**NEW** One Day Blogging Extravaganzas

Welcome back to the summer of 2017! With many schools knuckling down to a new term of learning, it’s as good a time as any to think about new strategies in which to inspire your learners in ways that will impact data. Many schools I work with book me to come in for a one day blogging extravaganza. These days typically see me working with two classes. One for the full morning and the other for the full afternoon. During these teaching sessions, teachers from other year groups are invited to get stuck in and see first hand how blogging can, not only impact immediately on engagement and enthusiasm for writing, but see how this strategy can have longer term impact on data! By the end of each session, the pupils can all:

  • Access a class blog and know how to log in.
  • Create a blog post from within school or from home.
  • Understand the eSafety issues around safe blogging.
  • Add quality comments offering peer assessment.
  • Understand how their writing can have a global audience and as a result write to the best of their abilities.

The teachers involved by the end of the sessions can all:

  • Manage the dashboard ensuring online safety for each pupil.
  • Understand how blogging can be used to impact standards in writing.
  • See first hand how pupil engagement levels and enthusiasm levels rise through effective use of blogging.
  • Develop ideas on how this tool can be used through observing an extended teaching sequence.

What’s also included in this BLOGGING EXTRAVAGANZA is a full staff meeting after school where all the staff get to hear first hand about the potential of using blogging in the classroom. In addition to this, the teachers have time to explore a number of different class blogs from across the Primary age range to see specifically how blogging can look like in their year group.

If you are looking for new ways to impact on standards of writing, please get in touch to see when I can come and work with your pupils and teachers.

DeputyMitchell works across the UK in both Primary and Secondary schools. He offers tailored IN CLASS INSET for pupils and teachers with a focus on impact on data. If you feel a BLOGGING EXTRAVAGANZA could be of interest to you and your pupils, please get in touch HERE!


What DeputyMitchell can offer you…

Book DeputyMitchell to work in your school

The writing results of DeputyMitchell’s pupils soared from 9% Level 5 to 60% Level 5 in 12 months after the implementation of simple existing new technologies and blogging.

DeputyMitchell has been a primary school teacher for 20 years teaching Reception to Year 8 and has worked at all levels of management from ICT Co-ordinator, Department Head to Headteacher of two schools. Ever since he saw the power as a Year 6 teacher of using forums to get pupils writing outside of the traditional school day as early as 2005, DeputyMitchell has seen amazing impact through technology used at the right time, in the right way, to not only inspire pupils to write, but write to the very best of their ability.


A day with your Literacy Co-ordinator…

My work supporting schools for the last 3 years has varied hugely. From 2-3 year projects with clusters of schools, to one day, one off support days working with teachers – even one off staff meetings. One growing area I am being asked to provide support for, is to work with Literacy Co-ordinators as they try to spearhead an ever demanding drive for the best possible outcomes for the pupils across their school.

There is no ‘typical’ day to describe when I visit your school to work with your Literacy Co-ordinator, as these days are planned alongside the member of staff or Headteacher weeks before. However, there are a number of questions that come up frequently:

  1. Why do pupils say that writing and reading are the most boring subject areas? What can be done to change this?
  2. What can be done to make our boys want to write?
  3. We bought a load of iPad… How can we used these effectively instead of internet searching devices?
  4. How can I implement a new approach?
  5. How can I monitor the impact of what I am planning to do?
  6. How am I going to get SLT on board?

Simply talking through some of the above questions, sharing examples of what other schools are doing that have worked with me (some case studies here), planning action with achievable goals (with small steps) alongside a clear vision for tracking/monitoring progress will give your Literacy Co-ordinator a boost and some much needed support to tackle under performance in their subject. This may or may not involve rolling out blogging through your school but by the end of the day, after a whole school staff training session, a clear road map will be in place.

If you are interested in exploring how one of these days in your school could work, please fill out ‘Expression of interest’ form below and I will get in touch via email to find out more.


The day the nation took notice of blogging in schools…

The 14th February 2011 was such an important day for me for so many reasons!

To think that just over 14 months prior to this date, Heathfield Primary School in Bolton didn’t any form of online presence was virtually unbelievable. Some of you reading this will no doubt know the story so I won’t bore you with the details, however, the developments over the few days before this date were monumental!

Around October 2010, Heathfield Primary became an affiliated SSAT Primary school. The SSAT were an organisation that had expertise oozing through their veins. Through this affiliation, Heathfield were guided into a position to showcase blogging to other schools and the fantastic impact it is having on our pupils.

