Category Archives: education

American children on a subsistence farm, 1919

When not in school the Borlaug children did chores, rising before dawn and working until after sunset. Boys hoed weeds, dug potatoes, milked cows, stacked hay, hauled wood and water, fed chicken, cattle, and horses. Girls tended the vegetable garden, … Continue reading

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Boris Johnson meets Monty Python

Just when everyone thought satire was dead the UK’s morbidly obese Prime Minster decided to lead an anti-obesity campaign. It had taken a near-death Covid-19 experience to convince him that being morbidly obese was unhealthy. A quick learner with an … Continue reading

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Sir Philip Magnus School: The 1950s weekly games lessons appraised

I’ve written how I truly hated the weekly sports lessons on a previous occasion.* Summer was bad enough, with cricket and its incomprehensible rules. Winter was worse. Every week I waited, for the coach to turn up. Often I stood … Continue reading

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Book Review: James Hawes ~ My Little Armalite (2008)

I wrongly believed that this would stand in the tradition of Tom Sharpe and so looked forward to slap-stick humour. It isn’t Sharpe it’s a biting satire with lots of black humour. John Goode is a 45 year old university … Continue reading

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Karl Marx studied in this room

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The Mozart Problem: Educating Exceptional Children

He was playing the harpsichord and the violin at the age of five, and writing little pieces of music.* Introduction Mozart’s father was a musician and realised Wolfgang was exceptional. Leopold home schooled his son, constantly expanding his musical frontiers. … Continue reading

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Book Review: E M Delafield ~ The Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930)

Through the magic of Amazon’s pricing policy this costs 99p on Kindle. On the other hand if you wish to buy all five of the ‘Provincial Lady’ series you pay only 49p! Obviously it’s your decision but I risked 49p … Continue reading

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Failing Maths at Sir Philip Magnus school, 1958

In June 1958 our class was told about the annual mathematics examination. This didn’t fill me with enthusiasm. I feared exams and I especially hated maths. Our teacher, Mr Jones, a hard Welshman from the Rhonda, made the announcement with … Continue reading

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A 1950s Ronald Searle cartoon

From Down with Skool by Willans and Searle

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Thornhill Road School: my first day in 1949

My first day in infant school in 1949 wasn’t the best. I wasn’t used to being bullied by adults. My two older brothers had told me horror stories in our shared bedroom. “You have to obey orders straight away… if … Continue reading

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