• Robot babies from Japan raise all sorts of questions about how parents bond with AI

    Driven by a declining population, a trend for developing robotic babies has emerged in Japan as a means of encouraging couples to become “parents”. The approaches taken vary widely and are driven by different philosophical approaches that also beg a number of questions, not least whether these robo-tots will achieve the aim of their creators. […]

  • Why the case against the Human Rights Act is so weak

    The Human Rights Act was enacted in 1998 and made the rights set down in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) part of UK law for the first time. The ECHR was drafted after World War II and places obligations on its signatories to protect certain rights, such as the right to a fair […]

  • NQT boot camp: five things to remember about setting up a classroom

    In the first part of her summer advice series for newly qualified teachers, teacher educator Sarah Wright shares her tips for preparing and creating a learning environment.   The excitement of finally getting your own classroom can be overwhelming. Whether you have been hoarding supplies all through your PGCE or are about to embark on a summer […]

  • What troubled US police forces can learn from the civil rights era

    Effective law enforcement requires the support of the community. Such support will not be present when a substantial segment of the community feels threatened by the police and regards the police as an occupying force. These words could be read as a comment on the recent shootings in Dallas, Texas. Or on the deaths of […]

  • Elon Musk says we’re probably living in a computer simulation – here’s the science

    In a recent interview at the Code Conference in California, technology entrepreneur Elon Musk suggested we are living inside a computer simulation. On first hearing, this claim seems far-fetched. But could there be some substance to Musk’s thinking? As founder of a number of high-profile companies, such as Tesla and Space X, Musk’s business interests […]

  • Tony Awards 2016: a brief history of the woman behind the biggest event in show business

    This Sunday, the Tony Awards will light up screens around the world, with Britain’s James Corden – going from strength-to-strength as the presenter of The Late Late Show – as host for the night. The combination of Corden’s popularity, and the genre breaking, grammy winning Hamilton – a musical about the life of American founding […]

  • 35 years of Film: In and From Birmingham, Liverpool, and London

    A recent invitation to talk about 35 years of Film: In and From Birmingham, 1980 – 2015, gave me the opportunity to reflect publicly on the direction that my career in film had taken. The talk was at MAC Cinema in Birmingham. I decided to talk not only about the number and variety of films […]

  • Everything you need to know about the legal high ban

    New laws to introduce a blanket ban on the sale, production, distribution and supply of legal highs have now come into force across the UK. The Psychoactive Substances Act attempts to close a loophole that has allowed legal high manufacturers to flourish by banning all psychoactive substances. All previously legal highs, including laughing gas, are […]

  • Stressed out: the psychological effects of tests on primary school children

    Some parents are so angry with the testing regime facing their children that they have come together in an attempt to boycott primary school exams. Preparation by teachers for these standardised achievement tests (SATs) in England have involved a narrowing of the curriculum, including a specific focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar. Parents believe that […]

  • Truth, Justice and Hillsborough: A Personal Reflection

    In early 1990, before the first set of Hillsborough Inquests, the Liverpool Social Services Hillsborough Team had a team meeting in its Anfield Road base. I was a young social worker, not long qualified, inexperienced and yet to face bereavements of my own. Invited to the meeting were Phil Scraton and colleagues (Ann Jemphrey and […]