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Episode 121: Gene, genius

Teachers’ strike: NASUWT claims success as hundreds of schools close

He screams and he bawls
Gene, genius let yourself go
ooh, Gove, go,go, go
– Apologies to David Bowie (a hero), as policy issues light our fires this week




We had a little digression through the world of pricy and obscure academic publishing but here’s an interesting blog on the open access issue; How did the UK government manage to spoil something as good as open access? Here

Please read this paper and contribute your thoughts, we would like to discuss it in the future: Education, justice and democracy: The struggle over ignorance and opportunity” by Professor Stephen Ball Here

Also discussed from the education news:

Bearded Muslim pupil at Accrington school allowed to return

“Genetics outweighs teaching, Gove adviser tells his boss”, story by Patrick Wintour, political editor Guardian

“Michael Gove urged to reject ‘chilling views’ of his special adviser” “Comments by Dominic Cummings on genetics and ‘mediocre’ teachers provoke outrage” By Toby Helm, political editor, Guardian

Is this the kind or research Cumming’s refers to? Here  But then see this: “Bright poor ‘held back for decades’ By Sean Coughlan on the BBC

And now for something completely different:  Master Pieces in schools, BBC resources



Episode 120: An agenda of the superlatives

Well we are back after our longest summer break ever! Matthew has started a new job in a new area of Scotland and as a result has been separated from his beloved bandwidth due to temporary midweek digs. Matthew is now using a wireless broadband card and tonight was our first experiment with it.

The episode naturally started with a love-in between the two old podcasting lags who had missed each other…awww!

And finished with recollections of Graham Finnie explaining CFE and Scottish Education to Steve as an “agenda of superlatives”:

Image from Meer on Flickr under Creative Commons.


Actual content was eventually forthcoming:

The OECD and PISA bringing worrying news of literacy levels to English educators:

Boosting skills essential for tackling joblessness and improving well-being, says OECD

England’s young people near bottom of global league table for basic skills. OECD finds 16- to 24-year-olds have literacy and numeracy levels no better than those of their grandparents’ generation:

Education in England: sliding down the class
Guardian Editorial


Some new Scottish approaches to data comparison for secondaries:

A pair of Free-School disaster stories reinforcing Steve’s concerns:

Al-Madinah free school threatened with closure By James Meilke in the Guardian

London free school headteacher with no teaching qualifications quits
By Rajeev Sayal

A piece about the parts of the Finnish experience that don’t fit our governmental agenda:

Paradoxes of educational improvement: The Finnish experience, Pasi Sahlberg: Scottish Educational Review[1]

The pain of glow 2 delivery continues for Mike Russell and the Scottish Government:

Guy Claxton challenges Scots Curriculum on “primitive language”:

Episode 119: Which Authority Matthew?

Matthew begins in fine style with a senior moment when he momentarily forgets which authority our esteemed guest is a Director in. We are delighted to be joined by Margo Williamson,”Strategic Director of People” for Angus who  shares her wisdom about leadership in general.  A delightful conversation that could have gone on longer.

A couple of news items that are linked through the theme of rethinking structures and systems: plans to let schools decide holiday and term dates in England, various links to the story:

Also discussed: should schools start lessons for some pupils at 10 am?


Episode 118: “I for one welcome our new leaders”

A really stimulating and highly enjoyable conversation tonight as Matthew and Steve are joined by the enormous collective wisdom of our guests: Literacy Adviser, Bill Boyd, The Real David Cameron, and Laurie O’Donnell.  Amongst the wide ranging big picture conversation on current education policy and learning, we get to discuss the report: “By Diverse Means” link here

Bill’s blog is really worth following up; item on New York Times look at Scottish Education: link here

Some of the other item links can be found at:


Episode 117 A Few Good Podcasts

Tonight we join Radio Edutalk for a live programme.  A fascinating conversation about education podcasting and what Edutalk and insidelearning are trying to do.  The programme went out live on Edutalk, we recorded it for our podcast.

John’s blog: “World Wide Wall Display” here

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