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.