Phil Beadle Education teacher, journalist, author and teacher /images/phil-beadle.jpg On Authoritarianism This England is a prison -- a walking shadow; it is a unit for the correction of the errancies of the juvenile a young offendersrsquo; prison Our young people are viewed by policy makers as briefly animated pieces of meat herded into the present and future abattoir of lives of indentured slavery They enter an education system that seeks chiefly to diminish cost and secondarily to identify elites who might prosper and graduate to being the next generation of protectors of the right to rule of their forebears The money in the system has been siphoned elsewhere upwards; huge budget cuts are currently swaggering big balled and bowlegged through saloon bar gates to savage state education University education has already been privatised monetised profitised and young people who are prepared to devote themselves to the acquisition of knowledge and the possibility of a better future must leap huge budgetary hurdles that will leave them pound;50000 in debt before they graduate to their first... blog 2017-03-12 21:20:01 GMT Lewisham Parents Fight Budget Cuts Irsquo;ve just returned from the second meeting of the Forest Hill Parentsrsquo; Action Group Again a packed meeting: there were more parents than chairs and several had to be imported for the session It turns out that the ldquo;Reorganisation of the school administration and non classroom support staffrdquo; that parents have been told about though a letter from the head teacher and of which they have been further informed ldquo;our extensive and meticulous planning has focused on minimising any redundanciesrdquo; has resulted in 22 members of support staff being made redundant since the beginning of the academic year The plans for the school are to implement ldquo;A refreshed leadership structure throughout the schoolrdquo; and that this will ldquo;ensure that we can plan a bright future for our studentsrdquo; There are suspicions from parents that this lsquo;refreshedrsquo; leadership structure will not affect leadership of the senior variety but might involve a complete decimati... blog 2017-03-07 23:00:29 GMT Parents Applaud Teachers' Strike Action Irsquo;ve just returned from an open meeting at which a packed audience of parents applauded their childrenrsquo;s teachers for voting in favour of strike action Forest Hill School for Boys a community school in south London which serves a mixed demographic has uncovered an eight hundred thousand pound deficit Lewisham Council will not reveal how that deficit was allowed to accrue and when it is suggested that the council themselves must accept liability as they had a duty to audit the schoolrsquo;s accounts mouth sketchily about not really doing detailed audits into schoolsrsquo; day-to-day finances anymore How shallow must an audit be to miss an 800 grand hole This deficit when combined with punitive and swingeing cuts to school budgets nationwide will result in the following proposed changes to the education of the boys and the working conditions of the teacher ndash; neither party caused such a deficit but it is the children and their teachers who will suffer Already the follow... blog 2017-03-01 21:37:05 GMT Old Age Traveller - The Problem of the Third Act Impending old age presents a number of problems: not the least of which is reconciling onersquo;s self to oncoming oblivion Pondering elimination is a bore More interesting is the puzzle of a way forward Given the inevitability of the hopefully lsquo;eventualrsquo; outcome how does one motivate onersquo;s self What versions of life are there to be enjoyed given that you will never again bare toned shoulders in shirtless dungarees in a bar delighting the womenfolk of Stoke Newington What romance and profit is to be found in work as your capabilities descend to dribbling in a bucket What new method is required to ensure we battle termination in as virile a manner as one might Where is the release before the release My search for role models has generally been found outside of the office I learnt spirit and poetry from Leonard Cohen integrity and resilience from Cathal Coughlan softness and soul from the words of Mark Eitzel The fact that the latter two are less well known than the for... blog 2017-02-25 08:45:12 GMT A Journey to Calais ldquo;Multi culturalism is genociderdquo; So reads the sign stuck on a lamp-post as you exit Dover Priory Station in the direction of the docks stomping in a pair of battered Doctor Martens like a Liverpool docker on his way to work ldquo;Well thatrsquo;s not strictly semantically accuraterdquo; I think to myself: ldquo;maybe in the regions but certainly not in London And isnrsquo;t an aspiration towards mono-culturalism reputed