Dear Jon

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Fragments of imagination

19 September 2011

As the momentum grows towards a more fragmented education service, mixing academy chains, standalone academies, a handful of Free schools, community, voluntary aided and all other species, the obsession with structures and process has amost completely overwhelmed the all-important sense of purpose. The...

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Less is More

25 September 2009

Ed Balls' recent announcement that DCSF is exploring potential savings of up to £2bn from school management economies clearly struck the wrong chord for many. But in the immediate and predictable furore, the reality check went missing.  We now face the most significant reductions in public funding...

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Quiet please

21 July 2009

I have a weakness for cheap philosophy, as in Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi. "You don't know what you've got till it's gone".  One of those phrases you can read in different ways: think unmentionable health problems, last job, friends, the lost fiver. Our road closes to traffic: resurfacing after...

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Proud dad

25 June 2009

So the firstborn son has finally got his degree results - and it's first class honours with distinction. After a brief glow of parental pride, I've started planning to swap names by deedpoll and become my son's son, while he can be his dad's dad.  My memories of parenting are sporadic: riding on my...

As Chris Woodhead unexpectedly recants and beams about him, a diarist scribbles furtive piffle on a wireless keyboard..... A contagion is abroad and it will surely set a madness about us all. We are now suddenly become the grumpy old people, for here is a kindly gentleman come to wish us all...

I'm suddenly experiencing the Challenge Anneka feeling. Not the arresting rear view shot or the helicopter, sadly. There'll be lots of people out there who know what I mean: the absolutely impossible can be done must do project for 2009. Community action, pride in our town. Kids off street; volunteers...

So finally we can see the paper from the trees: a new and 21st concept for learning, set out by Sir Jim Rose, a knight in shining education.  It is actually very exciting to see a public assertion that the current over-prescriptive set of must-have knowledge is by definition anachronistic, whereas a...

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Don't forget Jetmir

28 April 2009

News coverage of police at Calais clearing feral woodland camps of would-be immigrants. Reports that the chief inspector of prisons and the children's commissioner have condemned the appalling treatment of children by the UK immigration system.  A cloudy mirror held up to the harsh issues of humanity...

Coming back to the UK from France, where I live in a quiet news blackout for 10 days, often makes me think we are a very weird country. Over there, there are problems and a heated debate in the marketplace about how to survive and solve things. Direct action is acceptable, so fishing boats become the...

The annual debate around exam standards is coming round again, so Ofqual have got in first by announcing that some aspects of GCSE Science really do seem to be dumbing down.  One of the questions deemed too easy to ask pupils (GCSE Science Edexcel, 2006) and widely quoted went as follows: Many people...