Mr. Mitchell's Blog

February 14, 2011

The day the nation took notice of Primary Blogging!

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 10:13 pm
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Firstly, I must apologise for the rushed nature if this post! It’s Valentine’s Day and there’s only so long I can pretend to be sitting on the toilet!

Today was a very important day for so many reasons!

To think that just over 14 months ago, Heathfield didn’t have any blogs is virtually unbelievable. Those of you reading this will no doubt know the story so far so I won’t bore you with the details, however, the developments over the last few days have been monumental!

Not long ago, Heathfield Primary became an affiliated SSAT Primary school – Something EVERY school should consider doing! The SSAT are an organisation that have expertise oozing through their veins. Through this affiliation, Heathfield were able to support and guide Heathfield into a position to showcase blogging and the fantastic impact it is having on our school community.

On Friday 11th February, 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 the President Mubarak 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 Miss Wiggans and Miss holland trying to secure permission from a selection of pupils giving permission for those pupils to appear live on the BBC! By 6:00pm on Friday night, we were sorted:

BBC Breakfast News would 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 5:15am to get sorted and into school for 6:20am so that the Satellite truck could get set up. I was very lucky to have Miss Holland in school who beat me in and had unlocked the school 5 minutes before I arrive (Thank you Lou!)



Within a few minutes, Graham Satchell (BBC Reporter) arrived and started to 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. As I write this post, my mind is racing as to how this could be used in the classroom for a writing opportunity!

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

Tomorrow sees the local BBC North West team visit for some live filming from 13:30 and record some footage for their evening show at 6:30pm. Channel 4 sent me a lovely text message saying that they ahve had to cancel but the WILL be back to film us soon. the Radio 4 interview is still in the pipeline so please stay tuned! There’s more to come and if only I could get all the pupils to have their say…we’d persuade the nation that:

A real, relevant, engaging, exciting tool like blogging can be used to change learning FOREVER for our young learners!

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

BBC North West News Coverage:


  1.   ebd35 — February 23, 2011 @ 10:07 am    Reply

    David, what fabulous work you have done and what an inspiration both you and your children are!!

  2.   David Jessop — February 19, 2011 @ 9:06 pm    Reply

    ‘Deputy David’

    A fabulous move forward in the constant battle that is childrens writing!!! I am fighting a similar battle(ongoing)and found success (for my school) in drama – very motivational. I’m really keen to give blogging a go…intigued and excited!!! Congratulations on your success and subsequent media attention.

    Another ‘Deputy David’

  3.   Pie Corbett — February 19, 2011 @ 6:08 pm    Reply

    If we are to genuinely raise standards across the country then the computer has to be a major part of the school’s reading and writing culture. In a funny way, the SATs are testing something that is out of date and beginning to become the equivalent of of writing on a slate…..

    The blogging is providing a great motivation for reading and writing – plenty of practice and enthusiasm…. without which no matter how many targets are set, success criteria or APP judgements they will have no real effect….. David’s class see themselves as writers.

    If this is enhanced by teaching them writerly techniques so that they develop a style then most children will become writers almost without realising it is happening.

  4.   Tony Parkin — February 19, 2011 @ 11:09 am    Reply

    Dave, Dianne and all friends at Heathfields… it is wonderful to see more and more people being able to share some of the enthusiasm and excitement we experienced when we visited you last year during SSAT’s Toshiba ICT Learning Redesign Awards.
    We knew that something special was happening up there in Bolton – and it is lovely to know that the rest of the world is getting a chance to see and understand the work you are all doing. I sometimes feel like a football fan whose favourite team has got to the top of the league when I see your faces pop up on TV… with of course Dave always playing the part of The Special One! :) Wonderful and well-deserved success…

  5.   Craig Jones — February 19, 2011 @ 10:42 am    Reply

    I’ve drawn a great deal from your drive and passion for education. For me it’s not just about blogging, it’s about the energy, ideas and willing you bring to your school and the wider e-community. In November, two colleagues of mine (Tom Rees in Little Harrowden & Peter OBriend in Forest Field, Notts) prompted me to get ‘on’ twitter. The first person they both stated I should follow was ‘deputymitchell’. Since then I and nor my class have never looked back. Our class blog has been successful because I’ve managed to magpie ideas the online environment you are leading. The posts you make stir the ideas of thousands and the ripple effect is as we can see above – immense. Keep up the good work.
    Regards Craig Jones – mistercmj

  6.   Martyn Dews — February 18, 2011 @ 10:55 am    Reply

    A great summary David and well done to all concerned. Leading the way. It’s been great to watch this unfold ever since we made the connection through Twitter, I think that was since the BectaX thing.

    It’s great to see education and technology being used so well together. Exploiting the tech to enhance the education.

    You should feel very proud. Well done. Looking forward to what’s next!

  7.   Sophie Bessemer — February 16, 2011 @ 4:33 pm    Reply

    What an achievement. I’ve no doubt that the work that you and your children have done over the past few days will have inspired hundreds more UK schools to get blogging. Great stuff. You must all be so proud.

