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Now We Are Seven

October 30, 2013

Well……. apparently my blog has been going for 7 years.

It originally appeared on a couple of other websites, before finding its long-term home here in January 2009. Between the sites it has probably had in excess of 900 000 hits. That said it really only took off in the last year or so, as more teachers joined Twitter and certain posts became particularly highly visited. Prior to that I used to pride myself on being read only by a small elite of deep thinkers. The style has changed a fair bit, going from a frequent mix of anecdotal material and tedious essays to a less frequent, but less tedious, style of essay which verged on a cry for help, to its current emphasis on immediate & frequent reactions to whatever is annoying me, particularly topical issues.

My original inclination, after leaving a school I hated, was to catalogue some of the outrageous things I had seen in a couple of schools that would be considered fairly average and to share my own thoughts about the ideas that informed our education system, mainly focusing on behaviour. As time has gone on, I’ve become less interested (and more restricted) in how much I can write about personal experience, and more focused on policy, teaching methods and the broader teacher experience.

After being ignored, even in lists of teacher blogs, for most of those years this blog now gets a fair bit of publicity (see here) and has been name-checked by Michael Gove a few times. After years of being told that I was expressing the views of an insignificant and unrepresentative individual, I’m more often criticised nowadays for being the leader of a mob.

Through my blog, I’ve met a host of new people, including some such as Katharine Birbalsingh, Tom Bennett, Toby Young, Daisy Christodoulou and Daniel Willingham (yes really, how cool is that?) who I guess you would have to say count as celebrities in the strange parallel universe of the education debate.

During this time I have maintained my anonymity through carefully cultivating a career of such deep insignificance that if you arrived at my school’s reception and asked for me by my real name they wouldn’t be able to help. (I’m not joking, David Didau tried this.) At some point I will need to go public, but first I need to work somewhere that the opinions I express, and that thousands of teachers follow, aren’t going to be considered controversial or a liability when OFSTED visit. However, working in a school and seeing every day the things I’ve been describing for 7 years, continues to be my main source of inspiration.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with links to a few of the highlights of the last 7 years.

  • This, from my first month of blogging, is probably the one where I most often get people telling me that I nailed it (although this gets a pretty similar reaction)
  • This from 2007 is probably still my funniest post.
  • This, or at least the final part of it, had the most impact on political debate after prompting a controversial part of a speech by Michael Gove.
  • This from 2009 covers some ground that still comes up a lot.
  • People still ask about this on A.P.P., an initiative that apparently still hasn’t died in some schools:
  • This sums up my attitude to OFSTED, an organisation also mention in my two most read blogposts: here and here.
  • This sums up one of the debates that helped bring attention to this blog.
  • This still makes me angry.
  • The post that prompted the greatest number of hits in one day was this, from a few days ago.
  • And this has changed the lives of all who saw it.
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7 comments

  1. Does this mean I get to put ‘one of ” a small elite of deep thinkers. “‘ on my CV?

    Although your tactics have sometimes infuriated me (largely because I’m a lily-livered softy at heart) your blog has played a significant part in my convincing myself that I’m not utterly useless.


  2. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  3. Some great stats Andrew. Well done; very admirable indeed.

    I have heard that DD had tired to find you; I believe he has actually met you. There is definitely an ‘allure’ to your anonymity; yet shying away from the profession that adores or loathes you (the marmite effect), I really do think we are lacking a grassroots teacher/leader of your online prowess. One that ‘could’ help provoke and shape pedagogy. ‘This’ comment has almost become a calling away from ‘the dark side’. “We” are closer to revealing your identity, so it could be in your/our interest, to ‘come out of the closet’ sooner? Just a thought.

    Anyway, just thought I’d throw that in the mix. A great blog. Well written. Good work OA. Good work.
    Love TT.


  4. Keep stirring people’s neurons – happy 7th, you VIP.
    *hides a smile thinking of Batman socks*


  5. I think that one of your greatest strengths is that you give an honest judgement based on the facts before you, without much thought to whether anyone will agree, nor whether you’re defending “your team”. So regardless of your own political affiliation, I think you offer sensible, unbiased critiques of both Labour and Conservative education policies, as well as broad educational philosophies of “the left” and “the right” (however those terms might be defined) and the educational establishment in general.

    There aren’t many blogs, on any subject, where that’s true. That’s the reason why I read your blog and, truth be told, it’s the reason I’m always a little disappointed when my feed reader shows a new TTBG post which turns out to be a reblog or a guest post. Long may you continue!


  6. Happy birthday! I’ve been reading you for 5 years now and you’ve helped shape my career.



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