Friday, 22 May 2015

#BlogSyncRE -

After many months of thinking and planning, I was prompted into action by recent events on Save RE. Tone, intention and meaning can be confused, or mistaken on Twitter or during Facebook exchanges. This is one of the reasons that blogging is a really useful exercise. It allows you to consider your ideas, look for evidence, write up carefully and explain yourself with out interruption. However, discussion can then flow about the topic you have picked, questions can be asked and responses written.

I used to enjoy Chris Waugh's education blogsync (see <here>) and it helped me develop my writing style and got my blog out to a wider audience. It helped me establish my blog and a readership. 

The question is, could the RE community have it's own blogsync? Is there enough writers to make it work? The activity on things such as #REChatUK, where topics are discussed in a frenzy, as well as Save RE and it's new sister group RE Teacher's Forum on Facebook suggested that there may be. 

There has also been some suggestions that the education world is too dominated by white/male/straight people. I want the BlogSyncRE to actively challenge that and give an opportunity to every voice in RE. It is not limited to RE teachers, and anyone who wants to write about RE is more than welcome to partake. If you know someone who can make the debate more inclusive, demonstrating the variety of religion and religious education in the UK, please let them know about the project. 

EVERYONE is invited to join in. If you don't have a blog already, set one up... Neil McKain has just joined us this week, read his first blog post <here>. Staffrm has also encouraged many others to join blogging recently with it's own story, really filled with narrative, find it <here>

Please publicisie this as widely as possible. It is deliberately not tied to any group in the RE world, this can mean editorial process or 'politics'. Just like the #REconsult blog I (successfully?) ran during the RE GCSE/A-Level consultation period (see <here>), there was 'no holds barred' and no topic too controversial. However, we hope all the RE world will get behind this and share posts widely.

I do not run or control #BlogSyncRE. I am just using my expertise, passion, desire and enthusiasm for some real RE debate to enable this to happen. I am more than happy for anyone to help me with the admin and I am more than happy to receive feedback, suggestions for improvement etc. 

In the meantime, check out and share the website:
Plus vote for our first topic <here>

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Edexcel GCSE Religion & Media

Image courtesy of The Guardian

Firstly, I think religion and the media is fascinating. I always do some really good work on Islamophobia with Y9 for example. However I also feel it is done quite badly on the Edexcel GCSE RS course. It is also an area where teachers are often looking for inspiration...

Background Reading
  • Why are we watching Shrek? by Robert Orme - "RE teachers should not have to pretend that there are important religious insights to be gained from spending lessons watching Shrek, Finding Nemo and Bend it like Beckham."
  • DVD RE by Dawn Cox - A more general overview of why we use DVDs but also highlights some of the problems.
At the end of the day, for the next two years, we still need to teach it.

This year I have left the media content to the end, in the hope that by doing a distinct 'Religion and the Media' unit, I can cover it a little better. The four areas to cover are:
  • How two television and/or radio programmes and/or films about religion may affect a person’s attitude to belief in God.
  • How an issue arising from matter of life and death has been presented in one form of the media, for example in a television or radio programme, or in a film, or in the national press.
  • How an issue arising from matter of marriage and the family has been presented in one form of the media, for example in a television or radio programme, or in a film, or in the national press.
  • How an issue arising from religion and community cohesion has been presented in one form of the media, for example in a television or radio programme, or in a film, or in the national press.
The debate of what media to use comes up frequently on Twitter and Save RE, so I thought it would be valuable to collect some data on what RE teachers are using...

If it is not possible to use the embedded form, please click here: - and share widely!

The important bit... see the results here: (if you want to be added as an editor to help keep it tidy, please email me at

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Freedom in RE

Image courtesy of 2 Oceans Vibs

Last night on the Facebook group of RE teachers called 'Save RE' a row escalated after a NQTs request (on behalf of her head of department) for teaching resources on the Illuminati. People were accused of being mean and that members of the group had been 'attacked'. There were polarised views as to whether this was brilliant engagement and relevance to kids who are "always talking about it", or something that had no place whatsoever in RE.

It made me think. Do History and Geography have such dilemmas? 

Is there a place on the internet where Historians argue about what is history? Do they debate what they should be covering in their lessons? Or how to cover more unconventional topics? Do Geographers row about the content of their KS3 lessons? Do they fall out over what to types of geographical features should or could be included? 

