Review by Penny Rabiger

Director of engagement, Lyfta Education

26 Mar 2022, 5:00


Penny’s podcasts, 25 March 2022

The Brief


Haringey Education Partnership should be commended for its innovative and very helpful podcast idea. This series rounds up the latest news and top stories for educators in schools in ten-minute episodes. The final few minutes of each episode takes a deep dive into one issue and gives an overview for schools.

The specific episode I’ve chosen looks at council school placements, school gas contracts with the Russian firm Gazprom, plans for Oak National Academy and the disabled students’ allowance. It then takes a deep dive into the new guidance for schools on political impartiality. Helpful, clear and…impartial!

Pushing The Edge


This podcast series has six seasons of talks with educators and community leaders who are challenging systemic inequity and bigotry, privilege and silence. These are all people who are not content with traditional approaches to diversity and inclusion and are instead committed to re-making their schools and amplifying the voices of communities who have been sidelined for too long.

The episode I’ve chosen is part of the season on thriving as a teacher. It’s a conversation between host Greg Curran and teacher Rusul Alrubail that looks at how to navigate social justice issues in the classroom. Building on the theme of impartiality, this episode looks at how to encourage open discussion in class and beyond without fear of accusations around standards.

How to ‘backward design’ educational nirvana


A recent Twitter thread asked what you would include if you were to design the perfect school. I was quite disappointed that what followed was a list of jargon-y tricks of the trade instead of begin-again, blank-page thinking starting from the purpose of education and disentangling it from its service to the machinery of capitalism.

By comparison, Rethinking Education sounded promising by its very name, and this episode even more so. A health warning though: each episode is four hours long ̶ which is certainly more conducive to sensible discussion than 280 characters. It’s well worth a listen as host Dr James Mannion speaks with Jay McTighe about McTighe’s book, Leading Modern Learning: A Blueprint for Vision-Driven Schools.

The Trojan Horse Affair

@HamzaMSyed and @BriHReed

The eerie silence that followed the extraordinary and frankly shocking so-called Trojan Horse affair/hoax has broken, and in no small part due to this podcast. In effect, what is left is a study of the betrayal of Muslims in the media and society, the way in which British identity is constructed by the left as secular and by the right as Christian, and how British Muslims are seen as a threat to both by the government and the media.

This podcast series is a phenomenal piece of investigative journalism, created by the production company that kicked off my own podcast obsession with Serial many years ago. Trainee journalist Hamza Syed and award-winning journalist-podcaster Brian Reed take us on an intriguing and infuriating journey.

It would be wrong to single out any single episode, so I’ve linked you to the first. Where better to start than at the beginning?

Trojan Horse: Brit-ish?


For the sake of impartiality and balance, my final choice this week is the BBC’s The Corrections – a series that revisits news stories that left the public with an incomplete picture of what really happened and investigates how and why the narrative went awry.

It’s worth listening to the whole series, which covers a range of important misrepresented news stories from 2015 onwards. But several episodes recorded in 2020 are dedicated to the Trojan Horse affair, and the episode I have chosen sees Jo Fidgen consider its impact.

Then-education secretary, Michael Gove responded by making it compulsory for schools in England and Wales to promote British values, including democracy, the rule of law and mutual respect. Undermining those values became grounds for prohibiting someone from managing a school. The list of values generated a lot of debate and left some British Asians wondering whether they were really at home in the UK. It’s a legacy every teacher should contend with.

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