Quick Navigation
Social media
Contact information

Crown Buildings, Bancyfelin, Carmarthen, SA33 5ND,
United Kingdom


.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


+44 (0) 1267 211345


+44 (0) 1267 211882

Jo Payne

Jo Payne is a year leader in Key Stage Two. Although she specialised in primary languages during her teaching degree, she is particularly interested in how technology can enhance pupils’ learning. She writes a blog, MrsPTeach, on which she shares ideas about many subjects within education, including: feedback and marking, whole-class reading and maintaining a healthy work–life balance as a teacher. @MrsPTeach

Connect with Jo


Publications by Jo Payne

Making Every Primary Lesson Count

Takes the principles detailed in the bestselling and award-winning

Author Blog

6 Must-Read Education Books

January 10 2017

The "Keep" Shelf

In preparing to pack for moving house, I have recently had a cull of my education bookshelf.  The criteria for "Keep" was very simply two questions.
1) Have I looked at this book since moving to this house? (4 years ago, the summer after my NQT year)
2) Have I used an idea or the suggestions in this book in my classroom?
This left the "Cull" pile unfortunately filled with books from the University reading lists from my BA(Hons) and my husband's PGCE.

The "Cull" Pile
The educational book market is saturated with texts claiming to make a difference in the classroom and there are far more than just these six on my "Keep" shelf.  However, those mentioned below are the ones I flick through time and again to remind myself of strategies, refresh my thinking and reignite my passion.  Generally, they are not deep, philosophical or theoretical books - they are simply about enhancing teaching in the classroom.  If you are a teacher, particularly in a primary school, I'd highly recommend them all and I've tried to give a bit of information about why in this post.

Click on a title to open in a new window on Amazon.  

After a busy NQT year in a one-form entry school, this book helped to spark something new for my second year of teaching.  Since then, I've referred to this book often, having saved so many sections of it in my Kindle Snippets (a great tool, by the way!).  One of the biggest strategies which I transferred to my classroom was giving learning a real-life purpose as much as possible and moving away from contrived, fake scenarios.  I wrote a little about this on the blog post you can find by clicking here

This book is jam-packed full of ideas which can help teachers work smarter rather than harder.  The "Lazy" in the title isn't about reducing the effectiveness of teachers.  Instead, the ideas in this book are acutely focused on learning and suggests quicker, easier and more efficient ways of reaching the same goal: progress for our pupils.  

Without fail, this is my go-to behaviour guide for the classroom.  Every summer, after perusing my new class list, I turn to this book - certain chapters and sections - to refill my bank of behaviour management strategies.  This is simply a must-read for anyone in the classroom.  

Mindset by Carol Dweck
After hearing about Growth Mindset during my training and again when I started at a new school, I decided to delve deeper and read what the woman who named it actually has to say about it herself.  There are lots of rumours and myths floating around about Growth Mindset but this book contains none of those.  The chapter especially written for teachers is particularly good.  If you're beginning to think about Growth Mindset in your classroom, there are plenty of blogs out there about Growth Mindset (including mine) but I'd recommend you start with Carol Dweck and her words. 

Reading Reconsidered by Doug Lemov, Coleen Driggs and Erica Woolway
After moving away from Guided Reading and towards whole-class lessons (read about that here), this book, along with Nick Hart's blog, has inspired some new strategies for teaching reading.  There are strategies which can be chosen, tweaked and easily slotted into normal practice.  Doug and his team speak a huge amount of sense about text selection and their suggestions link well with Dweck's research into Growth Mindset. 

Making Every Lesson Count by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby
Finally, I must mention this book which has been a real focus for the last year, both for my school team and personally.  Written by two secondary teachers, it helps to bring class teaching away from the fads of recent years and towards simple, plain, great teaching.  Hardly a lesson is planned without me considering the six principles suggested in this book.  Keep an eye out later in 2017 because there are subject specific books coming out following the same principles for secondary teachers as well as a primary version, which a colleague and I have been working on recently.

