Education is full of words and phrases that beam an afterglow of pompous certainty. They create and promote their own myths and so many of us accept them as though they are gospel – the truth of some deranged and lonely god with nothing better to do than make up some old tosh. Here’s a few of the real rogues lurking in the shadows of education’s corridors.

National Average:

I hate this one.

Firstly, how could you ever create a climate in which a ‘national average’ (I actually use quote fingers even as I write this) would have any real credence? Some sort of edu-vacuum in which life has been reduced to a simple constant where an equation can rank progress and attainment with absolute authority. National average is a sick joke and yet in education it is used with liberal abandon. 

Swear word rating – Twunk!


This word is used to give an air of intelligence to educational practice. No one really knows what it means in the real world. We just pretend we do and use it to sound important.

“Oh, Nick was discussing the post modernist pedagogy of Dweck Vrs Trad alt right progressive cronies … He obviously won the argument!”

Swear word rating – Merde!

Critical friend:

This is another phrase to explain how complete strangers, who barely understand our day to day context, can rip us a new one. Critical friends are the kind of people who stride in to lessons, raise their eyes skyward, snort and frantically scribble notes in to their worn black book – tutting and shaking their heads. Critical friends are basically ‘not friends’ with an important sounding title who no longer have to do the job you do. They are people who are often paid to make life three times more difficult than it actually should be. 

Swear word rating – Schwanz


Leather elbow patches on brown suede jackets , black wooden pipes and stern eyed stares – an oxymoron in which ‘traditional – we want the good old days back’ twitter folk have got carried away and gone all modern on the mother tongue. Oh, the irony!

“Hey, the Trads are trouncing the Progs on #researchleddebate17”

Swear word rating: Old Andrew

‘Pulling on the same rope…’

No, we are not. We never have! What rope? There is NO rope? Just burning pain and defeat. Stop with the ‘I learnt ‘inspire’ from The Apprentice school of leadership’. Stop it… just stop it now! 

I am pulling on something… just in the opposite direction you…

Swear word rating: Plum.

I know that you will have your own ‘special’ hatred for certain edu words – likely said to you by some desperate senior leader on a learning walk. 

I, of course, would never do such a thing… I have

Moral purpose:

Used by headteachers to prove that they are not only, “Holier than thou!” but they can do what ever they like because they are ‘deeply passionate’ about kids and ensuring there are

No excuses:

Whilst taking 3 figure salaries and playing games with lives that flirt around


Swear word rating? You total knob head, bell end, pillock, bum hole and wing nut…