Category Archives: Education

Teachers’ pay: Zahawi’s promises are a big Con – aren’t they?

Nadhim Zahawi: flag-waving is no substitute for straight-talking – and he’s talking nonsense gibberish.

Teachers! Confused about the Tory government’s plans to raise your pay?

YOU SHOULD BE!

The government has announced plans to increase starting pay for teachers to £30,000 per year, which is still lower than the national average.

But when is that going to happen?

First it was to be from April 2022, but then the Tories imposed a pay freeze instead.

Now, there’s a vague desire to bring it in by the end of the Parliament.

But to hear new Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi waffling about it, you’d be none the wiser.

Reading a transcript doesn’t help either.

Meanwhile – well, see for yourself:

So, after promising an increase in teachers’ pay…

… the Tories have actually cut it. Yeah – so much for “levelling up”.

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Good riddance, Gavin! Williamson sacked as Education Secretary

Ooh, don’t have a Betty: Gavin Williamson was dubbed the Frank Spencer of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet due to his ineptitude and lack of intelligence. Worse still, he didn’t have the heart that Michael Crawford gave his comedy character. In fact, let’s face it – Williamson has no redeeming features at all.

England’s education system is (momentarily) stronger with the announcement that Gavin Williamson has been sacked from his post as the minister in charge, as part of a Cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson.

His two-year tenure stands as testament to the fact that having no Education Secretary is better than having him in the role.

Incompetent Williamson’s failures are fast becoming the stuff of legend, with the headline disasters well-known to all of us:

In 2020, when A-level students could not take their exams because of Covid-19, he used a algorithm to allocate marks – that was rigged to make it seem that privately-educated pupils were more intelligent than the riff-raff from the state system that he ran.

He later tried to force disadvantaged, black and minority ethnic children in England to take exams when other kids didn’t have to, claiming that they respond better to examination conditions. It seemed clear racism – an attempt to put these children down with duff results.

He made it clear that the government expected all schools to open as normal in January this year – then closed them after just one day because prime minister Boris Johnson ordered a new lockdown and he was unaware of it.

He decided to foist Latin as a subject onto state school pupils, rather than anything useful. At the time I wrote: “Having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.”

He scrapped dozens of legal rights for children.

He also wanted a clampdown on indiscipline in schools after the return from Covid-19 lockdown – but provided no evidence whatsoever to support his wild claim that our children had gone feral.

Before Boris Johnson gave him the bullet, it was suggested that Williamson would blame school pupils and parents if Covid-19 infections spike after the start of the school term.

It’s still too early to tell whether that has happened but we will be able to judge his successor by whether they choose to follow the same cowardly strategy.

If Johnson continues to follow his “Cabinet of all the idiots” strategy (he thinks it makes him look like the intelligent one) then our children’s education may be in for an even worse battering.

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Food chain collapse means Brexit is hitting schools – and the media are whitewashing Johnson

School meals: Boris Johnson’s Brexit means these are soon to become a rarity.

The Brexit-prompted HGV driver shortage means school canteens are going to run out of food, it was revealed – just as English schools reopened for the autumn term.

Now, why wasn’t this ever mentioned before?

HGV drivers are chronically low-paid, which is probably why there was a shortage of 60,000 even before all the EU-national drivers – 25,000 of them – were told to go home by Boris Johnson’s gang of xenophobes (you call them the government).

There were plans to train up 19,000 new drivers but they were foiled by Covid-19.

So that’s 104,000 HGVs that aren’t servicing our supermarkets and schools. It must be terrific for reducing pollution but it’s not so good for your child’s nutritional needs.

But that isn’t even the worst of it!

Farmers are struggling to get workers to bring in the harvest, meaning much of the food they have grown over the last year may spoil.

Formerly people came from the European Union but “post-Brexit, that is a problem”.

Apparently 70,000 seasonal workers are needed but only 30,000 seasonal work permits are available to people now living in the EU. And there aren’t enough UK workers to fill the gap.

