Plenty of Ado About Shakespeare

A Review of Lucy Bailey’s Production of Much Ado About Nothing (summer 2022)

It was a perfect day for mm visit to the Globe this May. The sun was shining, but it was not yet too hot, and anyone who is a regular visitor to London at the time of year will know the air is filled with drifts of tree pollen, which gave a magical air to the love fuelled proceedings.

Finding the Self

Self-discovery and identity and how writers explore this, is something which I have been a bit obsessed with during my study of Literature. Different writers from Shakespeare to Emily Bronte and beyond ponder what it is that makes us who we are and what the self, who we are actually means. This is an exploration…

The Marking Conversation

I can vividly remember marking my first set of Year 10 essays on Romeo and Juliet. In my other classes we had lots of short assessments in books and opportunities for them to write creatively, but these Romeo and Juliet ones were different. We were covering a topic which the students had all found challenging…

Simon and the Love of Reading

Simon hated Tuesdays. Tuesdays filled him with a low sense of dread, bringing a queasy feeling and a sense of restlessness. It was not enough to be able to blag a day off, but just enough to make him pick at his breakfast and drag his heels a little more on the way into school.…

Learning To Let Go

Education is full of disagreements and dichotomies. From how we manage behaviour, to the topics we teach and in what order, to how we explain a complex idea, if you gathered 30 different teachers into a room there would be 30 different possible approaches to the same thing. Sometimes that is driven by context and…

Looking in the Mirror

We all know being reflective is important in teaching. It is something we are told to do from the very beginning of our training, and it is seen by many as part and parcel with what we do. Teachers can be naturally reflective and having spent years studying your subject or profession at in an…

The Purpose of Schools

It seems it is time for my annual rage. Every year, sometimes bi-annually just for fun, newspapers run stories from often high-profile businesspeople bemoaning the fact that young people are not being taught the right things in schools. People don’t understand how to write letters in the style the company requires, aren’t sure how the…

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Some Reflections I recently had the pleasure of watching Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth on the big screen. Let me just begin by saying this film is stunning. Visually Dunsinane is like something straight from an Escher painting, a sense of being trapped in a labyrinth of light and shadows, giving all the more…

Breaking Out of the Box

Often when people hear my name in a professional capacity they immediately think about English teaching. Having spent 20 years teaching English, 14 as a head of Department, and now nearly two more with the title of English Specialist Lead that is understandable. However, rationally, or not, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated…

Raising My Glass

Well, here we are again. The end of another year which, I am sorry to say, has not gone the way we wanted. I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives, but I do think that it is worth reflecting on the challenges, the successes, and the sheer brilliance of what you have…