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#threequestionsEDU with Catherine Owen @GeogMum

By August 29, 2017No Comments

Thanks to everyone who has checked out the responses to the #threequestionsEDU series so far. I always enjoy reading the writing and thoughts of other teachers and I hope you find the responses interesting. Please respond in the comments and share what you think. If you’d like to respond to the questions, please read this post first. Kicking off the third #threequestionsEDU response is Catherine Owen.


Catherine Owen

Twitter handle:


A bit about yourself:

Head of Geography, Geographical Association activist, author and Mum.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing education right now?


I teach in a fairly large, inclusive secondary school and am concerned about how well some of my students are being served by the education system. Exam reforms aiming for more rigour and providing extra grades at the top could leave those at the bottom floundering. Schools are trying to support these students, but funding cuts and changes to SEND provision are making this more challenging. Add the impact of austerity policies outside of school and some students really have an uphill struggle.

What’s your favourite teaching and learning idea/technique/strategy/tool?


As a geographer I make frequent use of enquiry learning. This doesn’t mean I leave my students to their own devices to learn, rather I teach them about a new concept or process, then support them in using their new knowledge in exploring an issue, putting the theory into practice and into the context of the real world. This gives them the opportunity to firstly benefit from my expert instruction, then to consolidate the learning by applying it.

If you were appointed Minister of Education in your country, what would be the first thing you’d change and why?


I would bring back old-style AS levels. These gave students the opportunity to prove what they could do, even if they didn’t have great GCSE results. They made year 12 a focused and worthwhile year and reduced the pressure on students at the end of year 13. I really don’t understand why they needed to be changed.



My thanks to Catherine for taking the time to respond to the questions. I hope you find it of interest and look forward to reading your comments!

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist. Click here to learn more.

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