to lead somewhere bad Irsquo;m sure I had a lesson about that oncerdquo; Dover and I have previous form 39 years ago I attended school camp hereabouts in Kearsney and gave myself appendicitis as a result of eating seven or eight bowls of Mr Howesrsquo;s ugly porridge Irsquo;ve always looked back on it as a magical time in a magical town and have often expressed the desire to move there Here in the cold light of a February morning I can see why my wife historically has steadfastly refused to entertain such a notion Born of south London working class stock ... blog 2017-02-09 08:13:09 GMT Whelks and the Working Class It costs pound;100 for a family of four to be allowed through the turnstiles of Chessington World of Adventures: this sum which is no small beer if yoursquo;re within coughing distance of the minimum wage entitles you to a day spent in interminable queues as you listen for the four thousandth time to the tannoy announcing in a cod Chinese accent that ldquo;Wise dragon heshe say sic keep your arms inside the gondola at all timesrdquo; You get to go on a sum total of about four rides without a fast pass ticket and this becomes apparent within seconds of passing through what passes for security The hut that sells the fast-pass tickets which will at least guarantee your wife and children are allowed to be spun around and made temporarily dizzy is lodged immediately after yoursquo;ve got through those first barriers to entrance Fast-pass tickets come in an array of exorbitant guises but the only ones worth having cost a further pound;70 each Being a grumpy old man who hates being dizzied by... blog 2016-12-29 21:15:00 GMT On English Departments, Magic and Loss It has been a difficult few months: my Norwegian friend Werner who to me was sunshine itself and who was described by his uncle in the following accurate terms ldquo;He was an easy boy to loverdquo; will not be playing music with us any more A band that has played together for twenty years becomes a family though fewer cross words are said of course and his death hit the remaining four-of-us like an avalanche He was profoundly loved was the most talented person I have ever been in a dank rehearsal room with and a warm light has gone out He was 40 years of age nbsp; Leonard Cohen the artist whose integrity and finely worked genius has so enriched my life that I named my eldest son after him displayed characteristically impeccable politeness and timing in that the extraction of for me the chief hero from the script would have been more keenly felt if he hadnrsquo;t merged with the masterpiece on the morning following my mumrsquo;s funeral nbsp; ldquo;Things hurtrdquo; as Juli... blog 2016-12-12 21:15:19 GMT Trivium II Irsquo;ve been meaning to read Martin Robinsonrsquo;s Trivium book for two years now but therersquo;s always been work to be done dishes to be washed parenting to be useless at Irsquo;ve been meaning to read it but the email that gets it washed and brought to me was only sent last week and the book only arrived a few days ago it is exquisite: Irsquo;ve been told this by people I respect but it is better even than their positive reviews nbsp; Irsquo;ve regretted my failure here as Martin is the kind of gentleman scholar and verbal acrobat who would appreciate the 1970s cartoon reference in this sentence equally as much as he would enjoy the appropriateness of the following semi colon; you only have to spend minutes in his presence to realize you are in the presence of a ceaselessly inquisitive man of great pedigree in London education who has command of his thoughts His publishers recently asked me to provide some back cover copy for his curated text Trivium II and I could easily ... blog 2016-06-13 21:12:46 GMT The Impossibility of Lesson Planning I taught a lesson this week to a nice group of thirty kids in year 10 It would not be too rude I hope to describe them as slightly lower attaining but for a first meeting with a one-off teacher they were as kind as one might hope and in the plenary they said that if there were a next time with the same teacher then the thing that would improve the lesson is that they would be more respectful I liked them nbsp; It was technically a very strong lesson without being in danger of being inspiring in any way It would probably have got the top end of good if observed and graded though any observer might have struggled to find ways it could have been improved without scratching around for a lie or two On a good week a proper teacher might want to have taught a lesson of a similar standard once a day or so nbsp; The process was as follows Their real teacher had sent me a stock of their previous essays I had read through all of them taking notes as to the things they might be able to... blog 2016-04-22 