Either the Tories didn’t think about this when they were setting the number of seasonal permits available… or they deliberately planned to sabotage the harvest. Neither alternative is particularly palatable, is it?

This Writer will be charitable and suggest that the Tories didn’t think. There’s a precedent for this: they didn’t think the withdrawal from Afghanistan would be the mess they made it and they didn’t think giving Covid-related contracts worth billions of pounds to their inexperienced friends would do any harm, after all.

So this is probably just another symptom of Boris Johnson’s spectacular – nay, stellar – incompetence.

I’m sure you’ll take comfort from that when you look at your empty plate later this year.

And by the way, that’ll be partly due to a knock-on effect of all this: food prices are going to rocket:

According to the FT report,

the shortage of lorry drivers and more regulatory checks on imported food [will] combine with rising prices for fuel, freight and raw materials, experts have warned.

So that’s even before the effect on the harvest is taken into account!

People are, understandably, angry:

But some are strangely silent.

For example – the BBC. The omission that Peter Stefanovic mentions below is just symptomatic of the Corporation’s efforts to safeguard Boris Johnson and his Tory gang from any responsibility for their stupid decisions:

And – inevitably – they are helped in this by the utter failure of Labour MPs to highlight the harm and the reason for it. Anyone would think they had faults of their own to hide:

Perhaps it’s time people were reminded that they voted for this fiasco. Given a choice between a leader who would have ensured that there was food on our plates and Boris Johnson, the UK’s people voted for starvation:

For some, this will be the hardest part to swallow.

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Gavin Williamson prepares to blame school kids and parents for Covid spike

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September 2020 – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. As schools reopened THIS September, NOTHING HAS CHANGED AT ALL.

We all saw this coming for a long time, didn’t we?

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has had a month and a half in which to install Covid-19 restricting measures – like improved ventilation – in schools.

He has done nothing.

And now, with schools across the UK reopening again for the autumn term, the dunce at the Department for Education is telling parents any increase in Covid infections will be their fault.

That’s right.

The new Conservative Government plan to deal with the coming wave of Covid-19 is…

You can read the mainstream media version of the story here:

Parents are understandably anxious – and angry

This parent makes the concerns clear:

It seems clear that the plan for keeping schools clear of Covid is exactly as described in this parody account:

Meanwhile, the virus is spreading across the UK, with the restriction of its spread caused by the school holidays eliminated:

Meanwhile, let’s remember the Tories’ real policy for dealing with Covid-19:

So, as your children succumb to infection because they’re being ordered to attend badly-ventilated classrooms before they’ve had a chance to be vaccinated, just remember that all this suffering is vital for Conservative government ministers and their friends to make a fat wad of money.

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Covid-19 surge in Scotland after schools reopen – but Sturgeon won’t accept it

Nicola Sturgeon: she reckons schools must stay open, even though Covid-19 infections in Scotland have rocketed since the new term started.

This is what will happen in England – and on a much larger scale.

Scottish schools have reopened after their summer break – and Covid-19 infection rates have surged to their highest-ever level.

It is the predictable result of Boris Johnson’s ‘Freedom Day’ – the relaxation of all legal restrictions on gathering and distancing, which Scotland copied a few weeks ago.

Infections have been rising since the August 2 low of 799 and stood yeterday at 5,021 – Scotland’s highest-ever total.

Stunningly, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is refusing to face the facts and go back into lockdown. She’s reluctant even to go back through the stages of social distancing.

Speaking yesterday, the First Minister said: “I don’t want to go back to anything like a full lockdown.

If we, all of us, take the basic precautions right now that we know can slow the virus, then I hope no re-imposition of restrictions will be necessary.

How many people would have to die before she changes her mind?*

And she is determined to keep schools open, even though it is clear to anybody with a brain that they are the principal point from which Covid-19 is being transmitted to the population.

