Well, we’re nearly there. It’s election time this Thursday and we’re told how crucial this one might be. Sadly, we are not blessed with strong options. The other day, I read an article written by my late uncle, John Harriott, which began, ‘At home, when members of the Government appear on television, even our potplants… Read More The Family Vote
I wandered through St Helens last weekend. I cannot stress enough how shocking it is to see shops boarded up, streets left lifeless and mute. Bookies, pawnbrokers and pound shops seemingly now the only traders left doing business. People trudging around in a state of somnambulation, many visibly pale and unhealthy. This is a classic… Read More Heads in the Sand
1979. Coventry Cathedral. Was it a carol, or a song from the shows, or a hymn? I don’t remember, but I do remember the feeling. A magical moment, where new sounds, smells and just the sheer scale of the setting, made such an impression on my 11-year-old self. Of course, there are several more of… Read More Those Albert Hall Moments.
Goodness knows what is going on behind the door of Number 10, Downing Street. I suppose one day it’ll all come out in yet more political diaries, written in the gardens and estates of rural, southern counties. And we will all remember the chaos and drama, and possibly reflect that, yep, it’s still going on.… Read More Deprivation at Number 10.
Possibly the most unjust and divisive issue in English education at the moment is that of special educational needs and disability (SEND). I’m not one normally given to hyperbole but I think it’s appropriate to call this a national scandal. The most vociferous cry from all those who care about pupils with special educational needs… Read More SEND: The World of Perverse Incentives.
The Passion of Steven Smith. Chapter One On the day before the Gabbath, Steven, along with two of his mates, was accosted by members of the local press. ‘Were you the one with the sandpaper,’ one asked. ‘Do you know the man they call Davie Warner?’ demanded another. Steven was sent to the Australian Cricket… Read More The Passion of Steven Smith
“No, no Mr Gove. Put me down! Please! I’ll confess!”… ‘…Derek, Derek, What on earth are you on about?’, complained Mrs O’Keefe, nearly knocking her husband off the sofa. Derek’s sleeping had not been good for a while. Since he left his role at Thirlmere Academy, he just hadn’t been able to settle, increasingly worried… Read More The Headteacher’s New University Course.
Whilst Ofsted prepares to roll out its new inspection framework, Diocesan inspectorates are still in the early stages of reacting to these changes; they will no doubt roll out their own adaptations, but very much in the slow lane. As things stand, their remit covers the teaching and assessment of RE, the quality of worship… Read More Future of Catholic Schools
This phrase – The Age of Impunity – is I think recently attributed to David Miliband, the ex-Labour Foreign Secretary from a time when politics seemed quite sane. The phrase attempts to capture how nation states feel they can get away with pretty much anything without any resulting intervention from their neighbours. Think Putin, Trump,… Read More The Age of Impunity
One of the most significant deficits faced by pupils in more challenging socio-economic communities is one of vocabulary. Department for Education research suggests that, by the age of seven, the gap in the vocabulary known by children in the top and bottom quartiles is something like 4,000 words (children in the top quartile know around… Read More Oracy, and Feeling Warm in Iceland (Foods Ltd)
I may be straying into controversial territory but here goes… A week or so ago, I led a most joyful (and slightly bonkers) assembly. Our pupils were in their usual place, though decked in the bright primary colours of their houses. I was also in my usual place, but alongside me I had seventeen students… Read More Too Many Words?
We are now half-way through the visit of fifteen teachers and pupils from Sierra Leone. Our two major events – a concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Thursday, and two Conferences (pupils and teachers) on Friday – are now almost upon us and I will blog afterwards with some reflections. What has been notable… Read More Inspiration: The Best of People