Category Archives: Education

Shutting down creativity is upon us | Dorset Eye

Sunak: he wants to shut down some degree courses – and it seems this is already happening.

Less than a day after I suggested that Rishi Sunak wants to shut down some degree courses because he wants to stifle critical thinking, we see evidence that some courses are already being closed:

Universities at Wolverhampton and Roehampton are ‘suspending’ performing arts courses for 2022/3.

They claim it’s through lack of demand by students.

Critics blame the government’s devaluing of arts programmes and the move to push students toward science, technology and engineering courses.

I even detect criticism in the voice of The Stage editor, Alistair Smith, that parents are responsible for believing Tory spin that performing arts courses, and by association jobs in the sector, are worthless.

Blame the government Alistair, not parents and especially not parents of working-class kids.

The truth is if your name is Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddlestone, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham-Carter, or the odious Laurence Fox you will always be able to follow your dream because you have money and well-off parents behind you.

Working-class kids, however talented, don’t have the luxury of privilege.

But the working class has produced some top-class actors; Pete Postlewaite, Julie Walters, Maxine Peake, and Daniel Mays to randomly name just a few.

Source: Shutting down creativity is upon us – Dorset Eye

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Is this the real reason Rishi Sunak wants to stop people taking some degree courses?

Rishi Sunak: is he trying to eliminate critical thinking so we won’t have the intellectual ability to understand when he and his fellow Tories are talking nonsense?

The BBC’s Any Questions and Any Answers discussed Rishi Sunak’s plan to stop people taking degree courses that don’t increase their “earning potential” – and may have revealed an ulterior motive behind it.

Sunak has said he would assess courses through drop-out rates, numbers in graduate jobs and salary thresholds – and current figures show that students with a degree in languages, linguistics, and classics have the least employable degrees.

But one caller to Any Answers made a hugely important point about the degrees Sunak wants to eradicate: they encourage critical thinking.

Vocational courses – that lead to careers in engineering, science and the like – are all about how to achieve particular results. To a large extent, students are spoon-fed the methodologies and don’t have to employ their critical faculties (although I will be happy to be proved wrong).

So here’s the question: why would a politician like Rishi Sunak want to stop members of the UK electorate from thinking critically?

Is it because they would then be able to examine the word salad he and his fellow Tories churn out every day and correctly identify it as nonsense gibberish?

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Parents: do you know the Tories are stealing your rights relating to your children’s education?

Vulnerable child: the Tory Schools Bill is likely to harm youngsters who have special educational needs or who are bullied at school.

Are you a parent? If so, how do you feel about the fact that the Tory government is stealing your rights out from under your nose?

It will be nearly impossible to get those rights back if you lose them.

So, for example:

The government plans to change the law to require councils to use their powers to promote regular attendance and reduce absences.  Schools will also be required to publish attendance policies and implement efforts to promote regular attendance.

The education secretary will be allowed to decide what will warrant an absence fine, which is currently set at council level. Current laws on granting absence will be extended to academies. The government wants these changes to come into effect in September 2023.

Also:

The government will legislate to create a duty on councils to keep a register of children not in school. There will also be a duty on parents to provide information to councils for the register.

Out-of-school education providers will be required to provide information to LAs on request. Councils will also have to provide support to registered home-educating families where it’s required.

And:

The government will also legislate to speed up the issuing of school attendance orders, which are issued by councils on behalf of heads to parents or carers of absent pupils. School attendance orders are a precursor to absence fines.

It is not currently against the law for parents who have been issued with an order to withdraw their child from school. This will become a crime under the proposed legislation.

The maximum penalty for breaching an attendance order will increase to a £2,500 fine or up to 3 months’ imprisonment.

You may think those measures seem reasonable. But that would be to ignore the reasons why children avoid school and parents switch to home learning.

This excerpt from a Facebook post may put the situation in its proper context:

Currently in the UK our rights include the right to make sure that our children are recieving a full time education that suits their aptitude, abilities and needs.

One of your legal rights as parents in the UK, is that if your child has SEND or bullying issues at school, you can make the choice to withdraw them to home educate them, send them to another school if you prefer, and you have other routes and choices you can go down. You can visit schools and speak to SEND specialists, all before making your choices. This is just one tiny example.

Under the new bill, if you decide to home educate, you will need to obtain consent from the school your child is registered at. You may then get local authority staff who are not trained in education or SEND, assessing your child’s learning, well-being and development. The local authority will have the power to decide, at a moment’s notice, that your child must return to school, and they may send them to an inadequate school of their choosing, where your child’s needs may not be met, and from which they will not be allowed to be withdrawn by you.

Your rights, as parents, will be removed from you and given to the government. You will no longer have any control over your child’s education.

