Articles

Since 1987 I have written articles, columns and blogs for a variety of publications, including The Guardian, The Independent,
Times Educational Supplement, The Radio Magazine, Managing Schools Today, Bury Free Press and East Anglian Daily Times.

This page includes the most downloaded and discussed piece I ever wrote (for The English Magazine): 12 Things that Great English Teachers Do. I have also written about radio djs and TV chef Delia Smith.

See also Features for articles about leadership and more general pieces on various topics.


Starting Headship

I have collected the eleven articles I wrote about 'Starting Headship' for the now-expired Managing Schools Today. If you are about to take up your own headship of a school, I hope you find them helpful and reassuring.


Recently published articles

2016

  • 'New Year 2016': Article for National Education Trust (4 January 2016)
  • '2016: A Momentous Year Ahead': My Bury Free Press column (15 January 2016)
  • 'Parents must do better': My East Anglian Daily Times column (22 January 2016)
  • 'I don't see lines of people queuing up to be headteachers': My TES column (28 January 2016)
  • 'Whatever politicians decide, we can still make a difference in the classroom': My EADT column (17 February 2016)
  • 'Give teachers the freedom to inspire': My Bury Free Press column (23 February 2016)
  • 'Nicky Morgan must give up the soundbites': My TES blog (4 March 2016)
  • ''I will be the last person in England dragged kicking and screaming to be an academy head'': My TES blog (16 March 2016)
  • 'So the Education Secretary knows better than parents': My TES blog (17 March 2016)
  • 'Preparing citizens of the future': My Bury Free Press column (20 March 2016)
  • 'Wittgenstein before university? Come off it': My THES comment (foot of article) (14 April 2016)
  • 'Forced academisation? I Don't think so': My Bury Free Press column (17 April 2016)
  • 'Grammar knowledge should encourage a love of language': My EADT column (19 May 2016)
  • 'On term-time holidays': My Bury Free Press column (21 May 2016)
  • 'On the appointment of a new Ofsted boss': My Times Educational Supplement blog (10 June 2016)
  • 'The heroes going out in style': My Bury Free Press column (17 June 2016)
  • 'We may not be in Europe, but Europe is in us and in our school': My TES Referendum piece (24 June 2016)
  • Welcome to Amanda Spielman as Ofsted's new chief: My TES blog (7 July 2016)
  • "Our revels now are ended": my farewell to Hardwick Middle School: My EADT column (13 July 2016)
  • 'I hope the new Education Secretary will lob the White Paper into the nearest bin': My TES blog (14 July 2016)
  • 'The end of an era heralds a new age': My Bury Free Press column (15 July 2016)
  • 'New grammar schools will be a test of whether system leadership means anything ': My TES blog (10 August 2016)
  • 'How to tell your exam day story': My TES article (16 August 2016)
  • 'Opening new grammar schools is not the answer': My EADT monthly column (17 August 2016)
  • 'Let's ignore the naysayers & celebrate success': My TES GCSE results day blog (25 August 2016)
  • 'This daft new grammar school idea: let's just say no': My Bury Free Press column (17 September 2016)

