Monday, 29 October 2007

I was a but down leading into this half term. It is the longest, the nights get darker, you don't usually get snow but drizzle, the kids get excited p to Christmas and there does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. i had arranged a trip for the Yr12 to go to the sand dunes at Holkham and it was glorious. It was cold in the shade but bright and clear, there were lots of dogs and people riding horses, the instructor was good and the kids well behaved but I feel a lot more positive. This will probably change as it Yr12 Open evening tomorrow, approximate finish is 9pm.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Wierd names

After half term I will be teaching a kid with the first name Allabamba. I kid you not. At the moment there is a tele advert with the theme tune Sweet Home Alabama which is now stuck in my head and I know I will struggle to teach her without laughing internally if not outloud. It reminds my of a story that might be apocryphal of a kid that thought her name was said Seaobham (Siobham) as her parents say it written down and liked it rather than Shevaughn as well as mums usual response "Would you like that spelt the traditional way" to some usual spellings. I believe there are restrictions on what you can name you child in the UK but I am not sure.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The What If Final

Well if the rule sad been applied properly the game would have been more exciting. England might have won, they might have lost by more. The referee asked if there was any reason not to allow the try so that means there must be conclusive proof to overturn the decision, not might have been out but was conclusively out and I think that there is doubt which means the try should be given. Would England have then won, well who knows. The only thing I would add is that there are a number of players saying it should/should not have been given so that would also add doubt. It is also interesting to find out what effect having seen it on the big screen had because I think at one point Mike Catt tells the ref he saw it was a try on the big screen. Suffice to say that a lot of Mr Rolland's decisions were questionable for both sides and it a shame that a better ref could not been found.
The other issue was the presence of Thabo Mbeki in the middle of the celebrations. Mr Mbeki is partially responsible for numerous deaths though his policy on AIDS in South Africa (a head in the sand approach) and as the biggest trading company with Zimbabwe is propping up the Mugabe regime. Could you imagine the stink if Blair had been partying with the team with his record on deaths in Iraq! During the apartheid era sporting teams from South Africa went along way to stress that there was no link between sport and politics despite the fact that the vast majority of the population were barred from playing in the national team. It would seem Mr Mbeki has conveniently forgotten that when the opportunity presented itself.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

There is about an hour to the start of the world cup final and I don't know how the players can cope as I have been a mixture of apprehension and excitement swinging from optimism to pessimism. The heart says England but the head say South Africa. The heart then tries arguing with the head S Africa have not yet been tested by a stronger pack, S Africa have not been under real pressure as Argentina made all the errors in the semi, finals are won by the team who makes the least mistakes and this world cup has been full of surprises is there one more but the head hits back with S Africa have already thrashed us once. On the 11th March I gave reasons why England and South Africa couldn't win. I said England lacked experience in key positions but players have recovered from injuries to counter that. I have said S Africa like the contact too much, lets hope this is true as their pace outwide is frightening.

Off to start my preparation as ITV gave gone for a 10 minute build up so I have some rugby on tape to watch.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Open Evening

Once a year the school throws open its doors and tries to attracts students for next year. The more we attract means the more choice we get and theoretically we can choose the better behaved ones. I hate working in the evening (I have worked nights, evenings and mornings and give me mornings every time). I feel that I get some inane questions and some strange ones. The kids love the interactive stuff whereas the parents want to know exam results, topics covered and see examples of work. What made we laugh was the role of management as they wanted me to hide a stack of brand new textbooks and had someone clean the fronts of the notice boards. I mean do parent choose a school based on the fact that there is a pile of text books in the corner or the display in the noticeboard is slightly hidden. I just find the whole thing tedious as it goes on for about 5 hours including preparation and actual contact with parent is about 1hour as they all come in a rush and we kick our heels for the rest of the night. Only one day to half term.

Seth Lakeman

On Wednesday we went to see Seth Lakeman and he was brilliant as usual and produces a high quality performance. I think I prefer his violin songs to his guitar songs but there is not much between them. He is a Devonian sing writer and his songs are based on folk tales from the region. You can hear him by clicking on this link. My favourite is Kitty Jay (which you can select on the page) which he plays faster and faster until he is a blur. The song is based on this story.

The only downside was the way that the support act was treated by the crowd. We were quite near the back and the amount and level of conversation around us was so loud it drowned out the amplified singer. Okay he is not who you came to see but you have paid your money and he was a talented singer and songwriter so have some respect and listen to him or leave the auditorium or go into one of the other bars to chat. A colleague I saw there said she had come to see the support but spent the whole time chatting only to whoop with joy at the end of each song.


So without possession of the ball, territory on the pitch or the best players England beat France and are in the World Cup Final. It would be a fairytale for them to come back from having been beaten by them 36-0 but I just can't see it happening. South Africa are too tactically smart to fall into the traps that France and Australia fell into. They can also deal with the deep kick better than the other two and have an aggressive defence so I think that S Africa will win by 20. I would also like to highlight the fantastic tap tackle by Joe Worsley.