The Schools Bill is being advertised as a bill only targeting those ‘missing education’. However, if you read the actual document, you may well feel outraged! You do need to read it thoroughly though. To not read it, would mean to blindly accept that the government knows what is best for your child and you do not.

The advice is to read the Schools Bill – you can find it here – then write to your local MP and any local members of the House of Lords, whose job is to hold the government to account, and ask them to oppose the Bill’s ckauses that strip parents of their rights and hand those powers to Tory ministers.

The Facebook post continues:

Do you have a child who is sick or poorly a lot? This bill will affect you.
Do you have a child who has mental health issues and is too anxious or depressed to attend school at times? This bill will affect you.
Have you had a bereavement in the family, and your child wants to attend the funeral or needs some time off to grieve and process things? This bill will affect you.
Do you have a child with undiagnosed or unmet special or additional educational needs? This bill will affect you.
Is your child being severely and persistently bullied or socially ostracized at school, to the extent that it’s affecting their physical health, mental health and well-being? This bill will affect you.
To put it bluntly, if you have a child, this bill will affect you.

Do you want the well-being of your child to be handed to faceless council functionaries performing tick-box exercises for Tory ministers like Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi?

That is what the Tory government is planning – unless you help stop it.

Tories do listen to public opinion. They fear unpopularity – and will act to curb legislation that may lead them to lose their Parliamentary seats; seats which are already in jeopardy because of the loss of Boris Johnson’s credibility.

So, if you’re a parent, it’s up to you. Will you let Nadhim Zahawi walk all over you – and trample any vulnerable child into the asphalt of the playground?

Or will you take action?

Source: Schools bill: The 15 new laws proposed by the DfE

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Septic Starmer’s new policies attack nurses and teachers – like a toxic Tory

Apt: Keir Starmer reckons he was named after original Labour leader Hardie – but can anyone doubt that his illustrious forerunner might have said these words, if confronted with evidence of Starmer’s determination to destroy the party he helped to found.

Keir Starmer has, it seems, provided ample further evidence that he is deliberately trying to destroy the Labour Party from within.

According to Skwawkbox, Starmer’s Labour would freeze the pay of teachers and nurses.

The claim follows comments by Tory Michael Fabricant that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should be excused their criminal lawbreaking (and dishonesty, in Johnson’s case) in attending the infamous Downing Street parties.

He said he knew of nurses and teachers who went for a quiet drink in staff rooms after shifts during lockdown.

According to the BBC,

Teaching leaders criticised the comments as “deeply insulting”… The RCN said it wanted to formally complain.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen criticised the MP’s comments and said nurses and nursing support staff would, after finishing well past the end of their shifts, “get home, clean their uniforms, shower and collapse into bed” rather than “have a quiet one in the staff room”.

“It is utterly demoralising – and factually incorrect – to hear you suggest that our diligent, safety critical profession, can reasonably be compared to any elected official breaking the law, at any time,”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said in a letter to the education secretary Mr Fabricant’s suggestion was “wholly inaccurate and deeply insulting” to teachers as a profession.

Mr Fabricant’s comments were “as insulting as they are offensive”, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said.

And now it seems Starmer is in full agreement with the Tory (again) and determined to stick the knife into teachers and nurses too.

Other policies announced by Starmer, according to Skwawkbox, include:

  • Protecting non doms – Labour wants to ‘reform’ the system that allows hugely-wealthy foreigners to live tax-free in the UK, just as the Tories are already planning to do. Is this because Starmer is still scrabbling around for donations to save his nigh-on-bankrupt party?
  • And arresting environmental campaigners and people who go on strike to defend their rights from removal by government.

If this is true, then it validates that great Left thinker Noam Chomsky’s assertion that Starmer’s Labour is “Thatcher-lite” and there’s no difference between his so-called “Opposition” and the hated Boris Johnson Tory government – an administration that fits all the qualifications to be described as Fascist.

And this is interesting. Only days ago, on Facebook, several commenters vociferously objected after I suggested that voters should boycott Labour in the May 5 local elections in order to engineer a change in that party’s direction before Starmer gives Boris Johnson an even bigger Parliamentary majority at the next general election.

Considering the implications of this – and of what it means about future policies from Starmer’s toxic team – I wonder if those people are ready to change their minds?

Source: Starmer finally announces 3 policies – like toxic buses all arriving at once – SKWAWKBOX

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#Tory plans for #Covid19 have fallen into incoherence. Can anybody #makeitmakesense?

Boris Johnson says the UK’s position with regard to Covid-19 is “incomparably better” than it was this time last year.

I don’t get it, so I’m willing to bet that you don’t either.

Covid-19 infections in the UK have skyrocketed over the Christmas period – and that’s just those we know about!

