“Stick close to your desks and never go to sea / … you all may be rulers of the Queen’s Navee”

Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore Sir Joseph Porter, KCB: When I was a lad I served a term As office boy to an Attorney’s firm. I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor, And I polished up the handle of the big front door. Chorus: He polished up the handle of the big front […]

The Politics of Education Research & “What Works” Randomised Controlled Trials

“Political and ideological differences, or perceived differences, are often argued-out explicitly, but sometimes the conflict is carried out via “proxies”. In the case of the deep divisions about educational policies and practices, for the past couple of decades the battle has been pursued on both fronts – explicitly, but also via proxies in the area […]

Education Myths

With so many myths in education, it’s a wonder anyone learns anything at all: Seven Myths About Education 8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness Myths in Education, Learning and Teaching 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools 10 Myths About Education in the US and What It will Take to Fix Our Schools […]

‘Gove’s academies: 1980s idea rebranded?’ by Mike Baker

BBC News, August 2010 “In education, if you wait long enough, most ideas come full circle. This week saw Royal Assent for the Academies Bill, one of the fastest pieces of education law ever enacted. But while it could have far-reaching implications, the Academies Act actually turns back the clock to a reform brought in […]

Rationalism in Education: Michael Oakeshott

“The object of this essay is to consider the character and pedigree of the most remarkable intellectual fashion of post-Renaissance Europe. The Rationalism with which I am concerned is modern Rationalism. The general character and disposition of the Rationalist are, I think., difficult to identify. At bottom he stands (he always stands) for independence of […]

‘You are to be in all things regulated and governed,’ said the gentleman, ‘by fact.’

Hard Times Charles Dickens CHAPTER II MURDERING THE INNOCENTS Thomas Gradgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir—peremptorily Thomas—Thomas Gradgrind. […]

‘In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!’

This year is the 160th anniversary of the publication of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, and it remains as relevant to battles over education and schooling as ever. CHAPTER I THE ONE THING NEEDFUL ‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing […]

When is a teacher unqualified, @TristramHuntMP?

The question to be addressed in this short post is prompted by statements made on a number of occasions by Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow Education Secretary. Mr. Hunt has recently made a number of public remarks about how the Tories have been wrong to allow schools to employ unqualified teachers (E.g. here, here, and here). […]

The Real Problem is “The Snob”, Not “The Blob”, Mr. Gove.

The Snob, n. – A person who admires and seeks to imitate, or associate with, those of higher social status or greater wealth; one who wishes to be regarded as a person of social importance. – A person who despises those whom he or she considers to be inferior in rank, attainment, or taste. First […]

Why do teachers go on strike?

On October 17th the main teaching unions in England have organised a day of strikes (also known as industrial action, or walkouts) that will shut most schools and cause a good deal of disruption to the daily routines of millions of people across the country. However, this week alone teacher strikes have also been witnessed […]

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