Thursday, May 29, 2008

Euro 2008

This is the question on everyone's mind at the moment.


I'm still trying to work out which team I love the most or hate the least.

Here are the options, I've highlighted my serious considerations (these people need to know if I'm on their side) based on some pretty flimsy evidence such as past holidays, encounters with nationals and national cuisine,

Group A

Czech Republic

Group B


Group C



Group D


Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Crikey O'Reilly!

What a completely mental day!

First, The Wee Hen trips over in the back yard, cuts his top lip. Blood everywhere! Huge top lip swollen to Carbrooke! Of course, he's absolutely fine but it's a bit of a shocker.

Did I mention the fantastic weather had been washed away by some Test Match special wet weather and grey skies?
Yeah, try house arrest with a 16 month old with a swollen lip.

Second, the weather, oh, it's turned to poo.

Third, Frau Random Doubt has been poisoned by the Silver Fox. She's had a jippy tummy all day following some parental entertainment last night.

Fourth, The fucking car started smoking!


Right where the steering column is.

It's not this year's model but we keep it in good order and get it serviced as often as is proper. We have also had the 'talk'. Both Frau Random Doubt and I are retired smokers and are as aware of the dangers as anyone. It's the disapointment that hurts.

Anyway, We were entering the car park of the Sainsbury centre so I pulled over, away from other vehicles just in case the rollerskate was gonna blow, evacuated Frau Random Doubt and the Wee Hen and called my Dad. He collected us a couple of hours later (after we had been around the exhibits and had a cup of tea) and after some consultation with Terry down at the garage and some minor poking under the bonnet I was told to drive to Terry's garage without indicating (we think it's the indicator fuse in the steering column that has been getting all smokey) You will be pleased to know that FRD and the Wee Hen travelled with the Silver Fox in safety whilst I flew the old girl back on a wing and a prayer and no indicating.

After a difficult bedtime I decided that I'd treat myself to a burn on the bike.

At least when you run and something goes wrong when you are 6 miles from home on the wrong end of a brilliantly muddy country track you don't have to walk home with a broken mountain bike.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Deputy Head interview questions

These are a bunch of questions I've been asked at interviews for Deputy Head jobs at village primary schools.
I'm publishing these from my black book of inset and professional development notes as a sort of public service. I hope that anyone else in my position will get some use out of them.
As for the normal readers, normal service will be resumed shortly.

"How has your teaching been affected by the renewed frameworks for Literacy and numeracy?"

"Describe a situation when you have raised standards, How did you do this?"

"Describe a situation where you have introduced and led an initiative to staff. How did you do this?"

"Tell us about your strengths."

"Tell us about your weaknesses."

"Describe a whole school situation you have helped to lead."

"What do you do when a teacher disagrees with your leadership?"

"Why did you apply for this post?"

"You spent five years in New York (this could easily translate to any large chunk of time in your CV), What did you learn from that time?"

"Why do you want to be a Deputy Head?"

"What will you bring to this post?"

"Tell us about an achievement that you are most proud of."

"How do you feel about parents?"

"Why do we assess children's learning?"

"What are your views regarding the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)?

"Which part of the 'Every Child Matters' agenda do you think is most important?"

"Can you explain how you have used ICT in lessons?"

"What are the strengths of the topic approach?"

"How would you assess learning in a topic based environment?"

"What do you do if a parent starts shouting at you?"

"What do you do if you profoundly disagree with the Head?"

"How do you use assessment?"

"In your opinion, what is the point of the KS2 SATs in their present form?"

"Give an example of how you have made a difference to a child with special educational needs and how did this impact on the human rights of the other children in the class?"

"How would you support well being for support staff?"

"What do you see as the role of the Deputy Head in a small school?"

"How would you facilitate communications between the Head and staff?"

I spent some time online seeking out such questions and trying to formulate some answers. I found very little that was useful.

If you get an interview for a DH position be prepared to do a lot of homework and preperation, a great presentation, dress right up, play it like it's your own FA Cup Final and hit on the Governors, they will play a large role in your fate. 

I hope this will help somebody. The questions in italics were the ones that I have actually been asked, the rest are ones that I created based on advice and experience.

I've left out my responses because, well, I wasn't that successful, and I don't have all night!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Apparently I waffled on a bit and didn't get straight to the point (BUT THAT"S MY CHARM!!!)

I'm not too worried, this was the last one this year so in a way it's nice to be able to relax a bit and not spend anymore evenings creating bizarre presentations and thinking of answers to every conceivable question that could conceivably be asked.

If truth be told I really only applied for this one because I was so spun out about not getting the last one.

There's footy on the telly tonight (can they both lose please?) Frau Random Doubt and The Wee Hen are both just fine, the sun is out and the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Why Worry?

