Sunday, December 28, 2008

Colin Adams

50 year old Colin Adams is now £250 000 richer after a 12 year old attacked him at school. Various hopeless cases did nothing to help.

Two points spring immediately to mind:

1) Any 12 year old attempting to strangle me, would do so for exactly one second before being dragged away by their ear to be locked in the stock cupboard whilst I phone the police and have a soothing cup of tea, before getting on with my next lesson. I would be perfectly confident that there would be no repercussions against me whatsoever. (Certainly nothing ever happened on the dozens of occasions when I did similar things anyway)

2) Had I realised that £250 000 might be on offer however, I would have immediately developed stress, backache and Bird Flu.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Elf and Safety

There is a constant war going on between those who work for Health and Safety and claim that their rules are only intended to keep us safe, but are constantly being misinterpreted by the incompetent (eg me) for their own ends and those who are on the receiving end of these rules and claim that they must have been dreamt up after a three hour, booze soaked lunch in order to keep vast numbers of otherwise unemployable people occupied.

This story fuels both sides of the argument.

ps 'Elf' in the title is my one concession to Xmas this year, as I'm already sick to death of it. Tacky decorations, awful songs and Santa seem to have been torturing me since late October. Roll on the New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Role Models

As teachers will now have to behave themselves outside school, whilst their pupils do whatever they like, I've had to write to the GTCE to check that it's ok for Mrs C to carry on working two nights a week at our local Lap Dancing Club.

Poor sod

This could so easily have been me and I cheerfully admit to having done exactly the same on a number of occasions. It's easy to judge his actions as wrong from an armchair, but damn near impossible not to react occasionally, when it's a day in day out occurrence. Anyone who wants to criticise him ought to try and keep order in one of our hell hole schools.

Net result: one teacher with his career in ruins and a bunch of kids who have learnt that they can do anything they like.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fishy Answers

Here's the AQA accepted answers to the question in the previous post, ie the notes that the person marking the paper would see. (Reproduced without permission)

Scientists figures based on research /calculations / data
or scientists sample whole area.

Fishermen based on impression / hearsay /experience
or fishermen fish in well-stocked / limited areas

ignore reasons based on bias

Scientists sample a wider area= 2 marks
Fishermen only fish in well-stocked areas = 2 marks
If no marks gained fishermens’ opinion and scientists’ opinion gains 1 mark

Now the point that I have spent two posts getting to is:

Do you want your kids doing questions like this or would you rather they learnt about how the fish maintains its buoyancy whilst swimming along, how it absorbs oxygen and whether it ever needs to drink?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AQA- Science Without The Science

You may have heard me make fun of the AQA and its Science without the Science syllabus. In case you are still labouring under the idea that Science has something to do with facts, here's a question from their 2007 Biology Paper. (I don't have permission to reproduce it, so feel free to sue me)

Every December the European Commission makes proposals for cod fishing quotas in European Union (EU) waters. These quotas take into account data obtained by scientists.

Scientists calculate what proportion of the cod stock is being caught each year. They do this by working out the numbers in each age-group of cod.

Every year the fishermen say the scientists are exaggerating the danger to the stocks in the North Sea. The scientists say the fishermen are threatening their own long-term livelihoods by ignoring their warnings of a collapse of cod populations.

The scientists say that fishermen go only to parts of the sea where there are a lot of cod, so they get the wrong idea of the number of cod in the whole area.

a) The scientists and the fishermen have different opinions about the size of the cod population.Explain why. (2 Marks)

My answer was that the fishermen need to go fishing to make money, so will therefore claim that there are plenty of fish. The Scientists will say that there is a disaster looming because their funding will not continue for much longer if they don't find a problem.

Unfortunately like a dodgy song at Eurovision, I scored null points. As a poor loser, my next comment was: What subject is this meant to be?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Green and Blacks

Hot on the heels of the Santa Deniers comes another exclusive revelation...

I've long been a fan of Green and Blacks Chocolate, but feel duty bound to let you in on a secret. All their 100g bars actually weigh 125g, so you are getting an unadvertised 25% extra free.

The sceptical should try weighing an unwrapped one for themselves. A useful talent of mine, which never fails to impress; is that if you tell me the colour of the end of one of their wrappers I can identify the flavour, quick as a flash. eg If you were to approach me and mutter 'Light Blue', I would astonish you by immediately replying; 'Milk!'

Believe it or not, the reverse is also true: even if you were to try and defeat me with 'Maya Gold' I would instantly shout; 'Dark Red!' and receive admiring glances from any onlookers

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa Deniers

Santa Deniers are one of the biggest problems facing state education in Britain today. Well done to Blackshaw Lane Primary School for having the courage to take a stand on such an important issue.

When I did my PGCE we were lectured for weeks on the importance of maintaining a belief in Father Christmas (at least until some fat woman in stripey woollen tights and shoes with bangles got offended by the sexism inherent in the name 'Father')

Monday, December 08, 2008

Not In My Name...

Something struck me the other day (no, not Mrs. C) when I noticed that Inspector Gadget was looking forward to the 2 millionth 'hit' on his blog and current scourge of the Canadian Criminal Classes; Copperfield was not far behind. Both of these writers seem to represent the rank and file members of their profession. I've spoken to a couple of dozen coppers over the last few years and every one of them was familiar with the blogs and agreed that they say in public what every plod says in private.

Now my point is this: I haven't reached the million mark yet and won't do for several months, yet there are five times as many teachers as police. There can only be two possible answers to this conundrum:

a) I am not half as good aJustify Full blog writer as Copperfield or Gadget.
b) I do not represent the majority of my profession.

Now much as I like and agree with both Gadget and Copperfield, I don't think that they are in a completely different league to myself. Therefore I must consider option b) which after listening to Mrs Chalk's latest tales of hopelessness from her school, may well be true. (I have also on one memorable occasion overheard a couple of teachers describing my own book as 'a disgrace')

Now don't start blubbering; I'm far too thick skinned to worry about these things and in any case, I tend to write mainly for my own amusement. However it does raise some interesting questions and maybe I should put a little caveat on the bottom of each post along the lines of 'Caution-Does not reflect majority opinion'

Anyway, enough of that; just remember not to do this in your next lesson

Sunday, December 07, 2008


This old chestnut resurfaces with depressing regularity. These articles inevitably point out half a dozen people (always including Richard Branson) who did very badly at school and then did spectacularly well in later life, but forget to mention the 5 million counter examples who did very badly at school and went on to do even worse when they left. (Or the equally huge number of people who did well at school and then continued to do well afterwards.)

Even if exams are nothing more than exercises in rote learning and jumping through hoops (that's that's how I always treated mine anyway) they do separate those who can learn to do so from those who can't.

I love the statistics in the article- "77% of people do not believe that exams reflect their true intelligence". Well a survey carried out at 11 pm last night found that 100% of a group consisting of some friends and myself did not believe that a bad result in anything reflected our true ability.

Friday, December 05, 2008


I'd always thought of the Aussies as a tough, straight talking, no nonsense people. However they seem to be doing their best to prove me wrong. (Thanks to Laura for this one)

I can remember hearing similar advice in Britain about 15 years ago. Maybe it's a case of where the American hand wringers go, our sandal wearers follow; then a few years later when the average Brit has finally stopped rolling about laughing, some Australian beardie wierdie thinks "Oh that sounds like a good idea..."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Computers etc.

This is hardly news- but as the author says; imagine what they're looking at on their own computers. In fact don't.

Journalists across the land are rejoicing and thanking Allah that someone's banned Christmas at last! I was starting to worry that we wouldn't see that traditional headline this year.

