Freeman's Thinking

The National Children's Bureau (NCB) has published research which demonstrated the experience of children missing from education. Perhaps not surprisingly, the experiences were unremittingly negative - being at school is good for children at a social level as well as providing an education. The research...

I'm fascinated by the way that ideas take hold and spread, and the huge power of herd thinking. The acceptance of the standard paradigm, in any field, can make it very difficult to move on. This is particularly true in fields with large numbers of practitioners and relatively few researchers and theorists,...

The school funding crisis has been years in the making and now it's here - and the effects will be felt - and complained about - for many years to come. The initial intention was always good - to make school funding fairer, to avoid the post-code lottery - but as they say, the road to hell is paved with...

One of the few benefits of getting older is that one develops an increased perspective from the past to the present - things haven't always been as they are now! I have recently been reading Professor Melanie Tebbutt's new book, Making Youth - A History of Youth in Modern Britain, an encyclopaedic...

There have been the predictable - and justifiable - howls of protest about the proposed ending of the ban on new grammar schools and the associated capital funding allocation of hundreds of millions of pounds. The protests, as published in the media, have largely focused on the practicalities - building...

Last week, I saw "Love" at the Birmingham Rep, after its transfer from the National Theatre. Love, by Alexander Zeldin, is a new piece that brutally but forensically exposes the challenges facing families placed in a short-term local authority hostel. Two of the players are a lone Syrian refugee/asylum...

I've resisted writing about CSE recently for two related reasons - first, CSE is just incomprehensible to me at a personal level, and second, because it seems to me to be a classic ‘wicked issue' - an evident problem - made worse for me because I fail to understand the nature of the problem - without...

One of my compulsive habits is to take cuttings from the newspapers I read - I know this is a very 20th Century approach and that I should do everything online but I do find something curiously comforting about having the actual physical paper in front of me. (And I still can't makes notes on on-line...

I'm on record as saying that it's the quality and the effectiveness of governance that matters, not whether it is run by local authorities or academy trusts. In both cases, there needs to be effective oversight and action taken where needed, and the oversight arrangements need to be open, transparent,...

Yet another feature of life for "just about managing" and "not quite managing" families (JAM/NQM) is that cheap food is often less nutritious and sometimes actively bad for you, but if it's all you can afford you have no alternative as it fills your children's bellies. The problem of poor nutrition is...