This is the time of the year when pupils at a particular stage of their education will be choosing their GCSE option subjects. Even in normal times, they, and their parents, can find these decisions to be difficult ones - the first to affect future studies and possible career options. But these are not normal times. We are half way through the most significant reform of secondary school qualifications since the introduction of GCSEs in the 1980s.
The debate around single sex versus co-education has been in the press again this last week with more unhelpful comments from another high profile figure in the independent sector. This time it was Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and former head of Harrow School. Whilst he is undoubtedly a champion for the sector, I was dismayed by his blog attributing the gender attainment gap and disproportionate numbers of applications to universities to boys being lazier than girls, arrogant about their abilities and girls being ‘keener to please the teacher than boys’.
Welcome to my first blog of 2016 (New Year’s resolution) where I shall be offering some of my thoughts and views on NSB and educational matters – not always at such length as in this opener. We will, of course, still be issuing our popular weekly newsletter each term-time Friday.
Two of the biggest threats faced by our children on the internet are naivety and complacency – theirs and ours.
Our digital native children don’t compartmentalise the internet in the way that we do. We tend to log in and out of the internet. For our children, it’s always ‘on’ – constantly in their hands or pockets. For them, it’s always been there – part of everyday life. It feels comfortable and familiar to them and appears to hold no real mystery – just possibility.
The internet is first and foremost an inextricable part of our children’s leisure and social lives. They tend to overlook the internet’s practical and educational benefits but that’s for another blog, another day. For them, it’s a limitless playground with no boundaries in which to meet people and have fun - two things that we actually want our children to do but in safe confines.
David was educated at an all boys grammar school before reading English at the University of Wales. He worked in the financial sector before entering the teaching profession at Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, London where he taught English, was extensively involved in the extra-curricular programme and became a housemaster. In 2001, David moved to The Perse School, Cambridge, then an all boys’ school, as Head of Middle School. He came to Newcastle School for Boys in 2006 shortly after its formation to oversee the expansion of the School’s upper age range. He completed his masters in education at Newcastle University in 2010 and was appointed Headmaster in April 2012. David lives at the coast in Tynemouth with his wife, Caroline, also a teacher, two daughters and a dog.