People are very fragile.

People are very fragile.


Human beings have very powerful minds and emotions. I used to believe that we are incredibly resilient. I no longer believe that.

I believe we are all incredibly fragile and easily damaged.

My experiences of working with children and observing adults have made me extremely aware that many of us are broken and our response to being broken is often aggression, hatred and violence.

I used to say to the teaching staff at my school that there was no such thing as a bad kid. Their bad behaviour was the result of having been damaged by their experiences; our job was to mend them.

I have seen close up the effects of bereavement, bullying, racism, divorce and abuse. The victims often either withdraw or become aggressive.

When I was a child at school a number of my teachers were ex-soldiers. They were not only violent aggressive bullies but they seemed to hate us. They damaged a lot of kids.

I cannot begin to imagine the effect war has on the fragile human psyche. My father would not talk about it. My grandfather would not mention it. But I have met numerous highly confused and violent veterans; one of whom was a murderer.

Around the world at the moment we have millions of people traumatised by war. Some are victims and some are perpetrators. I cannot begin to imagine how some of them ever manage to sleep again. It is no wonder that some are either heartless fiends and others are traumatised wrecks. If you are going to saw someone’s head off at some point in the future that will haunt your waking moments and turn your sleep to nightmares. It catches up with you.

War, poverty, violence, fear, bullying, divorce, death – it all traumatises and messes people up.

Human beings are fragile. The little things send us off the rails; the big things drive us into psychosis.


Book Recommendations – Education – Christopher Goodwin

I worked as a teacher for thirty six years and was the Headteacher of a highly successful Comprehensive Secondary School in the UK.

I had a very clear philosophy which was the driving force behind that success. This book is part memoir, part anecdote and tells the real behind the scenes story. You don’t need to be a teacher to appreciate it.

If you are interested in education or just want a behind the scenes look then why not give it a read?

In the UK:

In the USA:

Thank you for supporting me and my writing.

Home Schooling can be a travesty of Education.

It is about time that the government got to grips with the home schooling fiasco. While some parents have their children’s interests at heart few can provide the range of expertise to deliver good all-round education.

But the real danger lies with the Religious and Political extremists who want their kids at home so they can indoctrinate them!

Home schooling is a pit of religious and political extremism that requires dealing with.

It is good to hear that something is being done about it!

We need:

a. A register – so we know who is being educated at home and no child drops off the radar.

b. A full inspection – to ensure that the education is appropriate and good enough.

c. Or we need to stop home schooling altogether!!

Education – International Tables are a fraud!

If you do not teach children to question and think, enable them to be creative and investigate, to develop cognitive skills, problem solving and lateral thinking, to debate, work in teams and develop a range of skills, you are wasting your time.

Cramming knowledge into young heads to regurgitate for tests is not education.

A cram course of teaching to a test, just so that we can rise up the International PISA tables, is no measure of the education they receive!

The PISA tables are hopelessly flawed. They do not measure any of the important things!


Our children deserve far better than that!

They are not exam fodder for the education machine!

Poetry – Fodder For the Exam Machine

Poetry – Fodder For the Exam Machine


Fodder for the exam machine


Education is the future of the planet.

Education should be inspiring, expanding and illuminating. It is a joyous thing.

Education should never produce failures with no hope; youngsters disenfranchised from society; winners or losers. It should be inclusive of all abilities and disabilities, all cultures, colours and creeds. It should be unifying and a celebration of success.

Briefly it was. Until Gove took over and we had a dive back to the glorious fifties – the days of bullying in the classroom, caning, violence and disparaging put-downs – the days of regimentation, learning by rote; where knowledge and facts were god.

But this is the 21st Century when facts are not so important. We need skills now. We have computers for facts. We need problem solving and creativity.

But this is the brave new world of the tick-box culture, the exam tables, inspections and rigid enforcement – where failure results in redundancy and fear rules. Cash plays the tune. Where teaching is controlled and the profession divided, castigated and cowed.

This is the time for education, for the masses, on the cheap; where we open the gates to the Creationists, Muslims, Jews and Big Business who will pay to get their hands on our kids.

But that’s OK. It’s cheaper.

The ones that matter go to the private schools and the ones who really matter sit on the benches at Eton and Harrow and wait to take their place at the trough.

We do not want the masses educated. We do not want them thinking. They are merely units in the economy. They should know their place and pull their weight. They are earning money for those who deserve.

Fodder for the exam machine


Cloistered in rows for the injection

Of narcotising facts.

Memorising and regurgitating

No time to relax.


Tests to be taken.

Exams to be passed.

Tables to move up.

We must not come last.


No room for creativity

In the bright new world

Of numeracy and literacy;

There’s money to be hurled.


Fodder for the exam machine

Fodder for the job market

Fodder for the attainment tables

Chant it, test it, mark it!


