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