Gone

I am so sorry to do this.

A lot of people never really understood Webs of Substance. For a start, I picked a bad title. It was based upon a quote from Francis Bacon but, stripped of this context, it sounds pretentious.

And everyone assumed that I was out to convince; that I was making a case in order to persuade. It wasn’t that at all. It gave me the freedom to talk into the void. That’s why it was anonymous; freedom. As it grew, I saw it as a resource for those people who already agreed with me: Do you think knowledge is important too? Great. Here are some useful links.

I know that some of you did find it useful because you said so. Thank you. It lives on as an archive in a beautiful walled garden. If you have a genuine use for it then ask me for the key. But I might say no. Don’t take that personally.

If you are an anonymous blogger then have an exit plan; a better one than mine. I have heard horror stories about bloggers being exposed. It’s weird. People thought my anonymity was about them. They didn’t stop to wonder why I would make that choice. Instead, it was an insult or a slur or the sign of something shady.

Anyway, Goodbye. It’s been a pleasure. Genuinely. But all good things must come to an end. This post, too, will disappear soon. Such is life.

Harry Webb is dead.

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39 thoughts on “Gone

    1. I’m a VERY retired teacher (17 years and counting) and I can’t seem to tear myself away from the job. I just signed up for an account on WordPress (I found this link at teaching battleground, which I read often) and I would appreciate it if you would grant me access to your “walled garden.”
      Thanks.
      My username is “retteach”

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  1. You will be missed I really enjoyed your well written well argued posts.
    Farewell and good luck.
    Philip Crooks

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  2. You’ve provided a wealth of resources in my attempt to articulate what I see going wrong with education in my neck of the woods. It’s a shame this is where it ends. I printed out many of your posts (I’m old-school!), but I’d love access to the library. ofpossibleworlds@gmail.com. Best of luck to you.

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  3. You may not have set out to persuade, but I was persuaded. Thanks for your insight and provocation. I shall keep my eyes open for a new blog with ideas remarkably similar to those of Harry Webb.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really sad it came to this. You will be missed. Anonymity wasn’t about anyone else and that’s what some people can’t understand. I enjoyed your posts. Would it be possible to have access please?

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      1. Hello I’ve requested access as ‘Reasonable Uploader’ With your collaboration I would like to continue where you left off.

        By building on your articles and using my own.

        I would like to make sure you get full credit as I would like you back publicly blogging you re too important not to be!

        We could come to some sort of arrangement that allows your ideas to be publicly acknowledged perhaps by a copy posted on your now private wordpress site?

        If not then I would respect your privacy I have a twitter account @LeoToAquarius and got into a ‘discussion’ with some of those bullying? you.

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  5. Hi Harry. It’s a shame you’ve been forced into this – suggesting an unacceptable level of abuse. On the positive side, it will make it easier for people like me who prefer to know who they’re dealing with, to engage. You’re right – that’s my issue not yours, but it’s there. Assuming Harry is Greg, a new era of being yourself may well end up being more positive than negative. I hope so. Best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suggest Tom that the moral is this
      [1] If a person makes a personal attack against you , your career etc they should give their name
      [2] If a person debates you on education policy / research they do not need to be and their privacy should be respected.

      [1] deals with personal claims that have personal consequences
      [2] deals with debate and argument and should be free of [1]

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  6. Also write with some anonymity. Started originally as a way of being able to share ideas about education when in a politically charged local context and lots of social network savvy and charming children. Would like to remind myself of your thoughts.

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  7. Your work, and that of others online, has inspired many of us front line teachers to engage in the education debate. THANK YOU and you will be missed.

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  8. Harry, I would love access to your Webs of Substance archive – one of the most powerful sources of sanity, wisdom, knowledge and encouragement I’ve found in the last couple of years. I am Christine Counsell, University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, colleague (and former tutor and now supervisor) of Michael Fordham whom I believe you know. I co-lead a group of c.30 history teachers in our partner schools in the training of new history teachers. You can find out more about how we do that from Michael Fordham’s blog:
    http://clioetcetera.com/
    and you can check me out here:
    https://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/people/staff/counsell/
    I’d be honoured if you’d grant me access
    Thanks
    Christine

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      1. Harry I would also like to have access – is it possible for you make it public at some point in the future – I can advise you as how to prevent whoever threatened you from being able to act on it.

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  9. Immensely sad and huge thanks, Harry, for the intelligent, forensic and honest window into what has been, and can still be, a largely/partly dysfunctional education system.

    It was good to know that you started your career in London, emigrated to Australia, are a physics and maths teacher. What more does anyone need to know? It beggars belief. It is all there in the writing – whether you are vertically challenged or a 6’7″ giant, it matters not a jot. Would they have outed George Orwell?

    Please never forget that your opus of work is of great importance and that you have the good wishes of many, many educators.

