Supply Teaching

What follows is the text of an article I wrote back in 2012 which was published by The Guardian’s Teacher Network. It offered my own, personal, view of supply teacher in Greater Manchester. The article was aimed at NQTs but other experienced teachers who are just going into supply teaching for the first time might also find some of the information useful. I intend to update this article at some point as well as writing articles on more specific issues for supply teachers including the use  of umbrella companies by agencies to pay their workers. (more…)


Switching focus

I have decided to switch the focus of this blog. Although I will still write, almost, random blog posts about issues I care about I am going to focus more on education. As a teacher, and a parent,  I think education is vitally important to society and I hope that my blog posts will help inform, inspire debate or just entertain you for a few minutes. I should probably point out that although I am a supply teacher all views expressed in this blog are entirely my own and in no way reflect the opinions of any supply agency or school which I may have worked for.

I am under no delusions that my blog posts will any way change the world however if just one person reads something which they find useful, inspiring or just gives them a bit of a giggle then I will be very happy.

More posts to follow soon.

Life of (Raspberry) Pi – part 2.

I knew that it might be sometime before I got to write the next part of the Life of (Raspberry) Pi but didn’t think it would be quite this long.

I’ve hit a few problems although we live in a technology rich house (three laptops, two (working) Risc OS machines a mac mini and more printers and monitors than you could shake a stick at) what we don’t seem to have is a monitor which can connect to the Raspberry Pi.


Life of (Raspberry) Pi- part 1


Anyone with a passing interest in computing can’t help but have noticed the buzz around the Raspberry Pi– the incredibly small form factor computer produced by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Wait, did I say small form? Thats probably wrong.  Minuscule, titchy, or  microscopic form factor would be a more accurate term as the whole computer (excluding peripherals like a monitor, keyboard and mouse) fits into a 10 cm by 6 cm box. For those whose never seen one, it looks like this:


[image from]

After a conversation with my Father-in-law about the teaching of IT in schools he kindly brought me one for Christmas. It’s been many years since I tried programming  a computer so I thought I would start this blog as a way of keeping track of my progress and share my experiences along the way. Word of warning – there may be long, very long, delays between each post and its entirely possible the whole idea will quietly slip away. Before I start talking about the Pi itself and my adventures in programming, it might be useful if I just give a little background information about the Pi, and the aims of the Foundation.


Media, Murdoch and politics.

Back in 1998 I wrote my Masters thesis on the effect that Rupert Murdoch has played on both the British Media and British politics. Although his influence is far wider than these shores I only had about 20 thousand words so needed some way of limiting the amount of information and even then I feel that there just wasn’t enough space available to really cover in sufficient detail to really understand the depths to which this man’s influence has gone.



Passports- part 2

OK so I’ve  not had a response from my MP yet, but then I didn’t really expect to and it has been only a week! But at the very least it would have been courteous to send me a ‘one liner’ email saying they’ve at least recieved my message and will get back to me.

The next stage is to print my email and attach it to a letter of complaint which I’m going to hand deliver to her constituency office (which handily enough is on my way home from the train station, something I didn’t realise when I wrote the email.)

However I have managed to start a dialogue with the someone from the  ‘Correspondence team’ of the passport service. I guess that this is what use to be known as Customer Services but I suspect they can’t use that particular phrase as that implies they serve us rather than us be tied by their rules! (more…)

The pain of applying for a UK passport

Ok I understand the necessity of having a safe enough procedure in place for applying for a UK passport but does it have to be such a pain? In the UK there are 4 ways to get  a passport:

  1. fill in the application and just post it off, hoping it gets there and back again on time (takes approx 6 weeks)
  2. pay the post office to check your application and get it sent special delivery (suppose to take 2 weeks, not guaranteed)
  3. go to your local passport office (in my case in Liverpool, a completely different city from the one I live in) and pay them a lot more money for the fast track service (1 week supposedly guaranteed)
  4. go to your local passport office and pay even more money for a 24 hour service


First day nerves

O.k. so I didn’t mean it to be so long since I wrote something. I just never got around to it.

Tomorrow is a big day in our family. My daughter goes to school for the first time. I’m not sure whose more nervous, us or her. I suspect us.

To Holly it will just be like going to playschool at first. She’ll have new friends a new teacher and a new routine but most of all it will be learning through play.  I think it will  be  a lot more nerve wreaking for her parents.

What if she doesn’t like the teacher? What if she doesn’t want to learn?What bad habits might she pick up?

These are some of the many questions going through our minds right now.

There’s no question that she’s bright (how many other 4 year olds can recognise various dinosaurs) but it all depends on what mood she’s in. If she doesn’t want to do something then she won’t (I would say just like her mother but that might be risky).

I guess this is the normal anxiety of any parent but it doesn’t make it any easier to cope with.  I guess all we can do is encourage her as much as possible and see what tomorrow brings.