Category Archives: Educate

Education matters in FE


It is the start of the new academic year, and already teaching staff around the country are exhausted. With this comes the self referential questioning of why the hell we do this job.

Personally, I am already behind on paperwork. I teach media – why do I need so much paperwork? We have a word document emailed to us that we use to write the names of those who have not attended sessions. I mean, couldn’t we just do an email rather than a word document? Read the rest of this entry


Dear parent: why your dyslexic child struggles with reading | Education |

Factoids, please.

I was asked to gather information about student leavers – where they are going, etc. as well as some “factoids” about the student. Yes, Factoids. One of my more intelligent students actually did what I normally have to scream at them to do – research.


Here is the leavers form. I am curious on why the word “factoid” is involved. As factoid means ‘a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity. The word can also be used to describe a particularly insignificant or novel fact, in the absence of much relevant context.[1] The word is defined by the Compact Oxford English Dictionary as “an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact”

So surely this would be wrong, however i am sure you have your reasons.

So I sent this to my boss who had asked for the factoids. This was the reply.

Ha! Humour…a way of students thinking about interesting facts about themselves beyond the usual boring’ I like skateboarding’ etc….
Use any word you like as long as it draws out something that is a bit more individual and dynamic that reveals talents, achievements, claims to fame etc……wing walking, champion trial biker, singer etc…

Do you think she missed the point?

Media Apprenticeships

It was the traditional route until the 1980’s. You would leave school and get a job with an employer who would train you up. Well, now it’s back. You get paid, as do your employers, and you train while working. Bridgwater College has had a lot of success, starting with the Mulberry apprenticeship – which is expanding over the next few years – and seeing apprentices placed in local companies as well as the Royal Opera House.

Currently, there is more funding for 16-19yrs old than 19 – 25yrs old. However, it is worth chasing up and asking for more information. There are a variety of Media opportunities around and these are set to increase with the Digital Media Apprenticeships starting up this year. If you have just left school (or a L2 Diploma in Creative Media Production), it might be a good alternative to a 2 year Diploma. If you have just completed a L3 qualification, you may want to consider it instead of H.E.. If you want to know more, explore the Skillset and South West Apprenticeships websites.

Radio 4 Interviews an NVQ student without a job…

No, Naughtie, No. Very disappointing.

So, you believe that Vocational Courses are worthless, as they don’t get you jobs. You also claim that low level courses are worthless, as they don’t get you jobs. To prove it, you wheel out someone with a NVQ in Photography who hasn’t been able to get a journalism job.

There is so much wrong with this I don’t even know where to start. Read the rest of this entry

Times have changed

Interesting interview in which David Kuo claims that we don’t need libraries. In fact, the only use people have is to use the Internet to but books for a penny. So why not spend the money you currently spend on one library to supply 50,000 people with free internet access.

Right. Read the rest of this entry

Copyright vs public domain – How many people really don't get it?

Cooks Source: US copyright complaint sparks Twitter and Facebook storm | Media |

…”the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it!”

This is a view we have to fight as teachers, and it is fascinating that it also exists in an apparently experienced publisher. I am used to it in 16 year olds, but the storm that has kicked off since ‘Cooks Source’ copied an article wholesale has proved that not everyone is falling into this trap.

Obviously, the extreme other end is Rupert Murdoch who doesn’t want anyone seeing his copyright material (see various rants against aggregators, like Google – who then link to the original article on the original site). Lessig would argue that his centre of the road approach of Creative Commons is a way to let people ‘try before you buy’ – and it’s very existence is to hold a line directly between the ignorance of free and the obfuscation of paywall.

While I don’t condone the cyber bullying that has occurred, it is bloody funny.

Measuring Peace in the Media

There have been studies before to show that Watching News Reports can raise stress in viewers, but this is the first to measure the actual violence reported and compare it to the level of violence in the country. Read the rest of this entry

How Fair is Britain? EHRC Report

Revealed: a disturbing portrait of inequality in British schools | Education | The Observer

  • Evidence of boys in their early years slipping behind in problem solving and reasoning and then in social and emotional development. By the age of five, 53% had reached the expected level in writing compared with 72% of girls.
  • Bullying is rife in the classrooms, corridors and playgrounds of Britain’s school. Two thirds of young people claimed to have been bullied at some point between 2004 and 2006. That proportion rises to four fifths when it comes to children with special educational needs (SEN).
  • Just over a third of children who qualify for free school meals – often used as an indicator of deprivation – reach a “good” level of development by the age of five. That compares with more than half who do not.
  • tThe story of ethnicity is a complicated one – in which poor black boys underachieve, as do those from Irish Traveller families, but poor Chinese girls overachieve; Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities see different outcomes to Indian ones; and there is a growing group of mixed race children who in themselves have complex outcomes.

EHRC Full Report

UK Film Industry needs to go no Budget

UK film-makers ‘frittering away millions’ | Business | The Observer

The UK Film Makers are apparently wasting huge amounts of money. I would argue this is on commercially non-viable films that no one wants to see. RThis may be due to our “arts” approach to media rather than a business approach, but we can find a happy medium where we maintain artistic integrity while producing something on budget that actually has an audience.

Rushing half-baked scripts into production, then fixing problems during the shoot or at the editing stage, also took its toll on production costs, Jones warned. So did agents who demanded that their actors got first-class travel, their own makeup artist and a special diet.

“For every cinema ticket sold, 75% goes to the cinema, so what goes back to the film-makers is usually a quarter of the box-office figure,” said Jones. “If you’re running a business, making multimillion-pound productions, you cannot afford routinely to lose money.”

He added that the British film industry could not continue to spend millions of pounds making films that, with the latest technology, should no longer cost more than £500,000. “In 2010 there’s been a tidal wave of new technology – particularly the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a camera that costs £1,500 and yields images like 35mm film [used in cinemas]. The digital equivalent would have cost £100,000 only a year ago. You don’t need expensive cameras any more.”

So, new direction – let’s train students to organise and budget! Oh, wait… we already do…

And the response…
Chris Jones, the film-maker who likes to say cut | Film |

But there’s something queasy about the other side of this equation too: the finger-wagging tallying of unrecouped funds, with the implication that British film should be solely focused on movies made to turn a profit (often described with varying accuracy as “films people want to see”). All very sexily hard-headed, of course – but at the same time meaningless. Every Hollywood studio exists to make money – they also know that every film is a gamble, and cheap, explicitly commercial movies die lonely deaths at the box office just as often as every other kind.