Observing Lessons

Observing lessons is fraught with difficulty. At Birkdale, in common with most schools, we ask anyone being interviewed for a teaching job to teach a lesson. At first sight this …

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What Makes Great Teaching?

At school in the early 1980s one of my favourite teachers was the magnificently named Dr Cattermole who taught Chemistry with spectacular flamboyance. A man who seemed to have bec …

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True Grit

The Department for Education has launched an award for the best character education in schools (Read more »

Appeal? Might As Well

The revelation that the number of individual enquires about GCSE and A level results rose by 48%, this year compared to 2013, with a 42% rise in the number of grades changed, over the sa …

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Full Circle

One of the few benefits of advancing age is that the duration of my teaching experience is now comfortably greater than the time needed for educational reforms to be introduced, reviewed …

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Choosing a University

The university application round is in full swing; at Birkdale over half of our Upper Sixth students have now made an application with most of the rest to be completed over t …

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Myth Busting

I talk to a huge number of prospective parents at this time of year as families ponder the choice of secondary schools for their sons and daughters to enter next September. I usua …

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Numbers and Stories

The usual clichés of the exam season are all too apparent; pictures of smiling, blond female (usually) students, brandishing pieces of paper of uncertain provenance and shrieking with …

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Open Access

A new report by the Social Market Foundation for the Sutton Trust, a well-respected charity with interests in social mobility and education, caught my eye last week (Read more »


Speaking to parents of students departing from the Upper Sixth is a fascinating experience. For some of the parents it is quite a reflective and poignant moment as they have been …

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