Podcast Episode #4 – Paul Dean

In Episode 4 of my series interviewing teaching greats from the recent past, I interview Paul Dean. Download the podcast or listen online here: https://soundcloud.com/willorrewing/paul-dean or watch on YouTube below. Paul read English at Manchester 1971-9. His first teaching post was in Manchester. He was then Head of English at Portsmouth Grammar School 1986-99, Dragon 2000-8, […]

A Pedagogy of Perception

“The wise man sees a different tree from the fool.” William Blake When you look at a tree, what do you see? Imagine that we ask this question to a class of teenagers as they near the end of their schooling. What would they say? Would Blake say that they had answered “wisely” or “foolishly”? […]

Affordable independent schools

(First published in the Autumn Newsletter for the CRE) The latest news from the Independent Grammar School, a new affordable independent school in Durham reads as follows: “We have been delighted that, without advertising as such, we have had almost 100 expressions of interest.  That confirms our view that there is a real demand for […]

Charlotte Mason – who was she, and what is her relevance?

Who was Charlotte Mason? Charlotte Mason (1842 – 1923) was a teacher and educational writer who lived and worked all over the UK. Orphaned at 16, she taught both as a governess and as a classroom teacher. Despite suffering ill health for much of her life, she founded a teacher training college at Ambleside for […]

Education Philosophy – 3 FAQ

(First published on the Keystone blog here.) Parents today take a more active interest in their children’s education than the generation or two that preceded them, so that it’s not unusual for those of us working in education to be asked our views on a “growth mindset” one day or the “outdatedness of the 19th […]

IQ – a short and (over)simple FAQ for parents and teachers

There is something distasteful about IQ. Leaving aside the fact that it is often used by those who want to make race-based claims about merit, it reduces the educational project to the merely quantitative, crowding out other virtues. However, these objections should not mean that IQ be buried – as it has been largely since […]

Poetry and Memory

Somewhat stating the obvious but good to read nonetheless: The emerging findings point strongly towards memorised poetry being a resource with the potential to enrich lives in different ways over many years. Knowing a poem by heart appears to support a very distinctive quality of attention and connection which in turn fosters a rich and […]

Don’t blame “factory education”

[P]hrases like “the industrial model of education,” “the factory model of education,” and “the Prussian model of education” are used as a “rhetorical foil” in order make a particular political point – not so much to explain the history of education, as to try to shape its future. Much enjoyed this revisionist piece on the […]

History of Prep Education Podcast # 3 – Interview with Mark Johnson

In Episode 3 of my History of Prep Education project, I interview Mark Johnson. Mark (known to all his pupils as MRJ) attended prep boarding school himself aged 6 (!). As a teacher, he taught at Summer Fields for 17 years, becoming Deputy Headmaster, before becoming Headmaster of Cheam in 1998 – a post he […]