August in England may not guarantee sun but it never fails to deliver the annual A-level pantomime: highest ever grades shot down by retorts of lowest ever standards.
I was born in West Ham in London's East End before World War II. Continual bombing, collapsing buildings, fire. All these I experienced at an early age. I was aware that people died.
The National Union of Teachers believes in an education system that provides the best for all our children and for all our communities - a good local school for every child. Joined up thinking and democratic accountability are crucial but, as we approach the new school year, this vision is under renewed threat.
In today's educational world, teachers are frequently the butt of criticism and accusations of systemic failure. They lack discipline, are unable to command respect and have poor qualifications.
Schools need to begin questioning themselves as to whether they have a policy on the development of oracy and how it relates to every subject taught. Children are asking to be listened to; let's give them the skills they need to make themselves heard.
It's the suspense, that's the worst. Not knowing where you stand - desperately hoping for one thing, but all too aware that the outcome could be very different. On Thursday, students will know whether this, quite frankly, hellish year, has been worth it.
Most teachers know, words without actions just show you up as ineffective and hardly worth being listened to.
The bottom line is that if primary school tests are being prepared for, neither test nor teacher is doing their job properly. The preparation for primary school tests should be primary school itself.
The founder of our greatest public service the NHS Aneurin Bevan wrote a book entitled "In Place of Fear". In 2011 we need to place employee "motivation" in place of "fear."
The opening skirmish has been fought in the government versus the Public Sector battle. Thousands teachers out on strike and a day of protest. Respect to the teachers for organising a day of action on Wimbledon semi final day, so that they could watch TV, finish their end of term reports, and show solidarity with their more aggressive industrial comrades.
The Government is trying to save money in the public sector; that's fine - indeed, that's a big part of what I voted for. However, I'm not in favor of unfair, symbolic, ideological cuts. Why are cuts to teacher's pensions unfair, ideological & symbolic? Simple: The Teachers Pension Scheme is not making a loss.
Ed Miliband made a big mistake last week when he condemned the teachers going on strike. I know he thought he was being very clever. The Tories and right wing media would be demanding: do you support these strikes or are you willing to distance yourself and the Labour party from them? Will you condemn them as all right thinking people will? So Ed caught them out by attacking the strikes before anyone had asked him to