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Clever Girl

Emotional Intelligence It’s a month now since the media sought photographs of teenagers jumping for joy as they flourished their  A-Level and GCSE results.  Featuring one such girl our local paper asked “Is this Britain’s brightest girl”, explained that she had achieved eleven grade A’s at GCSE.  Her father, the paper noted as they sought […]

Health and Safety

Safeguarding without safeguards My friend is a remarkably fit and shrewd 85-year-old still able to make most valuable comments at the governing body of a secondary school.  A General Practitioner for more than 40 years he has ‘seen it all’ but is never judgemental yet always full of sound advice, particularly on general health issues […]

The Philosophical Baby

Foundations of Intelligence Queen Victoria created a most dangerous myth when she told the English that “little children should be seen and not heard”.  That myth lives on today in school budgets which allocate more money to older children than younger children so resulting in larger classes for the youngest, and smaller classes in the […]

Bigger is not necessarily Better

An outdated design The opening of the gigantic new Academy in Nottingham yesterday for 3,500 secondary pupils, with twenty classes in each year-group, appalled me.  Maps had to be issued to every one of the bemused 11-year-olds on their first day at ‘big’ school.  Not long ago ‘big school’ to 10-year-olds was that place a […]

Essential Biology

The grain of the brain There is not much that today’s children don’t know about human biology, but there is an awful lot about the neuro-biology of human learning that politicians don’t seem to understand… simply to teach a child something is no guarantee that it will be learnt. To appreciate the difficulties experienced in […]

The 9:13 to London Paddington

Inquisitive Children The 9:13 is the first train on which cheap day family returns are available from Bath.  Those of us wearing smart suits as we head for late morning meetings are, midway through the summer holidays, outnumbered by enthusiastic families off to see the sights of London.  The 9:13 is a happy train. As […]

Strike while the Iron is Hot

Taking children’s questions seriously Last week, writing about Amelie’s question as to whether flat and level were the same thing, I slipped in a shorthand phrase that probably meant little to many of you – I spoke of the Zone of Proximal Development.  I need to explain this. In the most general sense the contemporary […]

Repeat without Conviction

July 27, 2009

Understanding is superior to remembering “Your Briefing Paper for Parliamentarians is too long at thirty-four pages,” said a well-meaning friend last week.  “If you can’t tell Members the ten most important things to do, and how to do them, they will never take any notice.  Take the complexity out of your argument, be realistic and […]

Intergenerational Learning

Wisdom that can’t be taught There is a new word being heard around the block – internship.  Traditionally it meant newly-qualified medical graduates understudying experienced doctors, but Alan Milburn’s Report, “Unleashing Aspirations,” expands the definition to mean young people shadowing experienced professionals so learning some of the tricks of their trade.  Internships are similar to […]

A Briefing Paper for Parliamentarians on the Design Faults at the Heart of English Education

With a General Election in England to be held sometime before June 2010 the Initiative has just produced A Briefing Paper for Parliamentarians on the Design Faults at the Heart of English Education. This will be circulated for all Members, hopefully before the Summer Recess. At the same time the Initiative will do everything it can to stimulate wide popular discussion of the Ten Actions as set out in the Paper by encouraging all Parliamentary candidates to consider the significance of these issues.

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