Category: Uncategorized

All things being equal …

The Equaliser (which I watched recently on another longhaul flight) is not necessarily a film I would recommend – the body count is high, the pre-movie warnings about the propensity of adult themes are accurate, and while Denzel Washington plays his part well, one is left rather morally uneasy at the thought that one bad …

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The Power of the Comparative Adjective

On a recent longhaul flight, which is about the only opportunity I have to watch movies, I was very taken with the espionage thriller, ‘A Most Wanted Man’. Based on the novel by John Le Carré of the same title, it was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last leading role before his death in February 2014, and …

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Lessons for the future, learned from the past – but only if we actually learn them

Sometimes you need to see something in order truly to understand or appreciate it. For years I have been telling school students that they owe it to the world – past, present and future – never to forget the horrors of the world wars of the 20th century, and I had these words ringing in …

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A season of renewal and rebirth – sending ripples of kindness in response to tragedy

The world sometimes seems so full of tragedy, terror and sadness that it can be hard to believe that it is worth hoping for – and working towards – a better, fairer, more harmonious future for all those who inhabit our planet. Certainly, the last couple of weeks could easily have shaken our belief in …

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The Art of School Inspection

In recent years I have come really to appreciate the value of critical reflection that is embedded in the curriculum in British schools. In fact, it is so embedded that it is often taken for granted, as is its cousin, scepticism, and – perhaps as a result, and certainly rather ironically – critical reflection and …

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World peace? Learning and delving deeper will set us on the path

Last week I gave a talk at Loretto Senior School in Edinburgh, which I enjoyed enormously. The students I met were committed and reflective, and we managed to experience a moment of real peace – uplifting peace – in beautiful surroundings. It was therefore fitting that I should encounter there a Gaelic Blessing which is …

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When will “the first woman to do …” become consigned to history?

A great profile article on Dame Ann Dowling appeared earlier this week in The Independent, and – as is to be expected in a piece on a fascinating and successful person of our times – it makes for really interesting reading. We can learn so much from other people’s lives: the twists and turns of …

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Malala liberated – a universal force

Malala Yousafzai is clearly a remarkable young woman. She has faced death, yet refused to give in to fear and continued danger, and she is now working hard not only towards her own education, but also to raise awareness and create opportunities for children across the world – especially girls – to receive an education …

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Bringing meaning to the International Day of the Girl

Today, as we hear the news that Malala Yousafzai has been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to speak up for the education of girls, people all over the world – girls, boys, men and women – are celebrating the International Day of the Girl. This is a day when we remember …

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Engaging young people in politics – the lessons of the Scottish referendum

Yesterday, at the annual Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow, attended by 4,000 delegates, the Scottish Education Secretary, Mike Russell, announced a Children and Young People’s summit in Scotland. Although neither the format nor the timing of the event is clear as yet, the announcement was broadly welcomed – and with reason. The engagement of young …

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