A Passion For Education – The Story of a Headteacher – Extract 3

What is education for?

A passion for Education – The story of a Headteacher: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin BSc (Hons) NPQH, Christopher R: 9781502984685: Books

Chapter 4 – The Purpose of Education  

It always seems to me that this is where everyone gets confused. Everyone talks about education as if they are talking about the same thing. They are not.

Politicians rant about league tables and world standing without any understanding of what they are talking about.

Parents send their children apprehensively into the machine with a modicum of hope but no real understanding of what they are hoping for.

Students are consumed by the process without grasping what is actually happening to them.

The measurable outcomes are easy to grasp and so are given greater importance. The aspects that are not measurable are sometimes acknowledged but usually taken for granted and brushed aside. You cannot measure happiness, empathy, responsibility and tolerance.

Industry cries out for more and better grist for the mill.

We in education are always falling short.   There needs to be a national debate.  

There needs to be an international debate.  

Everything stems from philosophy.  

We have to stand back from it so that we can view the edifice of education objectively.   What is the purpose of education?   This is something that needs looking at from all sides.

Out of this debate there must be some consensus and the application of intelligence. We can no longer allow education to be the football of political dogma and vested interest.

Education has to be based on sound philosophy and in the hands of educationalists who know what they are doing.  

So what needs to be considered in arriving at this philosophy? Let us look at education in the widest possible light. By exposing the various philosophies to light we might explore them better.

I do not necessarily agree with the philosophy enshrined in these objectives nor do I place them in any order. Indeed I abhor some of these philosophies. I merely moot them as considerations in order for us to debate the enormity of this subject. We cannot arrive at concensus without taking into account the full panoply of views. By looking at the monolithic construction that education has become from different angles we might begin to make sense of it. Here are my views on what various interested parties view as being the fundamental purpose of education:  

  1. For enjoyment
  2. To prepare students for jobs and careers in the modern world
  3. To prepare students for life in the 21st century
  4. To provide the basic needs for participating in a technological society – reading, writing, arithmetic and computer competency
  5. To assume a place in society as a positive citizen – moral, sexual and political.
  6. To stimulate imagination and creativity
  7. To grade students so that future universities and employers can easily judge their competence
  8. To create a hierarchy of status in society
  9. To provide the skills, verbal and practical, that are required by employers, society and individuals
  10. To broaden the mind and open it up to further understanding
  11. To create wonder and awe.
  12. To understand science and technological advances
  13. To understand history and learn from it so that we do not make the same mistakes
  14. To absorb knowledge so that it can be processed internally and synergistically used to arrive at new understanding
  15. To explore feelings so that they can be understood and mastered
  16. To explore love, sex and relationships so that adults and children can have better experiences
  17. To promote the sheer love of a subject
  18. To stimulate intelligence and an inquisitive mind
  19. To satisfy the love of learning
  20. To stimulate the love of reading where-in all human experience, the highest thoughts and aspirations, and our dreams are contained
  21. To foster an appreciation of the arts as the highest, most civilised expression of humanity
  22. To investigate morality so that we might build a better, fairer society
  23. To foster tolerance so that we never experience racism, sexism, religious intolerance, homophobia, war, persecution or slavery again in human history
  24. To socialise people so that they are able to enjoy the company of others from all strata and types of society
  25. To teach teamwork and cooperation, so essential to human achievement
  26. To enable the enjoyment of sport and play in all its varieties
  27. To teach about health and fitness so that we can lead vital pleasurable lives
  28. To foster an appreciation of the pleasures of life – literature, food, wine, theatre, opera, music, drama and good company
  29. To care for the environment so that future generations can enjoy the planet
  30. To consider all the issues that threaten life on this planet: overpopulation, pollution, war, species annihilation, overcrowding, poverty, terrorism, and so on – so that we might find solutions
  31. To consider political systems and analyse their effectiveness so that we might produce better systems.
  32. To objectively look at party politics and understand what different political factions stand for so that we might all be better equipped to function in a true democracy.
  33. To investigate capitalism and the world of big business to better understand how the world is organised and run
  34. To promote empathy, responsibility, tolerance, respect and care
  35. To build self-esteem
  36. To foster alert, lively minds who are optimistic and ready to step forward to push back the frontiers with imagination, creativity and exuberance

  I am sure there are others to add to this list.  

There are some that I believe have no place in education. I do not believe that religion should be allowed anywhere near young vulnerable minds. There is no room for outmoded, primitive superstition in schools. It should be outlawed. As for religious schools and the brainwashing of young children I view this as child abuse.  

Too many minds are stultified by poor education techniques, their imaginations sacrificed on the altar of rote learning for league tables and their enjoyment strangled.  

The cleverest boy in my school was a genius. He passed every exam with a clear grade A. He was also a joyless, timid, and boring individual without spark or passion and was unemployable except to stoke the icy furnaces of academia or the depths of library archives. Heaven help us if we churn out such vacuous products of stifling education systems. He was an utter failure.   He reminds me of Gove!   Let the debate begin ……………….. please!!

