As featured in Parentdish

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Exam factory

Recently, while reporting for the Times Educational Supplement I had the pleasure of visiting Cumbernauld College’s Kirkintilloch campus to report on their artist in residence Pearl Kinnear. Pearl has worked with the students and helped them get involved in community projects such as that at the Croy Miners’ Community.

I liked their attitude – Pearl’s and the college’s. They weren’t doing this to improve grades. They were doing it to get young people involved and to get them enjoying learning so that the college wasn’t simply an exam factory.

Whatever happened to enjoying history, maths, or science? Whatever happened to reading? In the recent Pisa survey it was noted that fewer Scottish children read for pleasure than in many other successful countries.

I find learning fun. Which is why I keep on learning. Who honestly wants to spend their lives learning if they don’t think it is fun.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


I love Boney M. Always have. And I happily admit to having seen them a few years back in the Paisley Town Hall. And they are so educational too.

Over dinner one night, number two child and I were talking about Russia, he being the child who is fascinated by countries and who gives his sister a geography lesson using the world map on his wall.

Number two child was fascinated to hear about Russia, and about Rasputin and the Russian royal family. Cue a chance to go on Youtube and show him a bit of Boney M singing Rasputin.

As someone who loves history, it was great to see how interested he was and how amazed he was at the story of this undesirable man and the effect he had on the ladies, and the various methods used to try and get rid of him. I hope he continues to love history for he now no longer wants to visit Russia.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Educate the Parents: Starting school

Educate the Parents: Starting school: "This week I registered child number three for school. Before I went in I told him he was to speak for himself. After taking his brother’..."

Starting school

This week I registered child number three for school. Before I went in I told him he was to speak for himself. After taking his brother’s homework bag to the office and telling the office lady whose it was, we went through to the library where D told the lady his name and spelled his name out for her. I got him to do most of the talking and she even half looked at him when she asked for out postcode. But we’re not at that stage yet.

I don’t think that much has changed since I was little. Adults still like to do the talking for children. And they still suddenly turn round when child is bigger and complain because child can’t speak for himself. Conversation is not something which comes to us at the age of sixteen/eighteen/whatever other age is deemed normal. It is a learned skill which develops with age.