Now RE is distinct and different to other humanities; although let's not try to define it's purpose or we'll have another quickly escalating argument. However I increasingly wonder to what extent. I believe that such rows erupt in RE for a number of reasons:
  • Many schools follow their Locally Agreed Syllabus (LAS) which is a curriculum determined locally. However many do not follow it that closely and there is little monitoring in many places. Some teachers who should follow it do not, and 'do their own thing' to a large extent.
  • Due to local determination when national (international even?) RE forums for discussion raise such issues, people do not know local context. Maybe the Illuminati is on the teacher's LAS? (I'm not sure it is?).
  • RE suffers from its legal status... what is compulsory for all? What is an academic option? What are the schools responsibilities? RE's status can sometimes be it's downfall, especially when people do not know exactly what it is.
  • The perception of the subject can still be poor for a multitude of reasons: time allocation, resources, lack of specialists, SLT view etc. This results in a drive to be relevant and engaging; too often I feel it is misleading. I again reference this:
Image courtesy of The Brilliant Club

  • Teachers can often be in one person departments with little support, or challenge. It often vital you have a friendly colleague to raise his or her eyebrow as you make a suggestion of what or how to teach.
  • Subject knowledge and specialism in RE can too often fall short. Understanding the complexities of "What is religion?" may be beyond some, especially those drafted in willingly or not from other subject areas.
  • Time challenges. Often RE teachers suffer more than most from this. Some teacher 75% of the school (or more), they have fewer people to share planning with, or may not have the resources. Hence many a request on Save RE... Do they have time to create bespoke, individual schemes of work?
  • RE teachers care. A lot. Since being excluded from the EBacc (hence the 'Save RE' name of the Facebook group), RE teachers want to passionately fight the good fight for RE. Sometimes this passion spills out into what some have called 'attacks' on Save RE.
  • There is some bad and ugly RE out there (see <here> and <here> for previous blog posts). Many RE teachers feel that should be challenged, as for some of the above reasons, it may not be challenged within schools.
This returns us to some of the contemporary issues of RE:
  • Specialist shortages
  • Lack of training
  • LASs or a national / core curriculum?
Would having a national or core curriculum for RE address #IlluminatiGate? Perhaps it would have eased it as people would have known the teachers reference point and understood better about how/why it would be included? Perhaps people could have simply pointed out that we have enough to et through with this curriculum that this kind of topic needs to be left to extra curricular forms (RE clubs etc)? 

Or would we just have a different set of dilemmas?

Also on the other hand, some people use the complete freedom to put together what certainly look like great RE syllabi... (see <here>)

And it's worth noting I work in a Catholic School so we have a comprehensive 'core curriculum' found in the Curriculum Directory (see <here>)

For the record, I am happy to admit I challenged the idea of teaching this topic, but I do not feel I was rude, personal or my posts can be construed as an 'attack'. I make no apologies for challenging things I do not think are right. I cannot in good conscience say 'great idea' when I do not think it is. Our time is precious as RE teachers, we also have the most fascinating subject in the world to teach. Sometimes we can do a little better, and I very much include myself in this.   

Monday, 18 May 2015

The Internet In Your Pocket

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post

For Y7 to Y11, phones must be switched off and locked in lockers. If they are seen, they are confiscated, if they are heard they are confiscated with an additional detention. Repeated offenders have their items confiscated for longer periods of time. Sixth Form can use their phones for research purposes, within the Sixth Form block. These are our schools' rules and they work reasonably well.

However, there is always very little noise at 3.30pm each day as students are leaving. The reason being that at this point, students can reclaim their phones, switch them on and check their social media networks. Students frequently bump into one another, or walls, as they are singularly focused on their phones. One student got clipped by a bus a few years ago as she had music on, checking her phone.

Twitter became polarized (for a change!) this weekend as a report was launched highlighting some research which indicated: "phone-free schools performed better in GCSE exams, especially those in bottom 60% of KS2 tests." (although only marginally when you read the actual stats behind headlines, see <here>) as well as David Didau's visit to Michaela School: "If a teacher sees or hears a phone at Michaela it’s confiscated until the following term. It doesn’t matter whether the phone accidentally slipped out of a pocket, and it doesn’t matter whether the parent is going into hospital and really really needs to ring their child. There are no excuses." (see <here>)

Advocates of BYOD and the use of mobile phones in the classroom chipped in with their dismay of this seemingly neo-traditional way of thinking. This is debate best left to others for the time being...

