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At school SWOT was a dreadful insult. It meant you had somehow ‘sold out’ and it came second to ‘teacher’s pet’.  But in business SWOT is an analysis.

It stands for :





You need to conduct a SWOT analysis every quarter ( every 3 months) to make sure you are on track in your personal development.  Nobody is going to control your life or control your career except you and that is why this is important to your future.  Make your SWOT analysis part of a written development plan.  What are your strengths, list them.  What can you do to make use of these strengths? Now the difficult bit, what are your weaknesses?  What can you do to overcome your weaknesses?  You MUST NOT just accept them and say there is nothing you can do.  There is always action you can take to improve your life.

you need to look for opportunities to do so.  Maybe you are weak at presentation skills. Go along to your local college, do they have an evening class you could attend?  Does your employer have specialist training you could attend?  The action you take will help to improve those areas of weakness in your life.

Threats happen to everyone.  The biggest threat is to face redundancy.  What  do you do to avoid it?  The best way in my view is to keep up to date.  The classic redundancy of a person in their 40’s is that their knowledge is 20 years old. If you graduated 20 years ago and have been with the same company ever since, they have bought all of your knowledge.  What else are you going to sell them?  This is why keeping up to date is so important. You are in control or you let events control you. It is much better to be driving the car than let it get out of control.

To your success.




Sums for Mums and Dads

Here is why we need a mums and dads army

cartoon for Our Education System

Our Education System(Source


PISA is the international standard examination system where standards are compared in different countries.  But is it a fair comparison?

The fact is that both the UK and USA compare badly against Asian countries.  As a mathematics and financial literacy educator it alarms me that the media pay so much attention to this.  Look at the cartoon, is the elephant going to win?  If it were a contest to see who could knock down a tree, would you bet on the frog?  The cartoon shows that you need to test to people’s strengths.  PISA is a blunt instrument but it has so much media coverage that we have no choice but to follow it. Any country that withdraws will be seen as ‘running scared’.

Does it matter?

Yes is the short answer.  There is evidence, at least anecdotally, that companies are looking at PISA scores to see if a country has enough qualified people from whom they can create a workforce.

But we are a bit like the elephant.  It does not measure what we are good at. In the UK we are brilliant at creativity.  Look at the things Britain has developed for the world.  We invented tarmac, DNA fingerprinting, the games of soccer, cricket, tennis and rugby,  Newton’s laws, the world wide web, the first programmable computer, television, the steam engine, the telephone, the jet engine, supersonic airliners , the first accurate atomic clock, the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny and spinning mule, the BBC ( Bless it!) wind up radio, I could go on.

These are all created from creatively thinking men and women. This is where we do and will continue to excel.  But can we win at PISA?

No we can never beat the Asian countries.

The fact is many Asian countries send their youngsters to night school and it is not uncommon for some children to finish school at 2 a.m., only to get up and start again at 6 am.

Many Asian children spend more time working at their studies in a day than our children spend in a week.  But at a tremendous personal cost. They never develop the natural creative flair that our children have because they are never allowed to develop their natural talents.

I can tell you that sadly some Asian youngster opt out, in some countries there is a huge problem of teenagers meeting up to commit suicide and we must never get to that situation.

Does that mean the current standard of mathematics education, my own subject, is good enough?  NO, we  can improve things and that is where you come in.

Schools have the children for 5 hours per day.  That means we have them for 19 hours and that is a great opportunity to improve things.

We need a parents army of mathematically able adults who can help their children.  We need people confident in percentages, fractions, decimals, using a calculator and dealing with lines and angles. This is all of the stuff that our youngsters have to learn whilst at school. If they, the children, can learn it why can’t we?

So here is the deal, I am looking for 100 parents to join me in a 10 week  project.  There will be a small charge to cover the costs of  mailing to you but it will be about £1 per day.  My usual daily rate is £450 and I have charged and been paid £1800 for a day. I have also been flown all expenses paid to Canada to give advice to a company  so £1 per day is, I hope you agree, great value.

What makes me qualified to lead this project?

1. I am a mathematics teacher and author and have been a head of department twice and taught student teachers in a university.