Moving on to the Scottish Teacher struck off for incompetence; you would normally expect a Daily Mail style rant from me about 'standards' or something, but to be honest I can't help but think that:

a) She doesn't sound half as bad as some of the staff at my school.
b) If we sack all the incompetent teachers, who will make up the SMTs of tomorrow?

Actually when I read through the list of things that she has done, I have to admit that apart from dancing around the classroom, I've done all of them myself and I can't even spell the word 'incompetent'

Still at least Mr Hunter's daughter will be leaping out of bed in the morning now.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gold Stars and Smiley Faces

This piece was written 12 years ago in the States; but where America has gone, we have followed.

Royal Society of Chemistry Petition

I've just received this email from the RSC.

I'd like to add something to your blog if possible - I've just spotted this after a very busy week at the RSC. I'm the Campaigns Manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Our Chief Executive, Dr Richard Pike, devised the chemistry competition to throw light on the issue of declining standards in school science examinations. Let me make it clear that it's not the pupils or the teachers that we're criticising here (although we need thousands more knowledgeable, talented teachers and better school labs if we are going to make real progress) - our target is the education system that fails to stretch the brightest pupils and fails to provide the problem-solving skills that we need to stay competitive.

If you support us, and you agree that the Government cannot be allowed to simply ignore this problem, then can I ask that you sign our petition which is on the Downing Street web site, which you can find at: Thanks for posting this, and for your support.

Richard Porte
Manager Campaigns
Royal Society of Chemistry

Have a read of their petition and sign up if you agree. I hope it has more luck than mine did.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crookes houses Sheffield

Well it's that time of year again, when students start looking for houses for the next academic year. It seems to get earlier and earlier. (I remember we didn't start looking until about Easter).

If you happen to be lucky enough to be studying at Sheffield University and wish to avoid old fashioned, damp and mouldy houses then contact this guy who comes highly recommended from a friend. His places are in Crookes which apparently is the best place to live.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry is a prestigious association, which resulted from the coming together of four different organisations who could claim such scientific giants as Faraday, Rutherford, and Curie amongst their members. Nobel Prize Winner Prof Harold Kroto is its current President.

It isn't exactly renowned for wild announcements and the Government would be wise to pay attention to its claims...

Phone Fun

This is just the sort of thing I'd have got up to at school if only the technology had been available. (Except that my antics would have been a lot more shocking)

Any school that hasn't got the courage to ban mobile phones deserves all they get.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For Better and For Worse

I happily admit that I don't know much about what goes on in Primary Schools, which is probably why I can't work out how it can be that children's behaviour there has improved so much , when it's become so much worse in Secondary Schools.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Minister for Schools, children and something else, Ed Balls is not expected to announce the introduction of 'Kick a Ginger' Day in British Schools this week.

A Fine Mess

A central theme of this Blog has always been:

If the general public knew what really goes on in many of our schools they would march on Number Ten and burn it to the ground.

This is a good example. We are sending a strong, clear message to pupils who cannot behave in school. Unfortunately that message is something along the lines of:

"Do that again, naughty pupil and we will er... probably just tell you not to do it again"

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today's award for Buffoonery goes to keen Gary Glitter fans, and Tram Timetable enthusiasts; the AQA.

Unfortunately they forgot to check that the options on their Answer Sheet matched the questions on this morning's Science Multiple Choice Paper.

Anybody who fancies earning a bit of spare cash for marking a hundred thousand or so of these papers should give them a call.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fat Free

I've always poked fun at the fatties but for this man, a few extra doughnuts seem to have paid dividends. Frustratingly I can't come up with a good Sun Style Headline for this one and I know that it will keep me awake tonight.

Others who should have been awake include the watchman of this oil tanker, hijacked by a bunch of clowns who didn't realise that 'Pirates of the Caribbean' was not a documentary. I can only hope that men with guns sort out Blackbeard and Co. before Gordon Brown can offer them all asylum.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Appliance of Science

Loud bangs, electric shocks, kids' hair standing on end, flames shooting out of apparatus and evacuating the lab as it fills with smoke. These events were a regular part of my lessons (even when I only taught French).

This survey surely can't come as any surprise. Our Kids are less interested in a Science career than those from other EU countries. That's because our Science syllabus is now pretty dull and many teachers do not do any interesting practicals.

There are still teachers who do; but lots of them are put off by the endless safety guidelines that accompany every experiment, others simply don't know what they are allowed to do and a few recent recruits just find Science all a bit of a mystery.

ps After all the recent excitement, the Head from this school has decided to go for a quiet lie down (hopefully not with the Head of Geography or the Drama assistant)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Education, Education, Education

Sorry about the lack of posts, but I'm still wrestling with the cretins at '3' who no longer broadcast the internet in my area. I'm actually starting to wonder whether a former disgruntled pupil has somehow got a job as an engineer with them and is taking revenge on me. Mind you, as all my former pupils were disgruntled, tracking down the culprit will not be easy.

Here's a good post by 'Nightjack', which neatly sums up the problems in many State Schools. I can vividly remember two occasions where my boss virtually begged me not to phone the Police after a parent threatened me.

State Education suffers from two problems. The first is the behaviour of some pupils and their parents. The second is the Teachers. It is a big taboo in the profession to mention this, but we have an ever increasing number of gullible staff who have been brainwashed by their Training Courses into believing that discipline is a naughty word and that their job is to introduce endless new teaching methods whilst pandering to every whim of each child in their care.

The selection process for promotion then continues to weed out those with the courage to enforce good behaviour, leaving us with a huge number of weak Heads who are afraid to take action because they are not strong enough to resist the pressure from the Government to reduce Expulsions.

There's another article on a similar topic here, and just in case you think that I might be exaggerating the madness in our education system then have a read of this

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Truly Historic Day

Sorry I haven't posted for a bit; I was away last week and returned to find that my internet dongle from '3' could no longer pick up a signal.

I had thought that BT had cornered the market on terrible service but Three could certainly teach them a thing or two. The shop I bought it from was utterly useless and persuaded me to phone Customer Services, who directed me to 'Technical Support' which consists of half the male population of Bombay reading from a script and constantly reassuring me with "I will most certainly solve that problem for you, Sir" whilst failing miserably to do so.

Their English might not be up to much, but their command of Doublespeak could put most SMTs to shame.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Tough talking, standing up for ourselves, decisive action... what's going on? Don't the teachers at Movilla School know that they're supposed to just lie down and take whatever's doled out to them?

As far as I can make out, the boy was late; the teacher told him he was in detention and stood by the door at the end of the lesson to try and stop him leaving. The boy pushed the teacher's arm away and walked out. The School didn't do much about it, so the teachers refused to teach the brat. (Who is now going to be charged with assault, but still not kicked out of school)

This will happen 200 times today in Comprehensive schools up and down our country. Why? Because the pupil knows that they can.

The pupil's actions are inevitably blamed on some external circumstances. In this case the recent death of a relative, which is obviously very sad, but ignores the fact that there are plenty of other pupils in the same boat who behave perfectly well. (This 'external circumstances' excuse always makes the assumption that the boy was perfectly well behaved before the event)

There's four points here:

1) Well done to the NASUWT and its staff at that school.

2) Why aren't all the other staff supporting them?

3) Why isn't this happening at the other 199 schools today?

4) How did it all come to this? Would you have dared push your teacher's arm away and walk out of their classroom? Actually, if you are under 30, then you probably would.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

60 Per Cent; how much is that, then?

The press are having a field day once again just because lots of trainee teachers can't spell or do a few easy sums.

You can have a go at the grandly titled literacy and numeracy tests here. Pen and paper may be used for the numeracy test, but despite what the Times might think; you only get four choices of spelling to help you in the literacy test if you are deaf.