However it directly linked to the CP (Citizenship and PHSE) lesson I am planning for Y10 this week inspired by the idea of internet addiction. I think this video is a good start point about technology, with a nod to history and philosophy, but wit a clear demonstration of the potential dangers with some interesting stats:

Inner Drive recently published "6 Reasons to Put Your Phone Away" (see <here>) with some links to research about the dangers of using phones. The putting up of these posters on the form notice boards for my Y10 students will hopefully get them thinking...

I always think that maybe I need a Digital Sabbath as much as some of the students... the fact that I think I would struggle to do it is maybe the reason to try. It is easily to get addicted to the internet when it is in your pocket, and when you get non-stop notifications. Twitter, Facebook, emails... do we all need to switch off a little more?

Anyway, here is the lesson...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

No More Open Letters... [3 Key Points for Morgan & Cameron]

Image courtesy of Tony Gentilcore

It's begun. Just a number of hours after the election and the open letters to David Cameron and Nicky Morgan have begun. 

It's not that I don't agree with the sentiment or the content. I'm just not sure about whether it is the right way to communicate genuine concerns. Do people ensure that, to the best of their ability, that the person intended has the opportunity to read them? Are copies sent to the DfE, 10 Downing Street?

I see 3 genuine concerns that the new Conservative government need to address in education:

1) Teacher Recruitment - We want the best, the brightest, the most well-trained and well equipped for the classroom (and for leadership roles). We want long term commitment from all and people not leaving en-mass.
2) Funding - Despite there being 'no money', it is vital to ask, "How can schools continue to get better with less money?". If we are determined to ensure the best education system in the world, there needs to be greater funding. Transparency on this is also required, say what you mean in real terms, and offer support to schools facing the biggest cuts.
3) OFSTED / Accountability Measures - It is now clear that OFSTED is not currently fit for purpose, but perhaps most importantly these have the biggest impact on workload in schools. Nearly every new initiative comes from something OFSTED may or may not want.

I believe 1) and 2) are directly linked to the school places crisis which needs to be tackled. I've heard figures of 25,000 new teachers needed during the next 5 years. Secondly, how can schools provide more places with no funding? Perhaps the free schools programme will fix some wholes, but LEAs/Councils need to be able to indicate where these are needed.

I believe 3) is connected to the research, new advice, pedagogy being provided to staff. I think it is connected to the possibility of the Royal College of Teaching, the EEF Toolkit, Research Ed etc.

Instead of writing Open Letters filled with anecdotal evidence that pulls on the heart strings, and potentially makes teachers sounds like the biggest victims in all this (ask nurses, soldiers, policemen...), get active. Write to your new MP and focus on the issues rather than just your feelings and emotions.

I'm just as worried as you, but we need to be proactive and positive about what we want to do, and what we want focussed on.

To contact your MP, use: 
When it reopens, use:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Poor Old PowerPoint

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Like so many things on Twitter, the use of PowerPoint has become a little polarised of late. Is it the worst tool used in school or is the best? Much of the recent discussion has been about the former. I've heard "Death by PowerPoint" many times, and to some degree absolutely accept it as a problem. Does that mean we ban it though? 

An article by Bent Meier Sørensen from the university of Copenhagen was tweeted LOTS in the last few weeks, Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures – it makes students more stupid and professors more boring (see <here>) which argued that universities should not be using in lectures at all. Ross McGill aka TeacherToolkit also suggested in order to test resilience we should abandon PowerPoint for a day (see <here>). Yet it is important to state, that I too have written blogs about 'No Tech Day' (see <here> )

PowerPoint began life as a presentation tool for the world of business. Since then it has been adopted by all. Schools, with the adoption of IWBs and projectors have particularly taken to it's easy to use format. Lessons can easily be put together with far less hassle than the previous tools of OHTs/OHPs and even the chalkboard. Why would they not use PowerPoint?

I think personally, the big problem with PowerPoint is that it is often used badly. The five things that I think make a BAD PowerPoint that has no place in the modern classroom:
  1. Too Long - A lesson PowerPoint should have 6/7 slides maximum.
  2. Too Much Text - If you have a lot of text, use a textbook or print it out. It gets too small and too hard to read.
  3. Bad Colours - I am colourblind (green/yellow) but this is only a small part of the issue of garish colours too frequently seen on PPTs. Did you drop some acid before making it?
  4. Image / Text / Layout - Think carefully about what needs to go where. Review it. Look at it in Slide view.
  5. Unnecessary Animation - PowerPoint has many features, you don't need to use them all.

