Category Archives: Education

The opposite of scholarship

John Rentoul quotes India Knight: Gove’s proposals are, to me, socialist in their intention, which is to equip every child with the sort of education that has traditionally been available to only a very few. How is that wrong? And what do left-leaning academics think they’re doing when they say, “Ooh, no, the children won’t […]


While I’m on the subject of ideologues ignoring facts, this thread over at the Website of the obnoxious Local Schools Network is both informative and entertaining, unlike the article that started it. One of Andrew Old‘s contributions late in the debate says much of what I think about most quack educationalists in two paragraphs: And […]

Lessons For Us All

I recommend you read all of this Martin In The Margins post: Taliban tactics in Tower Hamlets: I’m not sure why I’ve been so affected by the story of Gary Smith, the east London RE teacher who was assaulted by four Islamic extremists because they disapproved of him teaching religion to Muslim girls. Perhaps it […]

A Face-Saving Exercise

The BBC reports: A former soldier who was jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan has handed back a medal in protest at Britain’s involvement in the war. “There’s a real up-swell of awareness now among military families and among the military, and among the people in this country, that this conflict is, has kind […]

“It’s not his fault, miss; he’s Anger Management.”

People will focus on what Katharine Birbalsingh said about the failure of this country’s educational establishment to serve poor black boys, but the bigger disaster, in simple numbers, is its failure to serve working-class whites. Pseudoscience, whether it’s Marxism or eugenics or anti-vaccine hysteria or educationalist psychobabble, is often characterized by rich people making money […]

Support World-Class UK Research Universities

Which of this month’s begging letters from my almae matres more rapidly and effectively earned its place in my bin? Was it the one from Oxford University that began: Dear Mr Counsell Today the defining struggle in the world is between relentless growth and the potential for collaboration. which, if it means anything at all, […]

Self-Replacing Elites

The BBC’s Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield is broadly happy with his children’s French education, but he does have one complaint: French schools have absolutely no extra-curricular activities. There are no debating societies, no orchestras, no film clubs, no sports teams, no painting classes, no school newspapers, and no drama, at least none worthy of the […]

The ChipOx Club Acquires Another Member

I hated Oxford and didn’t speak to anyone the whole first term, she says.I hated the way students used big words when plain English would do, how they laughed at things that weren’t funny, and how they spent the day in the library, then lied that they’d done no work. I also thought they’d reject […]


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Great Moments In Music Pedagogy, No. 2 980

The guitarist in the band I’m in has a diploma in (popular) music performance and his music theory is pretty good—certainly better than mine—but he was never taught any music history and he’s only just turned twenty-one. So when, during a discussion about the scores the sax player had written1 for himself and the trumpet […]

Former Labour Party Wonks No Longer Able To Deny Links With Nigerian-Born Internet Operator

I’ve been reading “a blog from the back room” and “Conor’s Commentary” for a few months. Now I’ve added them both to the roll here. Like this:Like Loading…

Good Sports

In the summer of 2006, a particular grim one for British sport, this blog made public the list of new events planned for the 2012 London Olympics. Following the nation’s successes in Beijing, that has been further revised to include the following, again in alphabetical order: 4×4 Hundred-School Run Aussie Baiting Chopper-, Grifter-, Strika-, and […]

Taking Irony To The Next Level

This morning I received an email from a community college in Canada asking permission to publish a link on its Website to the Website of Index on Censorship. Like this:Like Loading…

Thamesmead, Riverside School, 76–78

For a long time, PooterGeek’s homepage has been decorated with a school photo of me shot in, I think, 1979. I’ve taken the sensible advice of one of my readers and moved it. It’s still here, but on the “About” page where it doesn’t unbalance the new site design. The original print from which the […]


Every year the National Union of Teachers conference can be counted on for some beyond-parody educationalist nonsense. I enjoyed this one today from the BBC News site. As part of the perennial moan that children are being tested too much an NUT delegate worried that: Even nursery-age children were being taught to spell and write […]

