Welcome to the website for ‘Searching for Excellence Ltd”, the home of Bob Cox, the author of the ‘Opening Doors’ series.
Latest News from Bob
We are well aware of the pressures on schools and families during this coronavirus crisis. Stay safe and keep well. It’s an unprecedented time. You are doing an incredible job.
#Supporting Remote Learning and Home Educators#
We’ve been thinking about how to support both schools and parents and also provide additional resources for regular ‘Opening Doors’ users.
We are working on free online resources which will be independent in themselves but which will complement units in the ‘Opening Doors’ series!
The first one is inspired by unit 10 in ‘Opening Doors to a Richer English Curriculum’ called ‘The Green Door’, a short story by H.G. Wells. Please take a look and listen to the suggestions as you work through the slides. There is an introduction to ‘Opening Doors’ at the start if you need it. Enjoy!
We would like to thank Carl McCarthy and ‘The Reading School’ for hosting our work. Do scan the rest of his site for lots of fascinating ideas! Carl is on @moreteachertalk and at http://www.moreteachertalk.com
We are thrilled that the two new books are now published and you can follow the amazon link above within the box in the picture to read reviews under the product guide by Teresa Cremin, Mary Myatt and many more!
Links to purchase on amazon:
‘From Han-Shan to Hardy, From Gaimon to Gray, this resource provides a cornucopia of poems and prose as the starting point for truly opening pupils’ minds, deepening their knowledge of sophisticated writing and creating conditions for them to produce substantive, authentic writing of their own.’ Mary Myatt, author of High Challenge, Low Threat, Hopeful Schools and Curriculum: Gallimaufry to Coherence
We are thrilled that the foreword to the books is by Pie Corbett! Thanks Pie!
We hope the two new books will support your drive for challenging English for all pupils, pitched high but accessed by all.
This podcast will help you learn more about the thinking behind ‘Opening Doors’:
Thanks again to Carl McCarthy @moreteachertalk who is Executive Head at Frogmore Junior, Wheatfield and Windmill schools.
Also new is this brief video which will help you understand the distinctiveness of the new books ‘Opening Doors to a Richer English Curriculum’
‘Opening Doors to a Richer English Curriculum’ for both ages 6-9 and 10-13 will have more on concepts, continuity and curriculum with a huge range of links past to present across the 15 units in each book. Thanks once again to my daughter Vicky for the illustrations and see
for more on my co-authors Leah Crawford and Verity Jones! Thanks for the inspiration!
Book Launches and Presentations
It’s been very exciting starting to speak at conferences and with schools using the fresh materials and ideas on concepts, depth and creativity. Some of the events in autumn 2019 and 2020 have included:
Reading Rocks South
St Matthews Birmingham and Herts for Learning book launches
The Oxford Reading Spree
The Ryefield Schools cluster in Uxbridge
Hampshire schools, including a major conference at Crofton Hammond Infants.
Mottingham Primary School
Coastlands School, Wales
The Write Time Project, York
SSIF/DFE project in Stoke
Thanks to everyone for inviting me and the opening doors team!
Would your school like to become an ‘Opening Doors’ hub or Learning Centre?
This involves advertising around your area for an ongoing course which facilitates classroom impact via one half-day session per term. It can be tailored to need. Please contact me if you are interested.
Future confirmed bookings include London (via Osiris), Birmingham, Stoke, Surbiton, Bracknell, Hampshire, Devon ( via Babcock International) etc. I shall also be presenting at an international conference in Paris!
A number of these are key-notes on the need for access to richer English for all pupils! Do let me know if you would like me to speak at your conference!
This year, I received many comments from moderators, verbally and in messages, about the impact of the opening doors strategies. It was very gratifying as so many teachers say to me that they learn in their classrooms every day after designing a challenging curriculum. See A Daily Diet of CPD! January 2019
Here is an example from a local authority moderator, Emily Weaver, on the impact of ‘Opening Doors’:
Just dropping you a quick line to say I have just undergone key stage 2 writing moderation as a moderator this year and what an absolute difference following your books and the opening doors approach to writing has had for end of key stage outcomes.
They stood out hugely compared to other approaches and strategies by an absolute mile.