 However the 5 reasons that I still use PowerPoint very frequently in my lessons:
  1. It saves time - It is a lot quicker and easier to find a PowerPoint in my ordered user area that dig out worksheets, OHTs. It saves me writing things on my white board repeatedly (which is in a very poor condition anyway). I can also get it up quickly when I arrive in the room. 
  2. It saves on scarce resources - Photocopying is expensive if done regularly and we can always purchase all the resources we want. PowerPoint 
  3. It allows me to devise my own tasks based on existing resources - I often don't like the tasks in textbooks, even if the content is good. I used that as my source material and then devise my own tasks which appear on the board.
  4. It's quickly and easily adaptable - When I review lessons, it is very easy to change my tasks, information so that my lessons as the best they possibly can be. 
  5. It can incorporate audio / visual - A image or a video can really help enrich a lesson and embedding or linking to these in a PowerPoint can help improve a lesson.  

I feel this 'ban PowerPoint' rhetoric is misleading. It can be a really useful tool for lesson planning and delivery. Bad PowerPoint is obviously detrimental to these very same things. Perhaps it is a wider pedagogical question... good teaching will not be boring nor make students more stupid, bad teaching may well do! 

Other presentation software is available: Apple's Keynote, Google's Slides, Prezzi 
They all have the same advantages and disadvantages... although special mention to Prezzi which does sometimes make me feel a little seasick!

Friday, 8 May 2015

"Teachers Who Don't Like Kids"

On Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge regional final for Havering. Sadly the student from my school did not get placed, despite doing very well. The standard from the schools was very high indeed. The 3rd placed student came from our 'brother school' (The all boys Catholic secondary to our all girls Catholic secondary). It was entertaining and funny:

Jack Petchey Speak Out page <here>

I do remember from my time at school feeling that some of the teachers did hate us, and hate kids in general! Maybe that is the case? 

I wrote blog a while ago about how kids may well need to feel liked to best learn (see <here>). It got the Andrew Old 'filing' treatment. I can accept that, I agree with Andrew on a lot of things - including where to go for a good group curry in London - but realise that we won't always agree on everything. 

I do always wonder why some students think a certain teacher likes them and why they think another doesn't... and I deal with a LOT of that as Head of Year.

Am I liked? I don't know, probably by some. Why? I have no idea. I try to be fair and reasonable. Does it matter? Possibly...

Good work Billy on his 3rd place. I bet his teachers will love watching this and working out if it is them being mentioned! 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Accessible Psychology? [KS3]

Image courtesy of A Dad First

Neil Gilbride was arguing on Twitter that the oversimplification of meta-cognition and cognitive psychology could end up as more pseudoscience (cf VAK, Brain Gym etc) - see tweets <here>. He cited a few bloggers who have, by and large, introduced me to these ideas. I admit that they are my main point of reference and I have been very grateful to these people to get me thinking more about my classroom practice and pedagogy. I do see them as an introduction and I want to read and learn more. Sadly, as with many of these things, time really has not allowed it.

Neil argued that teachers should, at the minimum be reading A-Level / Undergrad psychology to fully understand the ideas promoted in the blogs. He recommended the following, which I intend to check out:
It was very odd timing as I was literally in the process of putting together a resource to help my KS3 classes revise. How could I simplify some very complex ideas to a level suitable for 11 year old girls?

I have already done some work with KS4 and KS5 classes, and shared this information publicly <here> and at TM London <here>. As Head of Year, I set some work on it for our PHSE/Study Skills unit, however I made a crucial mistake. Staff were not fully on board as I simply provided the resources without my full rational and explanation (apart from "I think this is really good") and without them necessarily 'buying in'. It is something I need to revisit with my Y10 year group. However I actually spent a whole lesson with my Y11 GCSE RE classes doing the Learning Review I produced (See <here>) and then pointing out key things in my A5 booklet  (See <here>). Some comments were:
  • "This is the best revision session I've ever had."
  • "Why did no one tell us this before?"
  • "I have been wasting so much time."
I decided to try and put the booklet into 15 'easy to read' Tips for KS3; they have their end of year exams coming up. This was hard and impossible to avoid some technical language like memory retrieval and working memory which will need brief explanations. I also wanted to keep the language light, and appealing. However as a result, I do feel it is a little too informal (and bad English?) for a serious resource.

As always, I am very keen for feedback, especially from those who know a lot more about this than me.

