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How to fix education on the cheap (and why no-one’s talking about it)

The British education system is currently the third highest funded in the world, our teachers work the longest hours in Europe, and yet we’re still lagging behind on the Pisa rankings. On the back of this data, it would be reasonable to assume that the problem has nothing to do with funding, or the effort […]

For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn

For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn. That’s what the advert said, and that’s exactly what we needed. I was expecting my own newborn in less than a month, but what kind of a world was it coming into? It was thoughts of the future that possessed me as I rode to collect the shoes. We […]

When the Land Was New

This was the first poem I ever wrote, looked back on and thought Holy shit! I wrote that. I was 14, and, given the nature of the poem, that’s kinda hilarious! 25 years later, I’ve pretty much grown into who I was afraid of… When the land was new, and the mountains were madeout of patterns […]

Going Back To School

This poem was written from someone who loves teaching, but can’t stand the desperate way we approach kids. We threaten them into learning instead of helping them to grow, and it often makes good teachers apologetic as opposed to assertive; scared as opposed to confident. As a result I often dread going back to school… […]

Why I don’t write…

Again, we come back to the silence. After days of being aware of the computer sitting there; days of me faffing around and dragging out mundane tasks because I wouldn’t know what to say, and pretending that the weeks don’t pass, I’m finally back, staring at the page and writing whatever first comes to mind. […]

Music

In the spirit of cataloging, this was a poem I wrote years ago. It’s full of teenage angst, but has a neat meter and I kinda love it in a cheesy way. Half of me thinks I should delete the first verse… With music as my basis, I travel distant places, My mind’s a distant […]

We Live as Once We Did

This poem’s written in the voice of a teenage girl from a kind of post-apocalyptic tribe of Native-American type people – think like a hippy version of Mad Max… We live as once we did, Together amidst the trees. A people protected by sheets of green, with roots that reach deep and stay strong. The rise […]

Films For Schools: Watership Down

Given the new version of Watership Down that’s currently airing on BBC this is a post from a while ago about the original film…. One of the keys to introducing kids to big ideas is making them accessible. There really is no point in going to a classroom with Thomas Aquinas if they’re left scratching […]

Father Christmas

The snow fell gently that night. A wind chime tinkled. Rainbow coloured lights blinked and winked, illuminating a single line of footprints that led down the side alley of the house. The rusted lock had been opened with ease – the intruder had the key and grease he’d needed – and the tangle of bikes […]

Perspective

Just a little reminder to take care this Christmas… xx The VictimThere’s a blackness so deep it almost glows. And that’s all there is. I’ve an awareness of myself, but nothing more. It’s as though I’m surrounded by an emptiness, a vacuum, that draws me outward to fill it, and it stretches me so thin […]

Hello again…

Right. Blogging. The best blogs are these kind of constant streams of thought that let you into someone’s world. The ones that make you feel like you’re listening to an honest friend who’s whispering into your ear. I keep trying that. I’m so angry though, and I don’t know where to start. Am I angry […]

Hello World…

So… I’ve had a blog for a while, but I’m not sure I was really ‘doing it right.’ I’ve always written – I’m 40 now – and over the years I’ve gathered together forty or fifty short pieces that I’m really proud of, written two novels and some plays. I guess I thought that I’d […]

Why I write…

To learn to write about myselfBut not become a bore,To learn to look into the heart of myselfBut feel no shame for what I saw;To create another’s biographyThat’s honest and deep and aware,But hide the preliminary autopsy,The self-conscious autobiography,And create another who’s self-unaware. Strip back the layers of manners,Pull down the Floydian wall,Create a knowing […]

Revolution

The world around resounds with sounds –Revolution?Revelation?One nation?When again? Never. One planetUnder natural law,We’re only monkeys after all. — After a fallIt’s time to begin again,A mistake is a time whenYou learn to stand tall,See the score. They’re only monkeys wanting more,Just children playing at war. — Desire’sA fire that burns from withinLike a red […]

Tonight I’m Gonna Go Running

Tonight I’m gonna go running Feel the streets pass underneath me stretching out before me and next to me the sea will smash a path cause I’m not stopping Tonight I’m gonna go running my feet pounding like a heartbeat heavy rhythmic drumming but light cause they’re not stopping At the end of the road […]

The Classics are Rubbish

Some people try to flower their verse with metaphor, simile, rhyme, or any other literary mediums available to them; They use long words, or even worse long dead tales, from a long dead time, and expect us to do the homework. That’s all very well, they say what they say to the few who can […]

On coalitions and socialism

At the heart of western politics is a simple divide: Left and Right. Amongst other things, the Right believe that competition will drive society forward, while the Left believe that by working together the sum total of our achievements will be greater. The Right thrives by dividing people, and then saying ‘look, we told you […]

Haiku no. 1

Poetry’s like burn ‘ing pressure slowly removed. But not for that long.

Miss You

It’s worth saying, before I start all this, that this was from a particular period of my life, and I basically ripped it off of Elvis Costello (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY71zqHfHKI) The man’s a legend. I stole. My bad. And also, I never did any of these things… I had youAnd for a while the whole world loved […]

Power

He placed a small box onto the table. Ornate carvings it had none; Gilt and gold was not its thing. In fact It was hard to see the colour really; It was almost hard to see. But it was there: A small box, sitting on the worn green leather top of a wide wooden desk, […]

International Men’s Day 2018: Four Men

I knew a man once whose wife left him. She said he was boring and she wanted no more of him. So she took his daughter to a commune in Wales, And to see his child he drove four hundred miles. For seven years his girl was raised by a poet half his age; A […]

Fragile Angel

She’s a fragile angel standing at the crack of doom, Shuffling herself around to get a little room; Before she takes the leap into all to come, And wakes up from her sleep to the sound of art’s dark drum. Her wings are airbrushed, ruffling, in a breeze that’s quite divine, Her eyes are focused […]

The problem’s the matter, not the method

Two years ago I left a successful career as a copywriter to become an English teacher, and now I feel like I’ve entered Room 101. It wouldn’t be so bad except that I’m expected to teach 1984 while standing in the middle of it… Not long ago I saw a grown woman break down in […]

Spring 2017

Spring has sprung, winter’s song’s sung: The Tinder times with Swipes and wipes, And occasionally the longer nights That sometimes come when the sun beds down. But spring has sprung, And this year’s song is still waiting to be sung. But do we belong in this world that we’re seeing? With Ronald Dump plonking his […]