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Assessing the Manifestos

Last evening’s (8/2/10) BBC’s Newsnight report on the Swedish Private (for profit) School system prompts the question as to whether any other country can teach English schools how to improve, without the English first rigorously and honestly analysising what is the essence of their educational predicament. Contrary to what I suspect their glossy Party Manifestos will say shortly there is no one panacea that can deal with the numerous, yet inter-related, problems which have placed English education in a difficult, unpleasant and often embarrassing situation.

Buying Votes

Failure of leadership William Hogarth’s set of four satirical cartoons, Canvassing for Votes, published in 1758, showed prospective parliamentary candidates pouring beer down the throats of their constituents in the expectation of buying their votes.  We smile tolerantly at such stupidity, and reassure ourselves that nothing so stupid could happen nowadays, thanks to the rules […]

It was a great act… but the candidate didn’t actually answer the questions

A Review of Michael Gove’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference on October 7th 2009 In late August a copy of the Briefing Paper on the design faults at the heart of English education was sent to all MPs.  Within 40 pages it distilled all the thinking of the Initiative (which itself depends on the […]


Going on with your own education Whether Ed Balls at the Labour Party Conference, calling for greater parental support to improve the behaviour of young people was doing this as a political strategy to attract voters or not, is largely immaterial, for the reality on the ground is often dreadful.  The behaviour of young people […]

Things Take Time

Knowledge transfer It was in the early 1980s that several business people and educationalists came together to consider whether there was a role they could play in helping education become more relevant to the needs of a technological age.  They had noted with dismay the findings of a recent Engineering Council report which showed that, […]

Head Teacher

Leaders or Managers? The Labour Party it seems is to go into the Election with a proposal that schools will in future be organised into Federations with a single Superhead responsible for six or more schools, with only a Deputy Head left on site.  The Conservatives, mindful of their often stated explanation for failing schools […]

It’s Really Very Simple

September 25, 2009

The solution to England’s education problem The first of the Party Conferences (the Liberal Democrats) is now over, and soon it will be the turn of Labour and then the Conservatives.  The media is, and will be, full of comment, and counter argument.  Confusion would dominate over-clarity as people try to understand what the different […]

End of a Partnership

Collapsing democracy Under the Education Act of 1944 English state education was based on a partnership between central government who defined the structure, and provided most of the funds through national taxation, and the 140 or so Local Education Authorities (LEA) whose responsibility it was to administer this in the most appropriate way on the […]

Slow Learners

A matter of democracy Chris Woodhead, writing in The Sunday Times about examination results, said “children are not equal.  Physically they come in all shapes and sizes… some have a capacity for academic education, others do not…”  Which is true in all respects but one; while it is self-obvious that they don’t all look, or […]

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