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Episode 126 Govebusters!

thWho you gonna call? Insidelearning, of course. (Sorry,  the department have told us this should read: “who are you going to call?”) .

Matthew begins the show on a very positive note following conversations with young people in a comprehensive school on his patch.  We toast them and their teachers.

It all goves downhill from then on.  Our goving reporter is out on the trail of our gove to story, and does not disappoint, goving us some ghoulish nonsense.  From the shady goves of the DfE a plan of demon govishness is hatched for new school boards, replete with chancellors seemingly designed to gove around local education authorities.  Does policy lunacy now gove rn the education asylum and are the fish markets of Aberdeen to blame?

“Michael Gove to appoint new regulators to oversee free schools and academies”,  Guardian article by Richard Adams & Warwick Mansell

“Michael Gove’s work is compromised by the limitations of his own private education”, TES opinion piece by Bernard Barker

Out ectomobile collects other stories:

Not enough practicals in science

Zombie university course

Online courses bridge skills gap

more online but spocs instead of moocs

With special thanks to Julie, tonight’s guest editor.

Episode 125: Canon, and on, and on, and on….

SpittingImageJohnMajor-125 As promised, we get stuck into Alfie Kohn’s list of points to make schools “our children deserve”.   Inevitably, we are thoroughly ill- disciplined about it and enjoy ourselves too much, which means the programme is a long one.  Stick with it, from out of the mash condense little droplets of fine drinking, or something like that.  Where else would you get to hear about the trivium and tap into Bill’s wide reading experience?

More peas dear?  Chewed over on the news tonight are interventions from  John Major and Sir Michael Wilshaw.

“Private school influence in public life ‘shocking'” says Major

“Ofsted chief: schools are undermined by teachers’ ‘resentment of all things managerial’ Stephen Exley, TES blog

“Being out and proud is easier said than done” link to a story about one teacher’s courage and the prevalence of homophobic bullying.

Parsi Sahlberg comments: “Workforce – Why high-flying ‘superstars’ won’t save the day” here



Episode 124: Much A Do About 19 things

51ETIKIAFFL._AA160_Tonight we are delighted to be joined by Bill Bill Boyd, “Literacy Adviser”, from the A-team, (stream?) who is going to be a regular contributor.  Bill’s blog is a must go to site

We try very hard tonight not to mention policy or the G word, Bill mentioned it once but he might have got away with it!  It’s more of a pedagogy, with Pi and chips type programme.

Our conversation could have gone on for a long while, and occasionally degenerated into a bad pun fest, Matthew does not need much encouragement.  Drawing upon Bill’s interests in literacy and story we went onto discuss reading development strategies (7).  In the final part of the programme Bill introduced Alfie Kohn’s work; there are so many rich themes in the ten guidelines (no, belay that, it’s 12) that we have decided to make them the core of next week’s podcast.  This will enable us to reflect on them in more depth.

The story comes from the Washington Post:  “Do we really need education policies and practices to cover everything that goes on in the classroom? Author Alfie Kohn says “no” and offers basic guidelines that can really help teachers”.  By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post  Link here

Alfie Kohn’s website If you have a thoughts or comments about his work, please contribute them and we’ll air them in the discussion.

Also mentioned:

“Students upwardly mobile with iPads” creativity and mobile technology, report in TES

Gareth Malone “Sing While You Work”, a passionate expert, provided Steve with really interesting reflection on the process of teaching. On the BBC

Students really teachers passionate about their subjects Student survey

“Thinking In Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives” Daniel Tammet



Ep 123: Cultural Restorationism

Steve is a little under the weather tonight having undergone some major surgery involving that seldom casually administered medical tool of a general anaesthetic yesterday. Despite being a little groggy from that, the major brain that is the “Stevester”, operating on only 67.56% of capacity, basically runs rings round Matthew! Matthew is of course philosophical about this and resists the temptation to tease as he charitably edits this page.


The theme tonight is a paper by the talented Stephen J Ball entitled Education, Justice and Democracy which is free, and follows nicely from Matthew’s whinging last week about the costs of academic education papers. Stephen blends an informed history of where we are in English education, from a historical analysis, with a clarion call to think quite differently as we move forward. Steve has contributed a publicly free, thought provoking academic paper.


Before this though, we briefly discuss:

Yet another symptom of a broken, (and possibly still dickensian), exam system.

A related Scottish response from friend of the podcast Joe Wilson about the Scottish Qualifications Authority trying out online badges to acknowledge acheivements.

A possible challenge to the traditional religious orthodoxies which see Scottish children being forced to take part in religious worship when they are possibly atheists.



Socks Appeal

Matthew, mic and socks

Matthew showing the creativity that is keeping Inside Learning at the forefront of British Educational podcasting. Mic by Rode. Windshield by Asda male hosiery department! He will remember to collect a proper windshield for the next fabulous show…

Meanwhile the ‘cast starts with Steve collecting the various stories showing the “apple” of Mr Gove’s educational eye perhaps sagging to a “pear”:


Matthew moves on to a bit of an indignation attack about an opinion piece in the TES by the enigmatic ex communist and libertarian Claire Fox:


Steve then picked up the mantle left by absent guest, Louisa Hussey on Literacy in English schools.


And finally Matthew let rip in a second mini-rant about one of the English exam boards analysis of the inaccuracy of teachers predictions of A levels. Why Matthew asks, do we bother to submit them at all?


Lynne - November 3, 2013 - 3:40 pm

Matthew, I felt exactly the same irritation when I read Claire Fox’s piece. Disingenuous and disappointing.

admin - November 3, 2013 - 6:40 pm

Well at least you are only fessing up to one item of righteous indignation Lynne. I seem to be becoming serially annoyed! I’ll work on that for the next few episodes. I am glad that I’m not alone on the student voice piece though:-)

Lynne Jones - November 23, 2013 - 12:08 pm

More balanced piece in TESS this week ‘When student voice is worth shouting about’
No need for the righteous indignation this time!

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