I love making dens. But den making isn't something I do just for my own children. Every week I go into schools and help pupils and teachers transform classrooms into war-torn towns, cavernous Egyptian pyramids and enchanted forests.
With the years of endured bullying at secondary school long behind me, I'd almost forgotten that bullying wasn't buried at my school. Amongst the sport, the stage productions and field trips, bullying was and still is infectious across classrooms.
Given the numbers we shall have to recruit into STEM industries in the next few years, we need many more employers to engage on a sustained basis to develop the necessary momentum and direction. Embedding the costs in to their budget and planning processes will enable their involvement to make a significant contribution to the solution of the STEM skills shortage.
Youth unemployment is a global problem. In the UK, NEET figures are at a record high. In some countries of the Arab world 90% of 16-24-year-olds are unemployed. In the United States the youth unemployment rate is 23% and in Spain nearly 50%. The problem is very much a worldwide issue with everyone feeling the full force of the recession and slow economic recovery.
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day in the United States, so even though this day was commemorated in the UK on 27 January, it is worth pausing a moment to think about World War II. In particular, I am interested in how children are taught about it.
If there's one thing English teachers should read before they go back to work on Monday, it is the Ofsted document entitled 'Moving English Forward'.
Soldiers may be 'our finest men and women', and the old Florence Nightingale mystique still produces a soft spot for nurses. But teachers it seems, always know less than the politicians who tell them what to do. With a few exceptions, the UK press has followed suit.
I have been very lucky over the years and been given a helping hand in almost all of my endeavours by friends, family and sometimes just acquaintances. They are far too numerous to mention but within the world of dogs, in education and in all other activities with which I have been involved, individual kindnesses have far outweighed the occasional attempt to trip me up.
I have to admit ambivalence about yesterday's NUT strike in London. I went to work, not because I disagree with the concept of fighting for my pension, but for the rather more prosaic reason that I belong to another union, who did not choose to strike this time.
'Strikes benefit no-one' said Nick Gibb, the education minister, referring to today's public sector strike. He is wrong. Traditionally when strikes occurred, they made a point.
Michael Gove, the UK education secretary, recently announced a cull of over 3,000 British 'vocational' qualifications. From 2014, these 'Mickey Mouse' qualifications will no longer count towards the league tables and compliant schools will not teach what won't make them look good.
The email began, 'It's outrageous the way you flirt in class!' and listed, in great detail, my looks, smiles, body language, and the witticisms, comments and the 'lingering' attention I had given to various members of a largely female group of post-graduate students.
Nearly 17 million people in England - almost half the working-age population - have the numeracy skills expected of children at primary school. That means they may not be able to check pay and deductions on a wage slip, understand bus timetables or pay household bills.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall recently visited my old secondary school Uxbridge High. It was to mark the 10 year anniversary of the charity Teach First, which the Prince is patron of.
As the digital world continues to grow and to play an increasingly central role in how we all learn and form opinions about the world and each other, it is more important than ever to be able to tell good information from the bad, truth from lies, and to ably navigate the grey area of opinion in the middle.
We often hear how our children need "inspiring" into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The reason for the common refrain is that these are the areas in which policy makers believe there are good careers in prospect, where the UK can preserve a competitive advantage in our industries...