Category Archives: Blogs

You can’t remember your way to understanding hard stuff

Probably the most important short statement ever made about teaching and learning is this from Vygotsky. As we know from investigations of concept formation, a concept is more than the sum of certain associative bonds formed by memory, more than … Continue reading

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Is the mental health crisis in English schools being driven by the changes in teaching methods demanded by marketisation?

School refusal, school exclusions, self harm, drug culture, gang violence, social media and child suicides all appear to be linked, but there is no consensus on either the main causes, or effective responses, as is clear from this Guardian article. … Continue reading


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Where does EEF stand on knowledge-based teaching?

The value of metacogition has been recognised by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and followers can sign up to receive a ten part briefing on the subject by Alex Quigley. This is from the introduction to the first instalment. Since we … Continue reading

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The knowledge-based curriculum: self evident, or a Trojan horse for educational regime change?

The purpose of schools is to fill the heads of children with knowledge. Who could argue with that? It’s obvious right?  ‘Self evident’ has always been a slippery and transient concept. Ships cannot be made out of iron. Iron sinks, … Continue reading

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England’s invisible kids: government condoned negligence?

This was the subject of the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme broadcast on 4 February 2019. As the number of children leaving school in favour of home education doubles, Dispatches asks why, and if parents’ rights to remove a child are coming before … Continue reading

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Academisation and Progress 8 – the twin drivers of educational failure

This article contains many quotes from others (follow the links). All such quotes are in italics. The blog site ‘Reclaiming Schools’ has published another well-argued article about Progress 8 . Progress 8 was supposed to be a fair measure of secondary … Continue reading

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The Pupil Premium – OfSTED National Director responds

I have recently written a number of articles on the subject of the ‘Attainment Gap’ and the ‘Pupil Premium’. Having discovered the email address for Amanda Spielman from her letter to the Public Accounts committee, I have tried to engage … Continue reading

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Bullying in schools – update

This update of my article of 25 April 2016 has been prompted by the recent case of the children of a Syrian family being bullied and the aggression recorded on a mobile phone then posted on social media generating millions of … Continue reading

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Pupil Premium accountability

Professor Becky Allen of the UCL Institute of Education has written important articles about the Pupil Premium (PP) that I discuss here and here. It is perfectly reasonable for OfSTED to demand accountability for additional funding generated by the PP. … Continue reading

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Combating juvenile knife crime – is there a role for schools?

I have just watched Emily Thornbury on the Andrew Marr show (11 Nov 2018) being asked about the view of the London Mayor that, “the problem would take a generation to solve”. Ever the journalist, Marr was trying to get … Continue reading

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