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Month: January 2019

Raising Awareness of Gosling Sports Hall

Raising Awareness of Gosling Sports Hall

My latest leaflet delivery to Panshanger homes focuses on raising awareness about Gosling Sports Hall. You can read the leaflet here. Thanks to some good work by community groups, the council and our Conservative MP, Grant Shapps, GLL (the company that owns Gosling) has now agreed ‘to work with the community to keep the facility open, potentially by involving user groups in “either a joint or self-managed arrangement”’ This is a big step forward from where we were a month…

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Endless surrenders?

Endless surrenders?

There’s a situation I observe that has a strange symmetry. Very often I’ll read someone on the left lamenting a series of endless surrenders to the right, such that officially left wing parties now embrace policies that once were considered right wing. They point to privatisation, immigration laws and casualisation of labour and say that forty years ago Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would be considered fairly moderate. And at the same time, I’ll often read someone on the right lamenting a…

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Conservative Candidate for Panshanger

Conservative Candidate for Panshanger

As some of those reading this will know, I’m standing as the Conservative Candidate for Panshanger in the Borough Council elections this May. I’m delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to stand to represent the ward in which my family and I live and, if elected, to be able to work to do the best both for this community and for Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield more generally. I’ve already been putting out some literature, supported by a great…

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A follow up on grammar schools

A follow up on grammar schools

My latest Wonkhe piece summarises my recent paper on selective schools for HEPI, addresses some of the critiques and reflects on that fact that, whilst academics don’t need grammar schools for their own children, some seem to be very keen to remove the opportunity to level the playing field for those that do.

Save Gosling Sports Hall

Save Gosling Sports Hall

Below is the text of an email I’ve sent to GLL (who run Gosling) urging them to reconsider their decision to close Gosling Sports Hall. If you live locally, do consider signing the petition, or writing to them yourselves. There’s a major local campaign going and both the Council and our MP, Grant Shapps have got involved so the more people that can show that they care about it staying open, the better the chance they might reconsider. The petition…

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Watership Down is not a Children’s Book

Watership Down is not a Children’s Book

Chorus: Why do you cry out thus, unless at some vision of horrorCassandra: The house reeks of death and dripping blood.Chorus: How so? ‘Tis but the odour of the altar sacrifice.Cassandra: The stench is like a breath from the tomb. These lines, a quote from Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, constitute the opening of Watership Down. If ever an author wished to give a better signal to the audience that this book was not a children’s book, it would be hard to imagine…

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Grammar Schools and Progression to Higher Education

Grammar Schools and Progression to Higher Education

My latest paper, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), looks at the impact of selective schools in ensuring progress to higher education. The Impact of Selective Secondary Education on Progression to Higher Education, HEPI Occasional Paper 19, shows grammar schools increase the likelihood of progression for pupils from the bottom two quintiles of social disadvantage and for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) pupils. The analysis takes into account both the chances of children from different groups getting into…

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Bible Analytics: What do Children’s Bibles Focus On?

Bible Analytics: What do Children’s Bibles Focus On?

We have quite a lot of children’s bibles and it’s always interesting to see what each one focuses on. This post carries out some fairly surface level analysis of how much time different children’s bibles spend on different books. First, the actual bibleWe can look at the relative size of the different books of the bible by comparing the number of chapters they have. It’s not a perfect analysis – some chapters are longer than others – but it’s good…

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Christmas Quiz XIII: Winners, Honour Roll and Answers

Christmas Quiz XIII: Winners, Honour Roll and Answers

The answers are now out for Christmas Quiz III, Countries and Regions! Download the answers here. This year we have a joint winner. On 99 points each, we have Alex Morris, Alex Craven and friends; and Julia and friends! The full Honour Roll is below: =1st: 99 Alex Morris, Alex Craven and Friends =1st: 99 Julia and Friends =3rd: 97 Owen and Janice =3rd: 97 Watkins Family =5th: 95 Pellereaux =5th 95 Rich and Dave 7th: 94 Team Higher Education…

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Predictions for a No-Deal Brexit

Predictions for a No-Deal Brexit

Many people are talking of leaving the EU without a deal as being a disaster. Even setting aside the obviously histrionic claims that it will cause millions of deaths, normally serious commentators – and many Remain supporting friends who I’ve discussed this with – are regularly using terms such as ‘disaster’, ‘catastrophe’, ‘severe economic damage’ and ‘untold harm’. We have of course been here before. Before the vote, we were told that a vote to Leave would, even before we…

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