On Friday 11th February 2011, Heathfield were featured in an article in the Independent. At about 12:10pm the phone started ringing…

BBC Breakfast News were the first to contact us, followed by Channel 4 News at 12:40pm and then BBC Radio 4 at 12:45pm. The chain of events that followed were exciting and also slightly comical!

I had been invited to give a talk to the PGCE students at Manchester Met University so had to dash out of school. During the journey, I spoke to BBC Radio 4 on the phone who REALLY wanted to get an interview for their 10 o’clock news show that night on Friday – So much so, that they put on a car to pick me up from MMU to take me to the studios in Manchester and back to MMU when finished. These things just don’t happen to teachers! However, just as I was being driven into the studios, BBC Radio 4 called me to explain that President Mubarak of Egypt had that minute stepped down and all radio space would be devoted to this story! The driver turned the car around and took me back.

The BBC Breakfast News were still looking to secure a time to do some live filming from school, as a result, my return journey was spent talking to teachers at Heathfield trying to secure parental permission from a selection of pupils giving permission for those pupils to appear live on the BBC on Monday morning! By 6:00pm on Friday night, we were sorted.

BBC Breakfast News were planning to report live from Heathfield at 7:20am and 8:20am and be gone by 8:45am. The only thing left to arrange was the finer details which they told me would be discussed over the phone on Sunday. After an hour’s phone call on Sunday night with the BBC we were both clear as to what the general format would be. I was happy and they were happy!

After not sleeping for more than 10 minutes at a time, I was up at 4:15am to get sorted and into school for 5:20am so that the Satellite truck could get set up.



Graham Satchell (BBC Reporter) arrived and started to speedily run through the format of the live reports with the pupils and myself. This was REALLY interesting to watch and the pupils were fascinated to see and hear what reporters have to do behind the scenes.

At 7:20am, it all started on BBC1! Please watch the video of all the clips below:
Thanks to Simon Haughton for uploading!

The next day saw the local BBC North West team visit for some live filming from 13:30 to record some footage for their evening show at 6:30pm. The BBC Radio 5 Live interview took place on the Thursday and it was amazing to see the pupils speak so eloquently about the impact writing to a global audience was having on their aspiration levels, the quality of what they were writing and their enthusiasm for learning. There’s more to come and if only I could get all the pupils to have their say…we’d persuade the nation that:

Radio 5 Live interview with Mr. Mitchell, Miss Wiggans and Thomas!

BBC North West News Coverage:

I don’t think I have felt as proud of my pupils as I did that week! I was subsequently able to take pupils with me to conferences to present along side me. I now work across the country and beyond support schools along a similar journey and I’m still shocked as to why more schools aren’t using blogging to give real purpose to writing for their pupils. Simon Feasey (Headteacher at Bader Primary School) wrote a guest post here about the work we have been doing together. Take a minute to read it and if you think your school would like to begin a journey, please get in touch by filling out this short contact form.


Cluster Blogging Case Study by Simon Feasey

The Durham Pupil Premium Cluster Blogging Project has been running for 7 months and Headteacher of Bader Primary School (Simon Feasey) tracks progress so far in this informative guest blog post.

Hearing of and then eagerly joining and participating in one of Deputy Mitchell’s blogging cluster projects promised to be just the sort of innovative practice we wanted to share in and develop and embed at Bader. The promise of raising standards in writing, through increased engagement and the expansion of audience the medium offered was in itself a pretty good reason for investing time, energy and resource. Identifying school leads for the project who would make maximise impact was easy. I sensed from the off that engagement in the blogging phenomenon would offer so much more, and that the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts. I was not disappointed. This particular band wagon just keeps on rolling!

All groups – Nursery through to Year 6 – maintain their own blogs. Range of use and content of posts vary beyond description. This might warrant a look. A small sample:

Reception: Videos of children designing, making, baking, planting…

Year 2: Videos of children, post-Reading Recovery intervention, reading during Read Aloud Week – shared with a partner school in Oxfordshire.

Year 3: Tasks set, using Padlet, for children to share independent research in Science, Latin and literacy.

Year 4: Progress with regard to Y4’s progress with ‘50 things to do before you are 11 ¾’, including a video of their snail race Science inquiry.

