Be Inspired

Michelle Long

Michelle Long is the Principal of the Ofsted Outstanding Dixons Music Primary.  

She opened the first primary free school in the Dixons Multi Academy Trust in September 2012 with 30 Year R pupils. 

Prior to joining Dixons, Michelle worked in a variety of primary schools in Keighley as a teacher, senior leader and consultant. Michelle has an MA in Teaching and Professional Enquiry and a BA (hons) in Primary Education from the University of Leeds. She holds NPQH, is an alumni of the National College ‘Fast Track’ programme and is also an NCETM accredited specialist mathematics teacher through Sheffield Hallam University.

View from the research front line

Michelle Long, the Principal of Bradford’s Dixons Music Primary, has recently helped to co-author Improving Behaviour in Schools, a comprehensive research overview published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Here she explains how she came to be involved in a piece of work which she says important implications for both teachers and school leaders.

“When an advisor from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) visited my school shortly after I’d completed my Masters in Teaching and Professional Enquiry, a chance conversation about my interest in research led me to be invited to be part of this important project.

“It was a great experience to be on board from the start, working with the research teams from Exeter university, seeing how they categorised the wide range of research available and then reducing it all down to the recommendations we have today. I was then able to read through key research articles and texts for myself in order to shape the recommendations into something that teachers and leaders could use in their school. 

“I believe the guidance is tremendously useful for education leaders across the board. Experienced teachers and leaders often command quiet control from the students they teach with ease.  This research shows that it takes up to five years for teachers to gain the skills they need in order to successfully manage behaviour.  For leaders, the guidance is useful on highlighting the importance of implementing policies and systems with rigour and consistency across the school.

“There are also some quick fixes and really interesting approaches to tackling ingrained difficult behaviours.  For example, something that we are implementing in our school is the Ellis and Tod (2018) 'conceptual framework' to support teachers with improving behaviour with identified children through the curriculum. Finally, the idea that layering the recommendations to get a greater impact is also sound advice and we talk about how schools might do that in the guidance.

“However, it’s not just leaders who could benefit from this report’s findings. I would have loved this guide as a newly qualified or trainee teacher.  It has lots of practical suggestions to improve behaviour in the classroom.  The recommendations link and build on each other, from ensuring you understand and 'know' your students to how to keep things positive when misbehaviour arises.

“Some of the research has stood the test of time, including Charlie Taylor's checklists and some is more current, taking into account mental health and bullying issues. For more experienced teachers, the guidance is useful for suggestions about how to tackle more difficult behaviour and how to drill down into the reasons behind more serious behaviours.

“The guidance is a must read for all teachers and can offer support and signposts to many other areas of research too.”


Michelle will be on hand to discuss the report’s findings in more detail at a free twilight event at Dixons City Academy in the city on 10th July. Register for the event free of charge here

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Michelle Long

Michelle Long is the Principal of the Ofsted Outstanding Dixons Music Primary.  

She opened the first primary free school in the Dixons Multi Academy Trust in September 2012 with 30 Year R pupils. 

Prior to joining Dixons, Michelle worked in a variety of primary schools in Keighley as a teacher, senior leader and consultant. Michelle has an MA in Teaching and Professional Enquiry and a BA (hons) in Primary Education from the University of Leeds. She holds NPQH, is an alumni of the National College ‘Fast Track’ programme and is also an NCETM accredited specialist mathematics teacher through Sheffield Hallam University.

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