Monday, 29 March 2010

Job Interview

On Monday 26th APril I have an interview to be a Principal Examiner for OCR assessing the exams and ensuring that the markers are accurate and within the specifies tolerance. I have to do a presentation and that should go ok but I need to abvoid nerves.

I can't vote Conservative

The Tories suggest that kids are over tested and to reduce this they propose scrapping the modular part of A Levels - so a kid can go two years and then fail rather than finding out during early modules and move on to a more suitable path.

They want to introduce a new exam to differentiate between the 3% of people who get 4 A grades (this has already introduced). There are also interviews to help universities select the correct candidates.

They want an American SAT style exam for university entry thus increasing the amount of cramming that occurs and starting a lucrative business in tutoring to teach to a specific exam. (Something they are against). The US market in this area is worth £2.5 billion and has led to tail wagging the dog. The whole system is geared to 1 exam with all the inherent pressure and unfairness that is involved. This is happening at a time when the US are moving away from the system as it produces 1 dimensional students in university.

SAT results would also be comparable and be a stick to beat schools with despite the fact they want to abolish league tables.

This is on top of other policies such as increasing the qualifications needed to train, breaking the pay structure so the best schools can pay more and leaving the worst to get even worse, exam databases (already exist), targeted OFSTED visits having just disbanded the way they judge schools and Troops to Teachers (having just raised the level of qualifications for people wishing to teach).



Went very well and I got some positive feedback and some concrete ideas to improve. The major issue is the way that lessons will be measured in future. To gain an outstanding rating 90% of the class have to make exceptional progress. Not just better than average progress but exceptional. My question about this is how do you prove that in a one hour observation and how does the observer decide between very good progress and exceptional? It is so subjective as to be impossible and I predict a fall in the number of outstanding grades next year when the new criteria are introduced.

Norwich City 4 beat Dragons 2 12:7

Dragons 2 are the worst team in the league. They have had no wins this season so far and have been relegated to a league that they should be in as they are mainly new players. Earlier in the year we beat them 11:1 and they have certainly improved. They also played a couple of players from higher team in their lineup to give them structure and they scored most of the goals and created all the others. I am against this practice on most occasions but for a team that are this bead losing consistently is disheartening. We also seemed to play a very strange game plan with 1 member of our team deciding to not bother marking and taking all of our shots. This led to a very unbalanced feel with everyone out of position pretty much all the time and leading to one team member becoming very frustrated. I scored one goal using my move but had a lot more success drawing people out of position with some good passing. Two matches left this season.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


On Thursday the Head is coming to watch. Why he picked me from the department I don't know but it might be that I am about to go through threshold and he wants to see what he is getting. Observations are a chance for management to believe that you are great and a whole load of decisions are based on watching one lesson. Therefore a lot of "extra" effort goes into it to justify and explain what you would do instinctively. There are several buzz words or key phrases you have to include to slightly flavour this years observations to ensure it was different from the last year - this year it is progress. So showing how much progress the kids made in the lesson in relation to the aims of the lesson is the key thing this year. My only issue is getting tongue tied. The observation also ignores Heisenberg's Law that states a process is change by having someone watch it and the presence of the head will affect the way everyone in the room behaves.

Norwich City 4 lost to Stingers 1 8:7

A really entertaining game where no one team was more than two goals ahead at anyone time and at the end we were doing everything to score and tie the game. We had 8 players which is a bonus and we are generally competitive when that happens. I played ok and scored a nice goal when my defender over-committed and left me unmarked under the post. The rest of the game he played a couple of metres away which means he either respects my ability to get free or did not respect my long shot at all and couldn't be bothered to mark me properly.I hope it was the former.

Our opponents wrote

Another close game for Stingers 1 this week, never really gaining an advantage on Norwich City 4 who equalled us right till the end – however, luck was with us and we managed to get the winning goal right at the end to win 8-7.

Charlie Brooker wrote this and I can't agree more

It's perhaps the biggest threat to the nation's mental wellbeing, yet it's freely available on every street – for pennies. The dealers claim it expands the mind and bolsters the intellect: users experience an initial rush of emotion (often euphoria or rage), followed by what they believe is a state of enhanced awareness. Tragically this "awareness" is a delusion. As they grow increasingly detached from reality, heavy users often exhibit impaired decision-making abilities, becoming paranoid, agitated and quick to anger. In extreme cases they've even been known to form mobs and attack people. Technically it's called "a newspaper", although it's better known by one of its many "street names", such as "The Currant Bun" or "The Mail" or "The Grauniad" (see me – Ed).