Christmas Cuteness On Film

On Christmas Day, I posted a quick snap of my niece and nephew taken with my new freebie digital camera. I’ve just got some scans of developed film back from the lab so I can share a few steam-powered Christmas photos with you. Here’s Sam playing with one of his new remote-controlled dinosaurs: Sam and […]


I was so uncool at university that I only made it to the periphery of a gang of sad scientists. One full member of the group could play immaculate air drums. I think he might have owned a small drum kit at some point, but he wasn’t a drummer. He’d sit on a chair in […]

Entertainment Elsewhere

While I’m away, you might want to read Let’s Be Sensible‘s “science” round-up and a couple of posts at Mr E’s place. This one is about a news story that highlights the absurdities of religious schools in England and Wales and this one is about the latest Conservative Party screw-up. When they do get rid of Cameron as […]

Ex-Scientist Recommends Government Offer Financial Incentive To Encourage Members Of CBI To Study Basic Economics

Following on from Tim’s comment, according to BBC News online: More young people would take science degrees if they were given a financial incentive, claim industry experts. […but obviously we’d rather the government came up with this financial incentive while we continue to offer those with science degrees less than they are worth, and complain […]

Lightly Worn

Beachy Head[click image to enlarge it] I was eating breakfast in an hotel in Cambridge the Saturday morning after I shot that college ball. A tall, intense-looking man with a beard sat down at a table nearby. He pulled a hardback book out of his briefcase and began underlining paragraphs heavily with a soft pencil. […]


This has been online for so long and is so funny that it’s hard to believe that no one has sent me a link to it before. Perhaps this is because it’s a German health and safety video and, for the first minute or so, is exactly as entertaining as that description suggests. But it […]

Davina Retribution

I think I should write a script that automatically generates a post linking to Shamer’s latest review of Question Time every week. Like this:Like Loading…

Practical From Hell

I’m probably in a (large) minority in thinking this, but it’s a Bad Thing that we’re raising a generation of science students who won’t get this joke. Like this:Like Loading…


This civil engineering computer simulation [YouTube video] of one of the September 11 impacts is all the more shocking for being created without factoring in the explosions or heat damage. It also omits the fleeing spectating Jews, holographically concealed missiles, and shaped charges planted in the tower by giant lizards. Scientists and engineers, eh? They’re […]

Citizen Ghale

My dad has long been associated, as a member and officer, with the largest UK teaching union, the NAS/UWT. Indeed, in classic working-class northerner style, he first had a heart attack as he arrived at a union conference. Equally typically, after it was initially misdiagnosed by a junior doctor as a digestive problem, he just […]

It’s All In The Hanging

Jogging from the bank yesterday evening to catch Richard Brincklow‘s in-store performance at Passenger‘s launch of their new single [buy it now!*], I stopped to photograph this: Regulars will know that I am not an admirer of Banksy’s work, but circumstances and the shrewd planning of the staff at artrepublic temporarily turned the 2006 effort […]

Say It Loud: I’m Chippy And Proud

“Chippy!” is the cry of a winner in the lottery of birth losing an argument. There’s a scene near the beginning of Casino Royale in which Vesper Lynd practises some amateur psychology on 007 as they sit opposite each other on the Eurostar. She says something like: You’re Oxford, but not from money, hence that […]

The Peak District Massive

My sister has done her share of lecturing and teaching in some of England and Wales’s less illustrious educational institutions. Now (as I have bragged before on her behalf) she teaches law in the sixth form of one of the best state schools in the country. The school is so good she and her family […]

Shocking Revelations About David Cameron’s Schooldays

Despite attending The Best School in England™, the Leader of the Opposition only managed four As, five Bs, and a C in his ‘O’ levels. Like this:Like Loading…

Kant, Not Puccini

You can download a series of Glasgow University lectures about Kant on MP3. Like this:Like Loading…

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