School Trips

For most adults, school trips to museums, theatres or outdoor camps make up a positive and important part of their school memories. Nationally, however, school trips appear still to …

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Birthdays, Examinations and Fairness

‘The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was b …

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Bigger is Better

[caption id="attachment_1927" align="alignnone" width="500"] large and small goldfish showing different competition or friendship concept[/caption] I came …

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Studying On-Line

When I started teaching Physics (some time ago) I would occasionally make use of an Open University video clip to illustrate some particular point at A level. The characteristic brass fanfare …

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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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