Prospective teachers have to get 60% in each test, but can retake them as many times as they wish, until they have exhausted all possible combinations of answers.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Sony has decided to delay the release of its latest game because of fears that that the sound of a couple of lines from the Koran might cause offence.

This really is Political Correctness gone Mentally Challenged. The character in the picture appears to bear a startling resemblance to the Spaghetti Monster, so maybe there is scope for another religious group to get in on the act. (Although they should bear in mind that only the ones who firebomb or commit murder are allowed to have their sensitivities taken into account.)

In these troubled times, being offended has become Britain's only growth industry and we need to do everything we can to help it. I urge every one of you to get offended right now and extract compensation from foreign governments, companies and individuals. The money earned from this invisible export will be our only chance of preventing the economy from falling off a cliff.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

WANTED: Nutters

For no obvious reason, this post received more comments than any other; so purely in the spirit of malicious fun, I shall use my digital Ouija board to try and summon up as many Moon Howlers, Window Lickers and Gum Popping nutcases as possible.

If you don't fall into any of the above categories, then there's no need to read any further; just skim through the comments for your own amusement. Here we go...

1) Only loonies believe that the Earth was made by a man with a big white beard 6000 years ago. Men with beards can't actually do anything, they can only host discussion groups and talk about Diversity. The Earth is actually around 4700 million years old.

2) The Earth is not flat, nor is it at the centre of the Universe. It revolves around the Sun, which appears to be a reasonably average star that orbits the centre of our galaxy about four times every billion years.

3) Evolution is a simple fact, accepted by all but the most backward inhabitant of Kansas. There are too many examples to describe here, so just look them up in any textbook. (Although probably not one published by

4) We are all animals. Moles, whales, single humped camels and humans are all descended from the same common ancestor.

5) We did go to the Moon and there aren't really any Yetis or UFO's.

Right, that should do the trick. Arise and come to me, fruit loops everywhere...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Olympic Games

Interesting to hear the BBC commentator tonight, blathering again about how important Lottery funding was for our recent successes at the Olympics.

Seb Coe's times at the 1984 Los Angeles Games would have won Gold at the 800 and 1500 metres this year. He didn't get any money from the Lottery...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gardeners World

I'm going through the sidebar, cutting out dead links and planting new ones, like a demented digital gardener. If you've got any recommendations let me know. Only criteria is that they've got to be entertaining.

I've also had a few emails from people wanting to do guest articles on this blog. Needless to say the idea appeals to me immensely because it saves me from doing them. If you can write something interesting and amusing, then just send it in and let me know whether you wish to be credited or just ruthlessly plagiarised.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Assaulting Teachers

If anyone knows a bit more about this story, could they let me know please? It's not entirely clear whether the pupil did actually assault the teacher.

There are plenty of Heads and School Governors out there who wouldn't expel Hitler. If teachers had a policy of always refusing to teach a child who had assaulted one of them and insisted on involving the Police every time, then these incidents would be taken more seriously. It would also help if their Unions took out Private Prosecutions when the CPS can't be bothered to do so.

None of this will ever happen, so these events will continue to be brushed under the table.

(I also ended up being brushed under the table last weekend at the Iraqi Beer Festival)

Guantanamo Bay

This is shocking and totally inappropriate

I suggested it two years ago in my book and the school hasn't even thanked me. What sort of behaviour is that?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Banking Collapse

Normally I send all the money that I earn from royalties straight to the Nigerian Bank owned by my good friend Dr Ngugu, who first contacted me via this website. He set the bank up himself, so that he could help some local orphans whose parents had died in a plane crash. My account has $374 000 000 in it and I must get round to withdrawing some of it soon so that I can buy one of these.

With all the present turmoil in the banking sector however; I decided to play it safe and look elsewhere. I wouldn't trust some fat druggie from Iceland, so after considerable research, I plumped for the Japanese Bank of Sumo. Imagine my distress to learn this morning that they have gone belly up. I’m very upset by this as I nearly invested in Sushi Bank, but thought that there was something fishy about them. I've also heard that the National Bank of Origami has folded...

Feel free to add your own. There's loads more from the 1990 collapse but I can’t remember them all.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Jamie Oliver

Imagine my shock when I turned on the telly the other night and these horrors leaped out at me. Jamie Oliver (who appears to be wearing a fat suit in order to blend in with the natives) has gone to Rotherham in order to teach them how to cook.

He was talking to some wretch who couldn't be bothered to learn how to cook for her 22 kids and preferred instead to sit in front of a colossal plasma screen TV bathed in the flickering blue light of ignorance whilst counting her Benefit Cheques. Why he didn't just pull out a gun and shoot her, I'll never know.

The man has the patience of a Saint. If I had half as much money as he does, I'd be swanning around on my yacht in the Med, surrounded by beautiful women, drinking cold beer and eating olives (me not them).

I've been to Rotherham once and can say that at least it is better than nearby Doncaster.


The government seems determined to randomise the intake of schools, which will come as a bit of a blow to those of you who have spent their hard earned money moving to a nice area near to St. Goodboys School in the hope that your child might receive a decent education.

The flip side of course is that if you presently live on Hell St. then your children might be given a lifeline and selected for a decent school, which has the potential to dramatically change their life for the better.

Unfortunately this is another of those nice warm, cozy ideas which are always dreamt up by those in Public Office who can avoid any nasty unpleasant realities. In the Real World, all decisions involving large numbers of people need to be looked at from a statistical point of view. The inescapable conclusion is that although there will be a few success stories; on average Kyle plucked randomly from the Grottville Estate has a low IQ and will not get any support from his bovine mother or from her succession of partners who will only seek to guide him into petty crime. Therefore he will utterly waste his place at St. Goodboys.

This is the place that could have been taken by Mr and Mrs Smith's child Daniel, who instead ends up at St. Thickchilds in a class full of Ritalin Rattlers led by a Supply Teacher. With a great deal of support from his concerned parents, he might just about scrape through and get a place on a Comedy Studies course at Scagtown Institute of Further Time Wasting. (On the other hand he might easily sink into the abyss)

At St. Goodboys he would have gone on to study something sensible at a good University.

ps don't bring any Bats into school either.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I'm glad this lot went on a jolly to Barcelona, but the idea of "enhancing creative teaching and cultural awareness" makes me feel quite ill.

Talking of being ill, please note that teachers should now be able to accurately diagnose appendicitis, (Doesn't mother look like she has been slapped by a wet fish?)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hands Off

I reckon you should keep your hands off your Sixth Formers. After all, you have been put in a position of trust and to take advantage of that has always struck me as being a bit sad. (Mind you, I wouldn't go anywhere near Chris Keates either. Look at that face; it could stop a clock.)

I can't help but hold a sneaking admiration for Richard Mercer, Head of Edensor College trying to wangle a jolly for his staff in Marbella last week. There's never any outcry over the thousands of pounds wasted sending people on daft courses throughout the year. If only he'd had a bigger pair and not backed down...

I do like this story though

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cane Dwayne

22% of Secondary Teachers would support a return of the cane in extreme circumstances, according to a recent survey. (The other 78% saw no reason to wait for the extreme circumstances)

I only whacked a handful of kids in my time (mainly because the practice had been banned two years before I started work) but it's one of those ideas that appeals greatly after some obnoxious wretch storms out of your classroom swearing at you as he leaves. (ie every lesson in many inner city schools)

The reality of course is that only the nice kids would actually stick their hands out to get whacked. The bad ones would just tell you to F*** off and then we are back to square one. (Shortly afterwards their equally wretched parents would storm into school, summoned by mobile phone; to bang on the Head's door, shouting and raving moronically). That's one reason why a smaller percentage of Heads support the idea. (The other is that to get promoted to the top in schools you usually have to be a wimp with more interest in Diversity than Discipline).

