Mitch Hudson (Grammarsaurus): Saving Teachers from Grammar in the 2014 Curriculum and becoming a School Leader

The Teachers' Podcast

18-07-2019 • 1 hora 15 min

In our first ‘live’ Teachers’ Podcast episode, Claire meets with Mitch Hudson, Assistant Headteacher, Head of English, and founder of ‘Grammarsaurus’, an online resource-bank offering a wide range of learning materials for teachers and schools.

Mitch talks about how early in his career, he was able to utilise his grammatical skills and knowledge at a time of increased government focus on this aspect of English. Mitch shares his reflections on how his expertise came to be in demand and how this helped him rise swiftly through leadership roles along with supporting other schools, teachers and delivering professional development courses.   Throughout his career, Mitch has visited a wide range of schools and has shared his skills and knowledge at numerous training events. He has met, worked alongside and coached many teachers and leaders, and this has given him some unique perspectives into the similarities between the lives and working conditions of teachers which he talks about with Claire.   Mitch also discusses his thoughts on the future, his aspirations, where he feels education needs to go next, and how the life of Britney Spears can be an inspiration for all of us.


  • To get the best from their children; schools must look after the staff.
    While children are rightly, at the heart of everything teachers and schools do, the only way to get the best from children is to have staff who are working at their best. Demoralised and run-down staff will rarely be able to effectively motivate and enthuse children, and this can be reflected in outcomes.
  • You can learn from anyone.
    No matter where you are in your career, you can always learn something new from everyone you work with. Along with this, however much you might wish to, you won’t always get on with everybody you meet. An important lesson, though, especially those looking to take on a leadership role, is that people who seem to regularly disagree with you can usually be very useful. It can prompt deeper consideration of whatever courses of action you might want to take, and it can help to confirm that you are absolutely on the right-track.
  • Any child can achieve.
    High expectations of all children – in particular SEN pupils – should be ‘the norm’. Labels can be unhelpful in terms of how pupils are viewed. SEN, as a label (along with ‘ability grouping’ pupils) can sometimes be seen as meaning ‘they can’t do it’ and should then be given easier work. Done well, scaffolding work, with the same expectations as the rest of the class, can quickly boost progress.
  • Focus on the important things.
    The freedoms schools now have to design their own curricula can be a huge opportunity. Teachers should not be afraid to focus in on the key knowledge and understanding that their pupils need, and drop the elements that aren’t going to usefully serve their children.
  • There is still work to be done to link primary and secondary curriculum.
    While there are positives with the new curriculum, more consistency in approaches – particularly between primary and secondary schools – is needed. Many pupils can find that methods and approaches between schools (or even between year-groups in the same school) can be quite different and confusing for children. This can set pupils up to struggle unnecessarily. The most effective practice sees schools who are closely linked work together to agree on how pupils will be taught, and then these approaches are broken down further within schools between separate year-groups.
  • Repetition and revisiting key facts can really boost retention of key facts and knowledge.
    Some of the more complicated concepts and pieces of information, which can sometimes also end up being taught incidentally as ‘one offs’, can be easily forgotten by pupils if not repeated and regularly revisited. It can also really help pupils to retain facts if they are taught in unusual or ‘different’ ways, such as through songs.

“I just remember the writing moderation and everything we had to do that year. It was so strict. It was vile. That year, 2016, when I had to go into schools and say, ‘well sorry, you haven't got enough colons, they're below average.’ It was absolutely... it was vile. It made people cry. People really, really got down on that. And the fact that they've changed it just shows, again, the lack of preparation…”
“I love getting someone to see their worth. Maybe when they think it's gone. And I've seen that in so many teachers that I've worked with.”
“It's all about the kids. But the kids, in a way, you can't get to them if the staff are so undervalued and demoralised. And I think that with a lot of places I've gone to, it's just about hearing them, literally hearing them; not listening to them, hearing them and just making them believe that they've actually got that 'something' inside them that makes them be the best teacher possible.”
“There have been obstacles along the way, but I'm happy for them because it's about climbing that mountain. And if you had an easy cable-car to the top, you'd miss out on all of the bumps and rocks… It makes you who you are and it makes other people you've worked with who they are as well.”
“I don't think many people have had a lesson observation where they use Celine Dion… I remember the Headteacher saying, "Well, I've never seen Celine Dion used to this day. But that was very good lesson. Well done.”
“She is to me the epitome of a success story. Rising from the ashes to go from being a success, to what happened to her, to come back again… I think that's a message that should be shared with everyone.”
“I understand both sides of the coin because Headteachers are under immense pressure to, you know, get results. To get where they're meant to get. But I think if you get too bogged down in that, you forget about actually why you're really there. And what matters more than anything is that the teachers come to work and be like, 'Do you know what? I love coming to work here because I feel like I can speak to people. I feel like I'm given the time.”

Grammarsaurus YouTube:
Times Table Rock Stars:
The Spelling League:
The Ambition Institute:
The Teachers’ Podcast:
Classroom Secrets Facebook:
Classroom Secrets website:
LIFE/work balance campaign:

Claire Riley

Claire, alongside her husband Ed, is one of the directors of Classroom Secrets, a company she founded in 2013 and which provides outstanding differentiated resources for teachers, schools, parents and tutors worldwide.   Having worked for a number of years as a teacher in both Primary and Secondary education, and experiencing first-hand the difficulties teachers were facing finding appropriate high-quality resources for their lessons, Claire created Classroom Secrets with the aim of helping reduce the workload for all school staff.

Claire is a passionate believer in a LIFE/work balance for those who work in education citing the high percentage of teachers who leave or plan to leave their jobs each year. Since February 2019, Classroom Secrets has been running their LIFE/work balance campaign to highlight this concerning trend.

The Teachers’ Podcast is a series of interviews where Claire meets with a wide range of guests involved in the field of education. These podcasts provide exciting discussions and different perspectives and thoughts on a variety of themes which are both engaging and informative for anyone involved in education.

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