Monday 23 December 2013

Court on Camera

The principle of open justice, in one form or another, has rarely been out of the news recently. Although the first few televised Court of Appeal cases have been aired, the introduction of legislation to permit the filming and broadcasting of court proceedings has been the subject of much debate.


Thursday 19 December 2013

Can we fix it? Corruption in football.

The recent case of match fixing in football is nothing new. There have been a number of cases throughout the years in British football but few to mention. The problem is really spot fixing. This is a problem for all sport not only football. We blame wayward individuals and/or ‘foreign’ organised criminal elements or the gambling industry.


Tuesday 17 December 2013

Access to education: helping disabled students learn

Earlier this month saw the publication of University Challenge 2013, a report into access to higher education for disabled students, commissioned by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.


Wednesday 11 December 2013

Human Rights and the empowerment of women who sleep rough in the EU

Human rights and the empowerment of women who sleep rough in the EU. The cure for poverty has a name in fact, it is called the empowerment of women– Christopher Hitchens.


Friday 06 December 2013

Farewell Madiba: On the death of Nelson Mandela

It may seem strange, but I, like most South Africans who grew up under the Apartheid regime, only became aware of Nelson Mandela’s signifcance once I’d left the country. I was too young to follow the Rivonia Treason trial and by the time I was reading newspapers, all mention of him and the ANC was banned from the South African press. In those pre-internet, pre-budget travel days, South Africans had little exposure to international pressure groups such as the Free Nelson Mandela movement.


Monday 25 November 2013

Black Country Dialects

This blog post is in relation to Colley Lane School, Halesowen, banning their pupils from writing or talking in a Black Country dialect


Wednesday 20 November 2013

Anti-bullying - the same old story?

This blog post is in relation to National Anti-Bullying Week, held this year between Monday 18 November - Friday 22 November.


Monday 18 November 2013

Closure of Walk-in Centres

Recent government suggestions that walk-in centres be closed as a consequence of them not achieving the necessary reductions in Emergency Department (ED) attendance anticipated are ill-conceived.


Wednesday 30 October 2013

Should we let students evaluate teachers’ lessons?

How about this, then? Richard Cairns, Head of Brighton College, wants it made compulsory for school pupils to assess the performance of teachers ( Mr Cairns is certainly sincere - he claims to use this system in his own school already.


Wednesday 23 October 2013

The benefits of music

A recent study has shown that listening to music can help to alleviate physical pain. Four out of ten people who suffered persistent pain said listening to music helped relieve their symptoms, a figure which rose to 66% for young people aged between 16-24.


Friday 18 October 2013

The heartbreaking case of families with disabled children

A recent Contact a Family survey of more than 400 families with disabled children provided disturbing results which highlights the lack of support inside schools.


Thursday 10 October 2013

Rough Sleeping Children

The number of rough sleeping children across Europe is on the rise. These are young people who have mostly run away either from home or from sheltered accommodation. They may also include minors who have made border crossings in search of a better life and improved opportunities or for any number of other reasons.


Monday 30 September 2013

Open Justice: Michael Le Vell and Anonymity of Defendants

As has been noted by Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, we live in a country committed to the rule of law and central to that commitment is the principle that justice should not only be done, but also seen to be done. That is, court proceedings and a court’s decision should be open to public scrutiny wherever possible.


Monday 23 September 2013

Firefighters Strike

In 1977 the first national fire fighters’ strike took place over pay and conditions. After a bitter few weeks the settlement included a system whereby pay was index linked to the pay movement among other similar groups. This meant that there was no need for national pay strikes until 2002, when the system broke down.


Wednesday 18 September 2013

X-Factor Returns - Can Strictly be far behind?

Saturday 31st August 8.00pm, and 10 million viewers saw the return of ITV1’s ratings topping talent programme The X Factor, back for its 10th series.


Friday 13 September 2013

Friday the 13th: Hope you have a lucky day!

Does Friday 13th worry you? Well, Paraskevidekatriaphobics have a morbid fear of Friday the 13th, which falls at least once a year, and sometimes three times a year.


Wednesday 11 September 2013

Lessons from the Euston train

On a Euston-bound train to the BERA (British Educational Research Association) conference that took place in the first week of September, I fell into conversation with three other passengers. Two were retired, one was close to retirement. The conversation began with stories about them looking after and reading to grandchildren and helping with homework.


Thursday 05 September 2013

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney, who died last week, is perhaps the only poet for whom a minute's silence will ever be held at a major sporting event: 80,000 Gaelic football fans paid their tribute to him before the Kerry-Dublin semi-final in Croke Park. Their response marks Heaney as a special cultural figure, in Ireland but also elsewhere. Before him, poets were often English and upper class: after him, most of them seemed to be from Northern Ireland.