If you want to hear my solutions then go out and buy my book.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Costa Fortune

I might not be able to post for the next few days as I'm busy helping to save the taxpayer's money by going to Marbella

Right and Wrong

The picture in this article shows a lesson typical of many that I taught. The kids are working quietly and industriously, whilst the teacher is fast asleep with their mouth open.

The accompanying article is pretty shocking and is consistent with a few other stories I've got about these exams. (You'll have to wait for my next book to hear them). I love the way the QCA spokesman justifies this fiasco by saying that it's to help the children who are aren't as good at Science. Well what better way to help them understand the mysteries of the Universe than by marking all their answers correct.

To be honest, I've never understood why there isn't a mass boycott of SATS by the parents. I suppose it's just apathy, fear of the consequences (absolutely none) or lack of someone to start one off. If I had kids I'd take them away on holiday for the exams. You can get some great deals that week...

Maths Teaching

Here we have a new idea which Professor Boaler reckons we should enthusiastically adopt. Hopefully the words California and Academic have set alarm bells ringing and you will of course note that it violates Chalk's 5th Law of Teaching which clearly states: "Never pay any Attention to Academics"

This is one of those nice, warm cozy ideas so beloved of Teacher Training institutions. Everyone is working together to help one another, probably with a load of coloured bricks and some elastic bands, rather than learning how to do any real sums in an exercise book. It ticks all the boxes necessary for it to be taken seriously; ie a title nobody can understand, the promise of inclusivity and lots of buzzwords such as Facilitator and Resource Manager. (Mind you, it's important for kids to get used to words like these if they are going to get jobs in the Public Sector)

What would actually happen is that the bright kids would rapidly get fed up of helping the duffers, complain to their parents who would then start complaining to the school, suggesting that instead of their own children being asked to teach, perhaps the teacher could do it.

I love Carlos Cabana who managed to get the word 'thick' into his comment without upsetting anyone: "You have to help them find their confidence even if it is buried under some thick layers of ice" Eh?

Anyway, I have agreed to go on a fact finding mission to Ocean Beach, San Diego (28 Degrees C yesterday) and will report back soon on a new technique pioneered by myself and provisionally known as 'Stand at the front, teach them how to do sums, then get them to practice a few'

Hmm. maybe the title needs some work...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The Times reports that the new Supersized school, Nottingham East Academy will not be setting any homework.

I certainly never had any before going to 'big school' at age 11 and firmly believe that by giving out often pointless homework to the little ones we probably put many of them off school for good.

What strikes me most about this school though is its sheer size. It is bigger than our new Geography teacher Miss Wade's backside. They are going to have about 3500 pupils of all ages which suggests about 300 in each Secondary Year Group. Assume classes of 30 and that means that some poor sod like me is going to end up teaching Maths to Set 10!

Big Schools Bad, Small Schools Good is my view.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Forlorn Hope

The Conservatives are rolling out that old chestnut again; ie Send the Army into Schools to Sort Them Out.

I've posted on this topic before and whilst it sounds like a great idea, a bit of thought about the realities of actually doing it; soon reveals the flaws.

Presumably they wish to recruit those with a good record during their time in the army, rather than those who went AWOL every other weekend, spent half their time in jail, or were kicked out for drugs. I wonder if Eddy Nugent might be interested?

However the sort of person that we could do with in teaching would very quickly get fed up in the schools they are needed in. It would not take long for them to discover that they were now utterly powerless; and any sanctions they might have been told are at their disposal can in fact be cheerfully ignored by the pupils.

(A note to anyone serving in the Army who might hope that sending a pupil to the Head is a bit like sending a Private to see the RSM. Unfortunately it's more like sending a Private to the cinema for the afternoon. I can already see the disappointment on your face when the offender returns laughing and joking because he has been given his 15th Final Warning or some brightly coloured paper report with a motto on it.)

No, a better idea which can still be wrapped up in a decent headline, would be to either Send the Army in to Sort Out the Parents, or Send the Teachers some Decent Weapons.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Here's the email I sent to the Teachers Unions NASUWT and ATL. The National Union of Teachers, (NUT) who won an award from the TUC in 2008 for The best use of electronic communication; doesn't have a contact email address on its site, believe it or not. However if anybody knows it, please pass on my request.

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Could you tell me what support you would have given to Adam Walker if he had been a member of your Union? If you don't know who he is, here's a link

Frank Chalk

I'll let you know if they can be bothered to reply...

Adam Walker

Adam Walker is a Supply Teacher and a member of the BNP. He is up before the GTC on a charge of racial and religious intolerance. It's not that clear from the various news reports, but he appears to have made comments on an internet forum criticising homosexuals, asylum seekers and immigrants.

Crikey, I hope that the GTC don't read this Blog, then.

Now I don't know whether Mr Walker is a perfectly decent chap who I'd enjoy a pint with, or whether he's a thoroughly nasty piece of work. If he was busy posting comments whilst he should have been teaching then he should get a good telling off for that (along with everyone else who has ever looked at an internet site on a spare computer during a dull IT cover lesson- oh dear; that's me stuffed then.)

What I do know is that the GTC wouldn't dream of prosecuting him if he was an immigrant criticising local people in his town, a fundamentalist Muslim expressing their distaste of homosexuals or a French exchange teacher saying that most asylum seekers make false claims because they know that Britain is a soft touch.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Picking Up The Brass

In my new role as self appointed book reviewer for Monday Books, I have been chortling and sniggering my way through Eddy Nugent's autobiography 'Picking Up The Brass'

If you wore green in the 80s then this book will bring back many terrifying memories. It doesn't flinch from the horrors of the Shirt Scratchy, Cheese Possessed, and 58 Pattern Webbing whose only purpose was to burn a hole through your back.

If you didn't and the above is like a foreign language, then pretend it's Lifelong Learning and use the glossary of terms, helpfully provided at the back.

Either way, you will do lots of laughing at the buffoonery that is lovingly portrayed from the moment we join Eddy on his first day, clad in a comically ill fitting uniform; through a career which most certainly does not involve being sent behind enemy lines, flying a helicopter or joining the SAS. Any thoughts you may have had about the Army being made up solely of aggressive, macho killing machines will be laid gently to rest.

Oh I'd better warn you; there are a few naughty words here and there. Just cover them up like I did and read on.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Liar, Liar.

Journalists from the mainstream press don't think much of bloggers, as Dan Collins explains on his excellent Blog (which was recently voted Britain's Number One source of information concerning events at Monday Books).

Whilst many blogs really are as dull as ditch water, the 'work blogs' in particular, give a genuineness and reality that the newspapers cannot compete with, because they are written by someone who actually does the job and really does know what they are talking about. Each of our posts is open for comment by our readers and unlike the newspapers most of us don't feel much need to moderate those comments.

On the other hand, a newspaper article, for example on teaching; will have been produced from interview notes by a journalist with no experience of the job and then further edited to give the paper's own perspective. If you've ever been interviewed by one, you will be absolutely astonished to see that what is printed bears no relation to what you actually said. Funnily enough they won't agree to let you see the article before it goes to print either, probably because you'd go mad and shout things like "But I never said that!" After it has appeared, you get no chance to argue or refute their claims.

As far as accuracy is concerned; the mainstream press will believe just about anything; the more ridiculous the better. For example, two weeks ago every newspaper reported that the swimmer Michael Phelps was taking in 12000 calories a day at the Olympics. It never occurred to any of their editors that a: he would be in the tapering phase so probably taking in little more than an average man of his size and b: simple arithmetic would show that unless he were exercising continuously 24 hours per day; such a huge intake would leave him unable to even move. Phelps himself recently said that he had absolutely no idea why the newspapers had printed such figures. (By way of comparison, a Tour de France rider racing for 5-7 hours a day would take in 5 to 6 thousand.)

