Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Education Category

Hey politician, leave those teachers alone

  • April 09, 2012
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For the last eleven years I”ve been going to the National Union of Teachers Easter Conference, which my partner attends as a union delegate, so you could say that I’m a little biased when it comes to my assessment of these events.

I only attend the conference as a sporadic observer, but whenever I do I’m invariably impressed by the passion, insight and dedication of so many of the speakers, and by the intelligence, thoughtfulness and breadth of opinion that informs their debates.

Every year I”m always struck by the discrepancy between what I observe at...

Kick your local teacher now!

  • January 14, 2012
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Apart from, say, deporting more asylum seekers or walking out on EU summits, there are few things politicians can do that are more guaranteed to warm the cold shrivelled heart of the Daily Mail than engage in a little bout of teacher-bashing.

The Mail‘s loathing of teachers is rooted in a reductionist insistence on an education...

Michael Gove runs into a wall

  • January 08, 2012
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There’s an interesting article in yesterday”s Guardian about Michael Gove”s ongoing battle with Downhills primary school in Tottenham, which the Education Secretary is frantically trying to turn into an academy.

Gove”s plans are being resisted by parents, teachers and school governors, all of whom have been labelled “ideologues” by the Education Secretary a real...

The curse of Ofsted

  • November 23, 2011
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How do I loathe Ofsted? Let me count the ways.   Last month inspectors from the  Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services visited  Highfields, the local comprehensive school that my daughter attends.  Like most parents I know, I think the school functions very well.   Despite the constraints of the national...

Gove’s classroom armies

  • September 02, 2011
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The riots have provided another boost for one of Michael Gove’s pet projects – the ‘troops to teachers’ programme.   In a wide-ranging  speech at Durand academy in Stockwell yesterday, the toad-like Education Secretary outlined forthcoming proposals this autumn to retrain former soldiers as primary and secondary school teachers.

This idea was first mooted...

Sandals In Harrogate

  • April 25, 2011
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As usual I’ve spent the Easter weekend at the National Union of Teachers conference in Harrogate, where my partner is a delegate.      There’s always a striking disconnect between what happens at these annual conferences and the way they are reported in the UK media.     As an occasional conference  observer and an...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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