Monday 02 September 2013

Transfer Deadline Day

Deadline day on the transfer window sees a number of high money deals taking place.


Wednesday 28 August 2013

Anonymity and the web

Cyber bullying is a recent phenomenon, with health impacts. Recent postings on Twitter have contained threats of rape and murder, Facebook messages have been linked to suicides. Both can be anonymous. What is the link between anonymity and bullying?


Saturday 24 August 2013

A Level Results Day

This Thursday (August 15th) lots of students will receive their ‘A’ level results and the images of the day will mainly show happy smiley faces.


Thursday 22 August 2013

The Intelligence Dilemma

The appalling murder of Daniel Pelka by his mother, Magdelena Luczak, and her partner, Mariusz Krezolek, has yet again been followed by soul-searching and a storm of criticism directed at ‘the authorities’ for their failure to protect Daniel from the child abuse that eventually led to his death.


Monday 19 August 2013

Zero hours contracts

In the Victorian era there were sweatshops, child labour, few worker rights, and casual employment with no guaranteed income.


Monday 05 August 2013

School Direct

The recent and significant change in how we train teachers in England, introduced by the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, is not well thought through and could have a significant impact on teacher supply.


Thursday 01 August 2013

The importance of bike riding

This blog post is in reference to 'RideLondon', an annual two-day festival of cycling taking place over the weekend of Saturday 3 August and Sunday 4 August 2013.


Tuesday 23 July 2013

Formal testing of children at nursery

The ‘best’ nurseries use a variety of different approaches to support the children in their care, not just testing or assessing.


Friday 19 July 2013

The enduring legacy of Bruce Lee

I was way too young to watch Enter the Dragon (1973) when it was first available on video. but that didn’t matter because I watched it at my Uncle’s house (on his old ‘piano keys’ video recorder) and it was deemed infinitely more suitable than the ‘video nasties’ prevalent around that time.


Friday 12 July 2013

“Stop Right Now, Thank You Very Much”

The cast were joined on stage by two former Spice Girls who were “devastated” and “gutted” that the show announced its closure after a brief six month run in the West End. Producer Judy Craymer (famous for hit musical Mamma Mia) and writer Jennifer Saunders admitted that despite standing ovations from wonderful audiences, they just “couldn’t make it work”. They stand resolute in their assertion that the “legacy of the Spice Girls will never fade.”


Monday 08 July 2013

Sir Liam Donaldson & public health

Students and academic staff enjoyed hearing Sir Liam Donaldson, the former Chief Medical Adviser in the UK, share his thoughts on how public health issues can be addressed during his talk in Wolverhampton on Friday 28 June.


Monday 01 July 2013


Wimbledon time, and up go the hopes that the 77-year wait for a British male champion will end this Sunday.


Tuesday 25 June 2013


This year is the 100th anniversary of the first Bollywood movie. I was never a fan of Bollywood as a kid. In fact, I hated it. We had one TV and video recorder in the house (not like today) and the last thing I wanted was such dull competition for its use.


Tuesday 18 June 2013

Way to Blue: Happy Birthday Nick

Nick Drake was one of several wonderful musicians to emerge from the fertile folk and folk-rock scenes of the 1960s and early 1970s. While always a solo artist he worked with some of the great musicians of the time; Richard Thompson played on his first album, and John Martyn’s Solid Air was written for and about Drake. Nick Drake’s work is intimate, intricate and highly personal; the themes are universal and the performances captivating.


Wednesday 12 June 2013

Faith-based school selection

Before I attempt to answer this controversial question, I’d like to re-phrase it into this instead: “Why do parents want to send their children to a ‘faith-based’ school?”


Tuesday 04 June 2013

The Queen's Coronation

I was born in 1959, and, like most people of my age group, can remember watching the big Royal media events of the 1960s and 70s: the “Royal Family” documentary of 1969, followed by the Investiture of Prince Charles (clustered round the school TV set at St Michael’s Primary in Tettenhall). Then came the wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips in 1973, and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. But I was always conscious of having missed The Big One: the Queen’s Coronation of 1953.


Monday 03 June 2013

What makes a winning team?

Around this time of the sporting calendar, talk invariably comes round to the issue of what makes a winning team. Pundits start picking their dream teams. Various combinations of players are suggested but being individually brilliant is only part of what matters. “We all dream of a team of Carraghers” is a song lovingly sang by the Liverpool fans; a song that pays testament to the fighting spirit of Jamie Carragher. Would this team be successful?


