Month: April 2015

Testing the children – fair or foul?

I’ve not blogged yet this week – the twin pressures of SATS preparation and Parents Evening providing more than enough for this Year 6 teacher to be getting on with.

But as we come to the end of a so-called “mock SATS” week, it’s left me reflecting on the enduring nature of formal assessments and “tests”.

Are they a teacher’s way out of doing rigorous daily assessments on their classes and causing anxiety to their pupils, or are they helpful for ascertaining “where they are”  and providing benefit to the children themselves?

And that’s the interesting contrast of tests.

Allow me to explain…

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Top 10 Tim Vine jokes

This post comes with a health warning: Don’t read on if wordplay and general silliness is not your thing. 

Fortunately, it’s a bit of a trait in my family so this is perfect for me.

Last night, we went to watch the Punmeister General himself Tim Vine and here are my favourite jokes.

10. Chimney jokes – I’ve got a stack of them and the first ones on the house

9. I’m a green belt at karate, which means I’m not very good at fighting but you can’t build on me

8. I’ve got a friend who always denies everything and I believe they’re reading this blog post right now – it’s you, isn’t it?

7. Isn’t it ironic that Carry On films have stopped?

6. I’ve got a chicken-proof lawn. It’s impeccable

5. Let me tell you about my neighbours- ones a straight talking business man and the other is an entertainer on a cruise liner doing owl impressions…one shoots from the hip and the other hoots from the ship

4. Hands up if you don’t know how to point to the ceiling

3. Where I’m from there’s not enough crime so they’re trying to bump up the figures. Guess who’s been asked to randomly attack strangers? Muggins

2. I once went out with a girl called Simile. I don’t know what I met-her-for

1. Then I saw Arnie eating a chocolate egg. I said to him, “I bet I know what your favourite Christian festival is…” He said; “You have-to-love-Easter, baby”

I apologise for any groaning or sickness this has caused!

The Sophie Seating Plan – oops!

I’m sure I’m not the only bloke who considers it a personal mission to make sure the car boot is packed in an orderly and space savvy way.

I’m sure I’m not the only bloke who lives on our street who does just that!

However, my spatial awareness was sadly lacking when Sophie and I went chest of drawer collecting last weekend!

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He must increase but I must decrease

Now,  it’s not in doubt that John the Baptist was a bit of a legend.

This was a guy who emerged from the desert, munching locusts and wild honey whilst relentlessly preaching about the kingdom of God. He had no fear and really didn’t care what people thought of him. He told it as it was and didn’t just say what people wanted to hear.

Politicians of 2015 take note!

But, what was all the more remarkable was what he said about Jesus and after listening to our minister Mike speaking on this yesterday, it’s really struck home with me.

J the B was a guy whose popularity was impressive. He had a whole host of disciples who hung on his every word, were devoted to what he said and told everyone they knew about him.

John was their hero.

So they were a bit miffed when Jesus came along and started taking attention away from John. Not only that but Jesus was actually doing Johns key thing, baptising people in the river Jordan. It couldn’t have been more clear (or so it seemed) that Jesus was muscling in on Johns territory and frankly it wasn’t on.

After all, John was being talked about. He had status and clout. What he said mattered. The government sent committees to listen to him and talk with him. People came from miles around just to hear him speak. With Jesus around, all that was under threat and John’s disciples weren’t impressed.

But what about  John himself?

Well, here’s the remarkable thing. Rather than get frustrated about losing his status, rather than kick up a fuss and storm over to Jesus to have a word, rather than try even harder to get noticed and win back his followers, John accepted it.

In fact, way more than that, he said that was the only reason he’d come. It didn’t matter that people weren’t listening to him as much anymore, his sole purpose was to point people to Jesus. What did his status matter when the King of creation was in the neighbourhood.

“Go listen to Jesus!” he said. “My job is just to point you in his direction.”

Even as Christians, it’s so easy to get caught up chasing our own status, our own glory, our own reputation. Even with t his blog, I could fall into the trap of making everything all about me.

But it’s not. There’s one who is far more important than me, than the election, than anyone else who has ever lived and his name is Jesus. He’s the one it should all be about, because he’s the one who made it.


Johns phrase is telling – “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.”

If we as Christians truly lived like this, it would transform our lives and communities. It’s massively challenging to me and hopefully to anyone one else who read the account in the book of John chapter 3.

But I want to live that kind of life…and that’s my prayer for us this week.

Wales…and it’s influence on our child

I’m not particularly Welsh-centric. For that matter, I’m not in the least bit Welshaphobe.

It’s not so much I’m indifferent as I’ve never really thought about it

But actually, as an important member of our church group (a proud Welshman) prepares to fly out for a new life in Canada, it occurred to me that Wales has played a surprisingly significant role in Sophie’s life.


And here’s how.

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Championship, yet again

My wife noted the other other day that Sophie had a talent for turning Match of the Day on. And quite rightly I’m proud of my daughter for that!

Unfortunately though, after last nights results, Sophie and I won’t be watching the Premier League with anything other than a mild interest after Blackburn Rovers’ fourth season in the Championship was mathematically ensured.

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Egg-tra excitement for Easter!

My wife is on a mission to give Easter the same profile in our house as Christmas.

On the one hand, it’s very commendable. After all, the message of Easter is more central to the Christian gospel than that of Christmas and yet, even as Christians, we go overboard in our “festive celebrations” and Easter lays second fiddle.

It’s important that our little girl grows up knowing just how crucial Jesus’ death and resurrection is.

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Word Alive: How was it for you?

If you went to Word Alive this year, either Week 1 or Week 2 it would be really interesting to hear your thoughts about it. Comments could be what you learned, what challenged you, what encouraged you or even just your feelings about the standard of catering!

Do feel free to get involved. Below are a few of my reflections.

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I lived with this family for two days at Word Alive…and I survived

We had the privilege of hosting Esther from our church in our chalet at Word Alive this weekend. It was great fun to have her around and I thought I’d let her loose on this blog – just to see how she found it! Risky, right?!

An experience worth blogging about? I’d say so.

For those of you who know Joe, his wife and little Sophie, you’ll be well aware of…

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