Adult educators – an ageing profession?

The article does raise concerns. In an ideal world there would be no need for ‘second chance learning’ because ‘life long learning’ would be central to an education system designed to fit the demands of a flexible population updating existing skills to keep abreast of rapid change in their areas of competence and reskilling completely to acquire the means to switch competencies.
We need a Victorian style Royal Commission to determine what an education system fit for purpose in the twenty-first and into the twenty-second century should look like; and how it should then be brought into existence.

Lifelong Learning Matters

Is there a problem brewing as many of our most skilled and experienced adult educators are growing older and a significant cohort is nearing retirement? Is our profession becoming a grey area? If so, we need to act now to make sure we have continuity by developing younger colleagues to pick up the baton. We need to make sure that much-needed enthusiasm, passion, understanding and know-how is not lost from this important area of teaching, learning, educational outreach and management.

(This blog is based on observation within the wider sector and awareness of the age profile in meetings and events. It is not focusing specifically on the WEA although we have to be aware of succession planning for our future sustainability.)

Adult and community educators have worked with determination and professionalism in a too-often overlooked field of education for decades. They act as teachers, advocates, advisers, mentors and managers who know…

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Update: Removal of links to

A number of my verse blogs linked to pages at which became inactive when I deleted my account with them.

I have been updating those posts by embedding the text directly into the affected blog posts. I believe this process now to be complete.

If you should hit a dead link, please let me know and I’ll update it.

As for the growing body of verse, now stored in Google Drive, I am considering making this public, as it was at AllPoetry.


CENTRO budget cuts confirmed

By definition, many pensioners live on reduced means when compared to their disposable income throughout their working lives. Likewise those with reduced mobility who rely on Ring and Ride are often less able to command an average living wage. Subsidy of such services is therefore a critical factor in maintaining the access to the world beyond ones four walls which is believed necessary for the maintenance of an independent life and the presumed benefits to ones mental health, and general well being, accrued from contact with friends and family, not to mention the opportunity to form new friendships and associations.
Restriction of mobility, by pricing, selectively, certain demographic groups out of service use would seem to presage two major knock-on effects: first, more in these demographics will be pushed into need for social care services adding to the cost burden to an already critically underfunded and understaffed area; second, insidiously, the bean-counters will use the empirical data of reduced service uptake to argue that the subsidy is unnecessary.

Birmingham Against The Cuts

Centro pensioners
But pensioners claim partial victory

On Friday 14th February over 100 pensioners and other anti-cuts protesters packed the CENTRO board meeting which was meeting to decide their 2014-2015 budget.

The chair claimed that CENTRO had no choice but to implement the budget reduction demanded by the seven metropolitan councils led by Birmingham. This was sharply refuted by interruptions from the floor which pointed out that until April 2014 the board has the right to set whatever budget it chooses and demand a corresponding precept from the councils.

It emerged that CENTRO bosses have abandoned plans to make pensioners pay on trams and trains, and increase child fares to two-thirds adult. They admitted the scale of public and particularly organised pensioner opposition was the reason.

However they are going ahead with a cut to the budget for Ring and Ride which will mean an increase in fares from 60p to £1.00…

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Childish Song, No.5 – without refrain.

Where fragrant blossoms lit up the day,
Now dried out dead head sticks decay.
Once vibrant reds and golds and hues
Are now but fifty shades of brown.
Those bright blue skies with fluffy clouds
Are grey and muddled, dull as death,
And rain falls down like bitter tears
My dreams and hopes to drown.

Where warmth and light made our joy,
Now half-light dank and damp deploy.
Once loud and happy songs of birds
Are now a whisper or a hush.
Those sun filled days without a care
Are choked with mud, and with despair,
And my tears commingle with the flood
My heart and soul to crush.

Ben A Harvey
February 2014.

© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved.

A new addition to my occasional collection of Childish Songs. I hope you find it of interest.

