I am a teacher who has worked in several tough secondary schools. I love teaching, and I am particularly keen to teach students in deprived areas where education can really make a difference. However, I am utterly dissatisfied with how British schools, and indeed the entire education system is run. I see schools as systematically failing those who need them most. This blog is a record of how I see education in the UK.



  1. I think you must be some kind of genius! I teach 9th grade Spanish in a very rough school near Dallas, Texas in the U.S. and I have discovered from reading your blog that 1) I get ‘terrored’ on a regular basis, but have gotten used to it. I took plenty of stress days at the beginning of the year. 2) Most of what we are taught about classroom management is actually a load of crap. And, even though my administration might have me believe that the student I’d never seen before coming into my class and telling me to suck his dick did not actually do that because I had not built a relationship with him, but rather because he’s an asshole with lazy, ineffective parents. I already knew this on some level, but it’s nice to have someone legitimize the fact that something is wrong in Western school systems and the teachers are paying for it. Thanks so much!

  2. Cheers.

    If it’s any comfort I’m not sure it’s the whole of the western world. All the feedback agreeing with me comes from the UK and the US. I have a few Australian readers but they tend to say things along the lines of “at least it isn’t that bad here”.

  3. But then what do you do with the asshole with the lazy parents? Borstal?

  4. (I suppose I ought to concede that in this specific case I’d have probably insisted on his exclusion… But my point was a general one!!)

  5. I would love to insist on students’ exclusion in these cases; however, my district takes a soft approach to discipline. The theory is that the students require that authority figures show them respect before they will respond positively to teachers’ requests. But it’s not working, and the reluctance to practice firm discipline seems to result in more teacher headaches than positive results.

  6. Andrew

    I’d welcome your thoughts on a recent leadership dilemma a posted on my blog. The question is whether or not a head teacher should automatically exclude a child if they swear at a teacher – what do you think?

  7. I am so impressed with your knowledge of blogs and the blogsphere. When did you start writing your blog? I’m so glad I’ve found you.

  8. I started writing in October 2006, although that was on an old defunct site (the posts have now all been transferred here, one way or another). The blog has been up and running at this site since the new year.

  9. Just found your blog through Carnival of Schooling. What you describe as high school group work surely has been thought (and sometimes even spoken out loud) by every teacher who has ever tried it with teenagers. Thank you, fellow sufferer.
    (Charleston, South Carolina)

  10. Hello

    I hope you don’t mind me quoting one of your posts on my blog today. It’s about expulsions and difficult pupils.



  11. As long as you say where it’s from that should be fine (within reason).


  12. Delayed reaction, but thanks! It got a good reaction too.

  13. I’ve just stumbled upon a thread you contributed to: April 2010, Phil Beadle’s Guardian piece about Michael Gove.

    Bloody brilliant. Everything you said was so correct and so lucid.

    I should start following your blog. Keep it up. You seem to be a vanishingly rare island of intelligence in an ocean of mush-headed stupidity (a.k.a. the British state education system).

  14. Powerful stuff oldandrew. I taught for many years and I wince at the memories you bring up with your blogs.

    It also seems that current student behavior is more calculated and effective. The article on being terrored was a nightmare.

  15. Your words are a powerful reminder of the place I once was, of the generation we’re all failing, of the determination to turn that failure around. Keep Sharing – thank you. – I’ve nominated you for a Liebster award – you can read the post here – http://thatstorygirl.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/that-liebster-award-post/

  16. Can you possibly email me? I’m an MP who’s been trying to help pull this together ( yes, I know, as a politico I’m the last person who should be anywhere near it! I have therefore tried to be v hands-off) – your blog post is superb. Be brilliant if you could be involved in shaping this. We’ve got to get it right. I’d love to get in touch. Please do email. Best, Charlotte Leslie MP

  17. I apologise for calling you an arse and have deleted tweet. Never any call for such language or attacking some one personally.

    Mea culpa.

    For what it worth definition of function is “an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing:” so on this – and that College should just be for/be led by serving teachers – we do in the main agree.

    Again my apologies – never Tweet with fractious 3 year old at your side.

  18. Thought this concours with your recent post regarding Attachment Disorder & over/ misdiagnosis of SEN. Anecdotally a 2 adopted children I’ve worked with were misdiagnosed with Attachment D when they are actually on the ASC spectrum. The ‘Holding therapy’ the CAHMs team recommended to their parents made the children even more anxious because they needed to avoid touch!

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