Author: Dr Pam Jarvis

Pam is an author, chartered psychologist, historian, researcher and grandparent. Originally from London, but based in Leeds since 1986, she taught and researched across community education, schools, colleges and universities between 1994 and 2019, publishing many academic articles, books and chapters. She is currently a blogger and conference/training presenter, working on her first novel – working title ‘On Time’.

Beyond the headlines: education in England post-lockdown

Dr Pam Jarvis

So, according to the popular media, England’s children have forgotten to eat with a knife and fork and have regressed into nappies during lockdown. These were apparently the most important findings made in a series of reports by the government schools inspection body OFSTED, according to a range of news outlets. But beyond the clickbait, […]

Education by gaslight

Dr Pam Jarvis

In a week that has been packed with outrage against the Johnson government, it might have been easy to miss the fact that not only have they voted against providing food for deprived children during the half term holiday, despite claiming heavily on subsistence expenses for themselves, they also backtracked on a promise to provide […]

Mirror, mirror on the wall, is my face cream damaging my skin?

Dr Pam Jarvis
woman in black long sleeve shirt sitting on chair

Ever since The Who sung ‘hope I die before I get old’, baby boomers born between approximately 1946 and 1964 (the exact time frame depends who you ask) have been trying to push the clock back on ageing. As a late boomer, and therefore one of those who grew up with the L’Oreal “because I’m […]

Magna Carta: a dream to cling to for the common people?

Dr Pam Jarvis

So Boris Johnson is in trouble with the Tory Party, principally for his handling of the covid restrictions, but also with a section of his party over the internal market bill. Will he stay or will he go? Will he go willingly, or will he be pushed? As Richard Corbett comments, this issue arises again […]

Being human in the time of covid: heart and soul

Dr Pam Jarvis
silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky

Many, many words have been written and broadcast about the confusing nature of the government’s Covid-19 regulations, probably most succinctly and amusingly summed up by Matt Lucas in his introduction to The Great British Bake Off 2020. People are confused and many are angered by the constantly changing and hard-to-follow regulations for different areas, and […]

Chimpanzee politics 2020

Dr Pam Jarvis

What now for the American election, after the announcement that Donald Trump and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19? In many ways, this was a long time coming, given that Trump refused to wear a mask. But he was not alone in this among world leaders. He, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, […]

Boris through the looking glass

Dr Pam Jarvis

In this upside-down, looking-glass world, Johnson plays the role of Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty to perfection, attempting to deceive an increasingly confused and anxious population that only he can correctly interpret his past statements. The prime minister has a track record of bending the truth, fabricating quotes and spreading disinformation about the EU, as well […]

Mum’s the word?

Dr Pam Jarvis
blue jeans

Childcare for working families is one of those perennial problematic societal issues, such as youth unemployment and domestic violence, which has not been created by covid but simply exacerbated by it, as it relentlessly picks at existing fault lines in our society. Antonia Bance, head of communications at the TUC, recently picked up the baton […]

Beyond lockdown: what now for schools?

Dr Pam Jarvis
alphabet class conceptual cube

The debate about returning to school continues in England, while Scotland’s schools have already returned. Boris Johnson claims that there is a “moral duty” for schools to fully re-open in September, but as ever, appears to be covering a lack of detail with his familiar, flowery rhetoric. Some media sources cite psychological problems in children […]

Slaves to the algorithm: our four-year-olds are next in line

Dr Pam Jarvis
multicolored abacus photography

So, after three days of insistence that their algorithm was appropriate, and following its enthusiastic endorsement by Michael Gove, the Department for Education capitulated and agreed to let Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) stand as A-level and GCSE students’ final grades. However, many questions are left to ponder. The shadow attorney general maintains that in allocating […]

Futures decided by Numberwang? Exam results in the time of covid

Dr Pam Jarvis

On the day that an exams algorithm robbed a significant number of working-class children in Yorkshire and across the nation of the results they needed to access their university places, Jon Snow interviewed Nick Gibb on the Channel 4 news. Gibb began by telling Snow that the spread of grades across the whole cohort was […]

Only words

Dr Pam Jarvis

In Alice Through the Looking Glass, the child protagonist Alice is introduced to the ways the adult world uses words, by her irascible antagonist, Humpty Dumpty: ‘When I use a word’, Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.’  ‘The question is,’ said […]

Every child really does matter

Dr Pam Jarvis
woman carrying baby at beach during sunset

In the UK, we urgently need to consider the reasons why children in most other nations of the world do not begin formal schooling until they are six or even seven. Having recently retired from frontline teaching to give my full focus to several writing and research projects, I have had time to reflect on over thirty […]

Bursting the education bubble

Dr Pam Jarvis

Alongside the rest of the world, the English education sector is now beginning to consider how it will move out of pandemic lockdown and into a new, tentative phase of normality. The tiger has been chased off into the jungle, but it is still lurking there, and may return at any time. The feeling of […]

Is this our darkest hour?

Dr Pam Jarvis

And so, yet another Tory scandal hits the headlines, this time relating to housing secretary Robert Jenrick, who is alleged to have “insisted” a planning decision for a £1bn property development should be rushed through so a Conservative donor’s company could reduce costs by £45m. The donor, ex-Express owner and pornography promoter Richard Desmond, allegedly […]

Primary schools are not yet safe places for our children

Dr Pam Jarvis

On 20 May, ITV news reported that four out of five local authorities in West Yorkshire have refused to enforce the reopening of schools in their area, and are instead leaving the decision to Head Teachers, who are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of children in their care. Various concerns have been raised […]

Dilemma for early years practitioners when schools reopen

Dr Pam Jarvis

Vigorous discussion has now begun about how to organise the back to school process, with questions raised about full-time or part-time attendance, and which age groups are to return before others. One important concern that has not yet hit the headlines is the issuing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to those who work with very […]