Jesus is the Elephant

"If you tell people not to think about elephants, they will think about elephants. And, in US schools, Jesus is the elephant." Last Friday, the TES published my longest US feature yet: "The Godless Delusion". The piece muses on the fact that American schools are most definitely not allowed to involve religion. Perversely, school leaders spend … Continue reading Jesus is the Elephant

Greatness: A List of Education Secretaries

Over the summer my main research project is on the biographies of education secretaries. I'm planning to apply the framework from Dean Simonton's Greatness: Who Makes History and Why, to see if the best remembered among the group conform to his theories. For reference, here is a list of my summer companions May 45 Feb 47 Ellen … Continue reading Greatness: A List of Education Secretaries

“It’s Not About The Money”: Why did so many ‘Progressive Schools’ of the 1920s close down?

On Saturday I presented at the Research & Creative Activities Forum here at the University of Missouri. It's a competitive forum for graduate students to present their research and the whole day was mind-blowing. Quite unusually I was presenting a history paper and so was in the 'Humanities & Literature' group so felt massively out … Continue reading “It’s Not About The Money”: Why did so many ‘Progressive Schools’ of the 1920s close down?

Teaching Winston Churchill

I note the Daily Mail has led on the story of the new National Curriculum with a triumphant gloat that Churchill is back on the agenda. I am also chuffed that Churchill is back, but not for the same reasons as the Daily Mail. If the National Curriculum is really as 'forward looking' as is … Continue reading Teaching Winston Churchill

Why Being Wealthy Doesn’t Mean You Automatically Have More Aspirations Or More Life Choices

One of the things guaranteed to annoy me is when people assume that poor children all have low aspirations, and that 'choice' is something only preserved for the 'middle and upper class' children.  Life just isn't that simple. Reviewing more works from Dora Russell - one of Bertrand Russell's wives and founder of a 1920s … Continue reading Why Being Wealthy Doesn’t Mean You Automatically Have More Aspirations Or More Life Choices

Review of “Progressive School” Movement – Summerhill, Malting House & Beacon Hill

One of my first projects here at the University of Missouri is reviewing historical documents of the 'Progressive School' movement, particularly the 'famous' schools of the 1920s advocated by celebrities (or people who went on to become celebrities). The intial review of documents includes correspondence, minutes, prospectuses and applications for Malting House (Susan Isaacs Jacobs, … Continue reading Review of “Progressive School” Movement – Summerhill, Malting House & Beacon Hill

From the 1918 Hansard

Reading the Hansard publications of education debates from the past is a glorious habit to get into (the best links are pointed to via the Living Heritage website).  Not are the debates frighteningly like those ongoing today, but they provide a welcome sense of reality into political debate. In 1918, unafraid of being picked on … Continue reading From the 1918 Hansard

Were O-Levels Harder Than GCSEs?

When answering the question: "Which was harder, O-Levels or GCSEs?" there are two different answers depending on what precisely you are asking about. If you are asking: "Was it harder to get an A on O-Levels compared to GCSEs?" the answer is: Yes, it was harder to get a high grade on O-Levels rather than … Continue reading Were O-Levels Harder Than GCSEs?