Hoaxes and basic factual errors are ten a penny in the press. Last year we had the Meerkat hoax, where the papers clearly believed that the animals at Logleat were happily taking photos of one another. This can join crop circles and UFOs, along with the obviously faked pictures of British troops abusing Iraqis that the Mirror fell for, the Hitler Diaries etc... I could go on, but the truth is that the newspapers rarely check to see if facts make sense, as witnessed by the stream of elementary science and basic mathematical errors that routinely appear. (These increase rapidly as the subject becomes more difficult for example (MRSA, DNA testing, the MMR vaccine or the Large Hadron Collider at CERN)

Work blogging is a very new phenomenon but it is definitely starting to have an impact on the mainstream press.

Now did you hear that if you are ever held up at a cash machine you can type your PIN number in backwards and it will send a call through to the Police....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Inspector Gadget

I've been doing some serious laughing over the last few days alternating with incoherent shouts of rage. Yes, I've just finished Inspector Gadget's book; 'Perverting The Course Of Justice' .

Gadget is a master of the one liner and has a rich fund of anecdotes detailing the madness of the modern Police Force; its obsessions with political correctness, along with endless new buzzwords and initiatives dreamt up by those who will never have to carry them out. Some of these are so bizarre that they could easily have come from your school Senior Management Team.

The description of the endless bureaucratic nightmares that frustrate every attempt to enforce the law is a real eye-opener. The amount of time taken to arrest someone or just take a statement, is incredible and the amount of paperwork involved in even the smallest action is breathtaking. The sheer amount of wasted time and resources due to the ludicrous procedures insisted on by those who 'manage' from comfortable offices far, far above the bobby on the street, is beyond belief. (Hmm... that reminds me of teaching as well.)

His revelations of how the Police are made to concentrate on crimes which improve the Force's figures and achieve Government targets rather than those which you or I might consider important; are truly explosive and should really be headline news. (Is it me or does all this sound just like what goes on in schools?) I just found the book riveting. Buy it today and shake the hand of the next Copper you meet (although that might not be for some while).

The Police also seem to get dragged into a lot of what you or I might call 'rubbish'. I once naively thought that people only phoned them if say, they had been burgled or their car had been stolen, but this simply isn't the case. Family disputes, text messaging ex partners and general inability to behave in a reasonable manner seem to have suddenly become legitimate excuses for the Wretches to pester the Police about.

As a taxpayer and attention seeker, I've resolved to make more use of the Police in sorting out trivia in my own life. We'll start with that funny looking poo that appeared last night on my vegetable patch. I suspect that it has come from next door's dog Lulu, rather than from my own dog Jeffrey, who would never do one like that, and anyway; he always does them on the lawn. I'm going to ask if they can get a forensic team over and take DNA to settle the matter once and for all. Then I'm off to send a few hate texts and scribble something rude on next door's wheelie bin.

Cooking With Mr Chalk

I'm usually the first to slate any new initiative but giving out Free Cookbooks sounds like a good idea. Mind you after thinking about it for a few minutes the following points occurred to me:

1) You can eat as healthily as you like but if you get through six meals a day, never leave the sofa and think that 'exercise' only goes with 'book'; then you will still end up huge.

2) In the 21st century shouldn't it be a website rather than a book? Printing books involves cutting down lots of trees which could otherwise go into my wood burning stove.

3) We need to target the parents, especially the thick ones. After all, they are the ones stuffing their offspring with Fried Chicken Dinosaurs, Monster Munch crisps and luminous fizzy drinks

4) Can't we just muzzle the fat kids?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Tell me the truth now, do you want to buy a Frank Chalk mug to light the fires of revolution in your Staffroom? I need to order at least a hundred from the suppliers, so to protect me from the wrath of Mrs C. perhaps you could let me know if there is any demand first.

I reckon they will be about £6.95 and suggestions about the design are welcome (Probably the book cover, maybe with a catchy slogan if anybody can suggest one.) I'll post a picture of the finished product first if there's enough interest.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Show Me The Money

I hearby admit to being the brother of any notorious criminal you like and agree not to do any work for a few months. Now can I collect £600 000 please?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back To School!

As usual the new school year kicks off with that special brand of agony- the Training Day. Emails from various parts of the Country have confirmed that the usual culprits are alive and well- ie The Five Hats and The Five R's along with a couple of horror stories involving women from the Council with short hair, large earrings and funny shoes.

I spoke to a friend who works in IT and asked what his lot would do if they were treated to any of these delights. He just looked at me with a puzzled expression and said:

"Just walk out- what do you think we'd do? Our time's valuable, we don't work in the Public Sector."

It's a forlorn hope but I wish that more teachers would stand up and do likewise.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ping Pong's Coming Home

Well the Olympics are over and if they achieve just one thing, then I would hope that it is to show the sofa dwelling public that there is more to sport than a bunch of footballers whose main ability is to demonstrate that a huge amount of money does not bring either wisdom or good taste.

I just hope that for 2012 we make the whole thing a bit less stuffy and a lot more fun. Boris seems to have got the ball rolling but we need to keep the momentum up by introducing gurning, bog snorkeling and dwarf throwing to the London Games.

Our 8 minute presentation at the end of the closing ceremony yesterday featuring a red London Bus was meant to be a portrayal of the city's culture without anything being hidden. If that really was the aim, then they should have had Leroy shooting Dwayne for 'dissing' him in the queue, fat Tracey waving a bottle of WKD whilst stuffing her face with a kebab and being sick on the top deck, followed rapidly by Ahmed blowing it up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Games

Well the Olympics are underway and to my amazement the opening ceremony didn't feature the shooting of any Tibetans.

I can't take Table Tennis seriously and I can't get my head round Dressage or Solo Synchronised Swimming. Nor have I any idea why Tennis and Basketball are featured when they already have their own well known Leagues and Championships. Give me the traditional sports such as Beach Volleyball any day.

Mind you, we really don't make enough of our own stars such as Nicole Cooke who blew away the opposition in the cycling road race but earns less in a year than the average poncey footballer spends in the hair salon. She has been our best female cyclist for years but only rates a few column inches in the papers after seventeen pages of round ball rubbish.

I wish they would bring back the Tug of War, last seen in the 1920 Games in Antwerp. (Where incidentally we won the Gold Medal)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christian The Lion

At Last! A Christian who doesn't get on your nerves.

I'm sure you've all seen him already, as I'm always well behind the times. He reminds me very much of my dog.

Don't do this though, as it might be dangerous.

Contact Law have now donated £20 to the Myelin Trust to say 'sorry' for spamming me. As I am easily bought, they can now be my friends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

British Telecon

Hurrah! I'm back online again.

After the buffoons decided to cut off my phone line, I made the fatal mistake of phoning BT Customer Services (If any department is wrongly named, it is this one.) Endless recorded voices describe option after option, none of which ever mention having your phone line disconnected. Eventually I would be put through to a call centre in either India or the UK.

It's easy to tell which is which. If the operator is called 'Kevin' or 'William' and wishes you a cheerful 'Good morning, Sir!' when it is six thirty in the evening, then you are definitely talking to India. Immediately ask them how long it takes to get from Bombay to Mumbai for your own amusement. They will then regretfully inform you that you need to redial and select option 2. Who's laughing now then, eh?

On the other hand, if you can't understand a single word they say and you are told that you have come through to the wrong department, then you are dealing with the UK. Demand to be put through to India immediately. This confuses them and you may accidentally end up speaking to someone high enough up the chain to actually do something useful.

