On teachers, facilitators and tiny Arab states


Jonn @NewStatesman, talking about radical new models of schooling:

Here’s a sentiment that you hear rather a lot in education futurology circles (yes, such circles exist). If you took a doctor from a hundred years ago and dumped him in a modern hospital, he’d be utterly lost: medical science has simply changed too much. Do the same with a Victorian teacher, though, and they’d probably get along fine. It’d take them a while to get used to the fact blackboards were now white and electronic, and lessons about Nazis might present a few challenges – but the basic model, of one teacher talking at a couple of dozen kids, is pretty much unchanged from the 19th century.

This is odd, because it’s not as if it works particularly well: just think of all the amazing stuff from science or history that school managed to make about as exciting as Tipp-ex.

You can read the rest here.


Some old health stuff


In which all is not well

Two years at GP allowed me to become one of Britain’s foremost experts on the 2004 New General Medical Services Contract. (I have yet to find a use for this.) Since leaving, I’ve been, among other things, a contributing editor at HealthInvestor.

So, some harrumphing about health policy:

  • Why a decade of record NHS funding had left the medical profession more hacked off than ever (New Statesman, July 2008)
  • In 2008, young GPs were threatening to leave the NHS in droves – largely, because no one would hire them (New Statesman, November 2008)
  • Once upon a time, you could trust your doctor with your secrets as well as your life. And then the medical research industry got involved (The First Post, June 2009)
  • The NHS database might or might not breach your human rights (The First Post, August 2008). That was just one of the reasons the Tories decided to scrap it (The First Post, August 2009)
  • In autumn 2009 I did the round of party conferences for GP and blogged frantically, about topics including: the then-imminent NHS financial crisis; whether there was enough substance to Tory health plans; and whether they meant what they said.
  • One of the stories I picked up at the Conservative conference was that they were planning to take NHS funding from the poor to give it to the rich (New Statesman, December 2009). Someone in Central Office eventually noticed this might be A Bad Thing, because a few weeks later they spiked the idea (Liberal Conspiracy, January 2010). I like to pretend it was my doing.
  • So, NHS waiting time targets. Did they actually increase waiting times? (New Statesman, November 2011)