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Ep 150: A parcel of loveliness


Wood st group











Anne Glennie and Gillian Campbell-Thow bring in the big-round-number of episode 150 for us. Inside Learning is very much the richer for the greater proportion of time we have had from our female colleagues, it is worth remembering that Anne Glennie was the first regular guest to challenge us about the testosterone preponderance on Inside Learning; it is great that she is putting her microphone where her mouth is…..oops!

Anne and Gillian unfortunately let out their violent side as they form the pink-baseball-batted paramilitary wing of Inside Learning in defense of a more engaging education for young people with “little parcels of loveliness” to open and close lessons instead of the worrying call to progressive package use in classrooms. Free range and wholemeal education would be safe in these ladies’ hands!

A call for traditional text-books brings a passion for the best of the Curriculum for Excellence out in the girls with a real fear for teachers losing the creativity of real teaching and becoming “monkeys delivering the curriculum”! 

Breaking the poverty link to university education is a particular passion of Gillian’s and this story really resonated with her.

Is it possible that politics would ever influence the political presentation of educational data? Surely not! Gillian spots a very worrying story!

Of course, in amongst the professional passion about us wanting to be self-critical for our own self-improvement there is always some room for something more celebratory about the achievements of the Scottish system on tonight’s all-tartan podcast.

Thanks so much to @Anne Glennie and @SenoraCT for making Inside Learning a better corner of the interwebs!

Ep 149: #Lingomammy

World cup vigil edition number two sees the “sparky” Gillian Campbell-Thow, Scottish Teacher of the Year Join Matthew again to talk about the poverty gap in education and to turn it around to a potential “poverty of aspiration” gap!







The first story is all about a report on Scottish spending on education dropping in real terms but tied into addressing the poverty gap.

And we extend this into some interesting observations on the English Pupil Premium as a way of addressing the Poverty Gap!

Gillian talks about the use of Twitter in her Languages Department to build “family” and to motivate learners.

We noted with sympathy that England’s World Cup team were struggling as we recorded. Commiserations to the fabulous Englishman Steve Rogers and congratulations to the terribly-partisan-about-all-Spanish-speaking -peoples Gillian Campbell-Thow on Uruguay’s win.

Ep 148: Live or die by the STACS sword

Tonight is the opening game of the (Soccer) World Cup. Steve was therefore unable to commit and prioritise appropriately! (The Tour de France would have been understandable)! At short notice, friend of Inside Learning, Gillian Campbell-Thow stepped in to fill Steve’s size 13’s. Thank you for that Gillian.

The “Billster” (@literacy adviser) is jetsetting in Canada and was therefore not available either. One suspects he may have holed up in front of a television screen somewhere too. We almost had languages guru Joe Dale onboard, however, his jet-set lifestyle left him so eye-droopingly knackered that he has had to agree to reschedule:-)

Gillian however won the Teacher of the Year award in Scotland only this week, so a huge Inside Learning congratulations to her!

Gillian 3 (1 of 1)-3

Tonight’s stories included a bit of exciting news about a public-private vocational college/school venture. Both Gillian and Matthew were fairly excited by this approach and were guardedly optimistic about its potential. Not enough language teaching however says Mrs Campbell-Thow as an understandable knee-jerk. Matthew even revealed that he would be attracted to working there!

No-notice inspections as proposed by Michael Wiltshire were discussed and broadly welcomed by this jury of two!

Gillian then got all international and tolerant about dear Michael Gove’s attempt to Canonise “British Values” whatever they actually are in the wake of the political fallout from Trojan-Horsegate!

Matthew was intrigued by this opinion piece about the challenge for Head-Teacher autonomy by Russell Hobby, Brian Lightman and Steve Munby.


Episode 147: Please, Mr Postman

ecobLetters are being written, and delivered -oh yeah! Including one to Dr Schleicher. In Matthew’s absence Bill and Steve bring the show home in good time, hitting the sub 45 minute mark – wait and see!.  Tonight Bill and Steve chew over the education news and return to some on-going themes, such as concerns about Pisa, a political spat raises question about Gove’s ideology, OFSTED and their objectivity.  The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas gets a mention too.


OECD and Pisa tests are damaging education worldwide – academics write a letter to Dr Schleicher

More letter writing: Ofsted credibility at stake over ‘Trojan Horse’ schools inquiry 

and connected, supposedly secret letters lead to spat that : Cameron vows to ‘sort out’ Gove and May extremism spat

“The science of Smart” from the Brilliant Report e-newsletter (Annie Murphy Paul)

Emporium of Dangerous Ideas: mindfulness training can help reduce teacher stress and burnout

EcoBricks and education Transition Network



Episode 146: To Kill (of) Mice and Men

of-mice-and-menAfter our fortnight of pining for our podcast fix, the talk flows tonight.  Bill joins us for tonight’s news edition, dominated by a trawl through our encounters with English Literature and  Matthew’s admission that he was never that keen on Steinbeck anyway.  The issue of the English literature syllabus raises serious concerns about how we have an exam system that constricts teachers and young people in their engagement with literature.  Does  Mr Gove’s fondness for American cultural icons extend to line-dancing to a Maverick’s tune? The mind boggles.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ axed as Gove orders more Brit lit” by Maev Kennedy, The Guardian

“Angelou and Steinbeck replaced by Ishiguro and Syal in new English GCSE exams” by Alison Flood & Richard Adams, The Guardian

DfE Setting the record straight on the English Literature GCSE

“Gove rebuts claims of American author ban” By Katherine Sellgren  BBC

“Michael Gove hits back in row over GCSE syllabus” by Richard Adams, The Guardian

Other stories raised tonight:

“Grammar schools widen gap between rich and poor” – Independent Story, “Grammar schools widen the gap between rich and poor. Why are we still surprised by this?” – New Statesman

Trinidad pioneers online ‘knowledge network’  By Sean Coughlan, BBC

“UK ‘second best education in Europe'” By Sean Coughlan, BBC


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