    2015

  • 'I back Suffolk County Council over its RAG ratings': My East Anglian Daily Times (24 December 2015)
  • 'Students need to see our anger and our love': My Bury Free Press column on the Paris atrocities (22 November 2015)
  • 'Why my link with Eton College will improve me as a state headteacher': My East Anglian Daily Times column (20 November 2015)
  • 'Grammar schools should stay in the past': My East Anglian Daily Times column (21 October 2015)
  • 'This "Merchant" mesmerised me': My Bury Free Press column (18 September 2015)
  • 'Warning on technology in schools': My East Anglian column (16 September 2015)
  • 'Suffolk to Shanghai': My Cambridge Assessment blog (16 September 2015)
  • 'Here's hoping you have a great year': My National Education Trust article (31 August 2015)
  • 'Ofsted expects? Forget it': My TES column (26 August 2015)
  • 'Great results are down to great teachers': My Bury Free Press column (21 August 2015)
  • 'The magic of getting lost in a good book': My Bury Free Press article (17 July 2015)
  • 'We must learn from international school partners': My East Anglian Daily Times article (15 July 2015)
  • 'How to remain calm when managing staff goodbyes': My TES article (5 July 2015)
  • 'Across the divide: my day at Bedales School': My TES article (19 June 2015)
  • 'Ofsted: When the Disappeared wrote back': My TES blog (8 June 2015)
  • 'Coasting Schools strategy will make things worse': My EADT column (20 May 2015)
  • 'A rich seedbed for great thinkers': My Bury Free Press column (17 May 2015)
  • 'Let's reclaim state education': My TES blog (1 May 2015)
  • 'This is a story about Ofsted': My TES blog (27 April 2015)
  • 'Trust teachers to focus on teaching': My Bury Free Press column (17 April 2015)
  • 'Politicians need to be optimistic for the future of schools': My East Anglian Daily Times column (15 April 2015)
  • 'I'm searching for another word': My Bury Free Press column (27 March 2015)
  • 'The Barton Crematorium': My EADT column on free schools (19 March 2015)
  • 'The Ins & Outs of Selective Schools': My chapter in the Civitas book (Page 290ff, March 2015)
  • 'Free schools are a vanity project': My TES blog (9 March 2015)
  • 'Lets question the role of education ministers': My EADT article (23 February 2015)
  • 'Learning lessons from days gone by': My Bury Free Press article (22 February 2015)
  • 'We need to make sure it's the experts - teachers - who claim their college': My TES blog (4 February 2015)
  • 'Why democracy matters in schools': My Bury Free Press column (16 January 2015)
  • 'Can a book really be as exciting as an iPad?': My EADT column (21 January 2015)
  • 'Could we please have an end to scatter-gun reforms in 2015': My TES blog (5 January 2015)

    2014

  • 'Why I'll be checking my emails this Christmas': My TES blog (23 December 2014)
  • 'The hope of Christmas needs to shine a little brighter': My Bury Free Press column (21 December 2014)
  • 'Schools are full of joy at Christmas': My East Anglian Daily Times column (18 December 2014)
  • On 'Wilshaw's pessimism': My TES blog (11 December 2014)
  • 'A ritual born out of controversy': My Bury Free Press column (22 November 2014)
  • 'The scapegoating of school leaders': My East Anglian Daily Times column (20 November 2014)
  • 'My Manifesto': My TES column (31 October 2014)
  • 'Celebrating a Bigger Partnership' My Bury Free column (17 October 2014)
  • 'Sir Michael is too quick to criticise': My Bury Free Press column (22 September, 2014)
  • 'The French have a term for it': My National Education Trust blog on the new school year (1 September, 2014)
  • 'Keep your cool during difficult conversations': My TES article for the 'Leadership' section (15 August, 2014)
  • 'Id be surprised if there were no surprises': My TES blog on A-level results (14 August, 2014)
  • 'We're now in the post-Gove era': My Bury Free Press column (18 July, 2014)
  • 'Going back to my roots': My EADT column (16 July, 2014)
  • 'Gove, the great reformer, mistook change for improvement' My TES blog (15 July, 2014)
  • 'Is it fair to fine parents for taking children out of school?': EADT debate (25 June, 2014)
  • 'We don't have a river for rowing': a comment on the caricaturing of state school sport My TES blog (23 June, 2014)
  • 'So what is Britishness?': My Bury Free Press column (20 June, 2014)
  • 'Gove & the Trojan Horse': My EADT column (18 June, 2014)
  • 'Ofqual whistle-blowing?: we owe it to our students to do so.'' My TES piece on Ofqual's call for evidence over unfair practice (6 June, 2014)
  • 'The Rules of Rejection' My TES piece on debriefing unsuccessful interview candidates (16 May, 2014)
  • 'The Power of Words' My Bury Free Press column on vocabulary (16 May, 2014)
  • 'Doing God' My EADT column on religion and atheism (May, 2014)
  • 'It's a very special anniversary' My Bury Free Press column on Shakespeare (18 April, 2014)
  • 'Is behaviour in schools really getting worse?' My EADT column on behaviour (16 April, 2014)
  • 'Could this please be the last bit of radical reform to qualifications just for a decade or so?' My TES blog on GCSE reform (4 April, 2014)
  • 'Gove's magic deserts him' My TES blog on the ASCL keynotes (21 March, 2014)
  • 'Day in, day out, were doing our best:' My Bury Free Press column (21 March, 2014)
  • 'On the Policy Exchange Proposal for Ofsted' My East Anglian column (19 March, 2014)
  • 'School is about more than exams' My Bury Free Press column (21 February 2014)
  • 'Should schools have a longer school day?' My EADT debate article (19 February 2014)
  • 'Giving Ofsted a dressing down' My EADT column (19 February 2014)
  • 'Seldon's proposal reinforces a myth' My TES blog (21 January 2014)
  • 'Our War Heroes Deserve Better' My Bury Free Press column (17 January 2014)
  • 'Tortoise out of the Box' My EADT column (15 January 2014)
  • 'New Year Philistinism' My TES New Year Blog (3 January 2014)