Download 15 Revision Tips for KS3 <here> or share

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Faith Schools [RC] #GE2015

Image courtesy of BHA

The Bishops of England and Wales wrote to the Catholic population in February. The two key questions that it asked voters to consider were:
  • How will candidates in your constituency ensure the best outcomes for the poorest children?
  • Will they support parental choice for faith-based education? <source>
I was fortunate enough to attend the TES Education Hustings (watch again <here>) where the faith schools questions was asked. Nicky Morgan said the Tories were very happy with Church of England and Catholic schools, dodging the question about schools of other faiths. Tristram Hunt was fairly non-committal, although it is widely regarded that he is not a fan (look up "nun-gate" on Question Time <here>), but that Labour see them as here to stay. David Laws' answer was the most interesting; he said that despite the Lib Dems traditionally being against faith schools, seeing a great liberty in 'freeing' schools from religion, there is now a view that to be truly liberal, would be to allow faith school as a freedom of choice. 

The Option for the Poor

This is the absolute key foundation for the Catholic school. The definition of poor is ever changing, however just this week, reports have been made about how schools are providing food and uniform for the materially students (see <here>). Concerns from the Catholic community are that the Catholic schools currently make a significant contribution to the provision of education to 'the poor' in England and Wales and that to remove their right to run schools, would damage this provision. It does not, by any means, see itself as the sole provider of this and obviously many community schools make fantastic provision for the poor too. 

Parental Choice

"Catholic schools contribute to the diversity of educational provision which allows parents a genuine choice of schools which will educate their children in accordance with their religious and philosophical convictions. Catholic schools are popular with parents and in many parts of the country there is an increasing demand for places which, in some areas, the Church is struggling to meet." (Source <here>)

If parents decide upon a more secular education for their children, there is adequate provision for that choice.

Historical Justification

The Catholic Church was the first provider of schools and universities in England. During the Reformation this went underground or abroad, but after the Emancipation, the Catholic Church in England decided that education of the poor was the first priority with schools built in many areas before churches, often by hand, out of the pocket of the communities (See more history <here>).

Today many Catholic school buildings are the legacy of the manpower, generosity and sacrifice of the Catholic population or Catholic religious communities. Much of this came before the government prioritised free education for all.

It's easy to dismiss this as mere sentimentality, but many feel the efforts of the Church of England and Catholic community have made such a deeply significant contribution to education, that their right remains to run their own schools.


Traditionally many Catholic schools were in part funded by the Church (10% towards capital funding). However since the Academies project, many Faith Academies are fully funded. This was a governmental decision rather than one of the faith communities. In fact, many Catholic schools were wary of this as it meant they had little control of their budget. One thing that many people forget is that Catholics, and other faith communities, are tax payers too. There are many things I do not agree with my taxes being spent on, however there is a bigger picture that we participate in by being part of a free democracy.

There are also important questions about Church owned land and buildings. Would it be Reformation Part 2 if these were seized by the government and reopened as non-faith schools? (After all - we would need to do find places for all the students!) 

  • There are 2156 Catholic schools in England.
  • Catholic schools make up 10% of the national total of maintained schools.
  • 816,007 pupils are educated in Catholic schools.
  • 70% of pupils at Catholic maintained schools are Catholic
  • 47,986 teachers work in Catholic maintained schools.
  • 54% of teachers in Catholic maintained schools are Catholic.
  • 36% of pupils in Catholic maintained primary schools are from ethnic minority backgrounds (30% nationally).
  • 18% of pupils at Catholic maintained secondary schools live in the most deprived areas (12% nationally). 
  • 83% of Catholic primary schools have Ofsted grades of good or outstanding (81% nationally).
  • At age 11, Catholic schools outperform the national average English and Maths SATs scores by 5%.
  • At GCSE, Catholic schools outperform the national average by 8%.
[Source CES Census 2014 <here>]
Who's a Catholic anyway?

Research such as Linda Woodhead's suggest that perhaps there is a dwindling 'Catholic' population. AS a result, some have suggested that maybe we don't need as many, if any, Catholic schools any more. However despite Mass attendance and adherence to all teachings perhaps being on the decline, 8-10% of the population of Great Britain still describe themselves as “Catholic.”. Interestingly the gap between the Church and British Catholics is widest over issues of sex and personal morality (see <here> for more). A  non-practising Catholic may label themselves as a Cultural Catholic who still wants their children to go to a Catholic school, perhaps to experience the positive education that they did? (For every angry lapsed Catholic, there are plenty more who were happy enough.)

