We have posted a new webpage that invites you to join us in tweaking our new activities, even if you are too far away to attend one of our free Saturday workshops. Let's go back to the Age of Invention!

Back to the Age of Invention!

Geography 16th September

Science 7th October

PSHE 25th November

Keep scrolling down down and you will find:


Future events

Recent Activities at the very end!

British Values? Are they changing?

Here on the right is the first activity from our March workshop.



We aim to keep you up to date with our current projects and news from colleagues and partners. Most recent postings are at the top. Towards the bottom of this page there is a diary of future events that we hope you will find useful. And right down at the bottom you can find links to recent activities. If there is something you are running that you know we would like to add to our diary please email us.


Caroline Scott, Communication Across Cultures, is featuring Collaborative Learning in her latest EAL newsletter, which you can sign up to on her website.


Lucy Burton has launched a new magazine for children learning English. Good luck to her! We like the graphics. Take a look at her website and download a free sample copy. She promises collaborative games.

We like this quote.


We are delighted that the English and Media Centre, just up the road from us, has invested in a project on examining exploratory talk in English : 'It's Good to Talk - Developing Group Work in English.' There's a link on the right to Barbara Bleiman's most recent blog posting. We hope you will want to read all the previous postings too! Barbara ran a workshop on this topic at NATE conference in Nottingham at the end of June.

Tony Booth and colleagues have set up a website where colleagues can share, anonymously if they wish, stories of daily foolishness in conversations, jargon, directives, cuts, inspections, and feudal style management that has undermined the creativity of educators, turned schools into testing factories, distorted thinking in universities and led to many leaving teaching. Here's an example:

"The school has bought into the Rising Stars test scheme. Teachers looked at the test for this half term and saw there are several things in it we have not taught our classes yet (we will teach them later in the year, but the test doesn't match the maths scheme we use). We were told we had to give the test anyway, despite already knowing most children would score 0 on a number of questions, not because they were incapable of answering them, but because they had been taught other things which did not appear in the test. Children we know are not working at, say a Year 4 level, but are in Year 4 have had to sit the Year 4 test and some have scored 0/20 as a result. The test has told the teacher nothing they didn't know already and can only have been bad for the self-esteem of those children."

Do take a look at the tidied up and refurbished Education Endowment Foundation site. Based on more new research on dialogue and talk, Collaborative Learning still rates highly for raising achievement and it does it very economically. Oral Language Interventions also rate highly and we believe CL is one! EEF has been described as the "Which" guide to spending Pupil Premium. School uniform incidentally has a negative rating! Take a look at their recent research reports.
Thank you Berkeley Primary School for posting your appreciation of Are You a Stinker? We hope you will try out more of our over the top activities such as Queasy Tum or Germ Warfare. We'd also welcome any new drawings and predicaments. Also we think you are near enough to Bradford on Avon to try out our Meet the Barn activities and make a visit. We'd welcome your feedback.

Well done OBE providers for choosing Raymond Briggs! He has been tickling our imaginations and stirring our consciences for yonks! Sometimes you think the gong folk stick a pin into the phone book or are open to bungs (well we know they are!), but this time they must have listened to reason.


We concentrate mainly on developing classroom resources here at Collaborative Towers, but have been worrying about the fact that we have not updated our research pages for some time. Our new research page/blog will appear soon. It has always been difficult for teachers to access research so we are grateful to colleagues like Robin Alexander and the Cambridge Primary Review for self publishing. Here comes help from Kamil at Building Diversity and Equality Awareness (link on the right!). His most recent blog post has done our work for us and he has provided an excellent summary on the value of talk for learning. And he promises a second part very soon!
We support and work with Kate Moorse and her network of London Primary Humanities Coordinators. If you coordinate history or geography or citizenship and would like to access the London Humanities webpage, attend network meetings and/or work with colleagues on resource development and planning, please contact us. Even if you work outside London you will find the resources on the webpage useful. We will be posting activities in development on our new Work in Progress page and we are running a geography workshop in September

Collaborative Learning and Bradford Barnstormers (a group promoting community use of the Bradford on Avon Monastic Barn) with the support of Historic England and English Heritage have been working together to produce three teaching activities to make a visit to the barn more exciting and informative for children. The activities provide opportunities for role play, careful observation and work with chronology. Click on the right to find the activities which we are currently piloting. Please try them out and send us your comments.