    2013

  • 'Suffolk Mission' My Bury Free Press column (20 December 2013)
  • 'Ofsted Cheer' My EADT column (18 December 2013)
  • 'On not being top of the PISA pops' Guardian article (3 December 2013)
  • 'There are inspectors and inspectors' East Anglian Daily Times article (20 November 2013)
  • 'The Shyness of Teachers' Bury Free Press article (15 November 2013)
  • 'What I'd really welcome at GCSE' TES blog (1 November 2013)
  • 'Take Note of our Great Schools' My Bury Free Press column (18 October 2013)
  • 'A Matter of Life or Death' My TES review of 'I Am Malala' (18 October 2013)
  • 'Leo Remembered' My EADT column (16 October 2013)
  • 'The Magic of Suffolk' My Bury Free Press column (20 September 2013)
  • 'I'll let you in on a secret' TES column (13 September 2013)
  • 'Bringing the world into your school' Article for TES Leadership (30 August 2013)
  • 'View from the Top: Richard Parker's 'The Reality of School Leadership' My review for the TES (23 August 2013)
  • 'A-levels 2013': My column for the Bury Free Press (16 August 2013)
  • 'Englishness': My column for the East Anglian Daily Times (16 August 2013)
  • 'A-level blog': My blog for the TES (15 August 2013)
  • 'Summer Heat': My column for the Bury Free Press (19 July 2013)
  • 'Teaching Matters': My column for the East Anglian Daily Times (17 July 2013)
  • 'Don't believe the curriculum hype' Article for The Guardian (8 July 2013)
  • 'Payment by Numbers' My latest column (Bury Free Press) (29 June 2013)
  • 'Supporting staff through trying times': TES Leadership column (TES) (21 June 2013)
  • 'Toys out of the Pram': East Anglian Daily Times column (TES) (19 June 2013)
  • 'What makes a good teacher?': TES column (TES) (11 June 2013)
  • 'Testing Times for Grammar': My latest column for the Bury Free Press (BFP) (17 May 2013)
  • 'Knowing Stuff': My latest column for the EADT (EADT) (15 May 2013)
  • 'Withitness' is all you need: My latest column (TES) (3 May 2013)
  • TES Leadership: 'Take charge in your first few weeks': My column (TES) (3 May 2013)
  • 'Saluting Edmund Coote': My latest column (East Anglian Daily Times) (20 March 2013)
  • 'On Character': My latest column (Bury Free Press) (15 March 2013)
  • 'Ofsted - who do you think you are?': My latest column (TES) (22 February 2013)
  • 'Role-Models': My latest column (East Anglian Daily Times) (20 February 2013)
  • 'Reading is for everyone': My article for World Book Day (TES) (15 February 2013)
  • 'In Praise of Roy Samson': My latest column (Bury Free Press) (18 January 2013)
  • 'A Monster is Hatched': My latest column (East Anglian Daily Times) (16 January 2013)
  • 'This Too Shall Pass': New year blog (National Education Trust) (January 2013)

    English Articles Archive

    This is an archive of articles as they were submitted for publication rather than the form in which they finally appeared. It contains various pieces about English teaching and literacy. It's all a bit historical now; for more recent work, look at Recent Articles which is updated more regularly.

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