Publications

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful

The contemporary world of schools induces contrary emotions. Some days I’m a grumpy old man: other days I have wings on my heels. A former colleague, a much respected headteacher, summed it up when I recently visited his school. “School’s great. The kids are great. The staff […]

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Professor Anthony John Harmar

Professor Anthony John Harmar

Professor Anthony John Harmar Wednesday 30 April 2014 Professor of pharmacology Born: November 28, 1951; Died: April 10, 2014 TONY Harmar, who has died aged 62, was emeritus professor of pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh. He was awarded a personal chair in pharmacology in 2006 and […]

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A licence to teach

It’s again time for Scottish educationalists to peep over the Border, this time at Tristram Hunt and Anthony Seldon. Teachers should be licensed and could be sacked if they fail tough professional checks, asserted Hunt, Labour’s Westminster education spokesperson. “Just like lawyers and doctors they should have […]

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Are exams undermined by curriculum reform?

SCHOOLS are regularly exhorted to listen and respond to the views of their students. The Herald (4 February 2014) carried a detailed, thoughtful letter from a fourth year Falkirk student criticising the failures of the Curriculum for Excellence exam system, but also stating that curricular content was […]

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Listen and learn

More than 160 school students, teachers and education professionals attended a recent Scottish conference on Student Voice. Insightful young people outlined the relationships, teaching styles, technology and aspirational culture for which they hoped. Teachers and professionals contributed but also listened and learned. Listening to ‘student voice’ is […]

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To boldly go….

In December one of Scotland’s major local authorities circulated its staff with an appeal to “Share your BOLD ideas”. Staff were reminded that “we need to make significant savings and deliver better services with fewer resources. As demand for our services grows, we need to look closely […]

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How do we define success?

Determined to Succeed was the 2002 Scottish Government’s review of education for work and enterprise. It is also the title of a newly-published book (Kevin Murphy and Neil McLennan, Lulu, RPP £14.99) distributed to school students in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The foreword by David Cameron (the real […]

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No more heroes

A recent report from the US (Miami Herald, December 29, 2013) reminded us of inspiring teachers. Miami maths teacher, Teresita Lemus, was recently named one of 10 Nobel Educators of the Year by the National Society of High School Scholars. “I’m not teaching them calculus, I’m teaching […]

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Over-egging the custard

Over-egging the custard

Language changes. That is usually a good thing but not always. A wise educational veteran, speaking to me of interviews for teaching posts, recently illustrated that. “What is your vision for the school/your department/your subject?” is now a standard interview question. “When I first came into teaching 40 […]

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Alastair Steven

Alastair Steven

Alastair Steven Born 6 January 1945, Belfast Died 20 May 2013, Edinburgh Alastair Steven, born in Belfast in 1945, was George and Sheila Steven’s oldest son in a family of five.  Alastair won a scholarship to Methodist College Belfast, where he excelled, before attending Queen’s University Belfast […]

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