Sunday, 4 March 2018

Education is NOT Educating…

On the 15th June 2014 I wrote a blog named Swimming against the tide. This is an extract from it:

“I decided I wanted my children to understand the importance of struggle, of community, of what is right and wrong and most of all about respect. Most days I am swimming against the tide but nevertheless I still swim. I still swim because I would like my boys to be strong individual men that respect themselves and have respect for all others.  I hope their greatest attributes will be respect, honesty, integrity, justice, decent morals and tolerance. Just imagine what sort of a world we would have then. If you don’t invest the time in children, how on earth can you expect them to turn into decent human beings? I can’t be doing too bad a job when my son is giving my advice out and asking if I would help his friends if they need it!!” (full blog here).

For too many years I have received criticism for the way I have raised the boys, but I knew my plan and I was sticking to it, not out of arrogance but because I knew that my way of raising them would allow them to develop their own skills in many areas they need to have a successful life. These skills include communication, problem solving and the key skill of all critical analysis. I have taught them politics from any early age… all spectrums…for them to be armed with the tools to think for themselves and not be easily influenced by ignorance and bigotry. They can make their own minds up and if they make a mistake they have problem solving skills to put things right. Despite the criticism, it has been the best thing I have ever done… by a mile. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not a perfect parent and often gets things wrong. I do, however, own my mistakes, admit to the boys when I am wrong and apologise to them. They know we are all only human and all make mistakes.

I am so pleased I stood my ground because these invaluable skills are being denied to our children in the English school system.  The World Economic Forum, UNESCO and OECD have all published reports into what skills our children will need to be successful in the changing world of work. These are:

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving
  2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  3. Agility and adaptability
  4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  5. Effective oral and written communication
  6. Accessing and analysing information
  7. Curiosity and imagination.

Yet, the English education system, under the Tories, has been turned into an examination factory where the only concern is to teach children to pass examinations. The system is sucking the life, the imagination, the creativity and independent thinking out of our children. Teachers are powerless to prevent it. This is solely down to this horrendous Government. You would have thought; the Education policy would centre around these seven essential skills. The reality is, it is having the opposite effect on our children. Add to that the draconian disciplinary regimes and we are heading for a generation of adults who have had opinions oppressed and been denied a voice on top of being denied the skills required to succeed in a changing world. It is time we faced up to it… Education is NOT educating our children.

Changes in the Computer Science curriculum and the withdrawal of ICT this year will result in some of our children not being provided with any digital skills. This is a subject very close to my heart and I am furious the Government refuse to address the skills deficit. There are pockets of good practice, but this is outweighed by the vast number of children being deprived of essential skills training. WE SHOULD ALL BE CONCERNED.

Therefore, my PhD is so important to me. It focuses on the delivery of Computer Science in the secondary schools. I believe our children deserve so much better than is being delivered but the system requires a radical change including substantial investment. I am doing my bit. We need a Government committed to providing skills for our children to truly succeed in life.


Today I finally submitted the manuscript of Beyond the Lies to the publishers. I apologise to everyone who is waiting for it but in true self-doubt style, I can not submit it until I am 99.9999% happy with it. I’ll keep you updated.

Meniere’s Disease

Finally, an update on the dreaded M word… Meniere’s of course. Last week, during the storm, was horrendous. I lost four days to vertigo, sickness, tinnitus and the dreaded brain fog. Today, I still have the same symptoms, but they are bearable although the boys have laughed at me mixing my words up… I’m sure Yoda was based upon a Meniere’s sufferer.

Have a fun week. I intend to. I am fighting and will continue to fight. Keep the faith

Much love