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Published: Feb 28 , 2019
Author: Alan Smith

The BBC announced this morning a piece of analysis that suggested that the learning of German and French as a foreign language is about to hit an all-time low in the UK. BBC analysis shows drops of between 30% and 50% since 2013 in the numbers taking GCSE language courses in the worst affected areas in England. Whilst a separate survey of secondary schools suggests a third have dropped at least one language from their GCSE options.

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Published: Jan 10 , 2019
Author: Alan Smith

I am a big fan of the Channel 4 programme, which started a new season on Sunday this week called Who Dares Wins. In it, civilians are invited to take part in the rigorous selection process used by the British elite special operations division the SAS. The programme has ex-special forces members barking viciously at the individuals who have...

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Published: Aug 02 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

Just back from a two-week holiday in Sicily. Beautiful country, never been before, recommend it. Although not in July. 34 degrees every day (bit like London!!) and an absurd 40 degrees if you go inland sightseeing. You literally can’t do anything during the main part of the day, except sit in the pool with a beer (or another suitable beverage). The locals of course have figured this out (mad dogs and Englishmen!) and time their days appropriately. Siesta, what a fantastic invention...

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Published: Jul 19 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

Long-term supporters of the Labour party in the UK live in interesting times. Like all political parties, its fortunes move in cycles. If it lurches leftwards – as it did under Michael Foot, for example, in the seventies and eighties, it becomes unelectable – just too radical for middle Britain to swallow. If it moves to the centre,...

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Published: Jun 14 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

We are right in the middle of A Levels, probably the most stressful time in the lives of our youngsters in my humble opinion. These are the big ones. The ones that set up your future in many ways as they help put you on a trajectory of job choices and university courses that may decide to some extent the rest of your life. Let’s not get into a debate about how qualified an 18-year-old is to make such choices, as Oscar Wilde said, I wish I was young enough to know it all! I say all this with some trepidation as frankly...

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Published: May 31 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

What a great question. And one I was asked recently by a client who was interested in figuring out a metric by which they could measure deals to figure out if they were good or not. I am sure in the past we have all sat back as the ink begins to dry on the contract, and wondered if the deal was a good one...

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Gone to the Dogs

Despite my reluctance, we ended up getting a new dog three weeks ago. I said I didn’t want a puppy, for obvious and smelly reasons, my daughter asked me to define puppy? I should have seen it coming and avoided the obvious signal I know, but we now have a 10-month-old adolescent dog called Grouse! Not technically a puppy but still young, crazy and cute as a button. Children are the best negotiators (even 23-year olds).

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