Maths in Local Gov

September 1, 2014

Local education chiefs are being applauded for an increase in Key Stage 2 SATS results.

We have seen a remarkable rise from 71% of children achieving a set level to 72% of children.Maths Read the rest of this entry »

Music Theory – “Core” or “Chore”?

May 1, 2014

I’m founding a school. Not that I really have that much to teach to established musicians, but I’d like to work with those who are a bit younger and less fixed in their ways.

I want to teach them about music theory – that boring exam everyone who wants to go from good to great must pass at one point or another.

logo Read the rest of this entry »

Notable development

March 22, 2014

Yes, I’m going to get all self-promotional and a touch ranty for a moment, but this is important to me.

Music education is a difficult balancing act between artistic development and summative assessment. By this, I mean that different people develop at different rates and have differing strengths which require addressing on an individual basis. Sticking every pupil through the same exam is a valid way of normalising progress and setting a bar to be reached.

My problem is just that. We set the test around those things that are easier to assess – performance, listening skills, memorising scales and reading music from the page at first sight. These things tend to be right or wrong – binary choices we can score against a total. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Church

September 30, 2012

Well, here we all are, sitting in Church every Sunday. It’s nice in Church. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m unemployed

September 4, 2012

I have no job. It’s a bit irritating to be honest.

The circumstances are by now fairly irrelevant, but the upshot is I currently have no way of paying the bills next month, so I’m casting around for work and trying to find myself a worthwhile occupation. (In fact, if you want to help, or want to hire me, you can get further details here.)

Cue my latest crazy idea – Grammar Ninja. Read the rest of this entry »

Who is Jesus to me?

September 12, 2010

Who is Jesus to me?
He’s a mystery. Read the rest of this entry »

Mary and Martha

July 18, 2010

The funny thing is, having read Luke 10:38-42 that I could suddenly see the unfairness of it.
Look closely. It’s Martha who opens her house to Jesus, and so she is rightly concerned with preparations to make him welcome. Mary sits at his feet and listens, and she makes the better choice, but somehow you can see why Martha does her headless chicken act over the preparations.
Look at some of the other folks Jesus eats with. Zaccheus is an appalling man, guilty of corruption and fraud. In fact, it’s more like outright theft.
Jesus picks people to be with because his Dad made them, and he holds the key to their salvation, not because they’re good examples. He takes them as they are but doesn’t shy away from correcting their faults. So he is with all of us, if we have the will to invite him in.

This thought and others generated at the Wired to Worship service at Aldridge Parish Church this evening.

Summer School

June 13, 2009

I’ve just started to finish (if that makes sense) the curriculum content for a Summer School I’ll be running in August. Well, what else should I do with six weeks holiday but work through them like a trooper?

I have a venue, a staff, and as yet no students at all, but I’m working on it… The advertising starts today and hopefully will be very effective.

I’m also continuing to write and rewrite a musical and trying to find some work for September.

But for just these next few minutes my mind will be entirely on the Summer School and what to teach. For some, it will be a recap session without much to worry about. For others, it will be a deep-end full-immersion musical hothouse thingummy. I’m aiming that most kids will land somewhere between the two.

So, enough with the prevarication, onwards to glory. Or music, or both.


Hooray hooray for a half term holiday

May 22, 2009

I have a horrible feeling non-teachers will want to shoot me for this, but I really do need the week break that’s coming. I need to feel somehow free of the constraints of the classroom for a bit.

Similarly I’ve been avoiding leading music for Sunday morning worship recently due to the size of my family and their propensity to wander off if not nailed to the nearest pew. However, I have recently been required to do a little light morning service duty.

This can be very tough if you have rehearsal at 8:30, first service at 9:30 and second service at 11:15 (ish – depending on length of sermon) and final throwing out a little before 13:00. That’s a full working day in the saddle, without much in the way of a break except that the sermon (and therefore the jokes) are repeated wholesale from the first service, so I can doze gently in the second service.

I realise it’s not a full working day in reality. In the same way that four hours contact time a day for a teacher represents countless hours of preparation beforehand and marking after however, I think the worship band of a church (or organist) need to have a little recognition for the hours of practice required to be good enough to lead effectively.

I have a band of fantastic blokes who generally form the core of whatever band I’ve constructed. They’re so tight with each other I have them grouped on my phone so I can text them all at once. It’s a great setup, but these guys have been playing a while, and they know what they’re doing because they’ve practised.

So half term holiday for me is like coming back and playing the morning services. I’ve done my practise and now it’s time to deliver. I’m about to have a week off and then it’s time to get back to the whiteboard and educate some children.

I’d love to think there’s much of a point to this, except to say that sometimes a change does you good. Maybe I’ll throw the band around a bit in terms of make-up (not that any of them wear make-up) just to see if a change is as good as a rest.

And now I have a week in which I can think about doing it.