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  10. I just wanted to give you a big “thank you” for all of the time and effort you put into websofsubstance. You introduced me to the Kirschner, Clark, Sweller cycle of articles and have provided a sound philosophical base for me to use in my efforts to stave off the nonsense from my school’s admin. I also feel that I am a better teacher from some of the resources and discussions that took place on your blog. So, again, thanks and best wishes.

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  11. Sad indeed but I’m sure you will continue to influence many. Have requested access. Would love to be able to stick a selection of posts that I’d bookmarked into my Evernote for future reference. Thanks for influencing my thinking a lot, it’ll change lives in the long run.

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  12. Really sorry to see this. I hope the disillusionment will eventually fade. You’ve helped nudge, guide and provoke me and others into challenging and (hopefully) improving our own work as teachers. Thank you. You’ve put in a huge amount of genuinely altruistic time, work and thought, and I’m certain there are many more of us who genuinely appreciate it than you realise. You will be missed. I’ll look for you on wordpress: please listen out for an access request from kisveinoam. Thanks.

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  13. Like many others have said before, it’s sad to see you go. I’ve only just started blogging and your posts were a great guidance and the material really made me think about my own views and practice…
    I’ve requested access and the username is teacherajhall.

    Cheers and all the best.

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  14. So sorry you’re going- I’ve enjoyed your thought provoking posts immensely. A lot of what we have to do is absurd- I’ve been following the path to the exit for quite a while now and your blog was one of the beacons.
    You’ll be missed.

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  15. Harry, I have so much admired and learned from your blog – one of the best out there. I was so horrified to click on the bookmark and find it gone. I would really appreciate access to the archive. I’ve just created a wordpress account.

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  16. I’ve requested access also. Even though the wordpress account/blog is a bit of a rant (& thus also anonymous) I’ve read every post you’ve written in the last year or so and downloaded every linked paper. However, even with the same papers you could argue a point better than I could.

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  17. Well, I am shocked. I guess for two reasons…first, I didn’t realise you were anonymous (it doesn’t matter to me, as I’m just interested in what people have to say, regardless of who they actually are)………secondly, your blog was relentlessly interesting. I guess you are out there on Twitter somewhere, but not expressing the same views (for whatever reason). I will miss you. Good luck.

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  18. huge sadness of you having to go private. I greatly enjoyed your posts and would appreciate future access. I’ve sent a request to you just now. Hope life treats you better.

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  19. Hi Harry. I missed this when you put it out a couple days ago. Really, really sad for me, as I appreciated your contribution to the conversation. If you re-emerge, please be in touch.

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  20. I’m reminded of the New Yorker cartoon of a dog sitting in front of a computer and the caption, ” On the Internet they don’t know I’m a dog. ” You made it clear that your blogs were not about you; they were to help us. And that they did very well. Too bad, for our sake, that you aren’t really a spider, as some must have thought you should be. But thankfully for your sake, you’re good who you are.

    Thank you for the capable help.

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  21. Hello Harry – I don’t think we’ve ever communicated. I only started blogging recently and had clocked some of your posts as an indication of what the highest standards of blogs were like. I would be really chuffed if you would allow me access to your archive. I have followed the request procedure, and my WordPress username is the same as this.

    I blog at https://steppingbackalittle.wordpress.com/ if you wish to check-out what I’m about!

    All the best – I agree that you are a shocking loss to the world of educational blogging.

    Chris

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  22. Thanks for your blog. Checking for new posts was part of my daily routine. It was helpful to read common sense analysis of current educational trends and reflections on classroom practice. Maybe I will someday happen upon another blog that you author…I hope so.

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  23. The fact that I am so late to comment shows that I do not check you blog every day, but I came back to reference a post that put an argument better than anyone else could.

    Just to repeat what everyone else has said, I’m really shocked and saddened to find out you have gone. They were not just great posts: what you were saying really needed to be said.

    There is something of the QED in this. The fact that you are hounded out rather than taken on in reasoned debate is a symptom of why education theory is so poorly developed. The very fact you have gone is evidence of why you should stay.

    Maybe, after you have spent a few months away from the keypad, you might start to miss us and come back! Whether you do or not, good luck in all you do.

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  24. Hi Harry, I have been a silent follower of your blog for some time. I made a comment on one of your final blogs regarding balanced literacy. I am not a teacher, just a parent concerned about why my child (previously) could not read. You have provided some great info on literacy/synthetic phonics which has been crucial in helping my child actually learn to read. If you don’t mind, I would love access to your blog. Username: caitie rose

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  25. Dear Harry

    You are missed. I enjoyed connecting some of my misgivings around the prevailing pedagogy in my institution with your thoughts, reasoned analysis and, crucially, links to papers.

    The current hegemony needs challenging and I would love to have access to your blog for this reason. My username is anonymous and intended as tongue in cheek: makemeadiva.

    Over the years, I wished I had chosen a different handle, but for the record I thoughthe Webs of Substance was a thoughtful title that hinted at both the need for robust interpretation of evidence and the fragility of the debate for those of us emerging from the long shadow of discovery learning. Best wishes. Jessica

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