More often however, they will simply wear you down to a state of screaming incoherance. I phoned for nine consecutive days before giving up, ditching the fools and buying a little thing from "3" that plugs into your USB Port and receives the internet via a mobile connection. It's been fine so far and costs 15 quid a month. If they offered to pay me, I would praise it even more.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Contact Law

As you may have noticed, I got spammed today. A hundred and odd comments on assorted posts from a company called Contact Law

Now either they are so short of work that they are paying someone to enter the comments manually or they have found a way around Blogger's comment verification system.

Either way, it's a Declaration of War in my book. They clearly want my readers to get in touch, so let's not disappoint them. Their email is here, their phone number is 0800 1777 167 and their postal address is:

Contact Law,The Warehouse Office Suites
12 Ravensbury Terrace
London SW18 4RL

Now I can't say for certain that they would like to hear all about your last holiday, or any problems you may have had recently with self-assembly furniture; or even whether they can tell you how long a 1.5 Kg turkey should be kept in the oven for. I suspect that they may not be too interested in the unusual knocking noises coming from your boiler, but who am I to make presumptions?

Nor can I tell you whether or not they wish you to put a stamp on any letters that you send to them.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Peter Buckroyd is a right clown and I have a load of stories which show the AQA to be a bunch of utter incompetents, but to be honest I'm just as worried about the school who let him submit that paper in the first place.

As an exam hall veteran who walked many, many miles between the neat rows of desks, reading all the kids answers and jangling my keys; I can honestly say that any brat that I'd spotted writing something like that would have been hoisted out of the exam hall by his ear with his paper ripped up and thrown in the bin (and to Hell with what the Head would inevitably say later)

Thinking about it, maybe that's why I never got very far in teaching...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Not Unusual

Good on this bloke. He pays his taxes and his daughter can't even have a qualified teacher. It is nothing out of the ordinary and I should know; having taught subjects for weeks on end that I didn't even have an O Level in.

There are thousands and thousands of parents in a similar position to Mr Tierney. It will be interesting to see how his case turns out.

ps I have now managed to fix the link above.

No, no, no.

My advice for you today is simple:

Do not attempt to carry 13 people in your car.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The Facebook Group to 'It's Your Time You're Wasting' is here. Being over 40, I have absolutely no idea what this means or what it does, apart from a vague idea that it somehow enables me to stalk young ladies. I'd recommend that you join it straight away. (Although I have no idea what will happen if you do)

If any readers can enlighten me then please do so.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kevin Brennan

In the ongoing contest to see which member of the Government can say the stupidest thing; let's have a look at Children's Minister Kevin Brennan's efforts. We'll start off with a couple of questions for those of you who are teachers:

Do you agree with this article where he says that 'Heads are using their powers to prevent bad behaviour'?

Do you agree with his next statement that 'the fall in permanent exclusions shows that heads are successfully "nipping problems in the bud"?

Or do you think that the fall in permanent exclusions shows that they rarely even try to throw out kids who have commited serious offences because the process is a bureaucratic nightmare, looks bad on their results and many Heads are completely spineless anyway?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Old Mugabe Had a Farm...Ee-Aye, Ee-Aye, Oh.

Today Boris Johnson will announce the winning piece of artwork to go on the famous 'empty' fourth plinth in a corner of Trafalgar Square. (When it was built in the 1840s it was supposed to carry a statue of King William the Fourth on horseback but they ran out of money and could never agree what to do with it.)

I can't wait to see if they go for my suggestion of sticking Robert Mugabe up there in a cage. I've always fancied myself as a bit of an artist.

Whilst we're on the topic of adults who can't behave, the first line in this BBC article says:

'Ed Balls has promised to tackle parents who refuse to accept that teachers have a right to discipline their children'

If you read the rest of the article you will see that he isn't planning on doing anything at all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Handy Hints

Here's a couple of useful tips for those of you who are teachers:

1) Watch out for hypnotists on your way to school.
2)Don't go branding any of your pupils, as you might get into trouble.

Finally, here's a success story for a Norwich school (although not the one the report writer attended. Did the kids really 'pour' anything on the Guinness Book in paragraph four)

Sorry it's only a short post but I've got to go and sit behind the wheel of my tanker for a few hours stuffing myself with Yorkie Bars.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Ed Balls thinks that Grammar Schools are responsible for making pupils feel like failures. I think that crap comprehensive schools where you can just muck about all day and not learn anything are far more likely to make their pupils feel like failures (a few years after they leave with no useful qualifications). Ed forgets to mention that he was lucky enough to have parents who could afford to send him to a nice public school in Nottingham where he received an excellent education which enabled him to get to Oxford University.

A local grammar school is the only chance (however small) that Wayne Scroggins from Scuzzertown has of going to Oxford too, but you can't say that in education; so sorry Wayne, it's St. Thickchilds for you I'm afraid.

Oh, by the way if your school is trying to raise some money but can't be bothered with a boring old sponsored walk, why not try a Bird Hunt?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Degree Factories

I've rented out a couple of flats to students in a nearby University town for the last fifteen years or so. It's interesting because it's given me an insight into the changing nature of the University Student. Several things I can say with certainty:

1) Although there are students who are extremely bright, there are also some who are literally as thick as what pigs do on their straw. If they are British then they will be on some nonsense course such as Film Studies but if they are foreign then they could be doing anything as the BBC has just discovered (about 10 years after it started happening). Universities love Foreign Students because they pay so much and will do anything to avoid throwing them out. I have never had a tenant who has failed to get a degree (even if they cannot read the rental contract, or use the bathroom)

2) There is definitely a growing feeling of resentment amongst the bright kids that Degrees are being devalued because they are given out like confetti. They know that the taxpayer would be able to afford to give them a decent grant and their lectures wouldn't be interrupted by endless stupid questions if there were fewer duffers sitting there. They also realise that there isn't anything that they can do about it. The Universities encourage them to do a Masters or PhD in order 'to stand out from the crowd' (and obviously generate more fees)

3) There is also a feeling of resentment amongst those who were encouraged by their teachers to take some daft course at a No Hopers University and left with a debt of £20k and nothing more than the offer of a job stacking shelves at Tesco.

Caught In A Trap

Have a quick look at this news piece from the BBC. The Left Hand of the Government; their School Inspectors (Ofsted) reckon that Science teachers should do more experiments and less working towards passing narrow tests. The Government's Right Hand introduced these narrow tests (SATS) and made them compulsory. Surprise, surprise; teachers are told by their Heads that they had better get good results in them and not waste time doing experiments. (All the interesting experiments that you and I did in Science have long since been banned by the Third Arm of Health and Safety, whilst the Fourth one of Compensation Culture encourages parents to sue the school when their offspring spills some harmless chemical on their sleeve.) The fifth urges more teaching of Creativity whilst the sixth issues ever more stifling bureaucracy and forms to fill out.

I realise I've overdone this One hand doesn't know what the other is doing thing, but it's too late to back out of it now. Hopefully the picture of a grinning octopus announcing Government policy has been implanted in your mind.

The article then says that Science Teaching suffers from lack of teachers who know about Science. Of course it does; how can we realistically attract the brightest and best when we can only offer them a salary that a tanker driver would turn his nose up at, the odd free biscuit and the opportunity to be abused on a regular basis. At the same time, Universities are busy closing down their Chemistry Departments to make way for a new extension to the Mickey Mouse Studies building.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

No Coming Back

A few months ago Chalk Enterprises went through a bit of a bad patch, so in order to improve cash flow (ie avoid ending up on a park bench), I thought:

Why not go and do a couple of days a week on Supply? There's always lots of work and sometimes I do quite miss standing in front of a class talking to myself.

