Category Archives: Education

Welsh government’s decisive action on school exams would shame Johnson – if it were possible to

Socially-distanced exams: they won’t mean anything if school pupils can’t be guaranteed a full education in the 2020-21 academic year – and they can’t.

Days after it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government was issuing contradictory demands to schools and had made no decision on next year’s exams, the Welsh government has shamed him.

School pupils in Wales will not take GCSE or A-level exams in 2021; instead, pupils’ futures will be decided by teacher-managed assessments, according to Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

This Writer knows Ms Williams personally; she’s my Assembly Member. We have collaborated on some political projects – and we’ve also clashed, because her politics isn’t the same as mine.

That said, she is clearly right on this: “It is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.”

What a contrast with the dithering and confusion of Boris Johnson, as reported by This Site on Saturday (November 7):

After the Times Educational Supplement revealed that the government hasn’t even bothered to plan the school year in advance, taking into account the possibility of Covid-19 interference in next year’s exams, it turns out that staff are working flat-out to accommodate contradictory demands from the Department for Education, some being changed within hours

And Johnson is still dithering!

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said there were no plans for England to follow Wales. He said: “There’s no change in our own position in relation to exams. We’ve set out that they will take place slightly later this year, to give students more time to prepare. We continue to think that exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance.”

Perhaps he’s kidding himself that he is being strong by ignoring the ridicule he’s getting.

Perhaps he’s simply taking an opportunity to build more inequality into the education system – state-educated English school pupils will now be at a further disadvantage in comparison with those who are educated privately – or in one of the other UK countries.

The latter possibility should not surprise anybody after Dominic Raab’s bid to penalise millions of exam-takers across the UK for being educated by the state, earlier this year.

Experts are insisting that a level playing-field cannot be guaranteed, in line with Ms Williams’s statement.

How long will Boris Johnson insist on letting English education slide?

Source: Welsh move to cancel GCSE and A-level exams puts pressure on No 10 | UK news | The Guardian

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Schools are still open in #Lockdown2 but Johnson’s government is offering only lessons in confusion

“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 – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. Now it seems the Tories don’t even know what to do with the youngsters they have sent back there. Was it only so they could catch Covid-19 and pass it on to their parents?

Here’s a terrifying statistic:

(Let’s not have any comments from twits who don’t know term started in September and school have just come back from half-term week.)

In the last week, the figures look like this:

I sympathise with the sentiments expressed in the tweet, too.

Official figures also show 23,287 new cases recorded in the UK on Friday (November 7).

Many of these new cases – and deaths – may be attributable to the decision to reopen schools in September; children are “super-spreaders” because, by and large, they don’t take as much care not to spread germs as adults.

The fact that schools aren’t being closed is considered by many – including This Writer – to be an indication that the Tories don’t want their new English lockdown to succeed.

And it isn’t even as if Boris Johnson’s government knows what to do with all the kids who are back at school:

After the Times Educational Supplement revealed that the government hasn’t even bothered to plan the school year in advance, taking into account the possibility of Covid-19 interference in next year’s exams, it turns out that staff are working flat-out to accommodate contradictory demands from the Department for Education, some being changed within hours:

Michael Rosen is right – it is “dictatorship through incompetence”.

Where is the electorate’s power of removal? Boris Johnson has already caused a national disaster and four more years of him could finish us all off completely.

AFTERTHOUGHT: It would be well worth the Labour Party putting forward a Bill for the electorate to be able to call another election in the event of serious government incompetence.

It would be blocked – but the Tories could not do so without admitting – at least tacitly – not only that they are incompetent, but that they know they are.

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Just desserts as MP who wants to starve children in holidays receives graffiti critique

What did George “Useless” Eustice expect?

After the Tory Environment Secretary defended his government’s determination to starve poverty-stricken children during the school holidays – including Christmas – people in his Cornwall constituency have retaliated with a “Banksy”-style graffiti criticism.

The text reads:

“Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
“Starved the kids and made them cry.
“#endchildfoodpoverty”

The artist even painted it onto a board that was then discovered attached to the front door of his constituency office:

Tories like Eustice thought members of the public have short memories and would forget that the decision to starve children at Christmas had been made by them.

Responses like this make the point clear:

They thought wrong.

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Don’t let them get away with it: next time Tories mention £63m fund to feed kids, remind them it has been SPENT

Money, money, money: and none of it is for hungry children. The £63m fund mentioned so often by Boris Johnson and others was not for that purpose and was all spent before they even started talking it up.

You know that £63 million fund Conservative ministers like Robert Jenrick, Nadhim Zahawi, Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson keep saying is available to feed poor children over school holidays?

It was all spent weeks ago.

It came to only a few hundred thousand pounds per council.

When they Tories provided it in July, it was with a proviso that the money had to be spent within 12 weeks.

And it wasn’t specifically for feeding hungry children anyway.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic:

Don’t let them get away with it.