Final Thoughts

This is an argument that can, and will, run and run. There is a good summary on IDEA that I have used with students (see <here>) that covers many of the other points and counter points that many will make. I also know this is a point of massive disagreement between myself and other teachers, and one I doubt we will ever agree on.

Admissions policy will continue to be an issue. Give the government are ignoring the shortage of school places, the faith schools could be made an easy scape goat. I'm not sure what the answer is... a quota? The big questions will revolve around distinctive ethos and inclusivity. 

The Trojan Horse scandal has given evidence to some of the dangers of faith schools, despite NOT being about faith schools! The BHA have been very active in their campaign to close faith schools, even fundraising for an anti-faith school campaigner. There is also debate about what types of faith schools should be allowed; Church of England? Catholic? Muslim? Jewish?

As a Catholic, and someone who sees the value of Catholic Education (there has always been an academic dimension to the Catholic faith that I love), I do not see a robust enough argument to close Catholic schools. Nor do I see a time when any government decides that it is the best decision to try and close them. Just like being taxpayers, we are also voters too!

Oh and go and visit one. Come and visit me. You may be surprised what you find inside a Catholic school...

Videos from the Bishops of England and Wales

Bishop Malcolm McMahon:

First Time Catholic Voters:

Monday, 4 May 2015

Pay Me My Money Down

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Questions to NOT to ask at dinner parties:
  1. Who do you vote for?
  2. Are you religious?
  3. How much do you get paid?
Recently there was a release of Sony emails by the WikiLeaks website <here>. Some of these contained Bruce Springsteen's contract details with album expectations up until 2027. Plus his payment; a cool $101m. 

I'm a massive Springsteen fan, and one of the reasons I admire him most (apart from the music) is his work ethic, especially for a 65 year old. On top of this, he has a seeming ability to still appear like a normal, everyday guy; popping into bars and shops in NJ, helping out neighbours and local charity events and so on. I've no doubt he was embarrassed, as we would all be, for the world to find out exactly what he earns.

Admittedly, it is no surprise to most that it is indeed a pretty hefty pay cheque and he also appears on various 'Rich Lists'. It wouldn't be impossible to conceive he earns a few quid each year.

This got me thinking about teacher salaries. Due to published pay scales, in the past, it has been relatively easy to work out, at least approximately, what teachers were being paid as a base salary. If you had some idea when someone started in the profession, you could pretty much work it out. Also many people openly spoke about being on M4 or M5, U1 or U3. You also needed to factor in London weighting. These were tied to teacher standards, at least giving some idea of the responsibility of teachers at different stages of their career.

Obviously some schools are now moving away from these pay scales, although the new schools budgets may stop the 'pay what you like' culture that many thought may happen. PPR is still 'to be fully realised' and I am sure there will be as many restrictions on pay as schools can get away with as they try to count the pennies, in the hope of saving the pounds.
TLRs and the Leadership scale starts to make things less clear. They can also be the things that can cause problems:
  • How much extra is someone being paid to do their job?
  • To what extent does that pay increase their responsibility?
  • What should the rest of us expect them to do for us as a result of their higher pay?
  • Am I paid enough to do this extra work for others?
Teaching is generally a vocation, but the money is important. Especially given the workload, stress and sometimes out of pocket costs. I think also some people see their additional payment as a reason to do something or not to do something. I don't like this idea, but it happens, and it is not always challenged. Although on the other hand, to what extent should we expect people to do things for the greater good? For the "love of the kids?"

I now effectively have two TLRs (although I don't, as you can't). One for being Assistant Subject Leader in RE and one for being Head of Year 10. Both roles are demanding in their own way and I feel I earn every extra pound that I am paid... and I'd probably be able to put forward the case for a few more. Yet I do neither job for the money. However, unlike Mr Springsteen, my contract does not fully spell out exactly what I need to do. I need to get the job done, whatever that takes, and there is potentially a big variety between getting the job done and getting it done well. What if I decide to do something extra? I certainly won't get paid for that.

However there is often a difficult lack of point of reference in schools. It is very hard to say exactly what is your job and what isn't. To what extent do I get involved in issue A? Do I try to sort out issue B? Is issue C better dealt with by person X? Why? 

Payment in teaching is a funny situation. Our contracts don't work like Springsteen's as we are not global superstars. Do we do things out of professionalism, care for our students and love of the job? Absolutely. Does higher payment mean greater responsibility? Of course. How much? Who knows... 

Pay Me My Money Down, a working song that originated among the Negro stevedores working in the Georgia Sea Islands. Here is it being sung by Bruce in his house: