RECAP Digital Radio
Educational news - RECAP Digital Radio

UK-based educational news with items on school improvement, teaching and learning and education achievement. We provide podcasts on a regular basis to help busy professionals in schools, local authorities and other organisations keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

Effective School Self-Evaluation
November 2006

In this podcast, Dave Jobbings interviews Tony Thornley about the essential features in school self-evaluation. Tony shares a range of illustrative examples to highlight best practice and explores some of the key areas many school leadership teams find the most challenging aspects in reality.

Tony's professional experience and expertise is evident from his thoughtful and analytical approach to school self-evaluation. He skillfully differentiates between the processes of monitoring and evaluation and provides guidance on the features of best practice within schools and the completion of the self-evaluation form (SEF) used to collate and record evidence for Ofsted inspection.

After a most successful career as the head teacher of a secondary school in West Yorkshire, the UK, Tony worked at a senior level as an HMI within Ofsted and then at strategic levels within local authorities. He is now the managing directory of his own company and involved in an extensive range of school improvement activities with primary and secondary schools, local authoriies and national organisations.

An audio podcast in MP3 format.

School improvement at Newhall Park Primary
July 2006

One of a series of podcast discussions about school improvement, Dave Jobbings interviews John Flockton, the headteacher of Newhall Park Primary School, about high quality provision for the children as an extended school.

John took up his headship in September 2000 with children who had been moved from closing schools and with redeployed staff. As a newly formed, all age primary school, John faced a big challenge and began to work with his new staff to build the confidence of the children, parents, carers and his staff as well as raise the profile of the school within the local community.

Areas covered in this interesting podcast include:
  • The context in which extended school activities were started
  • The range of activities provided for children, parents, carers and the local community
  • The positive impact brought by involvement in breakfast club, after school activities and the Day Care Nursery
  • Establishing partnerships with public, private and voluntary community organisations
  • Thoughts on the opportunities and threats of introducing extended schools
The school is a larger than average 3-11 community school, located towards the south-west of the city centre of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. The school serves an area of severe social and economic deprivation At the last Ofsted inspection, the school was described as an effective school "As a result of outstanding leadership by the headteacher and deputy".

An audio podcast in MP3 format.

School improvement: the role of Aspect
March 2006

One of a series of podcast discussions about school improvement, Dave Jobbings interviews John Chowcat, the General Secretary of the Association of Professionals in Education and Children's Trusts (Aspect).

As a professional association, Aspect is pro-active in forging professional networks, influencing national policy to ensure that the views of its members are represented and providing support and professional development through a team professional officers across the UK.

John took up his post in January 2000 and has overseen the change of the association during a period of unprecedented change in education and children's services, arising from the implementation of government initiatives and policies in recent years. John has taken an active part in the development of the association, its sphere of influence and the expansion of professional development.

An audio podcast in MP3 format.

School improvement in the Halifax Excellence Cluster
January 2006

In this podcast, Dave Jobbings interviews Carlton Midgley, the coordinator of the Halifax Excellence Cluster to gain some insight into effective support to secure improvements in a group of 27 schools in the Metropolitan District of Calderdale, West Yorkshire in England.

Carlton Midgley took up his post in January 2004 after a successful period directing the work of the Halifax Learning Zone. Not only has Carlton experience of secondary headship, he has a wide range of expertise in inspection and advisory services at a senior level. He also works as an educational consultant with national organisations, schools and colleges.

In the UK, all of the Excellence Clusters are funded by the Department of Education and Skills. The Halifax Cluster is the largest and started operation in January 2004 and is funded until March 2008. Read an overview of the Halifax Excellence Cluster.

An audio podcast in MP3 format.

OFSTED reports, GCSE maths, SIPs, standards and computers!
January 2006

Work in education and schools in the UK is in full swing now that the New Year is well under way. In this podcast:

An audio podcast in MP3 format.

School improvement: Salt Grammar School
November 2005

In this podcast, Dave Jobbings interviews Sue Mansfield, the headteacher, to gain some insight into the effective school improvement that has taken place at a school where the GCSE results had been fluctuating for a number of years prior to 2002.

Sue Mansfield took up her headship in September 2002. On her arrival, the GCSE results had just dipped to their lowest ever level with only 29% achieving the recognised standard of five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C. Sue took steps to stabilise and improve performance, to build the confidence of staff and parents and to raise the profile of the school within the local community.

Salt Grammar School is an 11-18 non-selective school with over 1400 pupils on roll and more than 200 in the 6th form. This specialist school in maths and computing, is located in Shipley, West Yorkshire, England, the UK.

More details about Salt grammar School:
  • The school's website at
  • The school's OFSTED report, published in January 2005 (a PDF document to download)
  • An overview of the school's performance in the DFES tables

  • An audio podcast in MP3 format.

    The White Paper (Cm6677), SEN consultations, subjects and Teacher Awards
    October 2005

    Half term is over for most schools in the UK and a lot has been happening as usual! In this edition, the DFES have published the much heralded White Paper and have also launched consultation on SEN Support and Outreach Services. The QCA have published a booklet on the future directions for subjects and OfSTED have published the Annual Report from HM Chief Inspector for 2004-05. Finally, nominations for the Teacher Awards for 2006 are now being taken.

    An audio podcast in MP3 format.

    Exclusive interview with a SIP
    September 2005

    This special edition is an interview with David Kershaw, an accredited School Improvement Partner (SIP). the SIP programme is part of the New Relationship with Schools agenda of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

    Since retiring as a very successful head teacher, David has worked in a wide range of secondary school improvement activities for the benefit of the students. He talks about the SIP pilot, shares his experience of assessment and training and outlines the type of work he has undertaken with three pilot schools. Further details about the SIP programme, including links to the key websites, are provided at

    Comments and feedback
    are most welcome via our website.

    An audio podcast in MP3 format.

    Single Inspectorate, OFSTED reports on Early Years and test dates
    August 2005

    It's back to school for teachers in the UK after the long, summer holidays. So to start the new term here are five educational news items to get you started! The first is a DFES e-consultation on creating a single inspectorate; three reports from OFSTED on the Early Years; the proposed merger of the PANDA and PAT information for schools; the test dates for Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and Year 7 progress tests from the QCA and some case studies on using performance data.

    An audio podcast in MP3 format.

    Gender and headship, partnerships and the Music Manifesto
    August 2005

    News items still appear during the summer holidays and August 2005 is no different! In this podcast from RECAP Digital Radio, a report is published by the NCSL on "Gender and headship in the 21 century"; two publications from the LSDA about partnerships that work and business links with education; and, the DFES announce progress with the Music Manifesto after the launch over 12 months ago.

    An audio podcast in MP3 format.

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    Some guidance...

    Whilst all the podcasts listed in this directory are selected in line with our criteria, we do strongly recommend that the contents of all podcasts, podcast feeds and channels are regularly auditioned to ensure that they are suitable and appropriate for the age range of the children and young people.

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