What we have to give

Small changes will help us confront what’s wrong, support those who need it most and remind ourselves what we have to give. My son begins his primary PGCE in September. He leaves self-employment and begins life as a teacher. What a year to start. I’m excited for him, but also afraid of what lies in … Continue reading What we have to give

Part 2/ Helping our children to be happier – mental health and Maslow

In Part 1: Part 1/What's wrong with our children? I described how children have been affected by Covid-19 and tried matching this with the Maslow model. I explained that establishing positive mental health will mean recreating pleasure in the physical world, building the happiness that only people bring and finding again the lack of purpose … Continue reading Part 2/ Helping our children to be happier – mental health and Maslow

Words – Lost and Found

In 2017 I bought the beautiful ‘Lost Words’ by nature writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. Each page is a visual hymn to the beauty of nature nouns. Macfarlane’s conjuring poems and Morris’s glowing watercolours summon lost words back: “Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared … Continue reading Words – Lost and Found

Kayaks and Cairns

Whenever lockdown ends, I imagine we all have a special place (other than the pub) to which we’re yearning to escape. On this Bank Holiday, I’m thinking of two days spent with my boys in the great outdoors a while ago, which didn’t quite go as expected, but where we’ll definitely be heading again when … Continue reading Kayaks and Cairns

Open the Box

This has been a pretty unique week. Since Easter, teachers, schools and Trusts such as Greenshaw Learning Trust, Oak National Academy and Robin Hood Trust have opened their doors to the world and shared all of their subject resources. Teachers have uploaded clips for other schools and pupils not at their school to use. Books … Continue reading Open the Box

I am because we are

Warm weather this week means the government is telling us to stay in. Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has resigned because she didn’t. And then the Queen spoke. Despite the detached weirdness of working remotely in lockdown, there are elements about it I’ve secretly enjoyed. In our whirlwind world there is something attractive about being solitary … Continue reading I am because we are

More than I expected

It felt awkward – just clapping our hands outside our front doors as a sign of support for NHS staff on the frontline of their fight against CV. And yet, reluctantly I stood there in the dark hoping I wouldn’t be the first, or the only one. Armed with my instruments: a saucepan and wooden … Continue reading More than I expected

Our Singing Curriculum

Choirs are mushrooming across the country. I first joined a choir at the tender age of six and I’ve never really shaken it off. Tuesday nights are special for me. I look forward to the camaraderie of the choir, the collective endeavour, the hope that we will crack this tricky piece, the soaring sound of … Continue reading Our Singing Curriculum

Detecting the curriculum: Holmes, Hirsch and Jim Hawkins

Driving back home along the M5, my son and I are listening to Sherlock Holmes. Watson is stunned by Holmes’ all round ignorance, and gives an informal school report: “Knowledge of literature – nil; philosophy – nil; astronomy – nil; politics – feeble; botany – variable (well up in belladonna, opium and poisons generally, but knows nothing … Continue reading Detecting the curriculum: Holmes, Hirsch and Jim Hawkins

Dolphins and Butterflies

My young son and I cycle around Strumble Head, in wild west Pembrokeshire, squeezing through tall, mossy hedgerows on tarmac made glass-smooth by years of sheep droppings. We leave our bikes on the dry Prehistoric drystone wall and walk round the peninsular towards the lighthouse. The wind hugs us tight to the cliffs and as … Continue reading Dolphins and Butterflies


Pirates Buckets full of crabs, Decent shrimp, bigger fish than we've a right to land With that children's bamboo net; and a baby eel. Satisfied, smug and sat, hands flat upon Four inches of warm waves and corrugated sand I'm braced against the unexpected sun As lazy, loud gulls wheel above my head. Secretly my … Continue reading Pirates