mental health of young people?, Jony Isaacs, November 2020

Jony is SFCA’s resident expert in mental health support and wrote up this summary of what we know, and what we don't know, about students' mental health after the first lockdown, with handy links and advice.

2. Awarding grades in 2021 – quality assurance by design, Nick Allen, March 2021

Nick responded rapidly to government announcements on awarding early this year and wrote a blog for us on how members could ensure a fair and manageable awarding process within the guidelines. This blog was very popular, and inspired our best-attended Chat 6 session too, with about 80 members quizzing Nick and one another on their awarding plans.

1. Mental wellbeing – a sixth form perspective, Sir Anthony Seldon, April 2021

Sir Anthony Seldon wrote a piece that’s slightly different – it was aimed at an audience of sixth formers themselves, unlike most of our blogs which are for leaders, teachers, and staff. it’s about how to look after your mental health, and why it’s never selfish to take the time to do so.

Noni Csogor is Research and Policy Manager at SFCA, and edits Blog 6.

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