Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peter Harvey Yet Again

Hoorah! Peter Harvey has just been found 'not guilty'. Are our courts suffering from an outbreak of common sense?


As a pupil, one of the most enjoyable things you can do at school is to attempt to drive your teacher into incandescent fury. This is guaranteed to provide far more entertainment than anything in their lesson will.

Whilst we were limited to placing drawing pins on the teachers chair, stuffing the board rubber into the top of the blackboard and putting something on top of the classroom door (all of which carried the very real risk of the whole class being kept in, caned or given extra homework) today's brats have the more subtle and powerful weapon of the mobile phone and camera.

One of the ways Peter Harvey was provoked was by some brat filming him on their mobile phone (which would certainly drive me up the wall.) The vast majority of Heads however, simply lack the courage to ban them in school.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have to admit that I can rarely manage 5 minutes in public without upsetting someone, so I do feel a bit sorry for poor old Gordon Gaffer. Mind you, he has lined himself up nicely for a career in State Education after immediately branding Gillian Duffy 'a bigotted woman' for having the cheek to mention immigration in anything less than glowingly positive terms.

Good or Outstanding

I would like to apologise to you all for talking complete nonsense over the last five years. According to schools inspectors, pupils' behaviour in 80% of schools (4 out of 5 for those of you who teach primary) is either 'good' or 'outstanding'.

It's time to come clean. Troublemakers like myself have been lying to you all along.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Peter Harvey Again

As I'm sure you've heard, the trial of Peter Harvey, a teacher at All Saints School, Mansfield; has just begun at Nottingham Crown Court. It would appear that whilst teaching a nightmare class last July, he lost it completely and is accused of trying to kill one of his pupils, Jack Harvey (who cannot be named for legal reasons) with a 3 Kg weight, whilst shouting "Die, Die, Die!" (Whether it was a German lesson and he was merely emphasising the correct form of the definite article, has not been revealed.

Leaving aside the weight, it sounds like one of my average teaching days; so he has my full sympathy. Sadly though, I think it will take more than that to help him. Unfortunately none of our political leaders realise or care that for every teacher who makes the headlines by cracking up in spectacular fashion, a thousand more just wearily turn up day after day to face an endless barrage of appalling behaviour and abuse, in the hope that they might give one or two kids a chance in life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Iranian scientists have finally proven what I've said all along: ie women not dressing modestly are the main cause of earthquakes.

I have emailed Mr Sedighi to ask him whether his seismological research has uncovered any evidence to support my own theory that the current Icelandic eruption was caused by the outfits worn by some fat girls on a hen night in Cleethorpes.

Going up!

If, like me; you have often lain awake at night worried about the layout of Grace Brothers Department Store, then hopefully this page will help put your mind at rest.

I asked a friendly assistant in John Lewis last week whether stationery should have actually been on the First Floor along with telephones, but she simply called the police...

Studies have shown...

Whenever I read the words 'studies have shown', with regard to people's diet, behaviour or reaction to medicines; I always groan because the truth is that they usually haven't shown anything at all. The vast majority of these 'studies' aren't done rigorously enough, or on enough subjects to give any meaningful results at all.

They are of great use to marketing experts however, hence a constant stream of fad diets, brightly coloured gizmos and people dancing around in front of their televisions believing that they will lose weight.

This one may well be the same, but it does agree with something I've gone on about for years both on my blog and in my book; ie that regular exercise for both children and adults is absolutely vital. From my own experience, it improves kids behaviour (even the naughtiest child will behave perfectly after about three days on any school trip involving some prolonged physical effort outdoors) and if it improves their concentration and ability then that's a Brucey Bonus, as the great man would say.

If I had my way, a wide range of energetic sports would be done each day at schools (with a large supply of comical kit for those who have 'forgotten' theirs)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mount Eyjafjallokul

I'm definitely going to vote for the Icelandic Volcano Party; they've done more to stop immigration in five days than our government's managed in 13 years...

Iceland- what can I say?

First they pinch our money, then they bugger up the skies...

When the Royal Navy returns from picking up tourists stranded in Europe, they should make a detour and pay those puffin eaters a visit. We said very clearly that we wanted them to send us 'cash' not 'ash', or at the very least; free fish fingers for the next 20 years.

From the above tirade, you will not be surprised to learn that I managed to get myself stuck abroad, in the land of the Surrender Monkey. Although I have often slated Crystal Holidays in the past, I have to hand it to them this time; they really got their act together, sorting out accommodation, hiring coaches and booking ferries early enough to get us home before everything became full up, which is more than a lot of other companies managed. Mind you, their Reps still can't speak two words of the local lingo...

Thursday, April 08, 2010


If you should ever find yourself completely at peace with the World- calm, happy and relaxed; then just phone up the DVLA and I guarantee that in no time at all, you will be reduced to incoherent rage, incandescent fury or uncontrollable sobbing. Maybe even all three...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Word War 1

All Police leave has been cancelled today amid fears that more planned marches by Scrabble fundamentalists could result in a repeat of the violent scenes from yesterday's protests; where police came under a barrage of tiles as they attempted to prevent demonstrators converging on Trafalgar Square, many carrying placards and banners featuring 'Mattel' spelt with a small 'm' in order to show their opposition to any idealogical shift.