I phoned up St. Goodchilds and spoke to Mr Davis, a friendly man who still organises the Cover there. He told me that I would need a new CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau) before they could employ me in order to make sure that I wouldn't steal the tea money or take an over zealous interest in any of the pupils. When I asked how I could get one done, he informed me with a deep sigh that I couldn't do it personally, I would have to join an agency who would apply for one on my behalf.

I duly applied to the Council Supply Teaching Agency and filled out seven long pages of utter nonsense, none of which asked the only important question for anybody wanting to do Supply Work; which is:

Can you walk into a classroom full of unruly children running around causing mayhem, when there is no work left; they have had 4 different teachers in the last week and get them to sit down quietly and take their coats off?

A week later I received my reply. I had been rejected because I had not filled out the form correctly. I had not listed my 'O' and 'A' Levels, nor given sufficient evidence that I satisfied the Council's criteria for experience in diversity. Nor had I listed the courses that I would consider most useful to me. The fact that I had enclosed my teaching qualification (Maths) and had 14 years of teaching experience along with a reference which said that I wasn't the worst teacher they had ever employed, was apparently not good enough. Also, my answer of 'Please, please don't make me go on any courses' was considered inappropriate.

So now you have it. Next time you read of dire teacher shortages in my subject, console yourself with the thought that at least your offspring won't have me shouting at them. Mind you at least I never did this.

ps Chalk Enterprises is now back on its feet, you will be relieved to hear. If you were worried for me and were thinking of sending a donation to help out, then ignore this sentence and post the cheque to Dan the Publisher.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm Alive, I'm Alive!!!

Apparently some clown has announced that I'm dead. Oh well, worse things happen.

Actually I'm just very busy. Chalk Enterprises is taking up all my time at the moment, so I've not really had chance to do any posts on this blog. Sorry about that.

Dan the Publisher suggested that I get off my backside and write something, so here's a few random thoughts.

1) I'm all for a bit of discipline and my hat goes off to this school in North Carolina. If we don't clamp down on mindless clapping where will it end?

2) Why is it that in my local Tesco all the staff are on fire, serving customers at an incredible rate and buzzing for more people to get on the tills if there's ever a queue? Maybe the Boss takes a stick to them at the start of each day in some sort of bizarre Japanese corporate ritual. On the other hand, if I go into the Co op or Spar all the staff all seem to have been injected with a sloth drug. It's like watching a film in slow motion as every item is queried, vouchures examined and Supervisors summoned to gawp at the till as if they have never seen it before. Meanwhile the queue snakes round three aisles, past the rotting fruit and the room where the rest of the staff are sleeping. Occasionally a customer just loses it completely, throws down their basket and storms out screaming (it's usually me) .

3) Regardless of what the school thinks of his haircut, what sort of 13 year old boy goes to a Salon? For Christ's sake Mrs Scrote, get a grip.

4) The Henry is the Vacuum of Champions. Don't be fooled by its innocent smiling face; it is the Challenger Tank of Hoovers, a Man's Machine that allows us to behave in a naturally male way. Rip the top off the box and drop it out onto the floor; it won't care. Gather up the instructions, along with the plastic bag full of silly fussy female accessories and throw the whole lot into the bin. Fit the three tough metal tubes together any old way you like and you are ready to go.

Now for the real fun. Push the large and obvious button and listen to the throaty roar of the engine as you show the carpet who's boss. Hoover up anything you like, Henry won't mind. When you run out of bags, just laugh manically and keep on going regardless. As I said; it's a Man's hoover and it couldn't care less. In military terms, if the Dyson is a chinless wonder in the Officers Mess debating the best way to iron a shirt, then the Henry is an airborne warrior who doesn't want to know how many enemy there are, just how soon he can get his hands on them.

Tesco and the makers of Henry didn't pay me to say any of the above, but obviously I'd be even more enthusiastic if they did.

Bear with me for now and I'll post again soon
Frank Chalk RIP

Friday, May 02, 2008

On Massage

I can vividly remember the day when as a fifth Former (sorry; year 11 nowadays) I went to see the headmaster (sorry; headteacher nowadays) to ask if he could arrange for a good looking lady to give me a good rubbing in order to perk me up before my 'O' Levels (sorry...)

I staggered out of his office, ears ringing from the barrage of blows.

How times have changed

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Anyone who reads this blog will know that I believe the main purpose of the 75 teaching unions is to protect and assist those who are utterly useless at their job. There is no excuse for incompetence so lame that they will not embrace and celebrate, nor any great leader that they will not race to accuse of 'bullying'

As for Thursday's strike, my opinion as you might imagine is simple:

The whole thing sums up the wishy-washyness I hated so much about teaching.

If you want something then get everyone together, go on strike and stay out until you get what you believe you deserve. I'd respect that whether I thought the demand was right or wrong because it shows determination, courage and strength.

Half hearted one day efforts can simply be dismissed by the Government. The only reason any schools are closing is because Heads invariably take the easy out and shut the school (invoking the magic genie of 'Health and Safety') whether its a millimeter of snow or three teachers not turning up. With the numbers that are usually off sick anyway, most schools wouldn't even notice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Keep Your Hair On!

I can't quite understand this case. Did the Council really sack him for being bald? Is he suing them because his hair has fallen out as a result of teaching? Or is he just stark raving mad?

Either way; if I had been the judge, I would have been unable to resist the temptation to insert the phrase: 'Hair today, gone tomorrow ' into my summing-up speech.

Mind you, I suppose that's why I'm not a judge.

The real problem here, which is hidden underneath all the lunacy; is that so many schools have lost all concept of discipline so the kids feel free to openly abuse the staff to their faces, for the simple reason that they know that nothing will happen to them.

A simple comparison- when I was a kid, we had a bald teacher at school who everyone made fun of. However, only behind his back or when he wasn't looking; for the simple reason that had he caught you, he would have caned/ whacked you with a slipper or ruler/ given you 1000 lines or put you in detention for a month whilst you carefully copied out half a textbook.

It makes you realise just how far we've fallen.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


A quick phonecall has established that the last post should have been about 'Hats' and not 'Cats'. Frankly it doesn't really matter as I can't listen to that sort of stuff for more than 10 seconds without screaming. A whole industry has grown up around the idea of churning out guff to captive audiences and I want to be part of it.

For a modest fee, a representative of Chalk Enterprises will come to your school, talk rubbish for a couple of hours and get you playing some simple games. We will offer a cast iron guarantee that the day will be no use to you whatsoever, but it will all be very warm, safe and comforting and you will feel like you are eight years old again.

Actually, thinking about it, an even better idea would be for me to turn up personally, so that you could shout at me, tear up a few exercise books and generally vent your frustrations. I could say patronising things like 'Let's get into small groups and investigate different methods of learning' and you could all scream abuse. I would also provide you with a liberal supply of eggs, rotten fruit and tennis balls. I reckon I might be on to something here...

Enough of that; it's NUT conference time and they are balloting about strike action. Not effective strike action, ie get together with the other 57 Unions and have every teacher in the land downing tools and not coming back until they get a pay rise, some decent working conditions and a few brats expelled; goodness me no, a one day strike which can be safely ignored by the Government.

They are also up in arms about the military recruiting in schools and are outraged that they only tell the kids about the best bits (skiing, windsurfing and shooting people) I believe that is called advertising. The Accountancy company that visited Mrs Chalk's school also forgot to show people working through the night at the end of the Tax Year in their presentation. Let's face it; the teachers who attend these conferences are invariably beardy weirdies (of both sexes) with no hobbies to persue in the holidays. They hate the military with a vengance, because it opposes the things they stand for (beards, dangly earrings and facial ironmongery)

Here's my take on it (from last year) which will doubtless prove unpopular:

If you are born into the Underclass, doomed to attend a dustbin of a school, then a career in the Army might well be your only ticket out of the slums. Yes, if you are unlucky you might be shot by some toerag in Iraq or Afghanistan; but if you manage to avoid that unfortunate outcome, then you can pick up a decent pension after 22 years or look for another employer who will snap you up, knowing that unlike most applicants; a) you will actually turn up to work and b) you will get on with things that you might not want to do without moaning too much.

