On long road journeys, only two rules apply when driving along in the family car with the squeaking breaks. Firstly, anyone who asks “are we there yet?” is immediately ejected and made to walk and secondly; the driver decides on the CD or radio station. Thus, on the long Saturday morning drive to deliver the Neanderthal that formerly occupied an upstairs room to his seat of tertiary learning; the airways were given over to Richard Coles and Saturday Live courtesy of BBC Radio 4. The people not driving retreated to their personal audio devices only noticeable during the reassuring moment of silence before the news when the sibilant hissing was loud enough to cause a olive grove full of cicadas to drop down dead from the trees. (more…)
September 30, 2015
August 15, 2015
Philip Larkin was only partially correct in suggesting that we project our own faults onto our children; he forgot the bits about bequeathed neuroses and anxiety. The dead poet and librarian might have held some unpleasant opinions but he took his own advice and by having no children of his own avoided the gathering apprehension of an offspring’s A Level results day. Thursday was always going to be a tense morning. (more…)
February 3, 2015
Not that any of them will listen but please, please, please cabinet ministers and shadow cabinet ministers; stop organising photo opportunities in classrooms. You do not belong there – the teacher does not want you there – the Head teacher wishes you would go away – the parents hate you – the children are terrified of you and, if you are honest for a change, you will admit that you don`t want to be there either.
Spare yourselves from the toe-curling embarrassment of asking a child what he or she has learnt today. Free yourself of having to endure the torture of forcing a smile upon some scrounging infant or nodding intensely when a Classroom Assistant tells you that the children he or she supports are coming to school hungry and cold. (more…)
December 11, 2014
It would be a fair assumption to expect a former Head Teacher, Knight of the Realm and Chief Inspector of Schools to be in possession of a least a modicum of intelligence. Sir Michael Wilshaw is doing his level best to ensure that students, parents and teachers never make the mistake of assuming anything.
Sir Michael is obviously a very intelligent Chief Inspector of Schools and only says stupid things because of the perfectly understandable assumption that his audience of students, parents and teachers are stupid. His annual Ofsted report into the state of the nation`s schools is an impeccable master-class in how to undermine and discredit anyone involved in the education of young people apart from, of course, Ofsted, the Department for Education, his good self and various duplicitous government ministers. He is either dangerous or he is attempting a new career as a comedian. Sadly, the former seems to be the case. (more…)
November 11, 2014
Like hearts, dreams, ambitions, mobile phones and the best wine glasses kept at the back of the cupboard for special occasions, promises are easily broken. There is a long and contemptuous tradition of politicians promising all manner of goodies to a gullible electorate without ever having any intention of coming up with the goods. When challenged to explain the failure to deliver pie-in-the-sky promises, the rulers with more ambition than heart usually ignore the awkward questions or sometimes talk of a change in circumstances or trot out the tired excuse that the promise was misunderstood by stupid voters.
The hilarious shambles in the House of Commons over the vote to have a vote on not having a vote to vote to enact a bill to re-adopt the European Arrest Warrant is just the latest farce in a long line of duplicitous wriggling that stretches back to the Stone Age. This particular pantomime, however, is different in that apart from being the funniest, it is likely to be something of a watershed moment for this awful coalition government. (more…)