Search results for "ian whitwham"


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At the chalkface: Uniform

28 September 2016

Well, no. I’m with the headteacher Tate on this one. Rules is rules – just shut up and do it. I surprise myself.

At the chalkface: Happy?

21 September 2016

“Keep up the pressure, no relaxation,” was the mantra of my last headteacher. It works. Anxiety levels go through the roof. And, finally, make sure that “everyone is above average”, a key concept ...

At the chalkface: Grammar Schools

14 September 2016

I somehow passed the 11-plus. I still don’t know how. I could spell “necessary” and “accommodate” and could recall with tedious accuracy what I did on my holidays...

At the chalkface: Credo

7 September 2016

It might get told in detention, corridor, playground or the classroom, but it must get told. Your job is to gain the pupil’s trust and simply listen. If you don’t you’re probably in for trouble, they ...

At the chalkface: Sissy Jupe – part 2

6 July 2016

It is more necessary and exciting teaching in the inner city. It is where things happen. Ms Sissy Jupe is going to stay – and the school and the children are very lucky to have her...

At the chalkface: Punk

29 June 2016

I remember 1976-78 so well. I was a young teacher in Ladbroke Grove. Suddenly our school was charged with punk energy. It was barmy, stupid, frightening, nihilist, funny, clever and confrontational, ...

At the chalkface: By heart

22 June 2016

The older I’ve got the more relevant it has become. It has served me well for, among things Brexit, tragedies, Nigel Farage, MRI scans, Donald Trump, strokes, and pretty much anything Michael Gove ...

At the chalkface: White working class boys

15 June 2016

I’m reluctant to write about this topic. It’s a can of worms. Everybody gets it wrong. Nobody quite knows. You can end up being condescending, snobbish, generic or just plain ignorant – but here goes ...

At the chalkface: Of Mice and Men and Gove

25 May 2016

Good classes and difficult classes – especially difficult classes – were mesmerised. Wild boys, who never read a book, listened, rapt. I never got bored reading it for the umpteenth time and they ...

At the chalkface: Mental health

18 May 2016

She also spoke about spiralling poverty and the increase of anxiety, self-harm, anorexia, bulimia, serious depression and suicide. School is driving more pupils mad. She had to go.

At the chalkface: Billy Plum

11 May 2016

More importantly, the school needs his C for its league table position. It’s an exam factory. To this end, an army of help has been assembled. For nigh-on 18 months he’s been in a C/D hot-housing ...

At the chalkface: Sadia

4 May 2016

Sadia is more frightened than she used to be – by the increasing demonising of Islam, the incessant drizzle of Daily Express and Daily Mail headlines, which seem to be peddling something close to ...

At the chalkface: Statistics

27 April 2016

Forty-three per cent of teachers plan to leave in the next five years and early retirement will increase. Good riddance. I was teaching at 100. Some of my best friends are posthumous and they’re ...

At the chalkface: Read to your child!

20 April 2016

I don’t care what class you belong to, you can always tell a baby a bedtime story. Children never forget them. Not to do so is a crime. To shut the door on a baby without a tale is unforgivable.

At the chalkface: Social determinism

13 April 2016

If my dark visions are the new reality, if the rich have got it all stitched up, if state school exams count for so little, surely we could scrap all those scuzzy academies and go back to real ...

At the chalkface: Their secret lives

16 March 2016

Their lives might not be this good again. It’s this stuff you remember about Lily, Timothy – and any number of others – and why you mostly teach...

At the chalkface: Cognitive dissonance

9 March 2016

Cognitive dissonance rules. UK schools are either the most intellectual and happiest and best in the world or the dimmest and unhappiest and worst in the world.

At the chalkface: Libraries

2 March 2016

I wrote five years ago about how Kensal Rise Library was to be pulled down. It was opened 100 years ago by Mark Twain, but there was nothing he could do, what with being dead. It looked like the end.

At the chalkface: The cleansing of Dave Mania

24 February 2016

We’ve all had the serious lesson wrecker in the back of our classrooms. S/he can ruin your best laid plans, prompt savage migraines, and harm the life chances of other pupils. Something must be done.

At the chalkface: Dark Star

27 January 2016

Enter Courtney, a thin, tall boy, ballet flats, Ziggy hair, mixed race, very camp, and probably transvestite. “I’m an alligator, I’m a mama-papa coming for you.” It’s a bit early for this sort of ...

At the chalkface: A moral dilemma

20 January 2016

“But we ain’t doin’ nothing!!” Ah, the legendary phrase. I’ve heard it for 40 years. That flat denial of a misdemeanour as it is being enacted. All those negatives. They’ve always not been doing ...

At the chalkface: Grim negotiations

13 January 2016

Another Parents’ Evening rolls round, this time for the 11th years. Always a big one. A New Year. New targets – and five high-pressured months to the exams, whose results will dictate their tiny ...

At the chalkface: Get happy

6 January 2016

As you wend your way through the early morning murk, traumas of the festive season dimming, resolutions fading like action plans, towards yet another of those riveting New Year Briefings, does your ...

At the chalkface: Winter light

2 December 2015

Even Mother Mania has come to school. A first. Well, she’s here tonight and kissing her errant son, who grins proudly. At last he’s been witnessed.

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