Friday 31 May 2013

Summer badger cull

In the next few weeks trials will be taking place with trained contractors attempting to cull badgers (largely by shooting) to wipe out TB in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire. TB is endemic in some local populations of badgers and is also present in some cattle and it is thought (though the link is as yet wholly unproven) that TB is transmitted from wild badgers to individual cattle resulting in the need to destroy entire herds...


Wednesday 29 May 2013

By Accident or design?

There has been much press coverage recently concerning the apparent crisis in emergency services, and in particular the provision of care within hospital emergency departments.


Tuesday 28 May 2013

Better This Time? Afghanistan as the 'Graveyard of Empires' 1979-2014

Better This Time? Afghanistan as the 'Graveyard of Empires' 1979-2014 The 25th anniversary of the Afghanistan withdrawal announcement by the Soviet Union In February 2013, President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of major United States combat units from Afghanistan by the end of next year. It is impossible not to hear the historical echoes.


Thursday 23 May 2013

FHM's Top 100 Sexiest Women 2013

FHM’s top 100 sexiest women – decided by popular vote and featuring the likes of Mila Kunis and Kelly Brook – is undoubtedly commercially successful, but how might we think critically about this publication and its success?


Wednesday 22 May 2013

Now let's talk about mental health

In an era of economic uncertainty with rising unemployment, never has there been a more important time to consider the topic of mental health.


Monday 20 May 2013

IDAHO Celebrations

A day to celebrate the seventh least densely populated state of the USA? Sadly, no. In fact, IDAHO is that odd acronym which stands for the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, and it took place this past Friday, May 17.


Friday 17 May 2013

The Allure of Eurovision

The arrival of May offers us many national treasures such as the FA Cup Final and the Chelsea Flower Show, but few can argue with the longevity and passion aroused by Eurovision, the music competition to outlast all other music TV events.


Wednesday 15 May 2013

70th Anniversary of the Dams Raid

The 16th/17th May 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of RAF Bomber Command’s iconic raid on dams in the German Ruhr valley. New books, magazines, memorabilia are being marketed and the BBC has commissioned various radio and television programmes to commemorate this event.


Tuesday 14 May 2013

BAFTA Television Awards 2013

Olivia Colman was the undoubted star of the 2013 BAFTA Television awards. Colman triumphed for her work in the serious drama ‘Accused (Mo’s Story)’ and the sitcom ‘Twenty Twelve’, and both gongs were well deserved. While it is easy to be blasé and pretend that award ceremonies don’t matter, Colman accepted her two awards with enthusiasm and excitement, and it’s clear that recognition from peers is still a big thing for actors and actresses.


Thursday 09 May 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson

"So Sir Alex Ferguson has retired. We’ve had “Fergie time", “hairdryers", the “Beckham’s boot”, and rows with other managers – Kevin Keegan and Rafa Benitez being the most memorable spats. When it’s all said and done however he leaves Manchester United as champions for a record 20th time. So what comes next?


Wednesday 08 May 2013

The UKIP question

The major talking point of the 2013 local elections was the rise of UKIP which gained 25% of the vote and has given rise to much speculation about the reasons for their success and their likely future impact.


Thursday 25 April 2013

The measles outbreak and the MMR health scare

Memories of the MMR scare of about a decade ago had all but faded until news came of an outbreak of measles in Swansea. To prevent measles epidemics in other parts of the country, Public Health England has launched a vaccination catch-up campaign. They estimate that up to a million children aged 10 to 14 are at risk of catching measles because many of them were not vaccinated as babies owing to widespread fears that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) could cause autism.


Wednesday 24 April 2013

The story of DNA and what it’s done for us

Today we live in an era where knowledge about DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and our genetic code has a profound effect upon our society.


Monday 22 April 2013

Fancy a bite? No

Luis Suarez is an outstanding footballer. He can make a chance out of almost nothing, score goals with either foot, or shows tremendous determination to win which can inspire his team mates.


Tuesday 16 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher: the Political Communicator

Among the many assessments of the Thatcher legacy, relatively little has been said about her role as a political communicator. In the understandable focus on her role in the Falklands War, the Miners’ Strike, the Poll Tax, the economy, Europe, and a host of other policy areas, there hasn’t been a huge amount on how she went about securing the three election victories without which none of it would have been possible.


Sunday 02 December 2012

50 Years of Doctor Who

It would have been hard not to know that Doctor Who BBC1’s sci-fi drama series was 50 years old last weekend.