Teaching by numbers

In the tick box culture

Where children are sacrificed

To the cash soaring vulture.


No time for fun!

No time for play!

No humanisation;

It gets in the way!


What use is art, music or drama?

Lateral thinking or creativity?

They won’t get you a career

If you can’t recite your ABC.


Back to basics!

In a flight to the days of 1950

When the Empire ruled

And people were nifty.

When discipline ruled

With the cane and the shout

And schools churned out rejects

No one cared about.


So open the gates –

Let the creationists in!

Welcome Big Business

To bring back discipline!


We’ll soon sort the wheat from the chaff

And blame all the failures for having a laugh!


But down a dark alley

Or in the dead of the night

I hope you don’t encounter

A mind filled with hate;

A drop out, a failure

With no hope in their life,

Labelled, excluded

Not caring their fate.


Fodder for the exam machine

Fodder for the job market

Fodder for the attainment tables

Chant it, test it, mark it!


Numbers to crunch!

Heads to fill!

Machines to service!

Young minds to kill!


Opher 6.6.2016

Radio Humberside – Post 16 Education in the UK

Well I did get to speak for a short while. I had so much to say and so little time. Here’s the gist of what I would have said if I had had longer:

  • Politicians have repeatedly interfered with education – introducing change and dogma but with little understanding. They should leave it to the professionals. What we have is a mess.
  • Post 16 education does not marry with Pre 16 education.
  • The curriculum is too knowledge-based and narrow.
  • The English Baccalaureate was a terrible move it has narrowed the curriculum too much and downgraded the Arts and Humanities. Music and Art are disappearing and even Geography and History are squeezed. This is not a balanced curriculum that will produce well-adjusted students.
  • The emphasis on knowledge has created a cram course. Students are being fed facts for exams. That is not education. It is too stressful and not what we need in the 21st century. Doing away with pupil centred education and coursework was a retrograde step. End of course exams create pressure and favour only one particular type of student.
  • Looking at international PISA tables is plain stupid. It is not an indication of where anybody is. The Asian schools are exam factories cramming information into heads but not educating. The stress is ridiculous.  Suicide levels are unacceptable. The students are not educated – they simply regurgitate information. When it comes to something unpredictable or requiring innovation or lateral thinking they are lost.
  • We need a seamless system that runs through from age 11 to 18. It should be broad and balanced, marrying knowledge with skills.
  • The 21st Century does not require memory – knowledge is available at the touch of a screen – it requires teamwork, innovation, flexibility, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, personal skills, lateral thinking and versatility – all those aspects which this government has downgraded and left out!
  • The GCSE was a good exam that was inclusive and everyone could achieve and get a pass. The top end could achieve to a higher level and if they had used raw scores instead of just grades it would have enabled differentiation of abilities. It did not lead into A Levels.
  • We need to find a replacement for A Levels which is broader, includes all the skills as well as knowledge, has room for the Arts and Humanities, has vocational courses and apprenticeships and prepares students for life – not just university.
  • Education is not just for employment. Education should expand student minds, get them thinking, engaging and enjoying learning. Education is for life not just work. It should be stimulating.
  • The 21st century has the challenge of Artificial Intelligence. Many of the present jobs will go – both the low-skill and high skill. But there will be many new jobs. We will still need plumbers, builders, electricians, leisure workers, teachers, nurses and carers of the elderly and others. They need training. That should be the curriculum.
  • We need to embrace the new technologies – make our students proficient with ICT at a far higher level and enable them to use their smart-phones positively – like they would do in real life. It doesn’t have to be a negative distraction – smart-phones can be a positive force in education
  • Britain is best at creativity and innovation. It is a shame that our politicians have suppressed that and created a cram course of winners and losers that is only about the winners who go to university. All students are important. None of them should be losers. There’s a place for everyone in society. It isn’t just about the high flyers!
  • A seamless education should work around the old GCSE model, have the width for all types of students to prosper, have the balance to marry knowledge and skills, include vocational elements and apprenticeships that are seen as having the same importance as the more academic. It should not be about rote memory but involve student centred learning, investigation, exploration and creativity. It should not always be teacher-led. There should be room for so much more!

Dump the PISA tables!!

One last thing – the key to a great education is outstanding teachers. For ten years teachers have been hammered and the best and most experienced are leaving in droves. Working a 60 hour week in a tedious and unrewarding curriculum, with the constant stress of inspections that are draconian and punitive, with pay drastically eroded after a decade long pay freeze and pensions reduced, is not good for anyone. The workload is exhausting and drains the life out of people. Knowledge teaching is tedious and boring.

If you want a dynamic system you have to pay properly to attract the best. You have to reduce class sizes, reduce workload and return to a reasonable work/life balance.

Education – Are the Tories finally coming to their senses?

After a decade of driving education back to the dark ages of the 1950s is there the glimmer of some awakening taking place?

