Month: March 2016

An Open Letter To Auckland City Limits: This Festival May Have Its ‘Limits’

To the organisers of Auckland City Limits, 

I don’t normally take to writing open letters in this fashion. I’m not really sure this will get the message across to you. So bear with me while I outline some points.  

I was looking forward to this festival. The acts I saw were great. However, this is not about the acts. This is more about the lack of information regarding some organisational hiccups I wanted to bring to your attention. I’m just going to bullet point them here. 

  • It was not clear that we had to obtain a seperate ‘Over 18’ wristband as well as our  wristband loaded with cash. 
  • We queued in the line for some drinks at the Golden Dawn bar for at least 25 minutes only to be told by the lovely barman we need to get verified. ‘Really sorry about that. We are an external service and as such we have no control on this. You can do that next door at the cashless booth just over there.’ 
  • After waiting 10 minutes at the said Cashless Booth, were told that we had to go to to the guys at the entrance with the black t-shirts to get the armband
  • They obliged with giving us a wristband. These were the same guys that were checking everyone had ID. At this point my enthusiasm for a beer had waned. 

So, here are some points to feedback to you: 

  • There were at least five opportunities for various staff to verify / inform / check wristbands before festival goers queue up for a while.
  • The cashless wristband technology has the capability to be loaded with could be ‘Verified Over 18’ tag, just like the guys on the gate had to do for us. The same wristband could also contain our ticket info too. 
  • Some clear signage explaining the need for a verified wristband would be great. Preferably at the main entrance. Some clarity on where this can be done would be useful too. 

On a slightly different note regarding your free smartphone app. It would be great if you could have a version that did not rely on smartphone data for the main operation. I found it difficult to read some of the pages. Similarly the map relied on using the google Maps technology and therefore also needed data to work. There was a lack of signal due to too many festival goers using phones at the same time. 

I am sure this is not the first instance of someone wanting to send feedback to you regarding aspects of this festival. I hope you can consider some of these issues and how they can be improved for the next time. 




An academy by any other name is a school…




a place of study or training in a special field. 

“a police academy”

synonyms: educational institution, training establishment, centre of learning; 

a society or institution of distinguished scholars and artists or scientists that aims to promote and maintain standards in its particular field. 

“the Royal Academy of Arts”

This week, I posted this Guardian article with a Facebook status update of “Will this be a wise decision in the long term? Discuss. [5 marks]”

Every English school to become an academy – 

I then saw this article via the TES and I posted this with the status “If I ever contemplated going back to the UK to work in a school, that thought has just left my conscience…”

‘I will be the last person in England dragged kicking and screaming to be an academy head’ – Geoff Barton –

The original academies were established around the early 2000’s as a way of turning around the worst-performing schools and schools in disadvantaged areas. From my perspective, this was a good idea. My first teaching post was in such an academy. It is doing well today. 

But the headlines I have seen in the last week seem to be worrying. I have friends who are still teaching in the UK and some of them may be concerned for what will happen to their schools in the near future. One friend posted this as her FB status update this morning:

“I have taught for 16 years in inner city schools I have tried really hard to be a good teacher as the system became more restrictive. I have always tried to see my students are individuals with likes, interests, talents, passions and hates. To see them as people. Over the years with the data it became more and more difficult, in fact over the last three years I have had little time for this.  

I have learnt such a lot from my students, about their experiences, about how they learn, what motivates them, resliance, determination and along the way there have been laughs, tantrums, arguments, frustrations and hilarity. 

I have attended their gigs, exhibitions, I have visited them in hospital when they were ill, been their advocate with social services, sat in in psychiatric assessments, taken a phone call when one of them went into labour, I have listened to them tell me about terrible situations at home, or listened to them when they were stressed and upset and listened to their joys, and succeses and along the way, I have tried to teach them.  

I have seen them struggle with ideas, and come out the other side, I have seen them succeed both in terms of the qualifications and their own learning. I have enjoyed hearing about their lives after school, their graduations, children and marriages and their careers. 

Sometimes, I have been a rubbish teacher and sometimes I have been a good teacher. But the one thing I have done unlinchingly is to try; and to dedicate my 16 years to giving young peope an education in the state sector, which has been comprehensive. I believed in it. I worked for it and in it, and this week all I have ever worked for has been destroyed. Its been coming year by year but now its over.”

I feel she has explained what most dedicated teachers feel in the most profound way…