‘Oi, Williamson, NAOH! I respect your journey from Chief Whip to Education Secretary, but…’ Like Frank Doberman, the grotesquely funny creation of Harry Enfield, there is always a danger in offering pub-discussion solutions to complicated matters, but what the hell, here we go. Here are my thoughts on a post-Covid19 full school opening for primary… Read More Open All Hours
Well, what just happened? And what is about to happen? The whole of the last week or two has been a period of questions, often unanswerable ones, as those of us in educational leadership positions have tried to follow national guidance, local contingency planning, whilst dealing with the concerns of pupils, staff and parents. Much… Read More Covid-19: Compassion and Continuity
A week or so ago, Mrs Bald Headteacher related to me the story of a Year 2 pupil she knew well – you know, one of those pupils we all know well because, more than often, they are up to no good. He’d just been in an RE lesson about forgiveness before coming along to… Read More Forgiveness
In today’s society, to call someone a ‘Philistine’ is to decry that person’s lack of education and culture. It has an interesting etymology. Apparently, the Victorian literary critic, poet and Her Majesty’s School Inspector, Matthew Arnold, was fond of using it, bringing it into regular use. This seems rather appropriate now. A debate is raging… Read More Culture Wars
My 100th blog as BaldHeadteacher has surely to do with Brexit. For it was the referendum in 2016 that started me off. It wasn’t really the European Union part of it, but the wider reasons behind it that I had perceived in the years and months that preceded it. A harsh, unforgiving and individualistic atmosphere… Read More The Folly of Brexit
“In order to become irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Coco Chanel Difference and identity are hot currency in the modern world. As we approach a new decade, barely a day goes by without me reading about the rights of so and so to express their identity, or such and such a group to be… Read More Classroom Differences
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