Year 5: Reports on key ideas learned in Science topics, with further opportunity to extend learning.

Year 6: Pupil input, through comments, on school’s identification of key learner qualities and their definition.

Recent newcomers are the Digital Leaders blog (with an introductory video created by the digital leaders on their role) and Cookery Club (complete with baking activities, recipes + instructions).

A real boom has been the extension of previously delimited professional learning communities. I offer one very good example: our embracing of Visible Learning concepts and principles, and our endeavour to become a Visible Learning accredited school. In keeping a Visible Learning blog, I have 1. maintained a useful record of our particular journey, and 2. sought to share experience and learning that others may be interested in. I know there is an interest because of the positive feedback received. I share and understand the interest shown in tracking our school’s journey because I follow several excellent, informative and inspiring blogs kept by fellow Visible Learning pioneers. Commonly, notification of new posts will be announced via Twitter #VLNetworkUK. 

In January 2015, we disbanded our School Council and replaced it with an elected parliament. The thinking behind that decision was based on our want to have Bader pupils understand democracy, the rule of law and public service by replicating the function of Parliament in London – other than our parliament not being party political. Minutes of weekly meetings, activities, and updates from respective ministers are regularly posted, with the expectation that school community members will express their views, positively or otherwise, but respectfully. The blog being readily accessible to all, offers opportunity for expression of views: democracy and freedom of speech in action.

Pupils at Bader, in all year groups from Y1 to Y6, experience an annual residential visit. Needless to say, mobile phones and such communication devices are not allowed. Recently, our Y5s went skiing for a week and our Y4s went to France for a week. We kept parents updated, virtually hour by hour. A picture taken at the top of the Eiffel Tower, for example, was uploaded to the blog and viewed by parents back home. Parents commented regularly. Comments were relayed to the children and responses posted in return. I really can’t say just how well received this was by parents. As a parent, I fully appreciate that handing your child over to others to look after for any period of time away requires a truly significant placing of trust. On our return, so many parents expressed their gratitude for the efforts made to keep the blog live and regular; saying how reassuring it was to follow their child’s adventure. 

We now plan on redesigning our website in a way that foregrounds this full range of blogs. Our blogs announce, celebrate and define our school as a living and breathing organic learning community.

If you would like to hear more about how DeputyMitchell could support your school or cluster in this way, please do get in touch by leaving a comment or filling in this form to express interest.


Blogging to write, writing to blog by @irockey

One of the pleasures of my role in support schools to change direction with technology as the driving force is the chance to work with schools in completely different circumstances and in different locations. I first worked with Ian Rockey and his school Westwood with Iford Primary School last year. The impact their work has had on standards since then has been a pleasure to witness, I asked Ian to write a guest blog post in the hope that his message would reach far and wide…


Blogging to write… writing to blog

I remember, not so long ago, standing in front of a class of 28 children. Within it was a mixture of reluctant girl and boy writers and at that point we were one term into the academic year. It was a pattern I had seen and experienced many times.

Looking for inspiration to motivate and engage these fantastic children in their writing I took to the web that evening in my usual geeking about, one site leads to another and then all of a sudden it’s midnight, kind of way. Quite by chance I hit upon a site called Quadblogging and next to it, the twitter handle of a chap cunningly disguised in some pink glasses. More on Mr Mitchell later… I realised that the idea of a blog was just what I was looking for and very quickly ( and for free!) I had one up and running and was introducing my class to the skill of post and comment writing and the importance of using correct punctuation! We also had ourselves a place in a quadblog with three other schools, all of whom took turns to comment on each other’s blogs each week. Perhaps most importantly, though, the children were introduced to the concept of writing for an audience. This was probably more influential than anything, as my class now knew that they weren’t just writing for me, but potentially to the world. Very quickly the quality of the writing improved and because we were using a different medium to respond, record and write our ideas, more children seemed to be engaged. By the end of that particular year, 80% of the cohort had achieved a 2b+, 31% a L3+ , with 100% of pupils progressing 5+ APS points, the average being 7.5 points (of course this is all old money assessment, rather than life after levels!). This was all the evidence I needed to know that blogging had a place in the curriculum.

Fast forward a couple of years and I took over as head of a small primary school where the previous year’s KS2 writing results were well below national average. The key focus for the SDP was, of course, writing, but with a twist. Enter the concept of blogging. Taking forward the successes from the classroom I knew that this would impact on standards and with a committed and engaged teaching staff behind me, we embarked on an entirely new journey for the school.

