Author Archives: Eddie Playfair

About Eddie Playfair

I am a Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC) having previously been a college principal for 16 years and a teacher before that. I live in East London and I blog in a personal capacity about education and culture. I also tweet at @eddieplayfair

A political education.

Why political literacy? Politics is about power and change, how we live our lives and what kind of world we want. The political is not a separate sphere of life, it’s embedded in our everyday experience, as are the ideologies … Continue reading

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Redistribution and recognition should go hand in hand.

Reading Nancy Fraser’s critique of progressive neoliberalism. Continue reading

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French presidential election: could Mélenchon make it?

Today’s French presidential election. Today’s first round of the French presidential election comes at a time of shifting political assumptions, although the line-up of leading candidates looks familiar, with the top 3 candidates this time round all having been in … Continue reading

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Owning our crises

The climate emergency and environmental degradation, the Covid-19 pandemic, the injustices of systemic racism, wars and their humanitarian consequences, the sharp rise in the cost of living… As one crisis succeeds another in dominating our thoughts, it’s easy to see … Continue reading

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French elections 2022

Electing a French President. #1 The presidential election system.  2022 is a big election year in France, with the presidential election in April followed by the parliamentary (National Assembly) elections in June. Each of these elections has two rounds, meaning … Continue reading

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Zola’s ‘Money’

Rougon-Macquart #18 A powerful anti-capitalist novel. Emile Zola’s wonderful 1890 novel ‘L’Argent’ (‘Money’) is set in the world of finance and share-speculation in 1860’s Paris. It is still fresh and relevant and should be on any reading list of anti-capitalist … Continue reading

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Overcoming the barriers to learning

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at WorldSkills November 2021 These are a few thoughts about how teachers can help learners overcome some of the barriers to their learning. This is not a comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide or a list of tips to … Continue reading

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Finding our voice in a crisis.

Blogging in the 2020s. It can be hard to write in a time of crisis. What can we possibly say that could be of any use to anyone? But when things are this bad, it’s also hard not to write. … Continue reading

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Stupid gene.

Simplex and Sapiens are discussing human stupidity. Simplex: We agree that people can do some pretty stupid things, yes? Sapiens: Of course. Simplex: And that some people have a tendency to do stupid things more often… Sapiens: I guess… Simplex: … Continue reading

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Learning from Utopia

What is the function of alternative political and economic systems, whether actually existing or imaginary? Is it to offer hope that change is possible, or at least to provide some perspective on our own way of life?
Draws on ‘The Dispossessed’ by Ursula Le Guin. Continue reading

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Resisting classification

The way we use categories doesn’t do justice to the multi-layered complexity of the world. It’s often a short cut to sweeping assumptions and flawed policy. Continue reading

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‘Bewilderment’ by Richard Powers

Bewilderment is an entirely rational response to what we are collectively doing to our planet. Confronted by the injustices, dysfunction and unsustainability of the world we’ve created, how can we not react with bewilderment? This wonderful novel is both an … Continue reading

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“You either bend the arc or it bends you”

‘Attack Surface’ by Cory Doctorow. ‘Attack Surface‘ (2020) is a gripping action-packed story of oppression and resistance with plenty of insights into the potential of new technologies and big data. It is also a powerful manifesto for the necessity of … Continue reading

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A manifesto to end educational inequality?

The challenge We urgently need to address inequality and the human damage it causes, in education and across society. So, any programme with the aim of ‘eliminating educational inequality’ merits serious consideration. The eleven proposals in the Teach First ‘manifesto … Continue reading

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‘Light Perpetual’ by Francis Spufford

‘Light Perpetual’ is a wonderful celebration of life and love. It opens with some extraordinary time-stretching to describe the impact of a split-second destructive event in wartime. Then time is shrunk and stretched repeatedly in order to follow the ‘lost’ … Continue reading

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