Climate-change denier Lord Lawson is an expert – he once wrote a book about dieting

One speaks for, one against – fair, innit?
Sadly, for many this constitutes a balanced argument.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the Tories!)

I see climate-change deniers have brought out their big guns to deny the recent flooding and storms are anything to do with climate change.

Former Thatcher chancellor Nigel Lawson went head-to-head with Met’ Office Chief Scientist Professor Julia Slingo – destroying her scientific assessments that the recent extreme weather conditions were almost certainly the result of climate change with the devastating scientific argument that she is just : “this Julia Slingo woman“.

Personally, I don’t know much about the science behind climate change. So let’s take a look at who is most likely to be right on the scientific arguments around climate in general:

Lawson vs Slingo


You had me at “it’s just this woman” Nigel.


Please feel free to comment.


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Event: Thinking Allowed on Schooling with Mick Waters

Please register your free place at this exciting public meeting using the embedded link or via
Anyone with an interest in education and the education system in the UK will find this to be of interest – you are invited so please come and participate.

Birmingham Campaign For State Education

7pm Tuesday 18th March

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Pinsent Masons Room 1

Register for your free place here

Mick Waters  flyer

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Travesty, treachery, betrayal!

Your title well describes the modus operandi of these players.

a discount ticket to everywhere

So, things had quietened down a bit. I was getting back to work, back in the swing of blogging about books and translation and other matters that this blog is supposed to be about. We had started to breathe a little more easily about the school – the IEB seemed like they were honest, Ofsted were due in soon and we had good expectations that they would take the school out of Special Measures.

Cavell fort and allotment The school playing field and new fort looking gorgeous in the sunshine, with the allotment to the right.

And then, wham! Today we learnt that the school has indeed come out of Special Measures. Hooray! Congratulations to all concerned. Nobody can force us to become an academy any more. Except, wait… What’s this?

The Interim Executive Board (IEB) has decided, at the behest of the County Council and the DfE academy broker, to apply for an…

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Gove argues more schools should be like Hogwarts

Enjoyed this piece. Good satire, where the veil between truth and the representation is as thin and transparent as that between the living and the dead at Samhain. Thanks for posting.

Flibbertigibbet News

In what was seen as tacit admission that the public sector was falling behind on OECD’s International Defence against the Dark Arts tests, the Secretary of State insisted that schools should adopt a curriculum of ‘facilitating subjects’ such as herbology, arithmancy and ‘mocking the ginger kid’. By abandoning vocational BTECs and returning to the Ordinary Wizarding Level, he argued, the education sector could return to the ‘halcyon days’ of tuckshop with Nanny and ‘flying classes with Madam Hooch’.

As easy to get into as a Grammar school As easy to get into as a Grammar school

Based on his own educational experience of having transferred from a state school into a private college, Michael Gove made a ringing endorsement of Scotland’s most prestigious independent school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A spokesman for Department of Education said: ‘We can assure voters that the Ministry for Magic will not be siphoning off public funds to subsidize private schools. However there is…

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A world where women jog toppless

The film is whimsy: part amusing, part disturbing. Ultimately a satirical piece which addresses the idea that the display of power is often unpleasant. The gender role reversal theme is an interesting, though hardly novel, plot device. Gender discrimination is, possibly, the oldest form of discrimination; hence deeply ingrained and, perhaps, the most difficult to overcome. As enlightening as the film is the discussion responses to it on YouTube. That such anger and such violent responses have been made – and made publicly – is an eye-opening confirmation that criticism of such a deeply held, almost cherished, distribution of power is too disturbing and too threatening for some to consider. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.


It may not live up to the fantasy.

Majorité Opprimée  (Oppressed Majority)

This tasteful, French short by Éléonore Pourriat highlights the nuances of gender norms we take for granted.   With a satirical eye, she depicts at the emotional constraints placed on men and the sexual/intellectual isolation of women to show a world of complete role reversal.

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