I'd be really interested to hear about what would be your top edu-related reads.

Read Blog

Perspective #Nurture1617

December 29 2016


Last year, I wrote about how we were moving, literally and metaphorically, from an odd to an even year.  Given the world news from 2016, it couldn't be further from the even, plain-sailing year I was hoping for.  Similarly, my personal year hasn't been the easy, trouble-free year I was expecting as cancer reared it's ugly head in the form of a serious diagnosis in my very small family in January.

Needless to say, that news made this year difficult.  Family has always been important but this year it became highlighted further as we gathered around to provide the best physical and emotional support possible.  Around us, friends and colleagues lent a helping hand and a listening ear when needed, and my husband was wonderful in his support.

Many of the actions I had put in place to improve my mental health came further into play as I tried to cope with helping during the unfolding diagnosis, treatment and care.  Running the Race for Life to raise money for appropriate research gave me a positive focus, as well as getting me out and about pounding the pavements to keep fit; again supported by amazing colleagues and friends. The treatment went as expected and, thanks to a brilliant NHS team and lots of prayer, the visible cancer mass and cells are now gone.  

Also, it goes without saying that this year has provided further perspective to life and work.  Many friends who are teachers and parents have often said to me that, when they had children of their own they took a different view of teaching.  They no longer did everything possible to be a better-than-best teacher; they simple did what they needed to in order to get the job done.  It would be fair to say that the journey my family have taken this year has given me a similar perspective.  Rather than living to work, I'm working to live. 

This year, hasn't all been doom and gloom, though!  Here are six highlights from 2016 - three teaching related and three non-teaching related:
  • Joining forces with Twinkl to deliver a Facebook Live video about Marking and Feedback - this was such a buzz and has been watched over 10,000 times on various platforms. You can watch it here.
  • Discovering this blog about teaching by Mr Nick Hart.
  • Bumping into a pupil from my class in the streets of Sydney, Australia over the summer holidays. 
  • Going to the 10th Birthday performance of my favourite musical, Wicked and having a magical backstage tour of the show. 
  • Discovering that Tesco now sell frozen avocado halves
  • Netball Super Saturday launch of the 2016 Superleague season.  My netball club have gone from strength to strength this year and I know 2017 will be a bigger year for us. 
I've enjoyed another great year teaching and learning in the classroom.  Incredible memories have been made in and out of the classroom and, despite all the challenges, I think I love teaching more than ever before as 2016 draws to a close.  


Here are seven things I'm looking forward to in 2017: 
  • Moving House - this is now definitely happening, hopefully in January!  
  • TeachMeet Sussex - we have two events planned in this school year.  Thursday 2nd March in Rustington and Thursday 9th June in Horsham.  Visit the website to find our more information and sign up to come along.  
  • Reconsidering Reading - I've written lots about my school's move from Guided Reading to whole-class reading lessons.  This year, we are tweaking how we teach reading (again).  I can't wait to try out the first set of new lessons and see if we can help children further love and understand the books they read.  
  • Publication of Making Every Primary Lesson Count - I always imagined that if I wrote a book, it would be a thrilling murder mystery story similar to those I read regularly.  This year, I was honoured to be asked to co-write this book about primary teaching with a colleague. It's been a big learning curve but a great experience. I can't wait to hold a copy of it! For now, it is available to pre-order on the Crown House website!
  • Y4 Production - Without a doubt, putting on a production with 90 children is my favourite time of the year.  However, I am (literally) always ill.  This year, I aim to get through the Spring Term without one day off sick.  Wish me luck! 
  • Treasured Family Holidays - We have a couple of family holidays planned to make memories and share important time together.  
  • NAHT Edge Advisory Council - Recently, I've joined the advisory council for my union, NAHT Edge.  It's a union specifically for middle leaders.  I'm looking forward to our first virtual meeting and seeing what we can achieve together. 
You can read all my previous nurture blog posts here.

Read Blog