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Migration: it will be up to the next generation to change the picture

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 May 2017

Kathryn Riley. 
There is a photograph called ‘Migrant Mother’. It is an arresting black and white shot. The woman is centre stage and gazes sideways on. She is beyond exhaustion: every line etched in her face tells its own story.
701px-Migrant_Mother_(LOC_fsa.8b29516).jpg
At first glance, she appears to have two children. Look more closely and you will see she has three: a child asleep on her lap and two other children, faces averted from (more…)

Reclaiming the future: schools where children belong even in a volatile world

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 December 2016

Kathryn Riley.

I’ve had to grit my teeth many times of late, before engaging with the ‘News’: the fragile and alien social and political landscape; the unfolding stories of the sexual abuse of our children and young people; the discourse of rage. My own email account has not been immune to messages which echo the shrill voice of bigotry.
When I visit schools, I ask children the question, ‘What does belonging mean to you?’ Answers over recent weeks – from youngsters in London, Luton and the Netherlands – have included: ‘It’s where you are safe and comfortable’; ‘It’s when you’re on the inside and working together’; ‘It’s when people tell you the truth and you can trust them’ – a prescient comment in the light of national distrust of politicians.
In this ‘post-truth’ world, the times may be gloomy and we may have to revisit battles we thought were long since won – about respect, equality, dignity. Yet a different world is (more…)

How can school leaders who exclude foster a climate of belonging?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital28 October 2016

Kathryn Riley. 
There are some depressing statistics in the air at the moment: it must be the change in the seasons. They include an increase in hate crimes post Brexit – which led the Big Issue (September 26-October 2nd) to ask: Is Britain Becoming a Nastier Place? There is also a rise in the number of children self-harming; and an increase in the number of teachers who are quitting the classroom: 1 in 3 within five years of qualifying.
Health experts attribute the rise in the child self-harming figures to a range of factors, including pressures to succeed in school, body image and fears of abuse. Kevin Courtney from the National Union of Teachers puts the teacher attrition rates down to the pressures generated by relentless workload demands, high-stakes testing and an ever changing policy agenda.
If you haven’t read my blog before, it’s about place, belonging and identity: the need (more…)

There's more that holds us together than divides us

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 July 2016

Kathryn Riley.

As a stoic Mancunian, I stagger through the sodden winter streets of Nedlands, Western Australia. My flimsy umbrella no match for the deluge, I take shelter in Morgan Marks clothing store. There is a sale on. Conversations unfold.
What brings you here? Where are you from? And the clincher…..What is happening in the UK?  I have been asked this question many times since leaving Heathrow Airport on July 4 for Hong Kong, en route to Australia: by residents at the peaceful Jen Hotel; by a Law applicant to UCL, at the Transit Interchange at Admiralty; and now by this group of interested  Australian women,  keen to share stories about aberrant  politicians.
Since the early hours of June 24, a post Referendum gloom has shrouded me. I have been in mourning for the idiosyncratic Britain I thought I knew: the ‘cultural cacophony’ of my second city, London; the roars that filled the Olympic Stadium in 2012, for British–Somalian Mo Farah. Disaffection, disenfranchisement and disengagement seemed to have prevailed.
Yet on this damp Australian morning I reply, ‘There’s more that holds us together than (more…)