Engaging Every Learner: Identity and the Science Classroom

In this episode we welcome Genevieve Bent, Assistant Principal leading Sixth Form and former Head of Science at the Harris Federation, and Lynda Charlesworth, Head of Science at Camden School for Girls.

Genevieve and Lynda talk to Lamorna Newcombe, Science Publisher at Oxford University Press, about the importance of identity in engaging students in their learning, and the impact of the strategies they are using in the science classroom.

Our speakers take a research-based approach to discussing the influence of science capital, culturally responsive teaching, and diversity and inclusion on learner identity. They also share some exciting ideas for increasing engagement and representation in STEM studies, activities and careers provision.

Every student needs to feel valued in order to succeed and learner identity is one of the key pillars of the Oxford Smart Curriculum Service.

Genevieve Bent
Genevieve Bent


Lynda Charlesworth
Lynda Charlesworth


Lamorna Newcombe
Lamorna Newcombe

Supporting teachers in Wales with reading

Rob Randel In this episode of Oxford Ed Chat, we welcome Andrea Quincey and special guest Rob Randal to discuss how we can support the teaching of reading in Wales.

We look at the current context of reading instruction in Wales and explore the science of reading before going on to discuss Rob’s experiences of using a phonics programme in his school.

We talk about the many aspects involved in teaching children to read including the importance of routine and repetition, and why matched decodable books matter. We also cover the challenges of transition and supporting children at Secondary school.

Andrea Quincey is Director of Primary Literacy at Oxford University Press. She has worked in educational publishing – with a focus on primary literacy – for over 20 years and has contributed to some of the UK’s most popular literacy programmes, most notably the award-winning Project X series. In her current role she manages a market-leading product portfolio that, as well as Project X, includes the globally renowned Oxford Reading Tree and the highly effective Read Write Inc. programmes.

Rob Randel has been a primary teacher in south Wales for 16 years. Having promoted high quality and evidence-informed early reading instruction for several years, he has a wealth of experience in advising school leaders and teachers about the science of reading, and how they can best evaluate their current provision. Since 2021, he has been a committee member of the Reading Reform Foundation and an advisory group member to the International Foundation of Early Reading Instruction. Rob tweets at @robrandel

Find out more about the support available from OUP:

27. Disciplinary literacy in the classroom with Kathrine Mortimore

Kathrine Mortimore

In this episode of our series Word Up with Helen Prince, Helen chats to Kathrine Mortimore about ways to employ disciplinary literacy techniques in your classroom. The EEF have placed disciplinary literacy as their number one strategy for improving literacy in secondary schools. Kathrine and Helen discuss the importance of: showing students what excellence looks like in your subject; the explicit teaching of challenging key ideas and vocabulary; and scaffolding using carefully prepared materials. 

Kathrine Mortimore is currently an Associate Assistant Principal, leading literacy at Torquay Academy. She is particularly interested in tackling social inequalities through education and has been blogging about this topic for many years here.

Her most recent book ‘Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching’ is centred on moving forward those who are furthest behind by improving their literacy skills. This publication follows research she has undertaken into narrowing the attainment gap at the University of Cambridge, and whilst working in the context of Torquay Academy.

Kathrine has also co-authored four of Neil Bowen’s ‘Art of..’ literature study guides and tweets at @kathrine_28

Read more on disciplinary literacy strategies from Kathrine on the Oxford Education Blog 

26. Motivating yourself and your students with Action Jackson

Action Jackson

In this episode of series 2 of Word Up, Helen Prince chats to Jackson Ogunyemi, better known as Action Jackson, about the importance of being able to motivate, equip and empower to unlock young people’s confidence. He shares tips to help teachers motivate themselves and their students, discusses how psychology and physiology are interlinked, and stresses the importance of celebrating ourselves and our achievements.

“The opposite of winning is not losing; the opposite of winning is learning.”

Action Jackson is a motivational speaker, helping teachers motivate their learners to wake up happy and achieve. Known as the UK Ambassador for Happiness, he loves cheesecake, running and inspiring people.

Action tweets at @Actionjackson

Find out more about Awe & Wonder and Identity which form two of the six pillars of the new Oxford Smart Curriculum

25: Talking about race, racism and empowerment with Laura Henry-Allain MBE

Laura Henry-Allain

In this episode of Diversifying Reading with Shareen Wilkinson, Shareen talks to Laura Henry-Allain MBE about the Lit in Colour research and diversifying children’s publishing, why we need to talk to children about race in school and at home, and how to be anti-racist.

Laura Henry-Allain MBE is an award-winning international writer, speaker and consultant. She is the creator of the well-loved CBeebies characters JoJo and Gran Gran as well as the series’ associate producer. She is also executive producer on a few shows that are currently in development. She is the vice-president of the British Association for Early Childhood Education, and is an educational consultant for several well-known brands as well as children’s media, television and publishing.