Until we get the philosophy right and know exactly what we are setting out to do and not to do

Savages From The Dark Ages – The Stabbing of Salman Rushdie

Savages From The Dark Ages

Savages from the Dark Ages

                In the guise of religious fanatics.

Want to put us all in straitjackets

                Using obscene tactics.

Stabbing, shooting and torturing

                Anyone whose does not believe.

Brainwashed religious morons

                Offering no-one a reprieve.

Conditioned from birth

                To believe in an intolerant tale.

As if killing for a fictitious god

                Would save them from fictious hell.

Beliefs from the dawn of time

                Persist to this day

As babies are abused –

                Imprinted with the same old cliché.

Brought up on texts

                From Ignorant times

They go out primed

                To commit horrendous crimes.

We’ll fight for free speech

                And the right to offend.

Blind belief is an obscenity,

                An imprisoning dead end.

Fanatical religion has its place –

                In the dustbin of time.

We’ve come far too far

                To believe in this nursery rhyme.

They’ve tried to kill Rushdie

                And silence intelligent debate.

Religion is about power

                Imposed from the caliphate.

Blasphemy is a right

                And certainly not an offence.

Criticising an evil is prime!

                So let the battles commence!

Rights and freedoms

                Are the result of much blood and courage!

No brainwashed savages

                Will succeed in creating prisons for our age!

A person is free to believe

                Whatever they please.

But imposing it on others

                Is nothing short of a disease.

I have the right to disagree;

                To say your god’s a lie.

If that should offend you

Then it’s you who must ask why!

To kill someone for their beliefs

                Is simply obscene –

Based on a religious text

                Straight out of the Miocene.

So you can take your religion

                And stuff it somewhere other.

I’ll criticise what you believe

                As if I was your brother.

You can try to rule the world

And crush dissent with might.

But you will be defeated.

Killing is never right!

Opher 14.8.2022

I have watched the stabbing of Salman Rushdie with horror.

For me this is exactly what religion is about – fear, hate, division and death.

These religions are relics of tribal beliefs from the stone-age – steeped in misogyny, violence and draconian control.

A plague upon them all.

The whole bunch of Abrahamic faiths are based on the beliefs of a bunch of ignorant nomadic tribes from prehistoric times.

THIS IS THE 21st CENTURY!! Time to end superstition!

The sooner mankind grows out of these fairy-tales the better.

It should be illegal to indoctrinate children. It’s child abuse!

These brainwashed fanatics are a danger to us all. If they had their way we’d be living in a world of clones where free speech and creativity would be punishable.

Give me freedom!

Long live Salman Rushdie.

Manila – Around the lavish nunnery. Opulence and art.


The church has great power and wealth. The state has great power and wealth. The people live in poverty.

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Racism, Multiculturalism and Islamophobia.

Racism, Multiculturalism and Islamophobia.

Like most people I am a mongrel. If I was to examine my DNA I bet I would find traces of African, Asian, European and probably more. I hope so.

I am not a nationalist. I am a globalist. I see myself as a human being and part of the global brother/sisterhood of man and a responsible hominid. I am not a patriot in the usual sense of the word. I fight for universal freedom, suffrage and rights.

I love variety and the celebration of difference. I welcome people with different backgrounds. But I do have a proviso. This country is attractive because we have an over-riding culture of tolerance, liberal thinking and radicalism. We have led the world in many areas of social emancipation and I am proud of that. We have been a haven for refugees fleeing from oppression and I am proud of that. People come here because they value the freedom, democracy and values we espouse. What I object to is people who wish to impose un-British values on me.

I am not against immigration. I am against overpopulation world-wide.

I do not care if people are black, white, pink, brown, red or yellow. Their race is unimportant. What is important is their character and the values they have.

My views are neither racist nor Islamphobic.

There is no biological foundation for racism. It stems from basic xenophobic fear. I want universal brother-sisterhood and equality.

As an antitheist I believe all religions are dangerous and harmful, superstitious nonsense and the sooner we mature and leave them behind the better. But I do not advocate a repression of religions or action against them. As far as I am concerned everyone should be free to practise whatever religion they wish. But that should be a personal choice, not one imposed on anyone. I am opposed to all forms of indoctrination (particularly with children – which I regard as particularly pernicious and psychologically damaging), evangelism and imposition. I would do away with all religious schools (indoctrination factories) and RE lessons other than historical comparative context. I do not have any hierarchy of which religions I dislike most. They are all the same. They have all been responsible for intolerance, indoctrination and atrocities.
I believe that religion will wither and die of its own accord as the farcical stories are shown to be unfounded.
My diatribes on religion are founded on the infringements of basic human rights and the indoctrination processes they adopt. The practices of fanatics has been similar throughout history whether its pogroms, crusades, torture, beheadings, jihads, partitions, inquisitions or witch-hunts – it’s all about politics and power. They are all callous, brutal thugs, indoctrinated and used by cynical leaders. Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and even Buddhists all have pasts full of atrocities. I abhor them all.
I welcome the variety of cultures and customs. I think they enrich. But I do not respect people who wish to impose their views on me, enforce their religion on me or others or wish to depose the prevailing British culture which is the result of enlightenment and centuries of social struggle. In my view people who live in this country should be integrated and aspire to the values of tolerance and freedom that permeate the culture. I have come to see that aspects of multiculturalism have created apartness and a loss of an over-riding shared cultural values. I don’t think that is good.

