Archive for the ‘Blog related’ Category


Top Blogs of the Week : Schools Week (February 2015)

February 27, 2015

Schools Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week.

Andrew Old selects: 27 February 2015

Consultants: the obscene quantities of cash, the confidence tricks and riding the merry-go-round of failure

By @Bottoms_bray

A teacher recounts the activities of consultants who are paid to give advice to desperate school leaders; how this advice has often been harmful and is usually expensive. “They are unaccountable…

Continued in

Andrew Old selects: 27 February 2015

A Guide To Scenes From The Battleground

February 16, 2015

I have updated this guide for the holidays.

This blog is about the state of secondary education. There is an introduction to it here:

And some reflections on it here:

Here is a summary of my main points:

Here are a few posts written purely for a laugh (although some of them perhaps make a point at the same time):

The following posts sum up what is typical in schools these days in various respects:



Teachers and Managers:

Special Needs:

School Life:


As well as the advice for teachers included in many of the other posts, I have written advice specifically for new teachers:

These deal more directly with my own personal experiences, or the experiences of others:

I have also written a number of posts exploring and explaining how this situation came to be, discussing the arguments in education and suggesting what can be done.


Apologia and arguments:

Progressive Education:



Education Policy and Current Affairs:


The College of Teaching:

Teaching and Teachers:

Educational Ethics and Philosophy:

Education Research and Academics

Here are some videos I found on the internet which I thought were interesting, or relevant, enough to present in a blog post. Some will probably no longer be available, I hope to correct this where possible when I get the chance.

I wrote about some of the myths that are spread to teachers, often in INSET or during PGCEs:

I have also outlined what I would expect from schools willing to do put things right:

Here are my book recommendations:

This may be of interest if you are considering writing a blog:

You may also have found me…

I have also written sections in the following two books:

Please let me know if any of the links don’t work.

Finally, I can be found on Facebook (please “friend” me) or Twitter (please “follow” me).

If you want to keep up with education blogging other than mine, or to see some of these same concerns discussed by others, then you should follow my sister blog, The Education Echo Chamber. The blog is here. The twitter feed is here.


Top Blogs of the Week : Schools Week (January 2015)

January 23, 2015

Schools Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week.

Week commencing 19 January, 2015

In Praise of Being Boring

by @danicquinn

In this post, a maths teacher reflects on the feedback from a survey in her school and, in particular, discusses how concerned she should be about students who find maths to be boring.


Continued in

Week commencing 19 January, 2015

Top Posts of 2014

December 31, 2014

The following posts got the most views in 2014. Some of them weren’t actually written in 2014.

  1. The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression
  2. A Christmas Miracle – OFSTED Get It Right For Once
  3. What OFSTED Actually Want
  4. How to Destroy NQTs
  5. What OFSTED Say They Want
  6. OFSTED Go Mad In Coventry
  7. Goodbye, Mr Gove
  8. Why That OFSTED News Is So Important
  9. A Guide To Scenes From The Battleground
  10. Good Year Heads
  11. Arnold Hill Academy Responds to the OFSTED Shambles
  12. A New Primary Teacher Writes…
  13. How have OFSTED behaved in the last 2 weeks?
  14. Tristram Hunt proposes something which may just be worse than OFSTED
  15. A Very Short Summary of the Phonics Debate
  16. Progressive Teaching Methods In the Primary School
  17. A Brief History of Education Part 2: The 1944 Education Act
  18. More OFSTED Good Practice that isn’t
  19. Is Phonics Being Implemented Correctly?
  20. That Primary School Teacher Post

I’m not going to try to write a review of the year, as that’s become something I tend to do on my blog’s birthday. Nor am I going to make any resolutions, other that to keep the blog going for as long as I can.

Take care, and have a happy new year.


Back To The Future

November 27, 2014

This blog is probably not the best advert for my organisational skills, very often it reflects whatever happens to be on my mind and topics get picked up, then dropped, pretty much on a whim. However, I’ve decided to finish off a long-unfinished bit of business this weekend. Unfortunately, I’ve left it all so long that I thought I’d write this quick reminder of what it was all about.

Back in 2012, I started a series of blogposts on how ideas about ways in which the future would be different were used to promote progressive education and, in particular, invalidate the teaching of subject knowledge and the use of traditional teaching methods.

I began with this introduction to the issue:

The Future Part 1: Another Argument for Dumbing-Down

Then I dealt with the idea that it was increasing globalisation and competition from overseas had changed everything:

The Future Part 2: Overseas Competition

Next was the idea that the job market was changing to be less stable and predictable:

The Future Part 3: Changes in the Labour Market

Following that was the claim that technological change was constantly making established knowledge obsolete:

The Future Part 4: Technological Change as Normal and Unpredictable

Then the contradictory idea that we were in a time of unprecedented technological change:

The Future Part 5: Are We Living in a Time of Unprecedented Technological Change?

This was followed by the idea that we now don;t need to know things like we did in the past:

The Future Part 6: Does New Technology Mean We Don’t Need to Know Anything?