Laura’s new children’s book, My Skin, Your Skin, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu, explores race and racism, and empowers children to be the best versions of themselves.

Laura is on Twitter @LauraHAllain.

Read more about the Lit in Colour research and find out what we’re doing to support the initiative, including lots of practical tips for your school on our website.

Further reading

24: Diversifying the curriculum with Daniel Fenwick

Daniel Fenwick

In this episode of Diversifying Reading with Shareen Wilkinson, Shareen talks to Deputy Headteacher Daniel Fenwick about his involvement with Penguin and The Runnymede Trust’s Lit in Colour initiative and the steps that his school have taken to teach a wider range of texts.

Daniel Fenwick is the Deputy Head and English Coordinator at St Wilfrid’s Primary School. He has a real passion for English and one of his favourite things to do is to read stories to children of all ages. He’s a father to two young children and loves reading stories to them, particularly before bed.

Read more about the Lit in Colour research and find out what we’re doing to support the initiative on our website, where you can download our free Getting Started Guide to diversifying literature in your school.

Further reading

23. Diversity in children’s books with Darren Chetty

In this first episode of Diversifying Reading with Shareen Wilkinson, Shareen talks to Darren Chetty about his involvement with Penguin and The Runnymede Trust’s Lit in Colour initiative. They talk about why it’s important for all children to have access to a representative range of books, as well as ideas to support parents.

Darren Chetty is a Lecturer at UCL Institute of Education and has taught in London primary schools for twenty years. His research focuses on philosophy for children, multiculturalism and racism. Among his many books, columns and articles, he is the author of ‘You Can’t Say That! Stories Have to be About White People’ an essay in The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla.

Read more about the Lit in Colour research and find out what we’re doing to support the initiative, including lots of practical tips and reading recommendations to share with parents on our website.

Further reading

22. Incorporating Social Justice into the Curriculum with Penny Rabiger

Penny Rabiger

In this episode of series 2 of Word Up, Helen Prince chats to Penny Rabiger about the importance of listening to young people and what we can learn from them about race, identity and social justice. 

Penny Rabiger was a teacher for 10 years and has been working with social enterprises, charities and start-ups in the education sector since 2007. She was one of the founding directors of The Key for School Leaders, Head of Membership at Challenge Partners, and Director of Engagement with the Finnish edtech organisation Lyfta. Penny is a school governor at a north London primary school, Trustee on a south London multi-academy trust board, a member of the Haringey BAME achievement group and a Co-founder and Trustee of the BAMEed Network. Penny is a coach on the Leeds Beckett University Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality’s Anti-Racist Schools Award. 

Penny tweets at @Penny_Ten and you can read her blog here 

Read about Oxford Smart Curriculum and download the Smart Curriculum Direction Paper 

21. Metacognition: strategies inside and outside of the classroom with Nathan Burns

Nathan Burns

In this episode of series 2 of Word Up, Helen Prince chats to Nathan Burns about his specialist subject, metacognition. Nathan explains the importance of embedding metacognition into day-to-day teaching, why modelling and monitoring are key approaches in the classroom, and the value metacognition plays in all areas of life, from poaching an egg to putting up a tent.

Nathan Burns is a teacher of Mathematics, Assistant KS3 Progress and Achievement Leader and More Able and Talented Co-Coordinator at David Nieper Academy in Alfreton. He is a former Metacognitive Implementation Lead, as well as the founder of metacognition.org.uk, which offers metacognitive resources and CPD. Nathan is passionate about teaching and learning, and has researched, written about and delivered CPD on metacognition for several years.

Nathan tweets at @MrMetacognition and you can read his latest blog here. [link to https://educationblog.oup.com/secondary/science/metacognitive-modelling-where-does-it-fit-in-the-classroom]

20. Numicon Big Ideas: supporting secondary transition in maths

Louise Pennington

In this episode of Oxford Ed Chat, we welcome Louise Pennington and Adam Gaskell to chat about supporting secondary transition in maths. Louise and Adam discuss removing barriers to maths learning, the benefits of using manipulatives and the meaning of mastery. 

Louise Pennington is Professional Development lead for Oxford University Press, previous teacher, specialist maths teacher and local authority SEND Team lead working with both primary and secondary schools, students and parents. She is a Numicon Author and vice-chair of the Mathematical Association’s joint primary group. Louise tweets at @pdLouiseP 

Adam Gaskell is Head of Mathematics at a Leicestershire secondary school, NPQML and NCETM Mastery Advocate. Adam tweets at @MrGTeach 

Numicon Big Ideas helps upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 students learn and explore maths while building their confidence.

Find out more about Numicon Big Ideas for KS3 here.

Access resources to support transition to secondary school here