Showing posts from December, 2010

The devil detail is in the data .... alas ....

Having the space to escape from the treadmill (sic rat race) of full time teaching in further education over two years ago, a conversation today reminded me of the misunderstood goals of the system.

The obsession with standards and the specter of the inspection regime means that many educators are distracted by the way the data looks and seldom on the quality and relevance of the subjects they are teaching.

Maintaining standards is essential, having an independent inspectorate is important, but sadly many organisations are driven by meeting the requirements to maintain a high grade in the eyes of these, rather than a high standard in the minds of the employers and the experiences of the learners.

With the data, being this devil, you will often see that centres rated as outstanding have firstly accomplished the skill of making the data look good then secondly succeed in ensuring the teaching matches this view.

A very worrying thought, sadly a reality played out in many schools and coll…

Book Review : Review ....

Been reviewing a book today for a publisher whom will not be mentioned (and is not who you think it is either), to be fair on the whole the book is good and would survive the needs of the Post-16 education market and the IT industry. As a reviewer, if something is abjectly wrong, you get the luxury of pointing it out and ensuring that others in the equation don’t endorse the book.

Nothing really wrong, not wrong as in incorrect, but dated, in some places, and misinformed in others.

My favorite was the notion that Microsoft were leading lights in the development of BASIC, hmm not my memory of my youth, they may have taken the mantle in the late 80’s for their own purposes, but leading, I think not (private mutter, rant, open box with ZX Spectrum in and stroke fondly).

Ode to the long game ...

Lets say an ode to the long game,
Give a cheer for the strategy, never the tactic.

Lets give a hurrah for the long game,
Seeing the big picture and knowing the devilish detail.

Rise to the mission, play to the plan, don’t let them know what you are thinking, only what you want them to think you think.

Raise a glass to the long game,
And wonder what he really thinks, its easy to assume, easier to underestimate.

Are you dealing with friend or foe, are you fiend or fool, would you know if you are one of the heroes?

The game play is long, the process slow, the goal moves but the target remains the same.

What is my aim?

Ask yourself :

There is something to be said about the phrase, ‘misery loves company’, in spite of the fact this pithy wisdom refers to the need for those with woes to share them. There is another reality, many of us cannot stand those who are cheerful and happy all of the time.

Don’t they just make you want to ... [fill in blank]

At this time of year, one encounters souls who are full of the joys of the season. Children I can forgive in abundance, this is the season for them, but adults who, in the absence of the required child are still optimistically cheerful, need help, preferrably with a gentle stoke of a cricket bat over the head.

Why, please why?

In some event where to encourage adoption of a new faith the suggestion of joint celebration between ‘faith’ and ‘pagan mid-winter feast’ may come together has now become a time for optimistic spend/spend/spend. In fact christmas is reported as bad, if the sales are up/down/different per week/month/day/nanosecond against last year or some magical pa…

Is there anything new under the sun ...

I often return to this text from Ecclesiastes, always relevant, over 3000 years hence:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?  It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the fo…

Dear pompous, fear not, a fool I not be

... Interesting dealings with a couple of centres today, having had no reply to emails about forthcoming quality review visits I get two very different responses:

Centre A : small operation, has a can do attitude, sees that there is an issue, but will get into gear and resolve the issue

Centre B : somewhat bigger, pompous peri-farting, asking why I have not contacted X in the first instance, when told that the details were of someone else in the organization; indignation, blaming others. Amazingly when centre told that they could change their own details, the information was amended within five minutes.

The reality is, when the reviewer visits and completes the audit, they have the authority to ‘block’ preventing the centre from awarding what may be a considerable range of qualifications based on their judgment.

Hard to remain impartial isn't it ....

Ipsos custodes ....

Some food for thought, when does a education authority become an expert on immigration. The answer is likely to be not at all, but today in my educational journey I have seen (anecdotally) an environment where the custodes of immigration attempt to be experts on a complex system with some adverse effects.

O dear ...

Ooooo such vanity we have ....

If my ego gets to the stage when I thank you for the work you are doing for me, please, please tell me.

Now thinking how to burst the balloon of someone so arrogant (or ignorant, equating to lost up own rear vent) to think that the work I do at a national level is for them.

Impressively, I was not angry, more amused having a fit of the ROFLOL’s (I do like this newspeak, do you think it may catch on).

First, foremost and only ever, the work I do is for students in spite of, educators, the learners themselves, accreditation bodies, vendors, employers funding bodies, QuANGO’s and this ego filled soul.

Now for a thought on local higher education

..... To stimulate discussion, for the last fourteen years I have never worked in the town that I live in, so when you read this article, take care not ot jump to any conclusions.

Passing the local college today, I could see that their local higher education centre is near completion ready to take on the custom in what I personally feel is an enterprising endeavor (or is it).

You have to think, that in these economically challenged times, where my university is rife with serious discussion on the shape of things to come, this college has either:

    Been incredibly forward thinking and has considered the potential of how the changing higher educational climate will benefit them


    Has stepped too late into a market that is becoming more competitive, with reducing funding imminent and more student uncertainty.

The ideal of localizing higher education, does appeal, so long as the level/standard is appropriate, in the past before the economic uncertainty I was promoting my own highe…

If I like WikiLeaks does it ...

Make me a bad person, will the government mistrust me. Do I get flagged as subversive or a risk, will they start a file on me.


Has this already begun, am I public enemy not quite number one (maybe add a few zeroes).

So if I agree with Wiki Leaks, do I become a political liability, will those in authority mistrust me, will there be a trumped up case trying to frame me.


So, do I say #iamspartacus do I shout at tax evaders, Nick Clegg or a few trees, is it better to conform, rebel or fight from the inside, or not at all.

We are living in interesting times, sadly not exciting, amusing or free.

So dear watcher in Cheltenham or Langley or anywhere else (will this packet be sucked into China?), its nice to meet you, this is a little hello from me.

Framing the framework ...

Maybe I am not playing ball here, maybe I have not aligned my mind with the crowd, but for the love of cheese, why do we need another framework.

In the murky world of education there are more frameworks than one could feasibly shake a stick at, some influencing education, others acting as an interface between education an other stakeholders. And sadly some that serve no discernable purpose except to entertain the owners of the framework (there I said it).

When I deal with employers, educators, learners and their parents, I never ever hear the mention of frameworks, ever, not at all.

Why is this?

I don’t dispute the need for structure, I would equally advocate the need for a tools to link different bodies.

But, sadly, education has become a little framework silly.

So, if anyone is looking for a new framework, I do think there is space, there is a need for the framework-framework used to describe how frameworks fit into any given framework.

Do you think it will sell (I do).

Being Beige

Protect me from beige, its not the rage, never the fashion, simply not my passion.
Yet so many are, tan, beige or brown, its not your clothes, nor is it your gown.
Living a bland life, following the rules, there is a crowd, don’t be fools.

If you want to be be free, its not illegal or proud, its the need to be apart from the crowd.
You don’t have to be absurd, you need not be strange.
Your don’t have to be rich, nor infamous too.
Release your mind and think, what can you become that suits you.

If you can have a trapped nerve, can you also have a trapped mind?

Read an amusing rant, amusing as whilst the individual concerned was right in some contexts, the crux of their main argument/rational was based on a misunderstanding of the requirements when assessing a unit.

Fair enough, we all do this, so I wont cast the first stone.

What amused me more was the levels it passed through, each escalating this issue as a ‘real problem’, when if they had read the query it had a very large clue contained in the second paragraph.

Ahhhh well, someone will pay (me).