Rhetoric and Reality: sustainability in schools Stonyhurst College, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went to school, and the place where JRR Tolkien gained much of the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings. Set in acres of meadows, woods and hills, near the Trough of Bowland and Pendle Hill, it is an area of outstanding… Read More Sustainability and Climate Change: Rhetoric and Reality
‘Education has become something to be endured. A new generation is coming up that’s internalising the rules of our achievement-based society.’ So said the historian Rutger Bregman in his 2019 book, Humankind. Three years later and the recent White Paper has set the tone for the decade to come. A further decade of endurance. Despite… Read More What the Schools’ White Paper means to me
Headteachers know about risk assessments. Our ‘elf and safety culture dates back decades, but certainly ratcheted up around the time I became a headteacher in 2002. Tragic incidents, particularly the Dunblane atrocity, led to fences, keypads, lanyards, buzzers and lockdown drills (no, lockdown meant something different then). On balance, this was undoubtedly a good thing,… Read More Risky Business
Thanks to a tweet from @heymrshallahan this week, I came across the work of the Sport and Recreation Committee in the House of Lords. Clearly, this is something I must have missed during the last couple of years when us teachers were at home watching Netflix and sunbathing in the garden. According to the committee,… Read More Core Strength
Hi everyone, I feel strongly that I want to share something, so here it is. When I walked round the building on Thursday with the SIP, I think I went into each and every room. It was a normal Thursday morning and, though you were expecting visitors, it felt normal. Having reflected further, I want… Read More Letter to Staff
I will be delighted never to hear the word ‘bubble’ again. Its ubiquitous use in education will be forever associated with hordes of bemused children disappearing back home, or battle-weary parents faced with yet more shifting of plans. As for staff, I’m not sure they can face any more of the increasingly futile attempts to… Read More Bursting Bubbles
I switched the radio on the other day and heard a woman talking about her autism. It transpired that she was only recently understanding that she was autistic, and was now a passionate advocate for the role of autistic people in public life. She has become tremendously successful (in career terms), a member of the… Read More Wonderful Difference
You’ve got so much choice! Whether a parent, a pupil or a teacher, we’re continually told that choice is good, and that a deregulated system allows us greater choice. More competition, more choice, a rising tide lifts all boats etc etc. But, what if your choices lead to perverse incentives? What if the choices available… Read More SATS and SEND
‘To grow is to change, and to change often is to become more perfect.’ (Cardinal John Henry Newman) Since the pupils have all returned on 8th March, to be brutally honest, I’ve been pretty overwhelmed by the task ahead. To be in education during the 2020s means facing challenges both immediate and intense, but also… Read More Radical Change
6. Catch Up (Again). One of the features of this crisis has been a feeling of deja-vu. Was it May or June last year when we heard the painful cries of public figures who were just so, SO worried about the gloomy future for our children? Well, it felt that the whole of last week… Read More Lockdown 3.0: Catch Up (Again).
5. It’s Reading, Stupid! The week began with one of the brightest moonlit skies I can remember (was it like this before 2020? Did we ever notice them then?) and, as I do every day, I prayed for my family and my Dad in particular. A new month; renewed optimism. At school on Monday, the… Read More Lockdown 3.0: It’s Reading, Stupid!
4. Remote Control. And so this harsh month of January has finally concluded. Without question, I found this last week the most difficult. All those memories of Lockdown 1.0 – the clapping, the cooperation, the care and love, the birdsong and the zoomsong – all dissolving in uncertainty, worry, recriminations and loneliness. Certainly, from Monday… Read More Lockdown 3.0: Remote Control