Inside Learning » The Learning Podcast

Masthead header

Episode 108: “Beware of the Blob”

Tonight Matthew and Steve discuss the poor state of educational debate in the UK and how teachers are not best served by snapshot inspections and the terrors of audit regimes conducted by senior leadership teams under pressure to ‘perform’.  Whilst we acknowledge that accountability and striving for the best we can be are essential, how can evidence be gathered, disseminated and then coached in a developmental manner when there are single modes of data collection and a lack of trust in the profession to self-improve?  A tone that is antithetical to learning from each other is set politically through such outpourings as Secretary of State Michael Gove’s extraordinary article in the Daily Mail. Why is he reduced to caricaturing and name-calling opponents of his reforms rather than engaging with the arguments and any evidence that critics might present?  A 100 academics who were signatories to a letter in the Independent newspaper warning about the potential dangers of English curriculum reforms, were variously labelled as the “Enemies of Promise”, “Marxists” and characterised as the Blob.  Contemporary educational debate does not seem to draw upon any thing we have learnt about what makes good learning.  Apparently David Laws made a more conciliatory speech about teachers – can he teach his boss something about public debate?

Gove Daily Mail article

100 Academics

David Laws



Ep 107: The Glennie Blacklist

Dear friend of the ‘cast Anne Glennie joins Matthew to chew over this weeks news including the “by diverse means” report, more confirmation of summer-born babies bias, some tech nervousness in NEET youngsters and some lower than expected reading levels in Secondary learners!



The title will be a blow for the generally popular and loveable David Cameron who apparently suffered slipped-halo-syndrome during our 100th episode recording; you’ll have to listen for this shocking revelation. (He is in the good company of Michael Rosen and our own Jay Helbert:-))

Secondary learners shunning difficult books.

Summer-born babies inequalities surface again.

The new “By Diverse Means” report news item.

Poor IT skills hurt youth job chances.

Thanks very much to Anne for tonight’s “two hander” dramatised version of the ‘cast. If you want more of Anne, then the blog might be a good place to start.





Episode 106: Where the magic happens

Tonight Steve is in conversation with Sarah Burgess and Manjit Shellis, Directors of Learning for the UFA.  The University of the First Age is a national charity that was set up by Tim Brighouse in 1996, and from its roots in Birmingham it has gone on to work with over 750,000 young people and 6,000 adults in 50 regions, to create inspiring learning for all.  A large part of the UFA’s work is enabling young people to enrich their learning experiences through developing their leadership capabilities.  Peer tutoring and leadership of learning are key elements and these are discussed on the programme tonight.  The UFA have recently been involved in the National Citizen Service.



Also Sarah’s blog link:

Sarah can be contacted on and Manjit on _ they do brilliant training, get them in!

Also check out: Whole Education :

Episode 105: The Alchemy of Assessment

Tonight, we are delighted to be joined by Joe Wilson, Head of New Ventures at the Scottish Qualifications Authority.  A title our muckraker general, Matthew, described as windswept.

Joe talks to us about issues around assessment and the Curriculum for Excellence. The flexibility evident in some of the colleges and various forms of on-line assessments can pre-configure some transformational changes in learning.  One of the delights of this conversation was discovering the Thurstone Pairwise Comparison, sounds like a real ale, but underlies a serious challenge to how we traditionally consider marking. Thurstone’s Pairwise Comparison, more info at:

In the news:

Summer-born struggle: Why August children suffer at school, by Caroline McClatchey

Governors story:


Episode 104: Move fast, break stuff

We are delighted to be joined tonight by Charlie Love, creator and author of Glew.  Charlie is really passionate about his work and it’s fantastic to think that such creative people are teaching and working in schools with young people. Charlie talks about creating a ‘one-stop’ solution to provide a scaleable, responsive and secure platform for learning.  The chat raises all sorts of issues about on-line learning and the challenges of a national intranet in Scotland, but which are relevant wherever you are listening.  Glew can be found at

In the news tonight:

Children with disabilities illegally excluded from school, by Janet Murray in the Guardian

The Nesta website:

School wi-fi ‘not fit for 21st Century learning’ By Judith Burns of the BBC

a r c h i v e
c a t s
l i n k s
a d m i n