Her government has stressed that keeping schools open would be a number one priority regardless of what happens, with deputy FM John Swinney saying closures should be avoided “at all costs”.

Do those costs include preventable deaths? From what Swinney said, it seems they do.

How sad. We might have expected more intelligence from the Scottish government.

Perhaps Boris Johnson has just proved that stupidity is as easily-transmissible as the virus.

*Personally, This Writer thinks Sturgeon – and any other leader whose decisions cause preventable deaths (Boris Johnson) – should be made to visit personally the families of anybody who dies as a result of her decisions to apologise and offer restitution for the wrong she will have intentionally inflicted on them. At least that would keep her out of mischief for a (long) while.

Source: Covid in Scotland: Circuit breaker lockdown ‘an option’ to tackle virus surge | The National

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GCSE results: Were exams traditionally DOWNgraded for non-private/grammar school pupils?

Exams: they didn’t happen this year or in 2020, and under teacher assessments, grades shot up. And after last year’s results, assessments by independent/grammar school teachers shot up further than those by teachers in state schools. Are millions of pupils, past and present, the victims of a national downgrading scam?

This Site received a very interesting – and worrying – comment on this year’s A-level results which I want to share with you.

It said:

“Surely, the BIG story is that this year probably reveals that lots more pupils should have done well in previous years, as well as in this year, but the exam system deliberately DOWNGRADED pupils so that numbers and quotas for college places etc would not be exceeded.

“In reality, before now, many pupils would have done well enough for a University place but, given a lack of enough places, the exam results were “doctored by algorithm” so that, by some mysterious process, the number of suitable pupils was almost exactly the number of college places available!

“The remnant 11-plus system in Kent or Glos works in the same way, producing enough pupils to fill the Grammar school places available, but then “failing” many others who, in other years, would have “passed” with exactly the same exam results.

“But this year, the teachers just made honest assessments of pupil progress and achievements and did not consider things like deliberately downgrading some results so that college places would not be under pressure.

“The big losers are , surely, the thousands of pupils in previous years who did just as well as this year’s, but were then downgraded to mean that they no longer hoped to go on to University.

“Public school kids, like Clarkson, didn’t have to worry about all this as they were set up for life anyway.

“Once again, it would have been the working-class pupils, who flogged their guts out to do well, expected some good results, but were then dismayed to find that ,somehow, they hadn’t done well enough.

“And, in the way this system always works, the victims end up blaming themselves and wish they could have worked harder or were, “more intelligent” etc.”

Looking at this year’s GCSE results in comparison with last year’s, that comment seems very close to the mark – although This Writer doesn’t think it’s about denying college places to people from state schools.

It’s about lying that state school pupils don’t deserve college places and independent/grammar school pupils do.

Look at the way top grades – over all candidates – have shot up by almost half since teacher evaluation was used instead of examinations – from 22 per cent of the total in 2019 to 30 per cent in 2021.

To me, that doesn’t indicate a sudden improvement in pupil performance and it certainly doesn’t indicate that exam conditions have a bad effect on grades.

It tells me that pupils at examinations have been traditionally and habitually marked down, if they were from state schools.

Further evidence is in the way teachers at independent and grammar schools, seeing last year’s results, have marked their pupils up in order to maintain their lead.

What, you think the quality of their teaching or the abilities of their pupils have suddenly shot up by three percent since last year (for grammars) and 14 per cent since 2019 (for independents)?

That isn’t realistic.

And, coupled with the rise in A-level grades over the same period of time and for the same reason, it gives me reason to suggest that state school pupils who took exams in 2019 and at any year before need to get angry.

We should be demanding to know why our results were so low in comparison to the grammars and the independents.

What were the criteria used in marking our papers?

Was there inbuilt bias against state schools? If so, who demanded it?

Any such bias will certainly have -arbitrarily – blighted our careers ever since, and that is utterly unacceptable.

Realistically, we won’t get honest answers from a system that is biased against us. We’ll be fobbed off with lies.

So how about an experiment?

