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Showing posts from April, 2013

English, Maths, Science, Porn. Will this be on the testes?

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Fury as Gove admits 'he likes teachers'. The speech to the NCTL

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Well, here are some quotes nobody expected from Michael Gove:
'I’m a great fan of Andrew Old, whose brilliant blog Scenes from the Battleground provides one of the most insightful commentaries on the current and future curriculum that I’ve ever read; but I’m also an admirer of John Blake of Labour Teachers, who has transcended party politics to praise all schools which succeed for their pupils, even if they are academies or free schools…'
This is exactly how it must have played in the DfE last week:


 Then this:

'I also hugely enjoy the always provocative work of Tom Bennett, the Behaviour Guru, who champions teachers at every turn while challenging them to up their game.'
By which point this is me:


Next time I get stopped for driving drunk with my knees at the wheel on the M11 I'm pulling a Reese Wetherspoon, throwing a copy of this speech at the Feds and shouting 'Have you read THIS?'

Got home from a busy day releasing butterflies from children…

Always someone else's problem? No, it's ours, thanks. And you make it harder.

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Fans of witless bureaucracy and low expectations of children were not disappointed today as the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) launched their report ‘Always someone else’s problem’. Here’s the groovy gist of what it says over 56 gripping pages:

1. Many schools exclude children illegally
2. Exclusions are beastly things anyway
3. Schools that do this should be fined and prosecuted.

I’m not kidding about that last bit. The OCC wants to get tough with naughty schools, which is deeply ironic when you think about it, which they haven’t. Now you don’t have to read it. I’ve written about the OCC before, mainly along the lines of how unlikely I would be build a commemorative shrine were it to suddenly sink into the ocean like Atlantis.

Cards on the table: they are absolutely right that this happens. In fact, rather than their cautious estimate of 2 or 3% I would say it is far more widespread than she suggests. It isn’t the data I substantially disagree with, but their c…

Notes on a scandal: Giving up on students

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One of the most rewarding things I do outside of teaching is acting as resident Agony Uncle on the TES website's Behaviour Forum. I, and many other teachers do what teachers do best: offer free advice and perspective to those wading through a river of chains. Occasionally a correspondent raises a problem and I think, 'Christ, have we sunk so low?' Most of the problems to which I respond are fairly straightforward; but a large percentage involve teachers being placed in unnecessarily difficult situations by school management systems that seem designed to encourage poor behaviour, and in this case, give up on the kids. Here's a summary of what someone said recently:

'I feel embarrassed posting this, as I'm an experienced teacher who would normally feel  that my behaviour management was pretty good - but I am at my wits end with a Y11 class (bottom set).

...Only about 5 out of 28 would do anything they were set.  They were just about polite enough that when I in…

Use the Force, Harry: beware quotes with no sources

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KING LEAR: Dost thou know me, fellow?

KENT: No, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master.
KING LEAR: What's that?
KENT:Authority.

Who can you trust? I think this every time I come across a quotation on the internet. Education is my thing, so I'm not occupied by the ones that fill cat calenders and planners with rainbows. Today I read about an incredible conversation that took place between Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoevsky, as reported by Claire Tomalin in her biography of Dickens, except that it was entirely untrue. History, that ruined rubble of bone and boulder, is vulnerable to the pen of invention, and the dead cannot plead for themselves any more. Just as monasteries used to manufacture relics to borrow the authority of God (including, I might add, the foreskin of Christ in some cases, not once, but often, and in many places) so too do many people repeat the thoughts of great men and women in an attempt to support their claims. Unfortuna…