Gove started the stupid drive to a richer knowledge-based curriculum. He tightened up the GCSE with more memory testing knowledge. Took out the pupil assessment components and then brought in the English Baccalaureate which signalled the death of the arts and humanities subjects. Suddenly Music, Art, Dance, Geography and History were second-rate subjects of little value and squeezed out of the curriculum.

So the schools taught to the exam to gain the results – not because this was good for students but this was good for stats – and school survival and funding depended on stats. If they did not get high results then they would get inspected and a bad Ofsted result meant parent flight a loss of budget and teacher redundancies. It was fraught.

So the students were sacrificed on the whims of necessity.

Now they are waking up to the fact that the modern world does not require knowledge. Knowledge is there at the click of a phone. What is required is teamwork, lateral thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, caring and empathy, respect and tolerance. All those things that Gove so stupidly threw out.

Education – we don’t want choice – we simply want excellence for everyone!

Education – we don’t want choice – we simply want excellence for everyone!

We do not need gimmicky Free Schools, Business-run Academies or Grammar Schools for the rich – we simply want quality education and a fair system for all.
Hear what a highly successful ex secondary Headteacher has to say on education. The real story! The inside battles.

Top Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsYou need to read this book!
By Mystic blueport on 19 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

In this autobiographical account of his life as Head Teacher of Beverley Grammar School, Chris takes us through many of the failings of the post-war education system to the much superior, more flexible teaching of the twenty-first century. Along the way, he enthuses about rock music, leadership vs management, and – particularly – the kids. If you can make every lesson fun, every child feel cared for, and every staff member nurtured, attendance and results will pretty much look after themselves. You can pass every Ofsted inspection with flying colours, and your school can become best in class (no pun intended).I was at college with Chris, and it didn’t seem to me then that he was destined to be a head teacher of a secondary school – a music critic, more like. He has done education a great service by showing you can be a rebel and get results too. I hadn’t expected to enjoy this book as much as I did; it has extraordinary energy and a lust for achievement. Every teacher should read it! 8/10 (October 2014)

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5.0 out of 5 starsEmpathic approach to education
By Pete 2 Sheds on 5 July 2015
Format: Paperback

If you have any interest in the education of your child this book is essential reading. Having studied and worked in education myself I find Mr Goodwins insights and experiences very thought provoking. It deserves a place on the shelves of every educational establishment and needless to say a few people at the ministries and especially the minister for education should read this and maybe, just maybe, we could move forward and improve the educational standards of our children where they have been slipping on a global level.
Mr Goodwin shows, his Ofsted scores prove the point, that civility and empathy rather than antiquated regimented regimes can be extremely effective.
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5.0 out of 5 starsCrusade for True Education
By Amazon Customer on 10 April 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

As an retired teacher and Head of Department I found this book a joy to read. It is many things – personal biography, passionate polemic, practical handbook, education history, inspirational text, you name it – woven together in a natural, organic way which really gives you the feel of school life. The author knows whereof he speaks and in friendly fashion takes you, the reader, by the hand on a headlong and often exciting journey through the maze of modern education. His vision is clear and compelling, he knows what works and what doesn’t, he wants you to share his profound sense of the human potential which we can unlock if only we get our schools right. He articulates a philosophy which puts the whole child at its centre and explores the relationships underlying the magic of educational development. The book is written in a direct, heartfelt, jargon-free style and is packed with amusing anecdotes which illuminate his principles, unlike many dry books on the subject. Passionate and humorous and unafraid of controversy, it certainly gets you thinking. I found it a real page-turner and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in good education, whether outside or inside the teaching profession. For anyone connected with school management, in any capacity, it is essential reading. A unique and valuable voice.
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5.0 out of 5 starsAn excellent and informative book
By Alexander on 24 Oct. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

An excellent and informative book of Mr Goodwin’s time at the Beverley Grammar School. As a former pupil, it is hard to believe what was going on behind the scenes, however he kept it together and carried on securing the school an outstanding rating from Ofsted in both 2008 and 2010.

EU Power Efficiency Laws prove effective!!

Great news for the environment!

Laws concerning the efficiency of electrical appliances initiated by the EU have succeeded in cutting our electricity bills by 25%.

EU Legislation has caused the manufacturers of electrical appliances to become more efficient. Our fridges, hoovers, ovens, kettles and other appliances now use much less energy to do the same job. This has not only saved us money on our bills but has reduced the need to burn fossil fuels to make our electricity which is great for the environment. When coupled with the introduction of LED lights this has reduced our electricity use by a quarter. Great stuff!!

At a time when over a third of our electricity is produced by alternative, non-polluting, renewable energy sources, this is brilliant.

The future of our planet does not mean we have to live like hermits in austere houses. It just means that we have to become much more efficient with our energy use (and conservation) and to produce it with non-polluting sources. It is possible!

So well done!!