Friday, 12 October 2007


I went to London today for a meeting at the British Museum (which has a fab exhibition on Chinese Empire) which was really positive. The bloke was harvesting views on the new GCSE and all the people there were fullsome on praise. On the way home I caught a rush hour train from Liverpool Street and my work was it grim. I arrived 10 minuted before it left and was able to get a sleep but as it closer and closer to departure more and more people got on to the train until it was stuffed. More than half the people then carried on working on laptops although the man next to me was played shootem up games on his. The constant buzzing, ringing and loud speaking of phones made me glad to have some music to listen to. After an hour and half most people had got off but to add three hours to every working day with travel is something that I wouldn't want to do.

The Thrills

Last night a group of us went to see The Thrills at the Waterfront which now it has become smoke free is a lot nicer inside but has lost some of it down at heel image. The Waterfront is a great place for gigs as it is bog enough to attract decent bands but too big that so that it looses the intimate atmosphere. It is brilliant for the wide range of people who happily co-exist. At the gig were middle aged couples, a few goths a punk with a large mohawk, some girly girls, some of the sixth form and of course some late twenties/ early thirties teachers thinking they should go out more and not be so tired. Seth Lakeman next week.

Radio 4

1 times Wales is Wales
2 times Wales is Norway
3 times Wales are ??

New counting
not forgetting Onety One

Just Genius

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


1. Rugby

Well somehow England managed to beat Australia in one of the best, most dynamic and spectacular forward performances that you will ever see. Mel (Aussie), Scott and Aaron (English) came over and we had 80 minutes of shouting, obscenities, applause and beer culminating with Mel bursting into tears and having a nap on the sofa. The following match between New Zealand and France was equally exciting and I am pleased to see that the New Zealand didn't win as there is a kind of arrogance in their play and attitude towards rugby. Fiji v South Africa was good as well and only an excellent piece of cheating finally securing the victory for South Africa. Rugby is a game where you cheat as much as possible up until the referee catches you.

2. Resolutions

There is no point setting resolutions without checking on them as the vice principal told the students in assembly today so in my bit to hopefully be more accountable here I go.
A. Be more organised and try to implement the one touch approach to paperwork (read it and deal with it one touch) Not bad, have cleared most of the paperwork as I got it but this needs to continue.

B. Try and mark work more promptly and remember to give it back. Better than it was last year but could be better still. The key will be when it is dark getting close to Christmas

C. Try and find a new job for Sept 2008 in a different country. the favourite at the moment is Canada after really enjoying the trip to North America in the summer Written to the universities to get all the paper work I need about the details of my courses.

D. Go and gym or swim four times a week Not quite but averaging around twice a week as well as korfball training and one match so far.

E. Score at least 75% of all the penalties I take in matches 1 from 1 so far but a miss would make it 50%

F. Improve my long shooting. Been surprisingly good. Rolling the ball of the end of my fingers seems to help.

G. Wear more shirts to social events On all occasions I have done this and have bought a few more to wear.

H. Be prepared to be more forceful in large group to put a point across and not just enjoy listening. Not really been in a place where this may happen

I. Undertake a new hobby of some description No

3. London

I am going to London for a one hour meeting with QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) to talk about the Pilot Geography course I have been running for the last couple of years. It should be interesting as the course currently operates a system where all of the Yr11 work forms a portfolio of evidence and is worth 33% of the mark with the exam at the end of Yr10 (33%) and more traditional coursework in Yr10 (33%). With the removal of coursework from GCSE Geography about to occur I think it would be a mistake to have just an exam and hopefully the force of arguments will help push this new format.

4. American Sport

In the near future there will be an American Football at Wembley and I fully understand the ides to help spread the sports popularity and increase the fan base but there are two issues.
Firstly NFL Europe has just closed down. This was the best way to promote interest and allowed a route for good European players to act as role models and maybe break into the professional ranks. It also acted as a good breeding ground for second string American players to get some experience of playing time.

The second issue is that they have had the same idea for an ice hockey and basketball games but there are already professional ice hockey and basketball leagues in the UK. We can hope that these games don't take spectators from UK teams but promotes interest and increases the number of people playing.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


Many years ago I was bought a book by Dave Gorman called Are you Dave Gorman where Dave Gorman had to find as many people called Dave Gorman in a set time. From there I have seen his tele programmes and his theatre production. His new show on Radio 4 called Genius has started and I think it is very funny and you should listen if you can at this link. My favourite idea was bunkchairs with multi-storey chairs for busy areas. The only problem was that as with bunkbeds bunkchairs would be more dangerous meaning more people would end up at A and E. To create enough space for all the new casualties you would have to install bunkchairs. Genius!