Archive for the Social Issues Category

A sense of community

A sense of community

A very personal first reaction to Denis Mongon and Charles Leadbetter’s School Leadership for Public Value (Institute of Education, £23.99), was relief that I work in education in Scotland and not England. They describe the drive in England, over the last two decades, towards increasing central control […]

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Father figures

Father figures

For me, the brightest highlights of this year’s Scottish Learning Festival were two separate but related seminars. Both dealt with families and both originated in South Lanarkshire. The first, ‘Engaging fathers in children’s learning’, described a South Lanarkshire Community Learning project initiated in 2007 and still going […]

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Lesson in Prejudice

Lesson in Prejudice

“Imagine walking into a room. Everyone not only turns and stares but stops talking, turns their back, rolls their eyes: isolation, silence and self-worthlessness.” The recent Stonewall report on gay school students’ experiences suggests this is reality in many schools. More than 55 per cent of lesbian, […]

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After 32 years

After 32 years

After they are published in SecEd, I normally post my columns on the LinkedIn social network. It provides colleagues who perhaps do not see SecEd with a chance to read them. In June, one of my columns was headed Three types of poor teachers. It evaluated a proposal to introduce five […]

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Latter-day policing has much to teach us about a ‘coalition of the willing’

Latter-day policing has much to teach us about a ‘coalition of the willing’

John Carnochan, co-director of Strathclyde Police’s Violence Reduction Unit, is smart, powerful and sharp as a tack. I’ve heard him speak on Scotland’s culture of violence and ways to challenge it. Recently, I had the privilege of hearing him apply his policing experiences to leading change in […]

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The tools used by school inspectors biased in favour of affluence

Serious questions have been raised on the validity of one of the major statistical tools used in judging performance in Scottish secondary schools. It had been long understood that it was meaningless to compare all schools against each other in respect of examination results. It was clear […]

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Closure U-turn

Edinburgh’s proposals to close 22 schools, three of them secondaries, has collapsed almost as quickly as it arose.   The SNP, group on the City Council, coalition partners with the Liberals, announced that it was withdrawing all support from the Council’s agreed programme to close schools only […]

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A great strength

Norman Drummond has been appointed visiting professor in educational leadership at Edinburgh University.    His inaugural professorial lecture challenged countless orthodoxies: “It is the belief that everyone matters, the unconditional positive regard for each and every pupil or member of staff and of the local community that […]

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The child victims of our drugs problem

Between 250,000 and 300,000 UK children are estimated to be exposed to drug abuse in the home.  Some 60,000 Scottish under-16s live with a substance abusing adult.  There is evidence of parental substance abuse in 57% of social work case reviews of child abuse.  25% of children […]

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A sledgehammer to crack a nut

Society hits a crisis and the default position is to demand schools solve the problem. Internationally uncompetitive: make foreign languages compulsory for all.   Drugs addiction costing society too hefty a price: a compulsory drugs element in Personal and Social Education.  Too many obese kids: two hours compulsory […]

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