Even if you are too far from the barn to visit, you will find the activities an interesting introduction to medieval building methods. We are currently adapting the activities to support work on Guedelon, the castle in France, being built using only medieval techniques.

New activities on Bradford on Avon Monastic Barn

Sheffield University and Sheffield Local Authority have been working together to develop EAL friendly teaching resources for Science that involve parents and employ first language. We have a number of science activities just about to be published.

We have just added a link (on our links page of course) to the new online EAL course set up by Hampshire Ethnic Minority Achievement service. Seven modules completed and more to come!
Mark Sims, Ofsted lead for EAL in England, has produced a series of very short video clips where he stresses the importance of opportunities for EAL pupils to hear and respond to the spoken contributions of their English speaking peers. Learning conversations are vital for these learners. You also have here a pdf of his powerpoint presentation on the inspection of EAL.






Gordon Ward at "Racing to English" is producing some very entertaining and useful videos introducing collaborative activities. Click on his shape monsters on the right to reveal his youtube channel. He has responded to nagging and produced more videos recently.

P.S. You can find a link to his website on our links page.



We have provided here a short one page guide to one of our most empowering kinds of resources. You can find many examples of role play activities on the site and we hope you try them out and develop your own versions.

You can click on the tiny version here on the right to download a full size pdf version which we hope you will introduce to colleagues.

We have also linked the main aims of the project to quotes from James Britton's work: click on his book!



Is your school publishing an account of your collaborative learning work in your pupil premium impact report? We'd still like to hear from schools who are. This will help us network good practice.


sutton banks






The Diary keeps links to resources from past events plus information and links for future events. If there is anything you think should be here please let us know.







6th June: We worked with Leicester teachers at their EAL network meeting. We have posted a dedicated webpage. Are you teaching in or near Leicester? Contact us or Charlotte Hurley at Forest Lodge if you would like the link or want to join their network.

6th July: We worked with Hillingdon Primary Humanities coordinators. Coordinators anywhere in England welcome to access our dedicated webpage which we will keep up to date. Just contact us!

9th September: LATE committee (http://www.londonenglishteachers.com) start of year planning celebration at the IOE. Start at 9.30am in Committee Room 2 on Level 4. Simon Gibbons will be talking about his new book "English and its Teachers: a history of policy pedagogy and practice" Everyone is welcome to help us plan our programme for next year. Why not make it the year you join our committee and nurture your creativity!

16th September: Our next free development workshop in Islington. We will be working on Geography resources with an emphasis on sustainability and other issues based topics. In anticipation we are currently updating our geography webpages.

21st September: We'll be showing you recently developed activities at the NALDIC South London Regional Interest Group. It's free and you don't have to be a NALDIC member to come along.

7th October: Our (free) Development Workshop will concentrate on controversial issues in Science.

16th October: NASSEA are running their annual conference in Manchester.

17th October: We are running a literacy and EAL workshop in Birmingham for DRB Learning.

18th November: NALDIC conference at Kings College London. Fred Genesee from McGill University is a keynote speaker.

24th November: NATE primary conference in York with Nick Butterworth alias Percy the Park Keeper.

25th November: Our (free) Development Workshop will concentrate on teaching about tackling extremism in PSHE lessons.

25th January 2018: We are joining the Leeds EAL Network meeting at the John Charles Centre for Sport.


We update this diary regularly. Go to our links page to reach websites for the diary entries.


In response to the recent decision to test tables (up to 12 times to help with old pence calculations!) at the end of Primary School, here is a chatty way to encourage the learning plus some good folding practice. You will find Chatterboxes (sometimes called Fortune Tellers) useful for scaffolding talk in other subjects. In the meantime here are some mental maths Chatterboxes.