Initially our first school blog was my Head’s blog, offering a window into life at our school and answering the ‘So, what did you do at school today?’ question for parents, who could have a look for themselves. We then quickly developed our two KS2 class blogs, lotus.westwoodblogs.org and orchid.westwoodblogs.org. Children became proficient in writing their own posts and writing comments, both to praise and develop their friend’s work constructively. I felt we were then in a good position to receive some fantastic CPD from David Mitchell, who had initially started me on this journey. After a twilight packed with ideas, tips and strategies for empowering children to write, we were ready to take this forward as a whole school initiative. KS1 classes, thistle.westwoodblogs.org and clover.westwoodblogs.org adopted the class blog approach, perhaps using a picture or a site such as the 5 Sentence Challenge as a prompt for ideas. KS2 classes took a more individual approach, with our blogs soon filling up with writing from both inside and outside of school hours and including cross-curriculum writing from our International Primary Curriculum units of work. Furthermore, through the power of Twitter, and with the help of David Mitchell, I was able to direct other teachers and interested professionals from literally around the world to see the amazing work that our children had produced. With a fast growing audience, the impact was huge. Our reluctant writers were writing 500 word stories of their own, homework was being completed, children were writing and blogging before school and the likes of Pie Corbett, Ros Wilson, Tim Rylands and of course David Mitchell – big hitters in the educational world – were leaving comments for our children, in this small Wiltshire village school. On a more formal note, in the first year’s KS2 writing results after the introduction of blogging, 100% of children achieved a Level 4. Success!

Needless to say that blogging is now embedded at our school. As of today, our blogs have a combined visitor tally of around 15000 in just over a year and by this evening even more posts and comments will have been added. Children are inspired to write independently and the work that they produce is quality work. We are able to balance writing through blogging with traditional writing in books and I believe we have a culture where writing is encouraged, valued and celebrated by all. Watching the children work gives me a huge sense of pride, particularly when I know that in the past the teacher would have been the only person to read the inspiring writing being produced on a daily basis. Thankfully that is no longer the case and our children have a far larger, much deserved, audience for their efforts.

At westwoodblogs.org you will now see that we have 11 blogs and a school community who buy into the value and enjoyment of blogging. We use Web 2.0 tools such as Animoto, Audioboom and Linoit to make our blogs sparkle and with International links around the world, our blogs hit a truly global audience. We would always welcome comments from new readers and will return the favour on your blog. However, our journey is still really just beginning and I am excited to see where it will take us next. From both an educational and leadership perspective, though, I believe blogging has a place in the classroom, allowing all writers to succeed whilst enjoying their learning.

If you are interested in beginning a new journey for your school with the support and guidance needed to make change happen, please get in touch using this form.



Derbyshire ICT Annual Conference 26/3/15 – Open to ALL!

It’s not often that I hear about a Local Authority event that I am speaking at being open to schools outside of that Local Authority but in Derbyshire, they are bucking that trend! On the 26th March 2015, there is an event NOT to be missed. With over 25 workshops to choose from, this event covers just about all aspects of the ICT/Computing and E-Safety which, to most of us, now just comes under the title of Computing! Just check out the detailed flyer:

Derbyshire Computing Conference 26.03.15

I am presenting the first keynote, with the inspirational Ken Corish presenting his keynote in the afternoon. It looks like it will be a real highlight for the year in any CPD calendar. So if you are from a school in Derbyshire, or you can get to Derbyshire on the 26th March, take a closer look at the Booking Form and get yourself to this event!

Hope to see you there!


**NEW** Pupil Premium Cluster Blogging Project

Improving progress in writing and children’s attitudes to learning through Blogging and Web2.0 tools

Answer Ofsted’s questions about impact of your pupil premium spending and show IMPACT!