In a truly Mondale obsessive moment I should point out that I was beaten to the job by a young(ish) man with a very familiar surname. Makes my liberal credentials all tingly!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


So the self indulgent quest for a promotion continues.

This time, instead of reading runes and drinking tea backwards for three days and nights prior to the interview I thought I'd just shout it out and let the blogworld know. The blogworld can than wish me luck and good fortune on Wednesday as I attempt (for the last time this academic year) to achieve a long held ambition.

As well as letting the blogworld know I'm also rather keen to get in there and do really well so that they have little choice but to offer me what seems to be a fascinating position.

The image?

Lovely isn't it?

It popped up when I google imaged 'Deputy Head'!

Cup Final Day!

It's the holiest day of the year!
This picture (from 1987, the only Cup Final that I have actually attended) sums it all up.
Have a good'un!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hometown and Sincity Mercury

That's the name of our local rag.

This week I got a letter printed on the letters page!

It was a slightly tipsy rant about unruly dog owners, sadly I am unable to find the letter either online or on my computer (which is really, really wierd) and I'm not going to rewrite it. Also sadly, the letter did little good as this week's paper headlines the fact that the path in question has been closed. You can read the article (And wonder why I even bother with the pretence of geographical anonymity) right here.

Also, I'm gunning for Cardiff in this weekend's FA Cup final (holiest day of the year!!)
I've always been an admirer of most things Welsh and simply cannot abide Portsmouth.
Welsh things I like.

David Lloyd George
Gavin and Stacey (half welsh I know)
Super Furry Animals
Ewan Roberts
The Gower
Glenys Kinnock
The amazing Welsh swearing friend of a friend I spent an amusing weekend with a couple of years ago.
Nye Bevan.

I dunno, there's lots to like about the place and good luck to them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The weather. Oh, the weather.

Some people have been saying things about the English.

Fair enough.

I'd just like to share a spot of evidence that I may very well have reassimilated.

We have recently been enjoying some absolutely splendid weather, "Shirtsleeves weather". Temperatures in the high 20's centigrade (70's, almost 80's Fahrenheit), clear blue skies, calm air, simply wonderful.

Today it clouded over and tomorrow threatens a shower or two.

I heard myself say to someone at work "I'll be quite glad to get a spot of rain again".

I'm back.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Johnson Treatment

So, I didn't get the job, the dream job, the job I really wanted.

So I made some enquiries.

It's brilliant, this next level of career, you can call people up and ask them stuff and they respect you enough (or pretend to?) to tell you stuff. I respect her enough to believe her, my unnamed source at the highest levels of the 'job I almost got'.

OK, I buggered up a deeply technical question about computers. OK, I'll work on that.

It was the other gossip that was great.

They were deeply upset that I didn't get the job because I had been the clear favourite. The source had detailed inside knowledge that there had been lengthy wranglings about ignoring some of the practical aspects of the interview (i.e that question and my ropey answer) and hiring me anyway.

A couple of the Governors (the two who had asked me the question ) were not impressed , OK, live with that.

Everyone else had been very impressed. Sheeeeet.

I need to sell myself a bit more in person. A bit less Gordon, a bit more Tony. My response? This is a very serious job, not a time for soundbites.

But I am the clunking fist of primary education!

There's an identical job going only two miles down the road, give them a call!

I'm meeting them on Monday.

I just love the networking and intriuge!

Yesterday I was so upset, then I understood, Frau Random Doubt and The Wee hen were both OK and laughing and giggling, my day will come.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Career travails in Democratic electoral defeats.

So, I went for another interview.

This job was amazing, the school was great, the teachers seemed nice, the job was big but I felt good about doing it.

And, oh, oh, oh.

I almost, nearly, nearly, almost.

But not quite.

Got the amazing, beautiful, challenging, well paid job that would have seen me not bothering the vacancies website for the next four years.


And double damn because I could have, should have got this job.

I later found out that the difference between me and the successful candidate (nice guy, we got on well, good luck to him), the only difference was the answer to one question.

A day full of questions and it comes down to ONE question.


If my last interview was a  Nixon McGovern this one was definately a Bush Gore.

Hey, I just want to reassure you, I will not be growing a beard.

(Or in English, The last interview was John Major in 1997, this one was Neil Kinnock in 1992)

In any language, this one hurt.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Just crazy busy and my watch has gone French on me, instead of reading TUES 6 it reads MAR 6.

Will try and blog more after Thursday when the stars tell me that things should change, or at least get less hectic, which will in itself be a change I s'pose.

Friday, May 02, 2008


I just returned from the Hometown beer festival and googled 'Boris Johnson' and got this.


This has to mean the complete collapse of centre left politics in Britain.

I have the same relationship with Boris as I have with the Church of England. My heart says
"of course!" my head says "don't drunk blog because you talk shit, so sure as hell don't ever drunk vote".