Thursday, 30 March 2017


Our leaving the EU makes me very sad.  Despite all it's faults the EU broke down many of the barriers between countries. I liked the feeling of belonging to something larger than Britain.

Now I feel like an alien in a foreign land, surrounded by narrow minded bigots.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Grammar Schools

I have mixed feelings about the government's proposal to encourage the creation of new grammar schools

I think I benefited immensely from attending a Grammar School but there were quite a few boys there who gained little from the opportunity.

When I taught in a College of Further Education, I came across a fair number of good students who came to us from Secondary Modern schools.

I have doubts about the selection procedure. That seemed to be directed at selecting what were thought of as the cleverest children, with heavy reliance on intelligence tests. Being at least moderately clever is useful for anyone pursuing the sort of academic education grammar schools provide, but it is also important to be studious, attentive and conscientious. I can't think of an easy way to take such factors into account, but I think we need to think carefully before setting up a lot of new schools. The experience of Independent schools could be helpful, many of them use entrance tests without provoking great controversy.

We should also consider how much any schools are needed, now that so much information is available through the Internet. Younger children need supervision, and all pupils will need access to labs and workshops, but herding all under 16's together 5 days per week may no longer be necessary. Hard thought is needed and it would be a mistake to try to recreate the state of affairs that prevailed 50 years ago without considering alternatives.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Artificial Dilapidation

I recently noticed a young lady wearing jeans with a hole much larger than one expects to see, even in the most dilapidated of jeans.

Then I noticed a few strands of fibre criss-crossing the hole and realised that the hole was kept in shape by some sort of netting. I suspect that those jeans were manufactured with a hole.

I wonder if clothes with holes cost more than intact clothes ?

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Something for Nothing

A retailer sent me a 'points' voucher for something I wanted to buy anyway, but I looked for it in vain.

When I went to the 'customer service' desk to tell my sad tale, the lady in charge credited me with the points anyway. So vouchers for something that isn't there may still be valuable. In this case the points are worth 40p