Jamie’s Dream School?

Education illo – Overwhelmed student

Originally uploaded by Combined Media

I’ve not watched this before, but caught 20 minutes of it tonight, and it got me thinking.

The premise appears to me that Jamie takes a bunch of underachieving youngsters, puts them in a no-expense-spared environment with celebrity specialists and shows why schools and the current education system are letting young people down.

What I saw was a really engaging lesson with Dr. Robert Winston, a rubbish Drama lesson with a fine act-or, Jamie teaching kids how to cook and Daley Thompson teaching them how to dive.

What I took away from it is that the kind of pupil that underachieves often appreciates practical, vocational topics where there is little if any writing. That great delivery, passion, enthusiasm and manner with the pupils leads to engaging, enjoyable lessons. That if you’re famous you can hug a dripping wet teenage girl in a swimming costume without being called a paedophile and that being great at something might help you to pas that knowledge / passion / understanding to pupils, but without some idea of pedagogy and classroom management it’s far from guaranteed.

The other thing that struck me is that I know Science teachers in real life who take low ability pupils, run amazingly interesting lessons that engage and enthuse the students, but don’t necessarily lead to great exam results (where the reading, the writing… the boring bits are required). The pressure to meet league table targets means that the kind of student who would thrive on a truly vocational course is marginalised and often forced to take subjects that aren’t necessarily going to do him/her any good.

So, Jamie. Yes, you’ve made 1 teacher think about things. But I can’t honestly say there’s anything in there I hadn’t considered already. And I still blame league tables and performance targets for the vast majority of problems in secondary schools.

For a considerably more thought out opinion I can thoroughly recommend @JayeRHill’s blog post on the same subject.


Mukoku LogoMukoku is a Japanese word, meaning ‘out of resources’. I thought it was the perfect name for a Moodle site I’ve been wanting to set up for a while – a place where I can stick resources I want to share with the world. The plan is not to stick to ICT specific topics, but to post a whole range of resources; including presentations and suggestions I’ve made for conferences, my Techy Tips newsletters and a whole range of cross-curricular ideas – in addition to some ICT specific resources as well.

Previously I’ve used mwclarkson.co.uk and also stuck stuff on a webserver and posted links to it when requested. This way there is a permanent place and I can format things more carefully and with a lot more space than I could with the old website.

Dan Humphreys (@MoodleDan) has kindly given me the url mukoku.vl3.co.uk and in time, it would be nice to have other people contributing things as well. So let me know what you think, subscribe to the RSS feed and feel free to point others in my general direction 🙂