Resources: 'The Jigsaw Puzzle'

Sue Plant's and Flexible Teacher Talent's essential research, books, services and blogs

This is the free We Are In Beta Podcast Newsletter - written by me, Niall Alcock. We - the education community - Are In Beta - always learning. Sign up to learn how school leaders are tackling big issues in schools.

If you’re a new subscriber or visitor or you haven’t listened to this week’s episode of the We Are In Beta Podcast, learn how Sue Plant is building John Taylor Free School from the ground up with flexibility in mind, and how Lucy Rose - co-founder of Flexible Teacher Talent - busts the myths around flexible working in schools, by listening here.

What’s in store today?

Just two sections today, not the usual three. One: what you’ve been saying about the latest episode. Two: the essential resources that have come up via Sue Plant’s story.

The community news section has been growing so I’m going to send it out on it’s own to make it a bit more digestible.

What have people been saying?

Check out Sue’s story

👂 Listen and subscribe on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

💬 Join the conversation. Tweet @Plant4Sue and Lucy Rose & Lindsay Patience from @FlexTeachTalent and @NiallAlcock. We’d love to know what you think.

If you’re a new subscriber, thanks for joining us. Catch up on previous We Are In Beta interviews here.

The best ‘In Beta’ bits

As promised last week, and with a big thank you to Sue, Lucy and Lindsay, here are the resources they mentioned in their episode and some others, which have influenced their journeys significantly (and their thoughts about them):

  1. The books that have had the biggest impact on their careers:

Sue Plant…

Mary Myatt – Hopeful Schools. That is an easy answer.  I read it when it first came out and regularly refer back to it now.  Whenever, things get interesting I can always find something in there to lift me up and make me hopeful again.”

Lucy Rose…

“When we began work for the [Teach First] Innovation Series, I pre-ordered and read this book - 'She's Back' [by Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan] whilst navigating childcare on a warm Bank Holiday Monday.  Although from another sector, it echoed our ideas for how to support teachers and schools.”

  1. The research that underpins Flexible Teacher Talent’s work:

“This 2011 report from The Sutton Trust is the foundation of everything we do. Our ultimate aim is to improve pupil outcomes and so we need to keep effective teachers in the classroom.  Supporting schools and teachers with flexibility is one way of doing this.”

  1. The one external service Sue and Lucy could not do without:

Sue Plant…

Our Schoolzine service – it runs our website and our app.  It is so user friendly and makes communication with parents so easy.  It’s a huge time saver for me as Headteacher and also for the other staff in school too. Parents like it as everything is all in one place.”

Lucy Rose…

Edval - It’s algorithm software. So each school can put into it all the various components it can be used for: What can these rooms be used for? Which teachers do I want teaching each class? How many classes of each subject do I want? That, historically, is something that’s been done by one person for a long time. It’s revolutionary.”

  1. Their blogs worth reading:

Sue Plant…

“I generally write for our newsletter but it is always for a mixed audience – aimed at parents, staff and also other educators”.

If you head to the last pages of the JTFS newsletter feed, Sue shares her learning and reflections on starting a brand new school at every step of the journey. Theses regular blogs are what attracted Liz Mitchell (guest on the podcast) to apply to JTFS. Food for thought if you're wondering if it is worth bothering to write a blog. You never know who’s reading.

Sue discusses the challenge and opportunity of recruiting to a new school in more detail here.

Lucy Rose…

“This is a video of my talk at The Chartered College of Teaching Annual Conference last February.  It is a short and informative introduction to our work.”

Lucy has written a series of articles on LinkedIn including one on Flexible Working in Education and another Successful Flexible Working Requests.

They have also put together this advice for those who want to work flexibly and offer a menu of services for schools wanting to incorporate flexibility.

  1. The recruitment pack that helped Sue build her team from the ground up:

“Our open event… was a great success with over 400 people spending a cold and wet Saturday morning listening to our plans to develop a school community where everyone can succeed and thrive.”

This is the John Taylor Free School recruitment pack that attracted all those people and this is the Facebook page and Sue’s personal Twitter and school Twitter accounts they promoted it through, spending nothing on advertising.

If you found all this useful and want to get access to all the resources from every episode of the podcast direct to your inbox, hit the button below to subscribe.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,


What you are up to—positivity from the We Are In Beta community

I’ve been playing around with when best and how often to run this feature. With a growing number of listeners and subscribers, the community news section is getting bigger and bigger :)

So I’m going to try running it as separate post to make it easier to digest. Thanks to those of you who got in touch to make the suggestion. As always, let me know if it works for you.

But in the meantime…

Want to share your news? Let me know here. I’ll include next time and tweet if I can.

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