My week

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The undoubted highlight was eating wild raspberries in Savernake Forest and then avoiding numerous black beetles as we walked its paths – Oh, and watching young children running about, hiding and seeking, climbing trees, riding bikes, chasing butterflies, and making dens.  Happily, there was not a learning outcome in sight – just what looked suspiciously like fun.  Good job Ofsted's writ doesn't run to forests.

The best decision of the week was to decide not to respond (yet again) to another round of National Curriculum consultations emanating from Mr Gove's cultural conservatism.  I think he plays games with us all.  Meanwhile, others are more optimistic and respond away.

Tuesday saw me in the new NUS building in London.  Impressive, with its rainwater toilets, heat pumps, solar cells, green walls, sedum roofs, quiet pods, Phillips lighting system, and ivy frameworks.  We had a Food Cycle lunch whilst there which I was less impressed with because of the bland, unappetising food.  Despite being hungry, I left it.  It reminded me of a lunch long ago in an Australian vegan restaurant where everybody was as deathly pale as the steaming piles of veggies they were tucking into.  I'm more of a Pret a Manger person, I've decided.

More stories emerged from weec7, this time about one of the 57 keynote addresses they squeezed in which was given by one of ESD's international panjandrums.  Full of  "vacuous platitudes" my informant thought.  It would give ESD a bad name were anyone beyond its insular community listening.

I finally caught up with last week's Bagehot column in the Economist.  It was about the Greenwich Free School in London and was glowingly positive.  It's here.  Anyone who knows that Free Schools cannot (or must not be allowed) to work, should not read this; cognitive dissonance and spirals of despair loom.  Meanwhile, I – as a keen supported of the idea of these schools – was pleased, even as I noted the caveats, especially around the problems of scaling up excellence.

The most ignored story of the week must be that from UCAS on the rise in applications to universities in the UK.  Bad news, of course, for all those who saw the increase in charges to graduates as the end of civilisation, or those who thought it was somehow a game-changer.  Hence the cynical silence.  A pity, as I'd have thought that a 70% increase in applications from black families (since 2006) might have been worth a cheer.

And now the blessed rains have finally come ...

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