Category: Headteachers

Dalton style

I have just been re-reading Helen Parkhurst’s excellent book ‘Education on the Dalton Plan’, and I thoroughly recommend it to discerning educators and those interested in how children learn in schools. Written and published in 1922, it contains an exposition, analysis and case studies of the progressive educational approach – the Dalton Plan – which …

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Navigating the social media minefield

Schools tend to be cautious about social media, and with real reason. In school, we see it in daily use amongst young people: schools, remember, see many hundreds – thousands, even – of young people in close proximity to one another, and as educators in schools, we gain an insight into their lives that is …

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Why write a blog?

A new year always brings new energy and new forward vision, and this is especially the case when the new year coincides with change – a new post, perhaps, a new city, or a new country … or even a new hemisphere. It is also a time to reflect on current practice and make sure …

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Why I am teaching my children about porn

The media last week was full of comment and reports that the National Association of Head Teachers had called for children to be taught about porn as part of the sex education lessons (see, for example, this report on the BBC News website). Inevitably this was misinterpreted in some quarters as something of tremendous danger …

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Fanning the new with the flames of the old: Livery Companies today

Last night in London I had the tremendous pleasure of being the Principal Speaker at the Selection Dinner of the Worshipful Company of Fan Makers. It was a super evening – convivial company, and an opportunity to talk about areas of mutual interest in education and the wider world, and I was very struck – …

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To assess or not to assess: the great GCSE debacle

Recent announcements regarding the abandonment of GCSEs in favour of an English Baccalaureate should have prompted once again the question of whether or not assessments at this stage of a young person’s career are in fact worthwhile, but these voices have been drowned out as commentators have rushed to deal with the details of the …

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Children “too embarrassed” to read

A very worrying report was published last week by the National Literacy Trust and reported in the Daily Telegraph. The survey, of 21,000 children in primary and secondary education over the past few years, revealed a steady and concerning drop in the number of pupils reading in their spare time – from 38.1% in 2005 …

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Tulisa: a role model and inspiration for broken Britain?

I have been thinking a lot about female role models recently, and so was drawn to the Daily Mail online article this week which reported an interview in Look magazine with Tulisa Contostavlos, singer and X Factor judge. In the interview, she described herself as an “inspiration for broken Britain”; I was intrigued. I was …

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Fantastic A Levels … but where are our future communicators?

This week has brought another excellent crop of A Level results, and I send a special congratulations to the leavers of St Mary’s Calne, who are now headed for leading universities across the UK and the world, including seven (of the year group of fifty) to Oxbridge, and three to North America. They are raring …

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Shakespeare, bloody Shakespeare

A couple of months ago, I had a preview of elements of the St Mary’s Calne Venus Flytrap production of ‘Macbeth Unsexed’, which opened today at the Edinburgh Fringe and is showing at C Eca, Venue 50, at 3pm for the next week. The immensely talented actors, most aged 17, took their A Level Theatre …

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