Alternatively you could of course just remain in the Estate from Hell, where there are no employers and you stand a good chance of being shot by a rival drugs dealer or ending up behind bars for most of your life. The NUT would like to remove your only hope of escape.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Training Day

The end of term can only mean one thing- the celebration of madness that is Training Day. I have received the usual collection of emails describing the horrors that teachers can be subjected to in the name of 'Diversification', 'Cross Curricular Linkage' and the inevitable 'Gender Somethingorother' to name but three forms of torture that are still being used on teachers across the country.

These forms of madness are usually indicative of a weak SMT, who lack the courage to stand up and shout;

'Shut up Fool! This is crazy talk. Get out of my School!' when some well meaning, buckle shoed woman with dangly earrings from the Council proposes that the day be spent doing role play.

One of the best reports was from a school which decided to pay for a lady to come and talk about how different coloured cats could make you think in different ways. (I heard this on the telephone at 11.30 pm punctuated with bursts of hysterical laughter, so do forgive me if I've got any details wrong) Apparently if you have the red cat, then you have to shout out your feelings (I can imagine what mine would be), a green cat means that you use lateral thinking, a black cat means that you tend to be cynical and some other cat means God knows what. Anyway they spent the afternoon doing this whilst the naive and gullible lapped it up, making copious notes and vowing to use it in their lessons, the lady went away a bit wealthier, the Head pronounced it all a great success and the wise just sobbed gently into their hands.

As these events are such a rich vein of madness, I've set up a link to this post on the Sidebar so that your Training Day Tales will live forever.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Sorry I've not posted for a few days but I got stuck inside my divan bed whilst playing hide and seek with my nieces. It was a stupid hiding place- God knows where they got the idea from.

Here's a quick roundup of the latest daftness going on in schools:

1) Parents are lying to get their children into decent schools Well blow me down! Of course they do; they make up false addresses, rent flats in the school's catchment area for six months and pretend to live there, print out fake Council Tax bills on their computers and even offer money to complete strangers if they will claim to have done a house exchange. They promise a donation towards the new school minibus or if all else fails, offer the Head some cash over a quiet drink.

I know all this because I have shown friends how to do it. My advice is simple: do whatever it takes to send your child to a decent school.

2) Pupils who make malicious allegations against teachers should be put on a list Absolutely right and the numerous Teachers Unions have been saying that for years and will continue to say it for ever more, but do absolutely nothing. They could set up their own website tomorrow if they wanted to. In fact feel free to use the 'Rate My Pupil' section on my blog.

It's the same story with the endless moaning about the Rate my Teacher website. Sabotaging it or rendering it completely useless would be easy, but would require action which is always harder than just complaining.

3) Schools Minister Jim Knight thinks that classes of 70 are just fine He is as mad as a fish. My Granny was taught in classes of up to 100 and can read and write better than your average 16 year old (despite leaving at the age of 11) but their teachers simply beat the living daylights out of the naughty kids, whereas we are told to empathise with them and dream up excuses for their attitude. I've taught classes of 7 and been unable to prevent screaming mayhem. Most teachers in crap schools are ashamed to admit this sort of thing, but if you are a parent then it's important that you realise that it happens every day.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shannon Matthews

Thankfully Shannon Matthews is now back safe and sound (ie not with her mother).

Well done to the Police for finding her, after tirelessly searching 2431 residences in the area. Apparently more than two thirds were occcupied by her mother's partners, ex partners, uncles, cousins and stepfathers. (Some by all of the above).

Constructing the family tree was the most difficult part of this operation, requiring many hours on the new Police Supercomputer. Unfortunately the three CDs on which it was stored have already been lost by the Home Office.

Look, can somebody please do us all a favour and adopt this poor kid?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The Today Programme emailed me (they don't know I'm nuts) because of a story in the news claiming that some schools are breaking the rules regarding admissions policy. These schools allegedly ask parents naughty questions about their marital status or financial background, and some apparently even ask for money. Read about it here

My own view is that any Head who doesn't do all of this and more is a complete fool. I've seen it done loads of times (but usually with more subtlety) and I'm sure you have too.

Anyway they would like to talk to anyone who has any experience of this and they assure me that all communication will be treated in the strictest confidence. (Make sure you get them to confirm this in writing and don't enter any naming competitions either)

If you want to tell them anything then email (Put ‘schools’ in the subject header).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wizard of Oz

A whole pile of reviews from the Aussie Press arrived today with one or two gems for your amusement. My favourite was from Christopher Bantick, an education commentator writing in the Melbourne Daily:

"This book is one of the most dismal, morale deadening, defeatist and utterly miserable accounts of teaching that you're ever likely to encounter"

I think that's a great turn of phrase and will shamelessly use it myself. He goes on to add:

"This book reflects the life of a loser who should never have entered the classroom"

Well I can't argue with that.

Fortunately he has some good advice for those just starting out in teaching:

'Take risks and live out your calling' which sounds great to me. Our Teacher Recruitment people will be knocking on his door before long. Poor old Ceri will be out of a job.

Anyway, I've emailed Christopher to see if he would be interested in writing a forward for my next book, but haven't heard back yet.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

All Night Long

It can't be coincidence that the Government is going to encourage 24 hour drinking, just as Harry comes home from the Big 'A'.

Maybe this was a bad time for Lord Coe to announce that there will be a 'Down in One' competition in the 2012 Olympics.

ps. A quick look round my local supermarket revealed 3 Litre bottles of 'Playground' Cider for just £2.59

Sunday, March 02, 2008

How To Be Top

If you have just started off in teaching, then you will be pleased to learn that becoming a Headteacher (don't forget that you mustn't call them Headmasters or Headmistresses any more) is easy. Just follow the guide below:

1) Be ridiculously over enthusiastic from day one. Go round with an inane grin on your face and tell everybody how happy you are to be a teacher. Deny any problems and when asked how you are getting on with Wayne, just laugh like a loon and say that he is "Quite a character!" rather than snarling with rage and shouting; "I hate the little f**ker!"

2) Agree and adopt every new strategy with enthusiasm, no matter how ridiculous. Nod your head vigorously throughout every meeting until it is in danger of falling off into your lap.

3) Clear from your mind the naive idea that only things that might actually succeed should be attempted. Ticking the right boxes is all that matters. Never, ever ask the question "But will that actually work?"

4) Come up with lots of ideas, plans and strategies of your own. Do not waste time considering whether or not they are any good or even if they make sense, just get suggesting them.

5) Make sure your PC credentials are up to speed. Adopt an Anti-Bullying policy and put up some posters of famous Ginger Scientists in your classroom. Say the words 'gender' 'differentiation' and 'holistic' a lot, even if like me; you have no idea what they mean. Pick a physical challenge that the average grandmother could manage and pester everyone for money. ke sure that it is for a fashionable charity that does not have anything to do with men or bottoms.

6) Go on every course you can. Most are utterly worthless. People are either leaders or they are not, but going on some two day 'workshop' looks good and that is all that matters.

7) Above all, do not rock the boat. If your head of department will not back up your request for the immediate expulsion of Darren for spitting on you, just keep quiet about it. If another teacher says that they won't teach Chesney any more because he has told him to f**k off and the Head will not do anything; then under no circumstances must you support them by refusing to teach Chesney either.

Feel free to add any of your own.