Let’s demand a new system in which exam papers are anonymised – pupils are given numbers to put on their papers, and then the papers are mixed up centrally before being sent to examiners who have not been told any details of their origin.

Then they would have to mark honestly, and then we might learn what has really been going on in the UK’s education system.

As one of millions who are likely to have been penalised on the basis of the school I attended, I’m up for it.

How about you?

Source: GCSE results: pupils achieve record numbers of top grades in England

Zahawi replacing Williamson in suggested Cabinet change would be going from bad to worse

Nadhim Zahawi: waving the flag and messing up the message.

If Boris Johnson really is planning to reshuffle his cabinet, I see the plan is still to surround himself with people who are even more incompetent and corrupt than he is.

Nadhim Zahawi is tipped to replace Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary after Williamson’s latest gaffe – pretending to forget his own A-level results in an LBC interview:

Williamson previously tried to have thousands of students’ A-level results marked down, using an algorithm that artificially boosted privately-educated pupils over those who went to state school.

He demanded a ramping-up of discipline in schools, claiming without any evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic had “inevitably” turned our children feral and blaming technology – mobile phones – as a disruptive influence while at the same time praising it for keeping them learning.

When Boris Johnson announced a lockdown in January, Williamson presided over chaos in the education system as primary pupils were sent back to school for just one day before Johnson pulled out the rug from under the system and Williamson had not provided any advance warning – at all – about what was going to happen.

He had previously taken local education authorities to court for keeping schools closed when he wanted them to open, creating confusion and anxiety due to constant mixed-messaging.

He illegally stripped children in care of 65 legal protections after conducting a consultation that was selective about whose opinions it sought. The change proved to be temporary.

He was exposed as a racist when he said children from ethnic minorities need to sit exams. After it was pointed out that those in Wales and Scotland who weren’t going to do so (because of the Covid crisis) may have better results, he scrapped the plan for exams in England.

And don’t even get me started on his plan to offer Latin as a language subject in schools – a dead language for a country that is dying due to Brexit, Covid-19 and the corruption of government ministers like him.

Given all of the above, one might think it is a good thing that Williamson may be going.

But there is just one problem:

Nadhim Zahawi is at least as bad as Williamson – if not worse.

Zahawi wants everyone to think that he has made a great success of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout – he is the Vaccines Minister, after all – but there’s just one problem: it has been run entirely by the NHS.

He’s just the figurehead. His other duties include trying to avoid explaining his prime minister’s financial irregularities, like the Downing Street flat refurbishment:

How about when he had to explain why Johnson had said vaccinations had broken the link between Covid infection and hospitalisation?

Before the vaccines job he was a business minister – and duly messed up explaining why the government wasn’t providing enough help for the self-employed during the Covid crisis:

He has a second job working for an oil company – a conflict of interest at a time when pressure will be put on such firms to green up their act.

Historically, he became notorious during the expenses scandal, after it was revealed that he had claimed public money to heat his stables.

He used a mortgage lender based in a tax haven.

He attended the Presidents Club dinner event- on multiple occasions – where women were subjected to sexual harassment, and did not report the offences.

He objected to Donald Trump’s travel ban against Muslims – but only when his own family were affected.

He is incompetent and he is corrupt.

And it seems Boris Johnson thinks he is perfect material to take over from another corrupt incompetent in a Cabinet role.

It is an apt coincidence that this is being reported on the day the former Welsh Education minister, Kirsty Williams, is in the headlines for speaking out about online abuse she received.

She could have done the Westminster job better than either of these two clowns.

Source: Nadhim Zahawi tipped for Cabinet role as pressure builds on Gavin Williamson

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Jeremy Clarkson’s annual A-level tweet undermined – by good results and satirical banter


August 10 was A-level results day for thousands of UK students – and TV’s Jeremy Clarkson wheeled out his usual tweet telling us all that he got a ‘C’ and two ‘U’ and did very well for himself.