At the time of writing, the number of new cases in England and Scotland stood at 157, 758 on January 3. Those for Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the figures from Public Health England.

And there is a shortage of test kits, meaning the figures available to us are likely to represent only a fraction of the real total.

Only 42 deaths have been recorded. Again, these are likely to be a fraction of the real total, but the figure is one of the best This Writer has seen in months.

The number of hospitalisations is not listed on any of the press releases I’ve seen, but it likely to be around 9-10,000.  That’s about 50 per cent more than the previous week, indicating that while the Omicron variant may not kill people, it will certainly put them in hospital, tying up NHS resources.

The government’s response? Revive Nightingale hospitals.

That’s right. Apparently eight new Nightingales are being set up in car parks across the UK, aiming to provide 4,000 extra beds for Covid-19 patients.

Sadly, there are no extra NHS staff available to run these so-called hospitals. The NHS is overstretched, just staffing the genuine hospitals it has. Boris Johnson’s claim to be recruiting 50,000 new nurses had the same validity as most of his pronouncements (in other words, none at all) and Sajid Javid’s appeal for former healthcare professionals to help out has fallen on deaf ears.

It seems both men are hoping that nobody will realise that a tent in a car park without hospital staff isn’t a hospital; it’s just a tent – in a car park.

Heaven help you if you end up being sent there.

While all this was going on, the government assured everybody in England that it was perfectly safe to enjoy New Year parties – without any health protection measures at all. This was probably motivated by fear of being shamed again if evidence comes to light of more Downing Street parties at a time when people were not allowed to enjoy themselves, and hope that the inevitable increase in Covid cases comes as those with other causes start to tail off.

Oh, and the shortage of NHS staff is not being addressed at all. In fact, the Tories have refused to provide the FFP2 or FFP3 face masks that will protect them from being infected by their patients, meaning he is deliberately directing the NHS towards what could be its worst ever winter crisis.

Then there’s the question of schools.

The new term begins on January 4 (which could be today, depending on when you’re reading this), with only one health protection measure in place: secondary pupils must wear masks.

There is no plan to address the acute shortage of teachers caused by the government’s refusal to impose protections on their health after the Omicron variant arrived in the UK.

This means classes – and indeed entire schools – are likely to close this month.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has told head teachers to consider merging classes (to ensure that pupils who may not be infected have a chance to catch Covid from those who are?) or sending groups of pupils home if staff absences reach critical levels.

This suggests that his own appeal for former teachers to volunteer to help has fallen on the same stony ground as his colleague Javid’s did within the NHS. And quite right, too – retired staff are in the Covid-19 danger zone and must consider their own safety first.

So government policy is another massive contradiction. Health protection measures are minimal and the assumption is that schools will stay open until closure is the only choice remaining to them – meaning they must become breeding grounds for the virus, once again.

Calls for better ventilation, filtration, and social distancing have been rejected by the government – possibly because acting on them would involve spending money, and the only spending the Tories plan to do on Covid-19 is wasting cash by handing it to their friends (no matter how amateur they may be).

Sadly we cannot expect opposition to any of these hare-brained policies from Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Starmer supported, to the hilt, everything Johnson has done – and failed to do – about Covid-19. That includes demanding that schools should stay open.

A U-turn now would leave him and his Tepid Tory party wide open to criticism from the real Tories.

Labour had the chance to demand school safety, support for the vulnerable, and help for businesses but squandered it. Now it is too late for Starmer to change.

Add it all up and it makes nonsense of Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK is in an “incomparably better” position than this time last year.

We are on the edge of a cliff and he is trying to push us over.

That’s unless you can make it make sense for the rest of us.

Social media comments on the information supporting this article – and more – are below:

#BorisJohnson would rather build a #RoyalYacht vanity project than protect children from #Covid19

Endangered: I don’t think school pupils are allowed to sit this close to each other any more (are they?) but if they were, air filters in their classrooms would help attack the spread of Covid-19. Too bad Boris Johnson would rather spend twice as much money on a so-called Royal Yacht, to tickle his vanity, isn’t it?

I’m writing this on the day the UK recorded a new daily record of Covid-19 infections – 129,471 cases, and the Tory government announced that the current evidence does not support more measures to combat the spread of the disease.

In fact, the Tories may well be right. At 9,546, the number of hospitalisations is much lower than the peak of 34,336 on January 18 this year, when fewer infections had been recorded.

But there’s an enormous cohort of the population that has not been fully vaccinated, and today – it seems – we have evidence that the government would rather build a new “Royal Yacht” in which privileged people would gad about the world trying to do trade deals than protect them.

I refer, of course, to school-age children.

