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In January I was kindly asked to provide a short review for Harry Fletcher-Wood‘s Ticked Off, published by Crown House. I present the review in all its glory below.

Anyone familiar with Harry’s writing will know very well how thorough, thoughtful and subtly profound he is. He takes the ordinary and makes us look at it sideways, upside-down and inside-out. Harry challenges us to revisit the everyday to ensure that our bread and butter is the best it can be. 

Harry’s admiration for Atul Gawande has led him to create a book about teaching and learning, and what a treasure trove it is. In Ticked Off, Harry approaches the oft ignored parts of our day with precision and vigour to try to help us be incrementally better through effective planning and use of the simple checklist: how can students best know if they’re ready for exams, or if their essays are excellent? How might teachers help their students master vocabulary, or ensure that that poor lesson never repeats itself? What about being ready for trips, observations and giving feedback? 

At each point Harry offers not only advice and suggested questions, but how his own experiences have shaped his thinking. Of particular interest to middle leaders might be the sections on managing difficult conversations and making sure that data is used effectively, but Harry also offers his thoughts for the humble NQT, senior leadership team and student-teacher. Harry’s checklists for writing great paragraphs in English are as brilliant and simple as those on drawing graphs in maths. 

This is a book for everyone: student, teacher, middle leader and leader. But it’s also personable, honest, thorough and important. It’s Harry Fletcher-Wood all over, and every school needs a copy. 

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