what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

free schools?


Blogs will be rare over the next few weeks – so let me leave you with this picture of one of the views from our balcony. It was almost 2 years ago we bought our first digital camera - but only yesterday I saw fit to insert the software for the transfer of pictures to the laptop. I failed the first time - but succeeded after de-installing. I felt quite proud of myself!
The Guardian has a discussion about the idea floated in the Conservative manifesto to allow parents to set up schools – or rather to undertake a procurement process to select an organisation to run a school for them. Participants included a Swede who belongs to a private company which runs about 30 such schools in Sweden.
The manifesto commitment (regardless of its merits) raises two issues about the policy-making process in UK. Raising important ideas in this way – in the last few weeks before an election – hardly seems the best way to obtain robust and effective policies. Secondly, it’s another example of the continuing temptation of ideas and practice being parachuted into systems for sheer novelty affect – rather than emerging from a careful assessment and development of present systems. In 2002 Ross McKibbin had a powerful critique of English educational policy-making in the London Review of Books -
For those wanting to know more about the Swedish system (admittedly from a Conservative Think-Tank) see
I mentioned Jo Epstein yesterday. Here’s an interview -
Have just come across the marvellous wikigallery of paintings – the best I’ve yet encountered. A larger range of paintings than any other site I know; thematically connected; and, of course, giving the possibility of uploading your own suggestions. So its now duly inserted on the links at the right hand of this page. I came across it thanks to a reference in today’s Sunday Herald to the Scottish painter Sir James Guthrie (born apparently in my hometown!) who belonged to the painting school known as the Glasgow Boys.
I have a great passion for the Bulgarian landscape painters for the first half of the 20th century - who are simply not known outside of their country. So today I uploaded one of Mario Zhekov's paintings (which I have already used a couple of times on the blog)

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