The kind of joy that matters

My Gran and Granda grew up in a northern steel-making town at a time when going to the pub meant your family went hungry, so they found a different kind of joy. Instead, they spent their free time sat in a circle on uncomfortable chairs, demurely praising the Lord. I was always baffled by my …

Self-care for pathological altruists

I once bought a collection of academic essays entitled “Pathological Altruism” as a quasi self-help book. I don’t trust the way self-help books co-opt emotion to make their point, so I figured this might be more my kind of thing. Needless to say, I didn’t find any ah ha! moments, labels to attach to myself, …

The best adventures are not geographically defined

The 2-minute version of my career history takes you on a whirlwind tour of France, Spain, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and sounds deceptively glamourous. There’s a research station in a cloud forest, a yoga studio in a treehouse, lunchtime wine-drinking in Parisian school canteens, an office overlooking an ancient Moorish palace. Understandably, I get oooohs and …

What if the leader doesn’t have to be perfect?

I’ve always thought I could perfect myself. When you’re a loner, like me, it’s easy to think that the way to self-improvement is to strive relentlessly to make yourself better. And believe me, I’m aware of how much I need it – not least because when you co-habit with teenagers, you hear about your failings …

Covid-19: Can everyone please just slow down?

I remember another time of crisis that rocked the community I used to live in. A beloved teacher, colleague, friend, was killed on a work expedition. She was struck on the head by a rockfall as she dived to save a student. The reason I think of it now, is that for days I went …

What does it mean that “vulnerable children” are exempt from the “school closure”?

Gavin Williamson announced yesterday in the Commons that schools will be closing on Friday 20 March and only re-opening on Monday to children of key workers and “vulnerable children”. Crucially, he said that schools would remain open for these children during the Easter holidays. Below I’ve pulled out from the parliamentary record what was said specifically about “vulnerable children”. …

My new year’s resolution for 2020 is to fail more

I have a story about when I learned that it’s ok not to be perfect. It’s a ridiculous story, which is why I never tell it. But as it’s the genesis of my new year’s resolution, I’ll give it a go. It was almost a decade ago, when I lived in a community of farmers, …

#NuanceEd: what it’s all about

It seems I couldn’t stay away from the whole writing game. Six weeks out of education journalism and I’m already starting a blog. The thing is, there are so many stories to tell. I’ve moved from writing for Schools Week and FE Week, to heading up an alternative provision policy and research team at the …