In its purest form, a newspaper consists of a collection of facts which, in controlled circumstances, can actively improve knowledge. Unfortunately, facts are expensive, so to save costs and drive up sales, unscrupulous dealers often "cut" the basic contents with cheaper material, such as wild opinion, bullshit, empty hysteria, reheated press releases, advertorial padding and photographs of Lady Gaga with her bum hanging out. The hapless user has little or no concept of the toxicity of the end product: they digest the contents in good faith, only to pay the price later when they find themselves raging incoherently in pubs, or – increasingly – on Internet message boards.

Tragically, widespread newspaper abuse has become so endemic, it has crippled the country's ability to conduct a sensible debate about the "war on drugs". The current screaming festival over "meow meow" or "M-Cat" or whatever else the actual users aren't calling it, is a textbook example. I have no idea how dangerous it is, but there seems to be a glaring lack of correlation between the threat it reportedly poses and the huge number of schoolkids reportedly taking it. Something doesn't add up. But in lieu of explanation, we're treated to an hysterical, obfuscating advertising campaign for a substance that will presumably – thanks to the furore – soon only be available via illegal, unregulated, more dangerous, means.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The 7 players lost 10:0 but when there were 8 we won 3:2

The worst type of player is the one who fails to learn. The one that marks his player too tightly and when they are beaten fail to adjust allowing their opponent to keep on scoring. The player who feels that tries the same move in attack time and time again to such an extent that two defenders are waiting for it. The player that when the coach says slow it down to give the defence a rest keeps shooting after one pass. The player who is so busy diving in the opposite half that their opponent is unmarked and keeps scoring. Why are then on my team!!
PS the worst type of player is the one who says they will turn up but then doesn't and leaves their teammates short.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


The Principal Examiner has resigned and they asked me to step in for this year as it is the last year of the course but they have asked me to apply for the job permanently starting next year. The marking bit should be fine but the writing of GCSE exams is a bit tricky as it involves a lot of meetings with Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) which might get in the way of the day job.

Also have been approached by the Oxford University Press to write exam questions this Autumn. Did you know I was a published author? Somewhere deep in the acknowledgements of a GCSE text book today JK Rowling tomorrow!!

Conservatives - going to abolish QCA to save money but set up independent body to monitor A Levels (that would be QCA Dave)

James Bulger

There has been a lot written and the only thing that I am glad is I am not making the decision.

They were only ten
but they killed a kid
but they only ten
but they understand right and wrong
but what about the full consequence of their activities
they would have seen that they would have been causing pain
but is it their fault of that of their upbringing
they committed the crime
what about if they change in the future
but it was evil and they can't change
everyone can change to a greater or lesser extent
surely the man who killed his wife and 10 month is more evil as he had full understanding of his actions
no some murders are worse than others
really - taking 3 lives in worse than 1 life
but it/ he was a kid
what about the rights of the parents
but they are inevitably biased
but the loss hit them the most

I can see both sides and have no idea which I agree with most. The only point I do agree with it keeping it private.Everyone has the right to a fair trial and if everyone knows then it won't be. Amusing to see it escalate - last week it was a scuffle at a night club, this week child pornography, next week 9/11 - got to love the tabloids.

Norwich City 4lost to Norwich CIty 3 8:4

Terrible game - never played, never seemed to get any rhythm in an attacking sense and while were not dismantled defensively they were always able to score to keep a bit ahead of us. Despite that got a losing bonus point so not all bad.

Monday, 1 March 2010

The weekend

Last Christmas Juliet bought me a voucher which was about to run out so I booked the best looking thing on the list which was Dave Gorman playing the Cambridge Corn Exchange. We decided to make a weekend of it although the weather decided not to co-operate. The weather was so terrible that we decided to chill at the hotel before heading out for dinner and the theatre. He was so funny it was indescribable and I would thoroughly recommend going to see him. He told a load of stories and jokes including the credit card joke and the maths joke but a she asks you not to spoil the show for others I won't go further than that. Another chilled morning with a lovely breakfast topped off an excellent weekend away which was just what was needed after a whole week back at work.

Dave will be visiting Portsmouth, Plymouth, Cheltenham, Salford, Brighton, Bolton, Stoke, Liverpool, Glasgow, Dorking, Leicester, Belfast and Llandudno so go and see him.

Norwich City 4 lost to Stingers 1: 10:8

There are a few things that I absolutely hate and not turning up to something that you have committed to is one of them so when two players pull out less than 2 hours before the start leaving us down to 6 I was exceptionally annoyed. We were able to find someone to play that lived nearby but they did not arrive until twenty minutes in. Despite our numerical disadvantage we only lost by two so it could be assumed that with all of our players we might have won and it is annoying that team-mates could let you down like that. I also played rubbish but was against two opponents so there was some reason for this but just was not sharp at all. Finally to top of the poor day I managed to wreck my trainers as the grips on the underneath have come away from the sole. We also might have won if we had not injured one of their players who was not playing well and was replaced by someone with a really good long shot and he scored three goals.