I also provided an example that this sort of argument wasn’t new:

A Note About The Future

I had intended to finish this with a blogpost about the idea of Digitial Natives. However, this turned out to be something which led to quite a lot more thinking and writing and I did not get round to writing it until many months later, and never really worked out when to blog it. Anyway, I now plan to cover this in my next few posts, so I thought I’d write this recap for you to put it in context. Apologies for any links and media in the above posts which are now defunct.

Update 3/12/2014: The remaining three posts in the series have now been written and can be found below:


Quick Tips for New Education Bloggers

July 23, 2014

My considered advice for education bloggers (complete with explanations of my opinions and discussion) can be found here.

However, below you read my quick tips. Some may be similar, but these were ones I posted on Twitter a few days ago, and as a result are based mainly on blind prejudice, no justification and little thought.

Hope they are helpful.

  1. “Musings” and “Ramblings” are massively overused in blog titles. Try “meanderings”. (Or maybe not)
  2. Use WordPress. Hosted on WordPress. Really.
  3. Pick an unambiguous title. I’m still justifying and explaining mine almost 8 years later.
  4. If you use the words “learning” or “teaching” in your blog title make the other words memorable. eg. Learning Hippo. Seriously, these two words are much overused. There are actually two different blogs called “Learning Science”.
  5. You don’t have to write only about education, but set out your stall early. Don’t start write about dieting 6 months in. (Or your children, pets or favourite songs).
  6. Tweet. (I organised a curry for bloggers a few months back. The one person that almost everybody asked “who’s he?” about was the one person who doesn’t tweet. It has to be done.)
  7. Don’t call yourself a “guru”, “expert” or “leader”. There are more fun ways to make everyone hate you. Hours of “fun” can be had on the internet arguing over who is actually an authority about teaching and who a) has too little classroom experience, b) has left the classroom too eagerly or c) is now a vested interest who can no longer be trusted.
  8. Try to keep blogposts usually under 1000 words, mostly under 1,500. Split into more than one post when necessary, even if you post them in rapid succession. I swear there are bloggers out there whose first paragraphs are read by thousands, but you can’t find anyone who ever got to the end.
  9. A picture is worth a 1000 words, but after the first picture it starts to feel like reading 1000 words too. Or, at the very least, it starts feeling like watching a Powerpoint presentation. Assume blog readers can get through several consecutive paragraphs of text without having a panic attack.
  10. Criticising people without naming them is not politer, it’s just cowardly.




Top Posts of 2013

January 1, 2014

The following posts got the most views in 2013. Some of them weren’t actually written in 2013.

  1. What OFSTED Actually Want
  2. A Christmas Miracle – OFSTED Get It Right For Once
  3. What OFSTED Say They Want
  4. How to be bad SMT
  5. How to Destroy NQTs
  6. A Guide To Scenes From The Battleground
  7. The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression
  8. Does Sir Michael Wilshaw Know What OFSTED Good Practice Looks Like?
  9. Why That OFSTED News Is So Important
  10. What I’d do about OFSTED
  11. Progressive Teaching Methods In the Primary School
  12. Why I’m against Performance-Related Pay
  13. Lies, Damned Lies and Things You are Told During Teacher Training
  14. OFSTED Under Fire
  15. A Very Short Summary of the Phonics Debate
  16. Good Year Heads
  17. Why those of us on the left should support Michael Gove’s efforts to “clever-up” the curriculum
  18. Some Quick Tips for NQTs and Trainees
  19. Marking and Workload
  20. More OFSTED Nonsense

I’ve resisted doing a full review of the year post, mainly because as somebody who tries to read all the education blogs, they have been driving me mad and partly because it’s not long since my 7th birthday post. However, I will allow myself 5 highlights my blogging year, in no particular order and with no more of a sentence on each.

  • Quite significant growth in the number of hits to this blog, from averaging less than 350 hits per day in each year from 2010-2012 with no upward trend, to 970 per day in 2013 as a whole and 1450 per day in the last quarter of the year, as well as a large increase in the number of Twitter followers.
  • The OFSTED campaign which started in February, and was described in detail here, which, at the very least, seems to have blown the whistle on any number of attempts to promote a particular, ideologically driven, style of teaching.
  • The High Court agreeing with my supposedly controversial position on the English GCSE farrago.
  • The creation of the Echo Chamber and more generally the growth of a community of education bloggers, particularly those expressing views which the media never seem to acknowledge as being held by teachers.
  • Political and media recognition for this blog, most notably being mentioned by Michael Gove (starting here; resulting in this, which I don’t regret, and continuing with these) and getting to meet Liz Truss.

As for the year ahead, I have a few things I’d like to see or do. I’d like to see the education people on the opposition benches engage with bloggers, and with the difficult arguments, as much as government ministers have. I’d like to continue looking at some of those issues raised in my blogposts above, like teacher stress and depression, bad management and workload. I’d also like to come out of the shadows a bit, but this will require finding a job (or combination of part-time jobs) where my opinions won’t threaten my employers and where I have more time to spend on research or on blog-related activities (and where I am still teaching in a school for at least part of the week; I haven’t actually given up on teaching).

So, happy new year to all my readers.


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