21:19:40 GMT Pedagogy is political It seems a glib truism to state that everything is political but clearly to even the vaguest of thinkers it is Your choice of partner is a political decision; your choice of friend too; equally and perhaps more obviously your choice of enemy is political; probably your decision as to whether you opt for butter or margarine is in some way a political one: I tend towards thinking that butter is probably a ruling class scam but also towards thinking that margarine is much the same But I also think that shoehorns spoons sugar and even the notion of subtlety along with any every other concept that ever began with a letter ever are ruling class scams nbsp; Pedagogy is probably a little less politically opaque than what you spread on your bread: it is deeply and profoundly political And so the past current and future lsquo;debatersquo; around what constitutes approved classroom practice must by nature be political ndash; there being an Ofsted and therefore government approved method of ... blog 2016-04-08 21:36:53 GMT On Marking, @Krisboulton and why I do not contribute to the 'debate' Sometimes the distinction between being a player in your own life and a knight or bishop in a script written by someone else can be difficult to discern Ill illustrate my own experiences of this a little later This caveat aside I have nothing whatsoever against the oft publicized work of the teachers at Michaela Community School King Solomon Academy et all From what I can discern this is a group of very bright young teachers who are questioning orthodoxies trying to imagine better ways of doing things and who are actually modelling ideas that may do something about the absurdity of teacher workload As they kick over the statues it is impossible for any semi-retired iconoclast not to find himself nodding in approval even as he notes that the stone shins being kicked are in fact his own One of these teachers Kris Boulton quite reasonably took issue in the Sunday Times recently with a poor sentence of mine that he claims I wrote in an article in October 2012 This is pleasingly certain... blog 2016-03-16 08:55:39 GMT Let's Play Master and Servant - Character Education I was recently sounded out about speaking at an event devoted to character education The organizers were charm personified but when it was pointed out that I was decidedly not in favour of such a concept being treated seriously in our education system and I would argue against it they thanked me for my honesty and discontinued their interest The following is in no way a slur to those organisers but it has caused me to articulate the reasons behind such vehemence I feel much the same about character education as I do about phrases such as the best that has been thought and written: that they are correlatives through which a Government whose classism appears naked on even on the cloudiest of days in even the most dimly lit of all possible back rooms subtly arranges the chairs so that their moral right their correctness the near divinity of their customs and the inevitable justness of their ascendance to the position of rule is bludgeoningly reiterated ad nauseum recall here Orwells im... blog 2016-02-21 21:53:58 GMT Model Answers for AQA Language Paper Higher Tier These might be of use for students studying the higher paper They're model answers to the November 2014 paper that I've written Perhaps worthy of holding up to students as a model of average writing Question 3 - Extract from Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island Explain the writers thoughts and feelings: Model Answer In this extract we learn more about Brysons feelings than his thoughts He sets the emotional landscape with reference to the weather which he describes as foggy and the streets which are sleeping and low-lit This creates a melancholy feel that is reflected in the authors experience of the evening His relaxed slightly diffident nature however is in contrast with the seriousness of his situation He is homeless in a foreign country and the hotels and guesthouses seem abandoned He records his response to this as only mildly dismaying Clearly this is deliberate understatement for an ironic effect: it is an extremely worrying situation and the language here subtl... blog 2016-02-09 14:55:38 GMT Analysis of Inserts and Questions on AQA (Legacy) Language Paper I've found myself having to do an analysis of what has come up in the AQA language paper in terms of inserts and questions for an Academy in East London Here are the results from the Catford judge Analysis of Past Papers June 2012 November 2014 What has been covered in both the Higher and Foundation Tier over the last few years Higher Tier Inserts Source 1 - Magazine article on-line article Big Issue on-line