Should there be one ruler over one land?




That is the Y4 question.

REAL Project outcome – live recorded debate, shared with whole school, parents and governors.

Today I was asked to go in to class so the children could ask me about leadership. I was quite overwhelmed by what I listened to.


History – the main aims of this project was to be able to teach and assess the right things at the right time. For six weeks they would learn about events in the past, the mistakes, the successes and most importantly how and why change has occurred due to people thinking and debating on such matters.



We also wanted to achieve NC curriculum content, an after thought? Not really, we just carefully weaved Ancient Egyptian Life into it. The teachers synopsis was to focus on the Pharaoh’s legacy as leaders – what did they accomplish and by what means did they do this. Then start to look at other leaders in history…



Ok – they have completed tasks we have all taught about the Egyptians, the blood thirsty stuff, the mystical enchanting, intriguing stuff. But it wasn’t the focus. A visit to Bristol museum and reading great books accomplished and satisfied every child’s want to know about brains being pulled out of noses, curses, etc, etc…


What I witnessed today was absolute, deep thinking about their understanding of the Pharaoh’s actions and how this had fed into their forming of ideas to answer the project question.


I started by asking the children about their project question , despite the fact they had asked to question me, in a busy schedule I’m not going to miss an opportunity of listening to what they think about their learning so far.

Some facts – tell me what you know. Some great answers, I played around with ask, pounce, bounce strategies. Then came the hook. “Do you know Miss, that workers in ancient Egypt would have toes cut off as punishment?” No I didn’t, what do you think about this…discussion began.

I wish I could transcribe, however, their thinking was too fast. They elaborated on human rights, touched upon slavery and embellished upon their opinions about one leader having the power to do this.

Amongst this conversation I asked them why they thought their teacher had made them go back in history to look at the ancient Egyptians, in order to answer their project question. It took some guided questioning and thinking, however, they fed back to me that it was about mistakes. We talked about the opposite – things that went right and then they arrived with the word change! We discussed the importance of learning from the past.


Finally they asked me about leadership in the school. I asked them what they thought my job was – they could have written my job description. Safe, happy, achievement, kindness, and then improvement. One child asked me if I put my money into the school, so we discussed budget – ha! We spoke about governance – they said they thought it was a good idea. “I think they help you make decisions Miss.” We drew a model of a circular nature, they were in the middle with the pupil governors, teachers and SLT around them, governors around everyone. Yesterday they had discussed hierarchy so this was a good talking point.


“Well you should see that the leadership comes from within, and you are at the centre” Open mouths looked at me. The reckoning – they are leaders.


“What have we been doing that’s new?” – challenge and choice. “So you are leaders of your own learning by doing this, right?” – oh yeah! My heart raced.


This is the best unplanned observation of learning I have done. I didn’t need to see the teacher teaching to know there has been some quality stuff going on here, the children showed me the path she has taken them on.Assessing the right things at the right time. Off the cuff listening. Deep understanding. A curriculum that doesn’t limit thinking and embraces incidental learning. I can’t wait for the end debate!



What a great day!

Written in haste to capture the moment! – credit to their teacher Myfanwy and their teaching partner Lauren.


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