The Five Best British Education Blogs

December 8, 2008


The following (in no particular order) are, in my opinion, the best education blogs in the UK:


Blog: Ranting Teacher

Description: Writing in an observational style that draws on years of experience, and a strong sense of humour.

Why It Should Be Read: This is the longest running British teacher blog and, although the author is not posting terribly often, it is still one of the best.

Sample of Recent Blogging: Every now and again I happen to teach a boy who, in the old days, would have been called “sensitive”, but in this more enlightened day and age is simply known as “gay”. The boy may or may not know he’s gay yet; it’s not my place to ask or interfere, but merely observe and perhaps write about it on here…”



Blog: To Miss With Love by Snuffy

Description: A regularly updated mix of anecdote and (often political) opinion from a member of SMT at an inner-city school in London

Why It Should Be Read: Partly because it is a relief to read anything from an SMT member who actually believes in education; partly for the heated debate that follows every blog entry; partly because it is usually very entertaining.

Sample Of Recent Blogging: “….Blame the teacher for the child’s lack of interest? In most of the world, that notion would simply be absurd. But back in Britain, we lay the blame at the teacher’s door. We spend our time wishing we could have better teachers. We spend all our cash and our energies training better teachers. And we miss the obvious fact which has been sitting in front of us all along. If we want to be successful, all we need to do is to make our kids into better kids.”



Blog: It Shouldn’t Happen to a Teacher

Description: Slice of life posts by a sickeningly young, and still quite enthusiastic, maths teacher.

Why It Should Be Read: It is often very funny, but even when it isn’t it is still pleasant to read about “our world” through less jaded and cynical eyes.

Sample Of Recent Blogging: “The maths department is dominated by women in their forties and fifties. They’re all really nice and I’m glad to be in a department where there’s so much experience but lunchtime conversations are usually such that it is all but impossible for me to make a meaningful contribution. Favourite topics are bitching about senior leadership, children/grandchildren and women’s issues. Oh and the food section at Marks and Spencer…”



Blog: The Blue Chair By The Gentleman Loser

Description: Opinion based posts from a teacher and NUT officer

Why It Should Be Read: To restore your faith that there are still principled, but sane, people playing a part in the NUT.

Sample Of Recent Blogging: “Hmm… apparently the Senior Leadership Team are ‘concerned’ about the falling Religious Studies GCSE results over the last five years. This wouldn’t by any chance be the same Senior Leadership Team that has reduced RE’s teaching hours by 36% over exactly the same period?…”



Blog: Conor’s Commentary By Conor Ryan 

Description: Political comment, with a strong emphasis on education, by a former education advisor to Tony Blair and David Blunkett

Why It Should Be Read: To have a more realistic view of the political side of education. While I don’t agree with everything he says it does help put to bed the idea that the state of our schools is the result of some deliberate political conspiracy to undermine discipline.

Sample Of Recent Blogging: “…I hope [anti-bullying] week is a success. Whether it is or not in the longer term will depend on the extent to which the anti-bullying charities are willing to recognise the need for punishment in tackling bullying, even if softer less punitive measures can play their part in creating a better culture in some schools, particularly primaries… Clear sanctions need to be a part of the solution in tackling bullying, and there should be no place for No Blame. Bullies are to blame.”


  1. Well thank you Old Andrew…

  2. … no place for No Blame. I thought this was a great title for something. I didn’t realise the capitals referred to something real.

    Then I found this, http://netscaffold.bullying.org/external/documents/peer_support_approach_to_bullying.pdf .

    I don’t recall you giving any explicit reference to this before. Has anyone seriously tried it in secondary school? (I can see some junior primary kids responding fairly well.) Or is it so well-known in UK that an outsider like me misses the obvious signals.

  3. adelady: I mentioned the ‘no blame’ approach to bullying in a comment on the post here about blame. It is the only educational idea I have come across that makes a clear reference to not blaming anybody.

    If you search google for ‘no blame bullying’, the methods has been attacked by Kidscape and has been dropped by many councils. However, I think this is actually because of the name of the method rather than its results. It nowadays goes by names that don’t make it the target of disdain, such as peer support approaches (as in the link that you gave above).

    I would recommend reading one of the many many textbooks about bullying for more info. As far as I can remember, the no blame approach is from the late 90s, so any recent book will mention it. There is, surprisingly, research evidence that it works very well.

  4. DoS,

    My bible on bullying is “The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander”. (I work with students and families outside the school environment so I deal exclusively with individuals rather than groups or classes.)

    This is really useful for parents who need to deal with the children and perhaps approach teachers or schools about problems with bullying. The main mentions of blame in this very readable book is about the problems of victims blaming themselves. We must never forget the vulnerability of children. Psychologists tell us they blame themselves for fights and even divorce in their families. How much more likely are they to blame themselves for being bullied? If we don’t act as responsible adults and make explicit where the responsibility lies, who will?

  5. I’m not sure I understand: is responsibility not assigned properly in peer support approaches to bullying?

    Also I don’t see how the absence of presence of a ‘blamed actor’ has an effect on blaming yourself for being a victim. It is known as ‘survivor guilt’ in the context of concentration camps, and no amount of blaming the Nazis seems to alleviate it. Nor would a child necessarily feel as if they did not ‘deserve’ to be bullied just because you say it was the bullies who had the problem. “Yes,” the victims think, “but they chose me because…”
    To give a brief example, many children are bullied due to physical or social disadvantage. That is not going to change just because some bullies have been blamed.

  6. Frank Chalk’s blog is the oldest and by far the funniest UK teaching blog.

  7. I don’t know if that’s intended as a correction to what I wrote above about Ranting Teacher, but in case it is, I said RT’s blog was the longest running “teacher blog”. Frank Chalk is (unless I’ve misunderstood) no longer a teacher.

    (You can tell it’s the first day back, I had to physically restrain myself from writing “lucky bastard” after that.)

  8. Thank you Old Andrew. Point of information: I started my website before I’d heard of “blogging” in spring 2003. http://www.rantingteacher.co.uk It’s so old school it even started out with frames and my piss-poor html…

  9. Here’s some perspective from across the pond. These are stories by a teacher and disciplinarian (dean of students) at a large inner-city public high school in the states.

  10. […] More from the Battleground Bookshelf Snuffy October 25, 2010 Some time back I recommended my favourite British education blogs. (This seems to have been the kiss of death and only two of them continued to post regularly after […]

  11. […] Old Andrew’s kiss of death […]

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