My week

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

This began well with an extended cabaret on the lawn by a green woodpecker and then the arrival of the first fieldfares.  Fortunately, we have enough apples and ants to cater for all.

Poor PISA scores were heralded by Sunday newspaper stories that Mr Gove was already blaming the last government for the continuation of the decline that was recorded in 2009.  The big question was whether the Welsh would still be going backwards.  As I have already noted this week, unsurprisingly, it turns out they are.  Equally unsurprisingly, Mr Gove could not resist pointing this out in a series of House of Commons exchanges with opposition MPs.  Whether Mr G's own policies will stem the tide / stop the rot / choose your metaphor, remains to be seen – probably around 2019 when the blog will fearless report the outcome.

JD lookalike?I was very pleased to see Justin Dillon finally make the finals of the international memory man competition and reveal the secret of where all that talent comes from ...

I noticed that there were new posters on the University of Bath's campus saying that the university was in the top ten in every national league table.   This is the case, but only if you discount the efforts and output of  People and Planet – which the university obviously  does, in more ways than one.

Meanwhile, an enthusiastic email arrived from the normally self-effacing London RCE:

Papers are invited for the forthcoming conference, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) London: Supporting employability, society and the environment: a curriculum for sustainability – the first Annual Conference of the London Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on ESD, organised in partnership with 4 All of Us, a social enterprise event organisation.  Bringing together educationalists, NGOs and employers, the conference aims to develop a London wide community of practice, with a view of inspiring and engaging the participants in promoting a sustainable future for all.

Much evidence of collaborative ambition.  How odd, then, that the first three confirmed speakers are just the usual suspects from higher education (who will probably say what they usually do – and only one will be critical).  So, how many captains of industry will be speaking, I wonder?   How many will be even attending?  Well, you know the answer, but here's a clue: it's the same as the number attending the launch of the Manifesto We all Want.  Why do we (well, some of us) go on about the importance of business, but never bother to talk with its representatives?

Matthew Taylor’s annual Chief Executive’s lecture in which he asked: What does it mean to be a citizen at work? is available.  Taylor argued that, “by implementing robust standards for engagement, accountability, transparency and redress, we can recast the employer/employee relationship and make better employment a national strategic priority.”  Much needed.

To the Guardian Higher Education Awards judging lunch on Wednesday.  Absorbing. The two categories I was involved with generated much discussion and mind re-making around the table.  Was justice done?  Well, it wasn't obviously undone, and I came away happy with the outcomes.  Tricky things these awards.

Then there was the Turnip Prize – awarded on the same evening as the more prestigeous Turner Prize.  Both prizes, though miles apart in seriousness, share a penchant for seriously bad art, though Turnip manages it with more wit than Turner.  Channel 4 covered Turner, from Derry / Londonderry, and BBC West covered Turnip  from a pub in Somerset / Somerset.  The winning Turnip entry is here.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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