Search results for "ian whitwham"

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At the chalkface: Every lesson shapes a life

9 January 2019

Have you seen the new one? It’s called “Every Lesson Shapes a Life”. It’s slick, nicely cut and seductive. A girl walks down a cunningly lit school corridor passing through the various stages of her ...

At the chalkface: The Oxbridge fetish

5 December 2018

I was at Oxford – whoops, there we go! Shut up! In 1452. It was all a bit fusty and disorientating. The unchecked privilege, dodgy heritage culture, casual sexism, gender blindness and whopping class ...

At the chalkface: A game of their own

28 November 2018

Give girls the choice to participate in the beautiful game. Like my four-year-old granddaughter does now. She’s already two-footed and executed a rather cheeky Cruyff turn on me the other day.

At the chalkface: Just ask a teacher

21 November 2018

We know these things. The problem has always been the powers that be don’t pay us attention. They “consult”. They construct a face, which doesn’t listen, and generally do zilch

At the chalkace: Any classroom, any time

14 November 2018

“Billy Boy” Byron lives in a caravan under Westway. His drunken father hits him a lot. The teacher wants to like him, but cannot. He wishes he was only absent. So does Billy Boy.

At the chalkface: Wellbeing

7 November 2018

The prime minister is on the case. Children from the age of four will be given an annual “wellbeing test”. By whom? You, of course. You’ll be trained up and rolled out and on stream by 2020.

At the chalkface: The lesson wrecker...

17 October 2018

Ah, but something is waiting out there, something lurks in the inner city air. This is their season. They flourish about now. Before them, all pedagogy is as nought, all teachers impotent. What can ...

At the chalkface: A pork pie and shandy

10 October 2018

He gets a rush hour bus. The road is a snarl up. He gives up, jumps off and races through the park, just in time to be late for school and the Breakfast Club. He gets a bollocking from Ms Strict.

At the chalkface: One in five

19 September 2018

If pupils are too poor or “challenging” they’re somehow chucked out. It’s all the go. You don’t want to screw up those league tables. So “poorer” children must be excluded...

At the chalkface: Speechifying

12 September 2018

"Altitude is attitude,” she says cryptically. Or is it vice-versa? Are we back with the angels? Who knows? The poor pupils are bamboozled.

At the chalkface: A fellowship of good cheer

5 September 2018

Here’s my top survival tip for the new year. Give this stuff no attention. Junk it completely. Make your classroom immune from it. Cultivate a siege mentality...

At the chalkface: Another England

4 July 2018

This terrific department isn’t a one off. Many English departments do this. Poetry is the heart of the subject and children are natural poets.

At the chalkface: Clever?

25 June 2018

This will not happen until we junk the modern syllabus. It kills clever. It stifles it. It can’t remotely measure it. And there are many different ways of being clever, which go unrecognised.

At the chalkface: Old and in the way

20 June 2018

Poor, young drones were drafted in to drill pupils through exams. They were cheap, efficient, obedient, professional, sharp-suited, apolitical and had no union.

At the chalkface: Echoing through eternity

13 June 2018

It’s a line from Gladiator. He smiled. We smiled. They didn’t. Most didn’t get it. It didn’t spread calm, it spread varieties of panic. Many examinees were in such a state of hysteria, they believed ...

At the chalkface: Average

23 May 2018

How dare she? Doesn’t she realise she’s letting the school down? Doesn’t she realise she’s doing nothing for its league position? It must be better than average.

At the chalkface: A ballad of Peckham Rye

16 May 2018

Light falls like a blessing. We’re all passing through. I seem to be having a vision. I’m in good company. Didn’t Blake famously have visions in Peckham Rye? Didn’t he see angels somewhere here?

At the chalkface: Toxic

9 May 2018

I tried to dismantle the fizzy drinks machine and got detention. I gave condescending, useless sermons on class, culture and diet. How could parents foist poison on their own children?

At the chalkface: Revision!

2 May 2018

Universities are, apparently, offering “therapy dogs and rabbits” to soothe the savagely stressed. Read that sentence again. Read it and weep.

At the chalkface: Meeting Mrs Malaprop

25 April 2018

A real perk about being retired is meeting former students. It’s a sort of temporal vertigo. It’s difficult to know what tense you’re in.

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