I am offering a cluster of 6 schools the chance to work closely with me over a 2 year project from Autumn 2015 to Autumn 2017. The project will focus on raising the attainment and progress levels of Pupil Premium pupils whilst providing the same opportunities to all the pupils in your school. Please view the short presentation below to see what is included in the project each year:

Here’s what’s included:

Included in the package the cluster of 6 schools will receive:
  • A full Blogging launch INSET Conference with myself with ALL 6 schools attending on mass
  • TA conference day exclusively for TAs
  • Each school will get a full multi site blogging platform like: www.russellscottblogs.net,  http://claremontblackpool.net or www.lowerplace.net (More examples available) Costs are included in the project
  • Half day admin training for the two nominated project leads from each school on the blogging platform leading to ADMIN status
  • EIGHT additional days per year to include teaching, observing David teach your pupils, 1:1 planning sessions, coaching and further training
  • Triad (Learning 3) coaching set up, monitored and evaluated by myself ensuring continuity between schools
  • Evidence gathering from the beginning, middle and end of the project ensuring that the schools have data to share with stakeholders
  • QuadBlogging set up for each class and co-ordinated by myself exclusively.

If you think your school might be interested in working in this way, please get in touch using the link below:


Since September 2014, 2 year Cluster Projects have begun in
Tower Hamlets
Do get in touch if you would like further information about the possibility of being a part of a cluster near you. There are a limited number of opportunities for 2015-2017 Cluster Projects available.


“David Mitchell has a proven track record of using ICT to raise standards. Inspirational, highly practical and visionary, David is one of the key ICT communicators in Education in this country.”
Pie Corbett – Author and Educational Consultant

“Getting children to blog is like getting overweight children to exercise by holding strictly Come Dancing competitions: an intelligent and overdue harnessing of the pop culture that we can diss all we like but that remains the backbone of most people’s non-working lives. Some stories make me really love the modern world and this is one of them. David MItchell deserves a medal at the very least.”
India Knight – Sunday Times 13th February 2011

“Motivational, inspirational and innovative are words often over used in schools…..but not where David Mitchell is concerned! On a whole school, class and 1:1 bespoke professional development basis, David has been the catalyst and inspiration in embracing and embedding a technological rich curriculum into our school. From Coveritlive and Skype sessions engaging audiences around the country to the power of the world wide audience through blogging and social media; the engagement and motivation of the children has been awe inspiring. David has lit the blue touch paper!”
Steve Marsland: NLE, Head Teacher of Russell Scott Primary

“The changes to the ICT curriculum,matched by the advances in technology for teaching and learning and the digital expectations of each new intake of pupils mean schools need to be constantly evaluating and reflecting on their professional practice. From my experience of teaching and learning teachers learn best from other teachers who have been innovative and taken risks with pedagogy and technology and there is no better example of that than David Mitchell. His experience at Heathfield Primary School of raising standards and his worldwide reputation for his “quadblogging” initiative mean he is the perfect person to stimulate,inspire and challenge your teachers to reflect on their own use of technology to enhance learning.”
Bob Harrison Chair of DfE ICT Experts group and Chair of Teaching Schools Technology Advisory Board.

“David Mitchell is one of the true trailblazers of learning technology. His work on quadblogging is inspirational and has transformed the way schools are now using social media to promote engaged learning.”
Steve Wheeler – Associate Professor of Learning Technology, Plymouth University

Click here to read more recommendations.

Here is the latest Conference feedback from Exeter. I ran a full day for 40 schools, please see the feedback below:



Blogging in the news!

Today has been an exciting day indeed. As part of my freelance work, I have been working as a Consultant at Leamore Primary School in Walsall in the West Midlands. Today was day 6 of 7 days over a 4 week period that I have been asked to work with the innovative Leamore. Since starting about 4 weeks ago, I have worked predominantly with Year 5 and their excellent teacher Gary Ellison. We’ve worked on using Coveritlive, Voicethread and the use of images, with a heavy emphasis on impacting standards in writing. However, other opportunities have presented themselves to work with staff in EYFS, Year 3, with Teaching Assistants and two NQTs that are new to the school. One of the highlights for not only the pupils but Gary and I too was the Coveritlive session with the one and only Pie Corbett. Please click here to see it.

The school and I were thrilled when the BBC West Midlands got in touch to feature the work we had been doing on their Midlands Today programme today (11th July 2013).

Below are the two clips that I’d like to thank Simon Haughton for capturing. I’d also like to add at this point that Leamore have been doing some amazing blogging before I arrived, especially with their work in EYFS and blogs as Learning Journals. My brief was to develop blogging to more advanced level, both pupils and the staff have been so receptive to new learning. This consultancy project has been an amazing experience! Thank you to Michelle Hill (Acting Headteacher) for seeing the potential of what we could do together at Leamore Primary.

The clip from Midlands Today at 6:30pm

The clip from Midlands Today at 12:30pm