Next time a Tory minister turns up on the media peddling this lie, complain.

Complain to that minister personally, and also to the media outlet, be it the BBC, Sky News or some local radio station operating out of a Portakabin.

Let’s expose these liars and child-starvers for what they are.

Note: This Site has been reminded that a handful of Conservatives voted in favour of feeding children during the school holidays, in rebellion against their party’s line that called for your kids to starve. Obviously they should not be targeted during protests. The are:

Caroline Ansell( quit Government post)
Robert Halfon
Jason McCartney
Anne Marie Morris
Holly Mumby-Croft

No doubt there are perfectly good reasons to criticise the above-named people as well – they are Tories, after all – but this isn’t one of them.

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George ‘Useless’ Eustace doubles down on lie that Tory government has provided money to feed kids

Defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice believes children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

There’s a good reason his nickname is ‘Useless’.

Environment Secretary George Eustace has repeated the insistence of Boris Johnson’s government that it will not provide any funding to feed poverty-stricken children at Christmas.

Interviewed by Kay Burley on Sky News, he said:

Burley provided robust rebuttals of his claims, and could have also pointed out that there is a five-week wait before Universal Credit claims are honoured (if they are allowed) – and that free school meals were provided outside of term time earlier this year because of the Covid-19 crisis that has forced millions of people to take a huge pay cut and that crisis is still going on.

As for the £63 million fund to councils…

Useless – sorry, Eustice – covered himself with shame during his trip round the TV stations today (October 28).

After two adults and two children died on a boat trying to get into the UK, he supported Priti Patel’s line that, rather than creating a new system which would allow asylum seekers to apply for refuge in the UK from outside its borders, the UK should block off all legal channels to do so.

This, of course, creates a huge market for illegal traffickers to send would-be migrants on unsafe channel crossings in which they may die. To Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast, Eustice said:

As you can tell, he doesn’t care if Johnny or Jane Foreigner dies; he just wants to keep them out.

To top it all, when Walker asked why the Johnson government ignored the advice of SAGE to have a lockdown in September in order to avoid having more than 200 deaths a day by mid-November – advice which seems to have been borne out by the fact that 367 deaths were recorded yesterday (October 27) – Useless Eustice said Johnson had chosen to do what he thought was right for the economy, not for the people:

Eustice is a former public relations executive who apparently learned his journalism at Cornwall College in Pool, Cornwall – which happens to be where This Writer did a postgraduate course in journalism.

I don’t think he was there when I was. Otherwise I would now be filled with regret for missing the opportunity to contribute to the national well-being by putting him off politics.

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Dyer does it again: EastEnders star calls for end of Eton boys running the UK

Danny Dyer: he’s holding a photo of “that melt” Oswald Mosley and his bunch of “fascist slags” the Black Shirts, during a brief documentary clip about the Battle of Cable Street.

It is time for working-class people to take over from Eton alumni – who have made it perfectly clear that they cannot run the UK properly.

That’s the opinion of Danny Dyer, the EastEnders actor and game show host who is himself descended from royalty, let’s remember.

On BBC Breakfast today (October 28), he said:

Dyer has form when it comes to criticising old Eton boys. Today he was commenting on Boris Johnson but he was particularly scathing about Johnson’s former Eton classmate David Cameron – a previous prime minister – not so long ago:

He makes a good point.

This Writer has long said that the inverse ratio between the quality of Eton’s reputation and that of its former pupils; I am glad to see this viewpoint being put to the wider audience that Dyer can command.

Sadly we will continue to be saddled with dimwitted toffs like Cameron and Johnson, as long as the UK Establishment continues to adhere to out-of-date, out-of-touch beliefs that more than 60 million people should have the courses of their lives dictated by an elite few who have absolutely no understand at all of the realities of life here.

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Now the #ToryScum are squabbling among themselves about #FreeSchoolMeals

Gavin Williamson: did he really ask Rishi Sunak’s Treasury for £150 million to provide meals for poverty-stricken children during school holidays?

Conservative cabinet ministers have started in-fighting over responsibility for blocking the provision of meals to poverty-stricken children during school holidays.

Somebody, it seems, has claimed that the Treasury blocked a request for £150 million to pay for such a scheme.

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hotly denied this, claiming that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson never asked for the funds.

Treasury sources said there had been no request from the education secretary for the £150m to provide meals for 1.4 million disadvantaged pupils during the holiday.

It seems perfectly reasonable to suppose that Sunak is right, in fact.

The call for the government to fund the meals came originally from footballer Marcus Rashford, and it was Labour who took it to Parliament in an Opposition Day debate last week – when the Tories ensured that it was rejected.

So it seems to me that Williamson would have had no reason to ask for the cash to make it happen.

Boris Johnson has since said that his government will not u-turn on the decision, no matter how hard public opinion turns against it.