article The Times On-line article Guardian on-line article The Times on-line article Guardian Source 2 - Newspaper article Guardian un-attributed Newspaper article Guardian un-attributed Newspaper article The Times Newspaper article Mail un-attributed Newspaper article Metro Newspaper article The Times Source 3 - 3rd person biog 1st person celebrity autobiography 1st person travel writing 1st person travel writing 1st person travel writing 1st person travel writing Conclusions 1 The first source will be an attributed on-line article from a national newspaper T... blog 2016-02-08 22:19:56 GMT Mavericks - Professor David Nutt Professor David Nutt is as expert as it is possible to be on the various toxicities of recreational drugs; his job or profession is rather oddly titled: he is a neuropsychopharmacologist he uses drugs to help people who have problems with their brain a Cambridge graduate in medicine and for a relatively brief period was Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs ACMD before being sacked by the Home Secretary for a representation of scientific truth His story though sad and revealing is also delightfully whimsical In the somewhat obscure to the mainstream British Journal of Psychopharmacology Professor Nutt wrote a serious though light-hearted piece under the satirical title 'Equasy An overlooked addiction with implications for the current debate on drug harms' In it he compared the dangers of taking ecstasy with the dangers of riding a horse and made the rationalized estimate that there were in the region of nearly 6000 serious riding accidents a year 10 of which will ... blog 2016-02-07 21:20:29 GMT Mavericks - Yanis Varoufakis lsquo;Accidental economistrsquo; Yannis Varoufakis studied at Essex University; his father had previously been arrested his uncle imprisoned and the family felt it was probably not safe for him to continue his studies in Greece Essex University was most recently ranked the 35th best university in the UK in both the Complete University Guide and the TimesSunday Times guide 47th best in the Guardian rankings These are relatively humble beginnings in academic terms and even then Varoufakis did not enjoy the economics course he had enrolled upon and transferred to studying mathematical economics instead His Twitter page describes him as ldquo;Economics professor quietly writing obscure academic texts for years until thrust onto the public scene by Europersquo;s inane handling of an inevitable crisisrdquo;1nbsp; This reveals a lot about our subject: he is evidently acutely aware that he is being watched he wished to be regarded as self deprecating and not the chief agent of his rise to noto... blog 2016-02-06 19:12:53 GMT Mavericks - Irvine Welsh Being lsquo;Controversialrsquo; Did you hear the one about the novelist the economist and the toxicologist Irsquo;ll begin hellip; Irvine Welsh is the writer of ten novels: at his most deliberately hallucinogenic he can be reminiscent of a narcotised Kafka; at his most accomplished he can draw together a finely plotted page turner that causes the reader to question their own impulses morality and sanity He is capable of inducing visceral repulsion in a reader followed soon after by tears of recognition that the pervert the abuser was you after all He is an expert a technician; he rarely makes the mistake of being boring But the characters and subjects of his work are from a working class heritage and the object of his discussion is often the chemical addictions forced upon them by faceless agents that profit from those addictions: he is the erudite chronicler of the lives of the chemical generation History might judge him to be one of the finest most important novelists of our... blog 2016-02-03 08:19:44 GMT Stan Bowles The first line of Viv Albertinersquo;s autobiography lsquo;Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boysrsquo; is ldquo;Anyone who writes an autobiography is either a twat or broke Irsquo;m a bit of bothrdquo; Read into the above what you will Irsquo;ll start sharing resources edu thoughts etc when I am competent But as a trial which reading it may well be I share with you a yet to be published article I have written for the QPR fanzine lsquo;A Kick up the Rsrsquo; about my boyhood hero Stan Bowles who has recently been diagnosed with dementia It starts like this: It is 1999 and I am recovering from a broken long-term relationship being put up at my mate Sallyrsquo;s flat while my ex partner is given the lsquo;spacersquo; she requires It turns out that this really is quite a lot of space and therersquo;s beer in cans and tears in pints But not only beer Sally is a top notch PR and has a lucrative gig as the representative of the brand Smirnoff Ice This feels usef... blog 2016-02-02 16:24:17 GMT