A member of one group, the Scrabble Rabble; known only by his gang name, 'Quixyzy'; claimed that Police had provoked the marchers by shouting out proper nouns and even collections of letter such as 'hig' and 'dutton' which, not being words; are considered offensive to Scrabblers. The Police Complaints Commission has said that it takes such allegations extremely seriously, whilst a spokesman from the breakaway Travel Scrabble Association denied any part in the rioting, adding that 'rioting' would be awarded a 50 point bonus for the use of all seven letters.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Write Your Own Dissertation

Although I risk providing free publicity to this grotty company who spammed me with their offers to write dissertations for the bone idle and hard of thinking; I feel it is wrong to deprive you of the opportunity to have a good laugh at their website.

As they say 'Proper dissertation help ends your anxities'

Who better to write your dissertation than a bunch of people who can't spell or even string a sentence together in English. Mind you, those who buy them probably can't either, so maybe nobody would notice that it wasn't their own work...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Julia Finill

I'm giving March and April's Amazon commission (see the sidebar) to the Children's Trust by sponsoring Julia Finill's first attempt at the London Marathon. You can read all about it at

Her husband Chris has run every London Marathon and is apparently a bit of a champion in the sport of ultra running (running crazy distances to you and me). I'm a sucker for these kind of stories, so give her some encouragement.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Lambs not to the slaughter etc.

Here is the news:

After a determined campaign by headline writers up and down the country, I'm glad to report that Andrea Charman is back at school, (no doubt planning to boil the school hamster even as we speak).

The 45th strongest teaching union, the ATL have complained about teachers being interviewed and rated by the kids. Whilst I'm just slightly sceptical about the teacher who claims that she didn't get a job because a child said that she wasn't as pretty as the other candidate, it does draw attention to something I moaned about at length in my book; ie 'the tail wagging the dog'. This is the growing practice of consulting the pupils on every decision made in the school, which was enthusiastically supported by naive teachers up and down the land. My own suggestion, for which I couldn't think of a suitable analogy; is that the pupils should sit still and keep quiet whilst the Senior Management makes a decision and then carries it through. (That last bit had to go in italics because it is a revolutionary concept in many schools.)

Another of the 476 teachers unions, the NASUWT; has declared that they are completely opposed to the idea of letting parents or companies set up their own taxpayer funded schools. Conservative Michael Grove has challenged them to run one themselves and show us all how it should be done. They didn't like that idea, which is fair enough I suppose; as they aren't really in the business of running schools; but bearing in mind that Mavis the dinner lady could do a better job than many heads, I don't think that the idea should be simply dismissed.

Friday, April 02, 2010

School Trips

I'm sure we all remember the school trips of our youth- fighting on the coach, shoplifting, watching the teachers sneak off to the pub; all those sort of life building experiences. The occasion was only slightly spoilt by the inevitable dull project to be written up afterwards.

This report claims that not enough school trips take place. I say the reasons for this are as follows:

Organising a trip is a tonne of hassle for which you will be paid not one extra penny. You will receive no reward if it goes well, but if something goes wrong you will face the Spanish Inquisition. There are endless pages of soul destroying risk assessments to be completed, consent forms to be sent out to parents who then have to be chased for a reply, payment to be collected inevitably in dribs and drabs, when you are busy doing something else and don't have any means of recording it, lazy parents to be chased up yet again, records of everything to be kept and filed, before setting work for all the classes that you will miss whilst away. I'm knackered already and we haven't even gone anywhere yet.

Whilst away you can worry yourself stupid that some child will cut their thumb or catch a cold and mummy will be running to the nearest 'no win, no fee' solicitor. Rest assured that on your return you will find that your classroom has been trashed because the person covering your lessons allowed the kids to run riot.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Many thanks to everyone who offered advice about buying a laptop. No doubt you cannot wait to hear what I ended up with. (Please feel free to all write in and tell me that I have just made the greatest mistake of my life etc.)

I went into PC World and Comet, armed with a list of your recommendations and tried out the keyboards and screens of all the different makes. The PC World assistant appeared to be only 14 years old, but talked confidently about 'gigs' and the benefits of an 'Athlon' over a 'Celeron'. He seemed particularly enthusiastic over one machine which had a 'dual core' and stroked it reverentially as he spoke.

All this twaddle brought out the worst in me, so I declared that I was no fool and explained the results of my own research. I knew that I could type at a maximum of 30 words per minute ie half a word per second. Let's assume each word averages four letters, so that means I need a machine which can achieve 2 Hertz (cycles per second). Throw in a few more for updating the screen, checking the memory etc and 10 Hertz should be sufficient for my requirements.

This troubled him a bit and he sadly informed me that machines of 10 Hertz hadn't been invented yet, but would probably be available in a few years time (He gazed whistfully into the distance at this point). Feeling slightly guilty at upsetting him, I hurried away.

I only lasted two minutes in Comet, as the assistant was clearly devoid of intelligence and kept trying to sell me an extended warranty 'for my own protection, in case the machine should break down'. I explained that it wouldn't be me who needed protection if the machine decided to stop working and headed to John Lewis; where the intelligent, middle aged salesman convinced me that the Toshiba would do me just fine. (I like John Lewis because the girls who work in perfumes etc are good looking and flirt outrageously whereas the blokes who work in electronic things know their stuff but don't talk in techno-jargon. Everyone however knows where everything is in the store. Try testing them with some obscure item for fun- you can never catch them out.)

Anyway, as no shop would match internet prices and having the meanness gene; I nipped round the corner to a nearby cafe to see how much I could save by buying online, only to discover that it was the same price. So tail between my legs, I returned and handed over my hard earned royalties.