Skills and Content

'Bitzer,' said Thomas Gradgrind. 'Your definition of a horse.' 'Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth.' Thus (and much more) Bitzer. 'Now gir …

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All Change!

The Department of Education is currently consulting on changes to GCSE.  You can have your say by using the following link; interestingly, many of the more important changes are simply announced as a background to the consultation on the finer details. Read more »


Twice a week the entire Birkdale community squeezes into the Heeley Hall for 20 minutes of shared experience.  As I hover, be-gowned, at the hall entrance, greeting students, gesticulating at boys with ties at half-mast and waiting for my cue to commence proceedings, I often reflect upon the benefits of assemblies or Prayers as Birkdale calls them. …

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At the recent HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference rather than the Honda Motor Company for those who have googled HMC!) conference I found myself feeling sympathy for university admissions tutors, not an emotion I have previously experienced in this context. The small reduction in the percentages of top A level grades last August comb …

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CGSE Modules

mod·ule [moj-ool] noun a separable component, frequently one that is interchangeable with others, for assembly into units of differing size, complexity, or function. The current furore over a small reduction in GCSE English grades this summer presages a paradigm shift in the educational world.  For many ye …

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Cats, Curiosity and Care

‘Curiosity killed the cat’ is, for me, a continuing cause of crossness. Five minutes with a group of 5 year olds will convince even the most traditionally-minded of adults that harnessing curiosity and the plethora of questions that it produces is central to efficient learning; suggesting that curiosity and active enquiry is dangerous would be di …

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