His comments, along with the claim that no request has been made for the cash, will make it very hard for him to change his mind (as he often does if the focus groups tell him he needs to).

And he managed to cause trouble for himself by claiming local authorities could draw on a £63 million fund that his government has already created.

Council leaders angrily pointed out that the fund was intended to cover a wide range of hardships created by the Covid-19 crisis and most of it has been used.

Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi told Kay Burley of Sky News that kids were more interested in football than food:

The Tories have argued themselves into a corner and are digging themselves a hole in order to escape.

If I didn’t have some already, I’d be buying popcorn.

Source: Treasury rejects claims it refused extra £150m for free school meals | Education | The Guardian

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#ToryFoodTips: the public response to Johnson’s claim that he won’t let children go hungry

Make no mistake – this is an expression of disbelief in Tory promises by the social media-using public.

Boris Johnson has refused to u-turn on his refusal to provide free school meals for children.

Some of you may consider that to be positive proof that a u-turn is coming, but while we wait, we should consider his words, that the government will “do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry”.

The obvious thing to do would be to spend some money into the economy to ensure that they can enjoy a good nutritious meal – and the easiest way to do that is by funding free school meals!

Failing that, what else can the Tories do?

Some commenters on Twitter think they might offer advice on how  to make cheap and easy meals – and have offered suggestions on the form this advice may take, using the hashtag #ToryFoodTips:

You’ll notice that the tone of the advice changes, depending on the kind of person for whom it is intended – which leads me to this:

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Welsh Tory MP voted to starve English children while Welsh Labour feeds those in her constituency

I raise this to point out the hypocrisy of Conservative MPs.

Last December, people in This Writer’s constituency – Brecon and Radnorshire, in Wales – voted Conservative Fay Jones into Parliament as their MP.

The Welsh government – run by the Labour Party – has already legislated to ensure that children who have been flung into poverty by UK-wide Tory policies and/or by the Covid-19 crisis will enjoy free school meals to ensure they do not grow hungry.

Last week, Jones was among the 322 MPs who voted to ensure that English children – afflicted in the same way by Tory policies – starve.

What utter hypocrisy.

The worst part of it is that people here will probably vote for her again, in the mistaken impression that she had something to do with the decision to provide free meals for children here in Wales.

I note that Ms Jones has been in Parliament for less than a year but has already incurred expenses claims totalling £25,717.57 – equivalent to the average wage in the UK – on top of her MP salary of around £82,000. She seems far more a waste of money than English children – the feeding of whom I would consider to be more an investment.

It is notable that she has also received a supporting donation from the bottled water company Radnor Hills, totalling £10,000.

Considering that fellow Tory MP Selaine Saxby has said she hopes firms providing food to starving English children should not seek government support, it seems appropriate that this firm (that would receive any such support from the Labour-run Welsh government, rather than Westminster) should be deprived of public support in return for backing Jones.

Don’t you agree?

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No u-turn on free school meals, says Brandon Lewis – kids will have to survive on charity

Brandon Lewis: this is an old image so the facts about his houses may be out of date.

If you think we’ve reached peak Tory cruelty, allow me to point out at the outset that we haven’t.

It may seem that way, with Boris Johnson and his government passing cash hand-over-fist to their Tory chums while ordering that children stricken with a poverty that they have created must starve, but believe me – it is possible for these soulless monsters to do much worse.

On the subject of soulless monsters, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis made an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today to make it clear that, no matter how much abuse they receive, Tory MPs have absolutely no intention of reversing their decision to deny free school meals to kids who need them over the half-term and Christmas holidays.

He claimed that the Tory government has already put huge amounts of money aside for this purpose but the claim does not correspond with reality; he was just plucking numbers from his rear end.

Marr told him businesses were stepping up and Lewis signified his approval. But we have an answer to that :

The Tory response to the charity from local businesses was to claim that these firms clearly do not need government support during the Covid crisis and should not apply for it; a clear indicator that they intend to punish anybody in a position to stop poor children from starving:

The Tory MP highlighted in the article, Selaine Saxby (North Devon), has since claimed that she was misrepresented…

… but it is hard to see how “I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support” can be interpreted any other way.

Ms Saxby was elected last December with a massive majority of 14,813 votes – that’s 14,813 more than her nearest rival, 26.6 per cent of the total. She took 56.5 per cent of the vote altogether.

This means the people of North Devon voted by an overall majority to support a Conservative who endorses policies that put children in poverty, and votes to starve them once they are there.

I know This Site has readers from that constituency who are sickened by their MP’s choices. Public voting habits being what they are, it will be up to these people to force their peers to see what they have supported – possibly by finding local examples of children who are going hungry as a result of this cruel Tory policy? – and make them face their responsibility for it.

Meanwhile the backlash against the Tories continues:

Davies is the MP for Grantham and Stamford. People living there: you know what to do.

If you have made a similar infographic – or have seen one – please send it in so I can publish it here.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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