Where people were using heritage texts as drivers for writing, the work, especially at the greater depth standard was superb.
Please check my twitter handle @BobCox_SFE as so many organisations are kind enough to post appreciation and pupils’ work.
2019/20 travels included many areas of the UK. See A Richer English Curriculum. Apart from key-notes, for example at the National Association for the Teaching of English ‘Primary Matters’ Conference and the Brighter Futures English Conference in Reading, we also supported schools, LA’s or MATs in ongoing ways. We have enjoyed working with Cheshire teachers from 2017-2019 via the Aspirer Research School and we are returning for a third time in 2019/20 such has been the impact. Here is a selection of comments:
“One of the best courses I’ve been on.”
“How to make challenging texts accessible to all children.”
“A shift in thinking regarding the English curriculum – using key concepts to ensure a clear, sequential progression. Pupils will have a thirst for tackling more complex texts, drawing on a wider vocabulary to write in a sophisticated way.”
“All children have accessed and so improved in both their understanding of texts and constructing high quality responses to questions and writing tasks. Thank you Bob, you’ve inspired both me and my class.”
Searching for Excellence Support
Bob can support your school or speak at your conference on:
‘Opening Doors to a Richer English Curriculum’. This will be relevant to key stages 1,2 or 3.
‘Pitching High’. This will support strategies for ensuring the inclusion of all learners in a high quality curriculum
Ongoing in-house support tailored to need.
‘Searching for Excellence’ offers experienced, professional support for the development of learning in schools. Since becoming a freelance educational consultant in 2007, Bob has worked with a range of schools cross-phase and has delivered inset at national, international and county conferences, often in a leading capacity. He has now supported over 500 schools in their “search for excellence”.
2018/19 briefs included key notes in national conferences, for Hampshire and Leeds LA and across many clusters: Oldham, Macclesfield, York, the Isle of Man, The Isle of Wight, Kent and many, many more. Bob also worked with parents, teachers and pupils in Singapore!
If you are interested in support for a richer, deeper English curriculum and want advice on how it can be achieved with the resources to back it up, do contact Bob on firstname.lastname@example.org
Award Winning Author: ‘The Educational Resources Award’:
“All Bob’s books should be in every school and used.” 16th April 2017
Pie Corbett – teacher, author, storyteller and developer of Talk4Writing
On March 17th, 2017, Bob became an award winning author!
Bob’s ‘Opening Doors to Quality Writing’ books have won an award in the ‘educational book’ category at The Educational Resources Awards! Here is
what the judges said:
“Described as two gems which provide innovative approaches to exploring quality texts as stimuli for children’s writing. Judges described ‘The Opening Doors to Quality Writing’ series is an invaluable resource, particularly for non-specialist teachers. Excellent literary choices contained within very attractively produced books.”
Bob accepted the award ‘for all the amazing teachers opening doors for their pupils to language, literature and life chances’.
“Teachers that have used the books report enhanced confidence, a broader range of teaching strategies and a greater sense of enjoyment and achievement.”
Martin Galway, Teaching and Learning Adviser (English), Herts for Learning Ltd
“Bob was a pleasure to work with and his professional, thoughtful approach was very popular with our delegates. His enthusiasm and love of classic texts was palpable and immediately engaging; many of our schools here in Leeds have now adopted his approach to ensure that this material is part of their reading and writing curricula.” Steve Dawson, Leeds LA, key-note 2018
Reactions to the award include:
“Congratulations to Bob Cox, ERA award winner, for such a fine series of books on teaching writing. Essential resources for raising our game.”
18th March 2017
“Well deserved Bob! I attended your training last year and this has had a huge impact on the expectations we have of our pupils and the quality and complexity of the texts we are using. Rarely have I been on training that has had such an impact on my practice – having done the job for nearly 20 years and been a consultant for part of that time.”
Samantha Collier, Vice Principal, Hillcrest Academy For Gorse Academies Trust
There are now thousands of schools using Bob’s ‘going deeper’ strategies! Bob and his team would like to work with you on an exciting journey using all kinds of quality reading – picture books, children’s fiction and literary classics – to stimulate quality writing. We want to help spread the use of quality texts, poetry and literature in primary schools and across the transition phase to KS3!