2. I wrote BBC Bitesize Maths

3. I wrote Understanding Maths with Arthur C Clarke (2001 A space Odyssey) as well as other mathematics books.

4. I hold 4 degrees and am one of the few British qualified online teachers and have been teaching online since 1998

5. I have advised  both the BBC and Channel 4 TV on their output and written tv programmes for the BBC.


So if you are interested in knowing more either sign up on the form or email info AT for a no-obligation information pack. (Remember to replace AT with @)

Together we can make a huge difference to your child’s future, if you want to!





Well done Huw Lewis, Secretary of State for Education in Wales.

Huw Lewis is the Secretary of State for Education in Wales. Today Mr Lewis has launched the ‘What you say counts’. This is a campaign aimed at parents to improve the image of MATHEMATICS.

The point is quite simple. Children listen to adults and when adults try to be understanding with comments like ‘ I could never do maths when I was your age’, the adults are actually undermining the children and their education.

Media people are the worst offenders.  I have lost count of the number of times I have seen TV presenters rejoice in their innumeracy .

This is a shameful admission and for some reason we wear our innumeracy with pride.  Yet people hide the fact they cannot read. ALL children are expected to read, all children should similarly be expected to be numerate.  That means we have to change. Yes adults have to change.

We have to be positive about mathematics and not run scared from it and we need to give children and young people positive attitudes to maths.

If we are to have an educated workforce in the future they must be literate and numerate at a high level.  As a former mathematics teacher and now an author of mathematics education books I have been banging a drum on this one for 30 years. So I am delighted someone else in authority feels the same way. The campaign is being fronted by Welsh tv presenter Arfon Haines-Davies and hopefully will help to change attitudes.

Do you need to improve your maths? You may be influencing your own children to fail.

Look on amazon for my book Understanding Maths, it will help.

Everytime you think you are being helpful by making a negative comment on mathematics to a child, you are in fact damaging that child’s future. We all have a responsibility on this one, I know where I stand on this one, do you?

Together we can change things!





To blog or not to blog that is the question

I have to be honest, I have only recently become comfortable with a 10 year old version of Dreamweaver so to be launched into developing websites based on word press has been a challenge to say the least. I am following a course by the talented John Thornhill who has the most wonderful Geordie accent.  The fact is we have to move with the times and that means we have to have an active media presence and that means being visible, hence the need for a blog.

This blog will be personal and will not reflect my business or my broadcasting interests. In particular I will be talking about politics and how it reflects on education.  As a former teacher I am astounded at how badly we and I do mean we, treat our teachers.

                           Teachers are our investment in future prosperity. 

Far too many politicians from all parties fail to understand the needs of the economy and how the education system needs to be designed to serve the needs of the economy. I wince with pain when I hear politicians talking rubbish about education. Far too many politicians want to provide our children with the same type of education that the politicians themselves experienced as children. In Wales we have people like Andrew RT Davies saying that we should bring back the best of Grammar Schools. Just what were the best bits of grammar schools?    This is the pap that needs to be discouraged. If grammar schools were so good, why did the Tories ( yes it was the Tories) close them down? Either they were wrong then or they are wrong now.

Let me put my cards on the table, comprehensive education in the U.K. has been a major success. It removed artificial barriers that stopped ordinary children from ordinary families from achieving.  However the economy has changed and so the school system has to change and move forwards not backwards as some suggest.

The state system  has to open doors for ordinary students from ordinary families.  That is the challenge politicians have to grapple with and many of them are making a real dog’s breakfast of it.  In this blog I will be making a case for change that does not cost the Earth and will work.

I will also be linking to my business interests in educational media and publishing.

I hope you will sign up to keep in touch.




Welcome to the Graham Lawler Online Blog

Well I have finally bitten the bullet and started the first properly hosted online blog. You may know me as Mr Educator on BBC Radio or LBC now across the U.K. or  from my radio show on Solid

Make sure you check out our Graham Lawler Media and Publishing brands,

Studymates, for our A level and undergraduate/post graduate books

Mr Educator, four our primary/elementary school books

Aber Creative Writing for our how to become an author series

and Aber Publishing for our adult skills series and our personal development and finance education books.

This new site is being developed as an online coaching site and we have many exciting plans ahead and hope you will join us on this journey.