If, as Oscar Wilde once wrote, a cynic is “a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing,” then the Care Quality Commission is starting to look like the most cynical organisation around. Late last year, the CQC announced a new contract for the supply of Experts by Experience –… (1 comment)

Calling time on my zero-hours job
I’m about to lose the zero-hours job I love. Maybe “lose” isn’t the right word. But the contract under which I work has been taken from the charitable sector and awarded to a private company. The new bosses at the multi-million pound business taking over refuse to honour existing terms and conditions. They won’t even… (19 comments)

David Cameron wants to replace “the country’s most run down housing estates,” with “attractive and safe homes.” It’s part of a package aimed at ending poverty, as the government puts it,  and “improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged.” Well, that’s one way of addressing the housing crisis – with Victorian-style social reform. We’ll… (55 comments)

Mr Patel closed his newsagents a few months ago. Shortly after that, the 75 year old  hardware business further up the road shut its doors. Its neighbour, once a bathroom and kitchen design shop is now a giant pound store. Yesterday Impulse Flowers, a local fixture for the past 28 years, lowered the shutters for… (3 comments)

Michael Gove may have left the Department for Education but his Gradgrindian spirit lives on. It’ll be “Fact fact fact” all day every day if the Conservatives win the election in May. Times tables will be recited to perfection. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be spot on. Headteachers could be removed from their jobs if… (5 comments)

What’s the Private Sector ever done for us?
I’m all for breaking down the barriers between private and state education. But I can’t help feeling we in the state sector may have more to teach exclusive fee-paying schools than they have to teach us. An example? Well, put your science hats on for a moment – as we were asked to do last… (44 comments)

Outraged by the Outrage
Here’s how politics now works in the UK. A politician sends out an ill-considered tweet. It is insensitive but not criminal. Politicians, political journalists, bloggers and academics comment on it. Twitter comes alive. The politician realises she’s been a bit of a fool. Her hapless boss has a meltdown and forces her out. The established… (14 comments)

Scotland, Please Don’t Go
Never mind the squabbling over sterling and North Sea oil, Scotland. There’s a very simple reason to vote No in the Independence referendum next month. We don’t want you to leave. A few days in Edinburgh have reminded me of all that we have to lose if Scotland drifts away. A more collectivist spirit for… (0 comment)

When it comes to preventing extremist or radical influences in schools, the government doesn’t have a lesson plan. Despite Michael Gove’s centralising tendencies, neither he nor the cabinet colleagues he’s been fighting with have ever laid out what exactly schools are supposed to do to stop the – real or imagined – Islamic extremist threat.… (1 comment)