Wairoa – Hometown Blues

Before the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, ‘The Independent’ newspaper ran a story telling their British readers that there was a violent underbelly to New Zealand society, citing gang troubles in the northern Hawkes Bay town of Wairoa as evidence. The examples they used were graphic, including gang shootings and a culture of […]

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Making a Difference

Making a Difference As a society, we spend an inordinate amount of time, resources and money looking at how to improve the quality of education in our schools. The questions we ask ourselves are always the same. How do we improve the quality of teaching and learning? (and its corollary, our examination results?) How do […]

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Do I Miss Inset Days? Not likely!

Do I Miss Inset Days? Not Likely! Since 1988, state schools in the United Kingdom have been required to offer their staff a total of five inset days each year – often called ‘Baker’ Days after the then Conservative Education Secretary, Kenneth Baker who introduced the measure. In state schools, these days can be scattered […]

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The Lower You Are, The Harder You Fall

The Lower You Are, The Harder You Fall.  If there is anything that gets people’s backs up and causes deep anger and resentment, it is the actions and attitude of wealthy institutions and individuals and their avoidance of paying their dues to society. This was fuelled this month by the corporate filings of Reuters, JP […]

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It’s Ugly Out There.

It’s Ugly Out There. Why is everyone so damned angry? What is it these last few years that has made people so aggressive and impatient and ready to have a go at anyone with whom they disagree. Why the coiled spring? Why the poison pen and acid tongue? What happened to the old dictum that […]

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Clive James: Dying by Inches

Clive James: Dying by Inches Over recent months, I have been spending time in the company of Clive James, the writer, critic and poet. After a lifetime of heavy smoking and intemperate drinking, James was diagnosed with emphysema and kidney failure in 2010 as well as chronic leukemia and by June 2012 admitted on Radio […]

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Thomas Hardy and Education

Thomas Hardy and Education:   “Ah, there’s too much of that sending to school in these days! It only does harm. Every gatepost and barn’s door you come to is sure to have some bad word or other chalked upon it by the young rascals: a woman can hardly pass for shame some times. If […]

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IQ – EQ = Bullingdon Club “It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.” Professor Stephen Hawking “He’s very smart. He has an IQ.” Leo Rosten “He’s like a lighthouse in the middle of a bog – brilliant but useless.” John Kelly attrib The comments by Boris Johnson in 2013 about the […]

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In my Beginning is my End

In my Beginning is my End  “We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. This year is the 50th anniversary of the death of T S Eliot on 4 January, 1965, a passing overshadowed at […]

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Catch the Wind

When Donovan sang of trying to ‘Catch the Wind’ in his 1960s song, its title was intended as a metaphor for the futility of attempting what was seen as impossible. Even though it hasn’t proved so, the capture of wind has proved less problematic than the ‘farming’ of it and all the associate costs that […]

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