Fabian Society » Three things that really matter to teachers – Andrew Old – Best Blogs Series

English: St James's Expresso Bar and The Fabia...

English: St James’s Expresso Bar and The Fabian Society Dartmouth Street. The Fabian Society was founded on January 4, 1884 in London as an offshoot of a society founded in 1883 called The Fellowship of the New Life. Read more: Fabian Society – History, Legacy, Current and recent activities, Current Organisational Structure, Recommendations for reform of the British monarchy http://encyclopedia.stateuniversity.com/pages/7291/Fabian-Society.html#ixzz0hqOhLO8j (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog was originally published in December 2013. The thread still seems very relevant, especially ahead of the UK’s general election.


This is a brilliant, MUST-READ article by Andrew Old and published by the Fabian Society. Check it out!

via Fabian Society » Three things that really matter to teachers.

This article was brought to my attention by a very dear friend and retired teacher. She commented that she would share the above article with her daughter, also a teacher. We had met recently and over dinner, I cited the evidence of the Opinion Fabian Society – Vision 2030. When I shared the link to the second article, I asked my friend if she wanted to write a guest blog about her reflections on teaching. She declined but did cite the first article by Andrew Old, which she had identified from the Fabian Society website.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a passionate believer in evidence-based policy. However, it is important to differentiate between objective and subjective evidence. The UK Government and many international agencies are obsessed with hard, objective evidence, like the international league standards. There is far less reference to the subjective experience of the key players in the education debate. These might include:

The perception of reality is often totally different when considering the subject experience of the different actors, especially when respective fears are introduced. Andrew Old’s article is based upon his own longitudinal and subjective experience, both as a teacher and a blogger. It identifies three themes that are typically ignored by the mainstream media and the political classes.

Personally, I identify strongly with Andrew Old’s three factors. I have seen first-hand, the enormous damage that politicians cause with their frequent and unstructured interventions in public administration. I passionately agree about  the excessive bureaucracy in UK education, including OFSTED. As I reflected on the challenge, my mind wandered to my two years as special adviser to UNESCO, in Paris. My conclusion, was that there has to be a better way forward. I also considered yesterday’s evidence on workforce skills from OECD.

I wonder what percentage of an average teacher’s work-life is actually spent teaching, adding value and on front-line services? Is it time for an Activity-Based Costing review of UK education?

Any thoughts?

Japan cannot rely on India to counter China – People’s Daily Online

English: Logo of the People's Daily 中文: 人民日报题字

English: Logo of the People’s Daily 中文: 人民日报题字 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This short article published in today’s People’s Daily in China is well worth a read. Check it out!

via Japan cannot rely on India to counter China – People’s Daily Online.

Here is an introduction to the People’s Daily from Wikipedia:

The paper is an official newspaper of the government of China, published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Tibetan, Kazakh, Uyghur, Zhuang, Mongolian, Korean and other minority languages in China. Similar to Pravdas relationship with the Soviet Union, the newspaper provides direct information on the policies and viewpoints of the government. It claims itself to be elected by UNESCO as “one of the 10 most authoritative and most influential newspapers of the world”.

There are a few thoughts here.

Firstly, it is interesting to reflect on the reach of the People’s Daily and the number of languages. Personally, I scan it three of four times a week and find it of high quality. I question how many Western publishers can compare? Once upon a time, the BBC had an excellent international reputation but I fear that, these days, it is tarnished. Similarly, media in the US seems dominated by the TV networks and they are not really outward focused.

Secondly, the article highlights the shift in geopolitics in Asia. Japan, India and China are testing the limits of power and influence.

For me, the article once again brings into question President Obama’s flawed foreign policy, which has reduced US influence and triggered geo-political uncertainty, and of course, probably contributed to the rise in international terrorism.