The chief inspector of schools in England has warned teachers and policymakers against resting their hopes on the latest educational gimmicks and urged them instead to focus on getting the basics right.

Launching her second annual report as head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman advised against the likes of Brain Gym, a controversial programme of exercises favoured by some schools that claims to improve children’s cognitive ability.

Asked later to elaborate on other gimmicks, the schools watchdog came up with a list including interactive whiteboards, adherence to so-called learning styles and a growing enthusiasm in some schools for fidget spinners to aid concentration.

Instead, to get children on the path to success, Spielman said the most important…



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