My issues with religion are about human rights. I think you can have family values without practicing misogyny or making women second class citizens. Unfortunately I see many practises in Muslim communities abroad and in Britain which restrict the rights of women (voting, driving, dress code, freedoms, genital mutilation, education etc.) which are enforced and infringe basic human rights.
When you lock women away and create a sexually repressed society the males often behave abhorrently. We saw the same hypocrisy in Victorian Britain. This is why I am in favour of sexual liberalisation and monogamy and family values. You can have both.

What the world needs is less fanaticism and intolerance and more love and harmony. The worst scenario of all is a theocracy. The tyrannous imposition of religion on people is surely the most regressive and stifling experience. We were freed by the Enlightenment. As soon as we got the shackles off our culture blossomed, science and discovery were unleashed.

I am all for building a positive zeitgeist! This blog welcomes atheists, believers, antitheists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, non-believers, Sikhs, Jains, doubters, all other sects, denominations and faiths and those that don’t give a hoot.

It welcomes people of all colours and customs.

You are all most welcome!

I want debate, argument, fellowship and understanding. We might not agree but we can still respect each other and practise our tolerance.

Population Brainwashed by Tory Propaganda from Scum Newspapers

The relentless stream of Tory propaganda from newspapers like the Express, Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph is geared to brainwash the population. It makes a sham of democracy.

John Peachey sent me through this snippet from Andrian Chiles on Radio 5 that clearly illustrates the point.

We are living in an increasingly difficult time of state control moving towards a one-party state. The media controls the minds just as it does in Russia.

Attachments area

Opher Goodwin

Elon Musk – King of Hate!

Elon Musk sees that there is nothing wrong with spreading racism, hatred and division and inciting violence. Bullying is OK. Freedom of speech means that the strong have carte blanch to tear the weak to bits. Propaganda, fake news and lies are what made Trump big!! We need more fascism! We need more right-wing bullshit!! Who needs experts or scientists when we have superstition and phoney shit spewing from right-wing nutcases!!

Give a platform to hate and racism – it’s the American way!! Freedom of speech!!


Poetry – Refugees and Ruins

Refugees and Ruins

Millions of refugees

                Desperately flee

                                On foot,

                                                By train, bus and car.



                                Of Russia’s

                                                Despotic Cazar.

They leave mass graves

                In their wake.

While maimed and broken

                In basements quake.

The Russian cannons roar

                And tenements crumble.

The voice of reason

                Lost in war’s evil rumble.

Putin and his Generals

                Should be in the front line.

If they were all wiped out

                Things might work out fine.

Millions of refugees

                Desperately flee

                                On foot,

                                                By train, bus and car.



                                Of Russia’s

                                                Despotic Cazar.

Opher -22.4.2022

It is almost inconceivable to me that in this modern age an army could invade another country and systematically reduce its cities to rubble, terrify millions and execute hundreds of thousands.

It is shocking to see the schools and hospitals deliberately targeted, the people hunted down, raped and coldly executed.

It is wicked to see the civilian houses intentionally destroyed.

What is worse is to hear the propaganda pouring out to justify this invasion with its wanton destruction and genocide.

The lies are the worst, poisoning minds, generating hatred and resulting in atrocities.

War reveals the worst of human nature.

We are the most depraved and vicious animals.

Poetry – I Can’t Breathe

I Can’t Breathe

I can’t breathe

Politics is sucking the life out of me.

I can’t breathe

I can’t believe the propaganda and lies

I can’t breathe

My eyes can’t believe what they see.

I can’t breathe

Waiting for the truth to crystallise

I can’t breathe

They are all playing a nasty game

I can’t breathe

Riding on their gravy train

I can’t breathe

Endless journey to wealth and fame

I can’t breathe

Kicking lives down the drain

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

Opher – 2.6.2020

As George Floyd was murdered in front of our eyes we are surely forced to confront the system we have created.

Once we lived freely as hunter-gatherers, in harmony with the land, at peace, with no leaders, no government. Then we invented agriculture, leaders, politics, cities, and bred in huge numbers to encompass the globe.

What a sad mess we’ve made of things.

The gross inequality, racism, corruption and violence we’ve created.

It’s smothering me. I can’t breathe.