He was pre-empted by this…

… but went ahead and did it anyway:

But the Clarkson’s Farm star’s annual effort fell on stony ground this year – partly because A-level results were particularly good this year:

Top grades for A-level results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have reached a record high – with 44.8% getting A* or A grades.

This second year of replacement results after exams were cancelled, has seen even higher results than last year when 38.5% achieved top grades.

There is a major caveat to this, which is that, like last year, the grades are based on teachers’ judgements rather than on the results of exams. As a consequence, the percentage of students receiving A* or A grades has been enormously higher than previous years and this will create its own challenges for students wishing to continue in education, and for those applying for jobs.

The other reason Clarkson’s tweet had a poor reception is that his comment simply isn’t relevant for most people, because unlike most people he was extremely well-placed from the start and didn’t need good results to get a lucrative – and exclusive – career:

“Posh kids can only fail upwards”… like Boris Johnson?

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Rashford: Is lack of awareness stopping people claiming food vouchers – or misplaced pride?

The difference between sustenance and starvation: will medical staff step in and point out to families who fear the stigma of claiming food vouchers that there is no shame in feeding their children?

It’s a curiously British phenomenon, this – the mass idiocy that encourages us to say we’re managing (when we’re not) rather than accept help from the government.

Government help is in short supply under the Tories. Anybody who has the chance should seize it with both hands.

But people who can – and should – claim food vouchers aren’t doing it, according to Marcus Rashford, whose campaign for the government to provide free school meals during the holidays saved thousands of your children from starvation over the last year.

The BBC’s report is garbled regarding who can benefit, as it mixes Rashford’s school meals scheme with one for pregnant women and low-income families with children aged under four. Perhaps this new campaign is for both.

Rashford himself, writing in the British Medical Journal, said the food voucher scheme has helped 57,000 parents, but expressed concern that it was “plateauing”.

He said more than 40 per cent of people who were eligible had not registered, and suggested that this was because they came from communities with “no internet, no high street, no word of mouth” – in other words, no way of learning that the scheme even exists.

He called on health professionals to do more to ensure everybody knows about the scheme who are entitled to apply, “especially given the planned digitisation of the scheme this autumn, which will disproportionately disadvantage those without easy access to the internet”.

He asked staff to use an online eligibility calculator and “consider collaborating with us on communicating and educating people about the scheme when possible”.

Crucially, though, he also acknowledged that some people may have been shamed out of applying, in fear that they would be labelled (perhaps as the “undeserving poor”?) because they have been pushed into a position where they have been prevented from being able to feed their children.

He said more needs to be done to end any “silly” stigma and to persuade people to register for support.

I hope doctors and other medical staff pay attention to this.

It would be shocking if children starved because people who have sworn to do no harm found it awkward to do a little good.

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Latin to be offered to state school pupils to make the UK even more out-of-touch

Wearing the dunce’s cap yet again: but should Gavin Williamson get all the blame for wanting to inflict Latin on our unsuspecting sprogs? I suspect this is another daft demand from Boris Johnson and Williamson, being a dimwitted yes-man, is just pushing it through.

It is as though Gavin Williamson actually sat in the Department for Education, thinking: “I can’t screw up exams this year; how else can I bugger up state school kids?”

Here’s what he came up with:

Latin lessons are to be offered to thousands of state school pupils in England as part of an effort by the Department for Education to make the language less “elitist”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said a new programme would ensure the subject was not “for the privileged few”.

A £4 million Latin Excellence Programme will see the ancient language offered to 40 state schools in England as part of a four-year pilot, according to The Daily Telegraph.

It makes a perverse kind of sense: having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of other things to which Williamson could be devoting his time – as the Twitter community was quick to point out:

All good points as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Other commenters have taken glee in pointing out that Williamson has, yet again, drawn attention to his own shortcomings:

I’m sure nobody would want to argue with that!

Source: Latin to be offered to state school pupils to make subject less ‘elitist’ | The Independent

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