The Renaissance Space Podcast is an opportunity to showcase all that global education has to offer. Each month we’ll be uploading an episode focussing on a trending or hot topic within the education community. We’ll be chatting to guests from all corners of the education sector.
Browse below for our most recent episodes, or view all our episodes here.

How can we ensure that we’re hitting the right level for children?

In his second visit to the pod,  Matt Beighton introduces his new book ‘Write It. Level It. Teach It.’ – now available for pre-order – which you can grab a sneak peak of at here.

Here and in the book, Matt discusses in detail how important your own teacher-created content is, and how to use systems such as the ATOS Analyser to ensure that it is as effective as it can be – saving you time and making your content work harder for you.

Setting our sights on SATs: The journey and how to get there

Assessment is sometimes considered a dirty word, but identifying and defining the needs of children through targeted formative assessment can help prepare them for their SATs journey. In this episode, Margaret chats with Nick Hart and Kelly Buxton about their strategies to achieve tangible results in reading. Nick is the Executive Headteacher of Alwyn Infant School and Courthouse Junior School in Maidenhead. He is also a visiting fellow for Ambition Institute, teaching on NPQH, and one of the organisers of researchED Berkshire. Kelly is a Year 6 and reading lead. Researching and implementing new strategies to achieve great results in reading, in a supportive and flourishing school.

“What can we stop doing?” – How can a Headteacher give his teachers some time back?

Michael Tidd, Headteacher of East Preston Junior School in West Sussex talks about how to balance teacher workload and wellbeing, confident in the knowledge that the teaching and learning meet the needs of his children, teachers, parents and the Trust. Ensuring his teachers feel they are effective with their time and energy while maintaining their ability to deliver a curriculum, which fosters a culture of creativity and fun as well as raising standards, is clearly apparent in his school.

Freckle hits the spot!

Come and listen to the second of three Freckle Podcasts that will begin to illustrate the detail behind this effective and engaging platform!

Freckle provides tailored maths practice for all abilities, balancing fun with learning. Having such a strong real time understanding into the children’s progress and proficiency as well as witnessing them develop a love of maths has become a common and enthusiastic response from teachers across the world.

Joining the Dots with Freckle

Freckle provides tailored maths practice for all abilities, balancing fun with learning. Having such a strong real-time understanding of the children’s progress and proficiency as well as witnessing them develop a love of maths has become a common and enthusiastic response from teachers across the world. Come and listen to the first of three Freckle Podcasts that will begin to illustrate the detail behind this effective and engaging platform.

Freckle in Action: How schools use Freckle for maths practice

The podcast is hosted by James Willats, and explores how Freckle has supported schools’ maths development strategies up and down the country. In this episode, Andrew Ritchie,  Year-6 Teacher at the Linn Primary School and  Richard Kehoe, Maths Coordinator at the St Ronans Primary School, shared  their experience of Renaissance’s new maths practice solution, Freckle. From making maths engaging and fun with customisable avatars to tracking maths mastery with reliable data, this podcast offers a unique opportunity to learn from the teacher’s perspective how Freckle can increase maths proficiency for every pupil.

School Spotlight: NCEA Bishop’s Primary School

Do you wonder how to cultivate a love of reading at school?

NCEA Bishop’s Primary School have been using Accelerated Reader and Star Reading since 2016 to support the school’s reading development strategy.The school have carried out over 28,500 Accelerated Reader quizzes since August 2020 to provide pupils with greater awareness of texts that are suited for their level of ability making reading more accessible to all. According to the DfE attainment statistics from 2019, the school demonstrated an ‘Above Average’ reading progress score. In this podcast we spoke to the Director of Literacy across NCEA Trust Bishop’s Primary School, Jack, to discover how the school have implanted a successful reading development strategy that includes Renaissance solutions.

Freckle School Spotlight – Plumcroft Primary

In the final episode of our School Spotlight series, James speaks to Alicia Whytock, Assistant Head for Key Stage 1 at Plumcroft Primary School.

She says: “Freckle provides reliable data that affirms my teacher instincts and expectations for pupil progress in maths.” In this podcast, she discusses Freckle’s impact on her pupils’ maths motivation and interest. As an Assistant Head, she also describes how Freckle and “Accelerated Reader for Maths” has continued to support pupils at Plumcroft Primary School.

Transforming Whole Class Reading with myON: with Headteacher Chat

The podcast is hosted by Headteacher Chat and explores the value of Whole Class Reading for constructing a reading culture. Renaissance literacy expert, Margaret Allen, speaks with Chelsea Sandbrook, Assistant Headteacher at Manor Leas Junior Academy, about the whole-class reading and the role of myON in the classroom.

How to create a Reading Culture across all Subjects

Michelle Thomas Director of Education will share how the School of Research Science in Dubai has transformed its reading culture. With a predominantly Emiratis intake, the school has established reading as the foundation to the development of the children’s language, vocabulary and mindset.  Engaging teachers from all departments to ensure that the culture of reading was embedded across the curriculum was essential and her insight into that journey is a fascinating story. So whether you are aged 3 or 18 if you attend her school literacy will be at the centre of your learning.

More Than Just Words on a Page – The ATOS Level

Margaret chats with children’s author and ex-teacher, Matt Beighton. They discuss the benefits of using ATOS from Renaissance to level any book. Show More The ATOS leveller provides an accurate level for almost any book allowing the teacher or child to see if the book is at an appropriate level for reading based on the reader’s unique reading ability. Matt also discusses his upcoming book aimed at teachers in the episode called ‘Write it, Level it, Teach it’. The book focuses on saving teacher workload and how to provide ability-appropriate content for every pupil.