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:15 pm    Reply

      Thanks Sophie! It would be great to think that we have! Just one school being converted would be a GREAT result!

  8.   robynevansSSAT — February 16, 2011 @ 4:32 pm    Reply

    Congratulations to you and the students, you know we’re all fans of your work and we’re pleased as punch that it’s galvanised the interest of the press.

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:16 pm    Reply

      It’s really great to know that there is support out there, especially from great organisations like the SSAT! I’m a big fan of you guys too! ;-)

  9.   Michael Shepherd — February 16, 2011 @ 11:58 am    Reply

    What an adventure these last few days have been! Great to see you and the children sharing such a positive story about education in a time when such good news isn’t being publicly shared enough. You have shown how tchnology can be used in an exciting and informative way while also raising standards – something the government need to look at and learn from. Well done David, to you and all at Heathfield

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:19 pm    Reply

      Although it was great to have such publicity, it has been stressful too! Dianne’s been great and very relaxed! It’s just really pleassong to be playing a part in things in this way. Long may the success of tech in schools be highlighted in this turbulent time! Thanks for your support Mike! Always good to know you’re a tweet/call/email away!

  10.   Chris Ratcliffe — February 15, 2011 @ 9:23 pm    Reply

    Well done David! It was fantastic seeing you on Breakfast news yesterday, and to get into my car and hear your voice talking about the amazing work your school do was really cool. I’m delighted that all the hard work is paying off, hopefully more and more people will take up blogging as a result!

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:20 pm    Reply

      Thanks Chris! What a few days it has been, the pupils have just taken it in their stride too!! Just hope that the people in charge are watching and reading!

  11.   Stephen Heppell — February 15, 2011 @ 7:37 pm    Reply

    Great post, good work, fun narrative
    Thanks, S

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:22 pm    Reply

      Thanks Stephen! You won’t know this but I was sat in the crowd when you addressed Bolton ICT Conference in June 2009, I joined Twitter that day! The rest as they say…

  12.   Rachael Wales — February 15, 2011 @ 2:21 pm    Reply

    I read the article about your school and its blogs in the Independent and am MASSIVELY jumping on the bandwagon! I am a secondary English teacher with some students who just will not write and I’d love to get them on board with something like this. I’ve looked into a couple of option for hosting – we have Moodle but I just can’t find a way to get it to do what I’m after!

    I was wondering if it’s possible for you to let me know what software or program you use for the students’ blogs? I’m really keen to get something up and running but keep running into obstacles!

    Thanks in advance,
    Rachael, a keen blogger herself!

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:24 pm    Reply

      Hi Rachel, I’m glad to hear you might be looking at blogging! We used John Sutton’s fir our blogging solution for school, very cheap, includes training and John is keen, eager and always willing to help! He’s called @HGJohn on Twitter!!

  13.   Diane Davies — February 15, 2011 @ 11:09 am    Reply

    Well done on you blogging success (success?? its been an explosion!). You have done so much for the children of Heathfield you are an inspiration. As a parent of a ‘Heathfield kid’, I have to say a big THANK YOU! You’ve managed to get them not just ‘doing’ homework but ‘wanting’ to work and being gripped by every topic presented to them – both at school and at home, the change I’ve seen in my own son has been incredible and I know other parents have seen the same.

    Keep up the good work! There’s a link to an article about Heathfield on the BBC news website…

    Thomas’s Mum

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 15, 2011 @ 11:11 am    Reply

      What a great comment! Thank you so much!!

  14.   Vicki McCormick — February 14, 2011 @ 11:08 pm    Reply

    What a whirlwind you’re in! I’m so excited for you and the children. Can just imagine the forward planning following today. Must now adjust my action plan for ICT.

    •   Mr Mitchell — February 16, 2011 @ 11:27 pm    Reply

      Thank you for your comment! Are you Mrs Hall ;-) The children have loved every minute of blogging and this latest attention from the media!!

  15.   Claire Lotriet — February 14, 2011 @ 10:31 pm    Reply

    Great post, great day, great blogging! So thrilled your work is getting the credit you all deserve and also excited for ALL schools that blogging is getting such great coverage. You helped us all out today I think!

  16.   Jodie — February 14, 2011 @ 10:27 pm    Reply

    What an inspiration – our bloggers have been following your pupils’ excellent example and week two of their blogs are being editted as I speak!
    Congratualtions Heathfield you are inspiring teachers and pupils all over the world!

  17.   Mr. Mayoh — February 14, 2011 @ 10:27 pm    Reply

    I don’t really know what to say. I’ve known for a good while now that blogging is a great tool to massively enhance levels of pupil engagement in learning, and much of this is down to the work that’s been done by you at Heathfield. It makes me genuinely proud to know David and to be part of your ongoing learning journey. Thanks all. Keep it up (as if you wouldn’t!!)

  18.   John McLear — February 14, 2011 @ 10:24 pm    Reply

    Great work mate, so proud of you and everyone at Primary Blogger is super happy with the exposure you got!! Brilliant.. Just brilliant!


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