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Ex-deputy head of troubled school ‘one of most influential experts in country’

30 August, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Ross McGill, the ‘most followed teacher on Twitter’

A FORMER deputy head of a troubled secondary school is now considered to be one of the most influential experts in the country, according to Debrett’s.

Ross McGill, who left Quintin Kynaston in 2017 after Ofsted put the school in special measures, now has an education blog read regularly by 10 million people and claims to be the “most followed teacher on Twitter”.

He has just got back from a trip to China where he has picked up some tips for his peers, including making pupils clean classrooms and playgrounds as part of their daily routine.

In his most recent post, he said: “Chinese schools are well known for their style of teaching, creating a culture in which pupils clean their schools and a regular morning exercise routine. For me, this is nothing to baulk about, we could do much to improve our education system in England – and in our society – if our young people learned to respect their environment and participate in communal activities.”

Mr McGill had visited Harrow International in north-east Beijing.

The school has a population of 1,447 and had recently done away with paper reports. Futuristic digital lessons and “automation” were also being practised to good effect, he said.

Mr McGill said: “In the schools where tech options are being used, voice and video automation are being used. For me, this option brings many benefits: The pupil and parent can ‘hear’ or ‘see’ the teacher. The school can map all analytics, from clicks and automatic alerts to demographic data and listening length.

“The depth of analysis far outweighs any paper system a school uses, which offers no data whatsoever. Apart from the report ‘being delivered’, schools do not actually know if parents are actually reading the report.”

He added: “Following on from the morning introductions, I spent the rest of the day working with a jam-packed hall, unpicking teacher workload, metacognition and classroom strategies with 150 primary and secondary teachers and classroom assistants.”

Mr McGill has been a qualified teacher for more than 25 years and has worked in some of the most challenging secondary schools in London. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the “500 Most Influential People in Britain” by The Sunday Times.

Quintin Kynaston was, after being rated inadequate by inspectors, taken over by a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), Harris Federation. The school is now called Harris Academy.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr McGill said: “It was a school in a tough area doing good things and we had already achieved a lot in just over two years but then five inspectors came in, walked around, talked to a few people and then said ‘you are shit’ … It was a risk to leave my job and a regular salary but my blog was already making money so I thought, why stay at the school when it is taken over by a MAT?”

You can follow Mr McGill on teachertoolkit.co.uk or on Twitter @TeacherToolKit

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