Terrorism

I’m writing this column in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Manchester and London.     Appalling attacks such as these are frightening for us all and our sympathies go to all of those caught up in them. In addition, those events provide a challenge for teachers and parents in helping children cope with what can be unsettling experiences for them even if they are far away from the events.   Children react to world events in a huge variety of ways. Some are blissfully unaware of news events; their world is much more local and immediate, with friends and family … Continue reading Terrorism

Mobile madness

Bringing up teenagers is tough. I am sure that, no matter how dim and distant our own teenage story may seem to be, we can all remember the pains and pangs of adolescence. The slammed doors, the sulks in the bedroom, the moans of “it’s so unfair”; the emotional rollercoaster ride we endured has been a common experience for teenagers for a number of generations now. There is one aspect of teenage life however which I think is different for youngsters these days, and it makes their teenage tribulations an order of magnitude more complex: mobile technology. There have been … Continue reading Mobile madness

What do we look for in a good school?

The end of the school holidays means for teachers, schools and many youngsters the results season for public exams. These days the conclusion, at least in the media, of the process is marked by the publication of school league tables. Schools have had a long and uneasy relationship with league tables since they were introduced in the 1990s. No doubt they have played a part in sharpening up practice in schools and they brought some much needed transparency and accountability which, pre-internet, were very difficult for parents to find. They are though not without their flaws. Schools are ranked on … Continue reading What do we look for in a good school?

League tables

The end of the school holidays means for teachers, schools and many youngsters the results season for public exams. These days the conclusion, at least in the media, of the process is marked by the publication of school league tables. Schools have had a long and uneasy relationship with league tables since they were introduced in the 1990s. No doubt they have played a part in sharpening up practice in schools and they brought some much needed transparency and accountability which, pre-internet, were very difficult for parents to find. They are though not without their flaws. Schools are ranked on … Continue reading League tables

We all want a good education for our children. But what do we actually mean by the phrase?

At the heart of a good education is learning, in both senses of the word. This means not only a cultural education in the classical sense – a somewhat Arnoldian “best which has been thought and said in the world” – but also the inculcation of the ability, skills and desire to learn. From a school’s point of view, this means providing a robust, challenging yet flexible curriculum for its pupils; a curriculum which provides not only a solid grounding in the traditional academic subjects but also is responsive to the demands of the 21st century. This comprises an ability … Continue reading We all want a good education for our children. But what do we actually mean by the phrase?

FACT! LIE! Sad! The trouble with the news

We can barely open our internet browsers these days without being swamped by rival factions claiming territory over the truth in the news. Diametrically opposed viewpoints argue their case with vociferous energy, castigate their enemies and fight for airtime on conventional news websites or the pages of social media outlets. We seem to be living in a world of confusion and combativeness, and it isn’t likely to change soon. How do we equip youngsters today to cope with the often quite pernicious effect of “fake news”? Up to now, when we were faced with rumours or scare stories, it was … Continue reading FACT! LIE! Sad! The trouble with the news

The House is the home

This blog is in response to a Times article ‘Schools find bringing back houses is a wizard idea’. “Which house were you in?” It’s the first question exchanged by any two alumni of my school when they meet, and one which is no doubt asked by those who spent time at any boarding school in the country. The response of course is keenly awaited, and once the name is uttered, there will be much good-humoured reminiscing about particular characters in the House or of famous sporting victories in the inter-house competition. School houses are back in the news, with a … Continue reading The House is the home