“There will never be a just social order until philosophers are kings, or kings become philosophers.”

Said Plato.

So how does one become a philosopher?  By having ones soul drawn ‘from the changing, to the real.’

So what curriculum is best suited to draw ones soul from the changing, to the real?  ‘Why, it’s mathematics.’


By studying mathematics, Plato believed we could become philosophers, ‘thinkers’

I entered teaching through the Teach First programme, in 2011.  Here are some facts:

Here’s what I believe:

  • Achieving a C grade on the current exam papers requires very little mathematical ability or understanding
  • Almost 100% of the population are intellectually capable of achieving an A* on the current papers, if the correct systems, curriculum and pedagogy are in place

I know there are already people who’ve figured out how to run the most effective schools in the toughest circumstances, though given that, I don’t yet understand why all our schools are not equally effective.

I know that others have figured out how to design the most effective curricula, though I’ve yet to see their ideas applied to mathematics.

I know that others have figured out the best ways of instructing students, yet I see a persistent ideological battle being fought at this level.


Can we do better?

At least, I want to see a future where almost every child entering our schools leaves them capable of achieving what today we consider to be an ‘A*’ in mathematics.

Ideally, I want to see them capable of more.

5 Responses to About

  1. And be literate – it’s not difficult if powers that be understand there’s a Code and some children will take more time, more practice – but ‘labelling’ seems de rigour – lots of money in this. Literatate and numerate….too many vested interests pulling the other way or ignoring 20% of children.

  2. Hi there,

    I work for the Edge Foundation and have a press release that might be of interest to you with regards to the VQ Day Awards 2014 and their new Teacher Award.

    Drop me and email and I’ll send it over to you!




  3. A Paul Kehoe says:

    Hi Kris,

    I started reading Explicit & Direct Instruction in preparation for training with TeachFirst in September and had a question regarding your chapter about Project Follow Through and evidence for/against inquiry-based learning.

    The evidence of DI is obviously somewhat conclusive, however, it also suggests there is a “sweet spot” that combines teacher-directed instruction in most to all classes with inquiry-based learning in some, and that this achieves better results than solely teaching via a DI approach.

    My impression is that inquiry-based work might be best once student mastery has been achieved but it seems to be brushed over and curious whether you think there is a place for the inquiry-based approach in the classroom and when it works best?


    • Kris Boulton says:

      Hey Paul.

      In short, yes, I do think it has a role to play.

      It feels ‘brushed over’ because the prevailing sentiment always seems to favour it, we need to do a lot yet to educate people about *effective* DI principles, and I’m betting that’s where the 80:20 gains lie.

      I think if you go in trying to absolutely nail DI practices, you’ll probably get a lot closer to your goals than if you try to ‘balance’ the two (though you can learn a lot from trying stuff out and seeing what it looks like when it fails.)

      I’m a little into Unit 1 Session 2 of this:


      Which explicitly argues it’s *not* trying to be a’balance’ of two approaches. Everything I’ve seen so far is excellent imo, though as I say I haven’t been through it all yet. It might be worth a look if you’re preparing for September though?

      Let me know if you’d like to discuss more.

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