More Than Just Words on a Page – Whole Class Reading

To kick off our new series entitled, ‘Reading – More Than Just Words on a Page’, Margaret chats with the Assistant Headteacher of Tor Bridge Primary School in Plymouth. Show More Olivia discusses how a simple change in strategy with reading practice and the right reading resource results in the perfect combination. She explains how this dream combination has resulted in accelerated levels of reading engagement and proficiency.

EdTech Focus – EdTech Overseas

In the final episode of our EdTech Focus series, James speaks to Heather Howard, Assistant Lead of English, Key Stage 3 coordinator & Literacy Coordinator at GEMS Wellington Academy, Dubai. Show More Heather discusses how EdTech solutions at her school help keep students on track and focus on their targets. She discusses the different strategies that her staff can put into action thanks to varied and accurate data of her EdTech solutions.

EdTech Focus – The Assessment Solution

In this week’s episode in our EdTech Focus series, Margaret speaks to Joe Neale, the trust-wide English lead and Karen Bolland, the Assessment & Data Manager for Schoolsworks Academy Trust. Show More Joe discusses how EdTech solutions have enabled teachers in the classroom to acquire a comprehensive outline of each student’s current growth rate with literacy. In contrast, Karen discusses the ease of data management and report distribution across all schools, thanks to their existing EdTech solutions.

Renaissance Space Podcast – Bonus Episode – The international school with a new reading culture

In this one-off bonus episode, James speaks to International School Librarian Kate Ling at Swans International School, Marbella. Show More Kate discusses how the school has created a strong reading culture for English speaking and English second language students. The episode explores the different ways that the school celebrates reading success, including parties and awards, maintaining strong engagement with reading with all students.

EdTech Focus – The Maths Star

In the second episode of our new series, EdTech Focus, Margaret speaks to Teacher and  School Improvement Leader, Catherine Magee. Show More Catherine discusses how EdTech solutions have supported her and her staff to understand pupil development better while saving them valuable time. Catherine looks at using EdTech to support staff in both Reading and Mathematics. In the episode, Catherine discusses the importance of using assessment data appropriately and efficiently in a school environment. Catherine stresses the significance of using EdTech to reduce teacher workload, not add to it! And Catherine recommends the top solutions that do just that.

EdTech Focus – The International School Librarian

In the first episode of our new series, EdTech Focus, James speaks to International School Librarian Jack Morris at Cranleigh School, Abu Dhabi. Show More Jack is the Prep School Librarian and Accelerated Reader Coordinator. Cranleigh School’s Prep School library is available to students from FS1 (nursery) to Year 8, and they use Renaissance products (Star Reading, Accelerated Reader and myON) with Years 3 to 8. Jack has been working with Renaissance products for the past 4 years in two different schools in Abu Dhabi. In the episode, Jack tells James about how much the school relied on EdTech strategies and solutions to ensure students remained engaged with reading during a period of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

World of Reading – World Book Day Special

In our World Book Day special episode of our brand new series, a world of reading, Margaret speaks to school reading leads Rachel Coverdale and Georgina Sheridan. Show MoreThey discuss how they’ve supported children with maintaining reading engagement and monitoring reading development throughout remote-learning.

Covid School Miniseries – The Researcher

The third episode in the Covid School Miniseries. Margaret Allen speaks to researcher Dr Sarah McGeown as they discuss ‘A Guide to Reading Enjoyment’. The guide covers all areas of reading enjoyment for pupils, teachers and parents. Show MoreMagaret and Sarah discuss the challenges of finding motivation for some children to be enthusiastic about reading and what to expect from readers of every ability.

Covid School miniseries – The Teacher

The first episode in the Covid School miniseries – Margaret Allen speaks to Joe Neale, Trust-Wide English Lead at Schoolsworks Academy Trust. Together, they discuss all things assessment, English, teaching in a COVID-19 environment and what can be done to support pupils in the future.

Covid School Miniseries – The Parent and The Assistant Headteacher

The second episode in the Covid School miniseries and our Christmas special – Margaret Allen speaks to parent and Gemma Buchanan and Assistant Headteacher Paula Trahern. Show MoreIn an exclusive roundtable discussion, they give their honest experiences and opinions on how the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 affected their lives. From both the parent and the teacher’s perspective, this unique insight highlights the courage and anxiety from both perspectives during a school year like no other.

Renaissance Space Podcast – World of Reading – The Blogger

The first episode in our brand new series, ‘A World of Reading’. Margaret Allen speaks to teacher, Reading Lead and blogger Kelly Buxton. They discuss what Kelly believes to be core to reading in a school. Her passion, interest, and knowledge are evident in her blog, Are Children Listening.

Renaissance Space Podcast – Covid School Miniseries – The Headteachers

Margaret Allen speaks to headteachers Navroop Mehat and Nick Hart. They discuss how their respective schools have approached the 20/21 academic year with further school part-closures and continuous remote learning. Both guests provide valuable insight into how they have planned and implemented their curriculum before, during and beyond remote-learning circumstances.

Meet the presenters:



Margaret Allen

Bringing with her a wealth of experience and an established educational professional network. As a former teacher, Margaret brings her own knowledge and understanding of how the education sector operates, specifically with EdTech and Primary Schools.




James Willats

With a vast experience of Education Research across the sector, James brings with him a passion for social mobility and education rights for both staff and students alike.