How to take over a country (without anyone making a fuss…)

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  1. Study how others have done it – perhaps by living somewhere that runs an autocratic system masquerading as a democracy.
  2. Spend some time working in a government department to find out how the system works.
  3. Test the tolerance of the system for rapid change.
  4. While you’re there test out an ideological ‘divide and conquer’ strategy – something like, say ‘traditional or progressive” – test how entrenched positions start to blind people to faults on their own side.
  5. Start to gather your allies – including a few useful idiots who will support you no matter what because they believe you’re on the same side.
  6. Retreat for a while and assess the obstacles.
  7. Identify the EU as a major block to autocracy. Remove the block.
  8. Implement your divide and conquer strategy on a much larger scale. Utilise all your study into the possibilities of utilising maths and physics to impact on social behaviours. Test the robustness of electoral law. Find it wanting (but in your favour).
  9. Identify a figurehead whose weakness is ego, who shares your values and who will do anything to hold onto power. Help them to become elected.
  10. Identify the people in your party likely to stand up to you. Expel them so that their seats become free.
  11. Test the strength of parliamentary convention and the law by proroguing parliament. Assess the impact. Evaluation suggests that the public don’t really care, that a govt majority will silence dissent in parliament and that the only real obstacle is the judiciary.
  12. Call a general election and replace the rebels in your party with allies and more useful idiots.
  13. Identify the political correspondents with the biggest egos and flatter them with direct briefings. Cut the rest of them out of the loop completely. Use the bias they create to undermine the credibility of the whole BBC so you are well positioned to dismantle the national media.
  14. Identify the people in the cabinet likely to stand up to you.
  15. Remove them.
  16. Take control of the treasury.
  17. Appoint more of your allies, regardless of how contemptible their views are – after all they accord with your own and there’s hardly anyone left to complain.
  18. Spend a lot of money so that the general public don’t really notice what else is going on. Spend more money. And more.
  19. Meanwhile, use social media to gently normalise topics like eugenics.
  20. Dismantle the judiciary that you have already begun to position as an enemy in the minds of the population.
  21. Quietly reform electoral laws and boundaries to make it harder for an opposition to win. If Scotland and Northern Ireland prove to be too difficult, just let them go.
  22. Job done.

Co-Constructing Curriculum – A Mission to Mars.

“Let’s say…”

Year 5 are sitting on the carpet looking up politely at the stranger in their classroom who seems to have turned up to teach them today. They don’t usually sit on the carpet – that’s for infants isn’t it? But I want them close to me and to be able to get up and down without having to navigate furniture. You have to be nimble when you’re going to Mars, but they don’t know that yet.

Continue reading “Co-Constructing Curriculum – A Mission to Mars.”

A Curriculum for Compassion

I’ve been developing curriculum with schools in primary and KS3 since the early 2000s but I don’t remember a time when the word curriculum has had as much currency as it seems to have now. The stark fact that it has risen to prominence because Ofsted happened to mention it is quite depressing. But if it means that schools are now thinking much more carefully about the child’s experience, the coherence of that experience and how it holds together for both meaning and effect, then I suppose we should be glad. Continue reading “A Curriculum for Compassion”

Ofsted: Should we be Scared?


Rumours are leaking out of Ofsted Towers of a shift in focus towards ‘Knowledge Rich Curriculum.’ There is consternation among some inspectors about ideological infiltration from the DfE and what this might look like in terms of an inspection framework. But I’d urge caution before we jump to conclusions – this could be a positive thing. Could be.¬† Continue reading “Ofsted: Should we be Scared?”

Winners and Losers: GCSEs 2018



So results are in and, surprise, surprise, there’s not much change. A slight 0.5% improvement on ‘pass’ rates, but given that the new 4 was supposed to be equivalent to a C/D borderline grade, that’s to be expected. But wait… ‘pass’ rate? Aren’t there three other grades to consider here? Aren’t grades 1-3 passes too? It would seem not since government have firmly labelled not only 4s as ‘standard passes’ but also 5s as ‘strong passes.’ Who cares about the rest? The 33.9%? Meh. May they proceed onto endless resits, doomed to groundhog day repeats of failure for the next few years, their confidence dwindling to the point that they feel worthless. Who cares? Passes is what we’re after. Because, standards. Continue reading “Winners and Losers: GCSEs 2018”

Let’s get behind the Chartered College of Teaching.


Back in 2014 I heard about the idea for a College of Teaching and I wrote this blogpost¬†outlining why I, as an ordinary classroom teacher, was so excited at the prospect of what this organisation could do for me and why I was so desperate for it to get off the ground. Four years later, it exists and I’m not a member – not even at affiliate level.

Continue reading “Let’s get behind the Chartered College of Teaching.”

A Rich Curriculum


Back in 1991, Martin Haberman, as part of his life long work into how education could tackle disadvantage, wrote “The Pedagogy of Poverty” in which he explores how the accepted norms and routines of teaching life act to hold down the very children we seek to lift up. In our work, Hywel Roberts and I refer to this idea of a Pedagogy of Poverty widely, but we need to explore how it fits in with current ideas about ‘rich’ knowledge and core knowledge curriculum models.¬† Continue reading “A Rich Curriculum”