All this talk of (Royal) baby names…its not easy choosing.

I don’t think there is a worse profession to be in than teaching when it comes to naming a new born child.

I remember the trials and tribulations that we experienced with the birth of our first child (unknown as to whether it was a boy or girl then – our choice). At the time we were both teaching. My wife is French which adds a certain puissant to proceedings too. Trying to find a name that a) sounds good in both English and French b) Pleases both sets of grand parents c) does not remind you of some little snot nosed toe rag that you remember teaching many moons ago…is not easy. The list was endless plus you must not forget the constant stream of advice from friends, colleagues and family. A veritable nightmare!

In the end, our gorgeous (first) daughter popped out and we named her based on the names my wife and I had shortlisted based simply on the fact that we liked them. No family ties, no deep rooted heritage dragged into the equation…just nice sounding (to us at least) names that we felt suited our darling little girl. I should add that we also chose names that we felt could be ‘shortened’ later in life without losing anything (or getting stupid school-based nicknames entering the mix).  So, Alexia Jayne was born (later to become AJ or ‘Lexi’ to her mates – something we had not considered despite our best attempts to think through every possible outcome).

So, to dear Wills and Kate. If at the time of this blog entry a name has not been decided upon for your little chap, may I suggest the following? A name of strength, value, integrity, charm and devilish good looks. You will not be disappointed.

“To be a Designer and to be Creative you must…”

“To be a designer and to be creative, you have to think differently. You have to build ‘bandwidth’ in order to do this. You have to operate along the length of a line between industry and engineering and art and culture. Design does not exist in the centre of that line but ranges along the length of that line. It is this ‘bandwidth’ of thinking that creates designers. We need this ‘bandwidth’ – an understanding of science and engineering on the one hand and humanities, art and politics on the other – if we are to create a better future.

What is crucial to design is that we have to learn to look rather than see. Looking is active; seeing is passive. Designers see things that others do not. It is crucial to understand people. It needs a creative eye to see what is happening. Anthropology is more important than technology. The design process has three stages: idea, belief and embodiment; the idea is the most important. We have to shift paradigms to create new things. Be frustrated at how the world is and have an unshakeable belief in our ability to make it better.

We need constantly to ask ‘why not?’ rather than (the question many supposed ‘educated’ folk ask), ‘why?’ ”

Dick Powell – Senior partner and co-founder ‘SeymourPowell’ Product Designers

Taking the plunge

Ok. My first attempt at a blog entry…hopefully not my last….

After 27 years of teaching (mixed with some consultancy and inspection work) I have taken the decision to step down from the ‘teaching chalk face’ and set up on my own as a consultant within education. Muppet or brave?

My subject is Design & Technology (mixed in with some Art and ICT) and I have taught IB, MYP, A-Level, GCSE and iGCSE (For more information please visit my ‘about’ page).

This whole change in emphasis (work-wise) came about from two relatively recent events.

One was a conversation with a parent who was also an old school chum from years gone by. She had a son and was looking for a school in the UK (she was an expat living overseas and wanted a boarding environment) to educate him. She asked my advice on schooling, based on a range of criteria that she and her husband had identified, and I advised and offered options.  The rest, as they say, is history. Incidentally, that young man went through Eton and is now bouncing off to Oxford. Result.

The second event (or to be more truthful, a range of events…) related to work that I had done sporadically for schools over the years relating to offering advice and guidance on the design and development of their facilities notably, but not exclusively, within Design, Technology, Art and ICT. Recently the school I was employed at were looking to develop an overseas hub in Abu Dhabi and I was involved with this – and that kindled an additional fire in my belly.

So there you have it. Another exciting world of work awaits. What that means as well is the world of social media and blogging so here I am – moving into blogging and discovering the scary world of self employment. Fingers crossed….be kind.