That’s certainly what the above tweet leads This Writer to believe (that we are being led to believe what Shuaib is saying).

It’s based on this Guardian article, which says scientists and campaigners have claimed fitting air filters would “significantly” reduce the transmission of Covid-19 in schools.

Without such a measure, the statistical likelihood is still that huge numbers of school pupils and their teachers will catch the disease and that an appreciable number of them will be hospitalised; a lower proportion of the total, perhaps, but when the total is so much higher, the actual number may also be large.

The statistical likelihood is also that some of these children and adults will die – or will suffer Long Covid for an unspecified time afterwards.

But Boris Johnson doesn’t care about your kids or their teachers! He wants his yacht, because a hugely-expensive status symbol is far more important than some poor person’s brat!

Right?

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#Eton under pressure after #RickyGervais rant about the politicians it produces

Eton: has this school done more to ruin the UK than any other organisation.

When are we going to stop taking ‘went to Eton’ as a qualification for running the country?”

With those words, embedded in a sweary rant, Ricky Gervais once again struck a chord with the people of the UK:

He was attacking Boris Johnson, of course – and rightly so.

But the criticism rings true of so many more politicians, especially in recent years.

So the social media erupted:

It would be fair to say that Eton produces high-flyers who are both arrogant and ignorant, and only ever gain positions of power because of the Old Boy Network.

Maybe once it educated genuinely great and good people. But even that is debatable. And those days – if they ever existed – are long gone.

As a private school, providing education to those who can pay its exorbitant fees, Eton does not take the most intelligent people; it takes those whose parents have the most money.

Teachers there may do their best to implant an education into this stony ground but the evidence suggests that the best way Eton equips its alumni for success is by allowing them to say they were “Eton-educated”, even though (in some cases), it would have been more rewarding to educate a brick. It would do less damage, even if it were used only to break windows.

Former Eton pupils help each other into the plum jobs and deny those jobs to more deserving people who went to other schools.

And that’s why the United Kingdom has flushed itself down the toilet.

The quality of the education provided may be excellent. I don’t think anybody is denying it.

But if Eton’s current owners and staff really want to maintain their school’s reputation, that is being trashed by former pupils including Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Jacob Rees-Mogg and, yes, Justin Welby, there’s something they need potential pupils to do before they take any money:

An intelligence test.

Of course, it’s possible that Eton does actually get potential pupils to take such a test.

If so, then it needs to be changed.

To one that works.

#Labour councillors crossed a #picket line they should have been joining. Here’s the shameful reason [VIDEO]

The Labour Party is supposed to represent workers and working-class people, especially if they are struggling for decent pay, in-work benefits and pensions, as part of its reason for existing – wouldn’t you agree?

Members of the University and College Union have been striking in a dispute that is partly over the management and financing of the University Superannuation Scheme (USS), which provides pensions to the UK’s older universities as well as research institutes and academic thinktanks, and partly over low pay and issues including insecure fixed-term contracts used to employ an increasing number of teaching staff.

So why did Labour councillors in Sheffield not only cross a picket line but, in one case, apparently assault a picketer?

It seems a meeting of Labour-led Sheffield City Council had been scheduled to take place in a university building – during the strike, which seems extremely insensitive of a Labour-run organisation.

These councillors were attending a pre-meeting, and it seems they crossed the picket line to do so, attracting cries of “Scab!” from some of the picketers. That’s how the incident came to take place.

Sheffield UCU subsequently released a statement:

For those who can’t read images, it says:

Today, the majority of Labour councillors entered a University of Sheffield building for a pre-meeting, and in doing so, walked past striking members of Sheffield UCU. Along with UCU members from 57 other HE institutions across the UK, today is our first day of strike action in our dispute over rampant precarity, unhealthy workloads, equal pay, and substantial cuts to our pay and pensions. These are issues that we trust would be of particular importance to the Labour party.

“We do not condone the use of university buildings during strike action, and when we learned of this meeting, had worked with the Sheffield Students Union to find an alternative location in the Students Union next door, which is treated as neutral ground during industrial action.

“We are extremely disappointed that any member of the Labour party would choose to cross past striking union members, despite being given an opportunity to support our action by simply relocating their pre-meeting to a nearby building. We understand that at this pre-meeting, the Labour members took a vote and were determined to not attend the later, full council meeting. This decision does not negate their previous choice to do so, but we are pleased they made the correct choice in the end.

“We appreciate the solidarity of those Labour, Green, and Lib Dem council members who chose to not enter the building.”

Yes indeed. Apparently the alternative, Student Union, building was turned down by councillors because they thought it was too small for social distancing.

That doesn’t excuse the Labour Party from having scheduled a meeting to take place at the university during strike action, though.

What were they thinking?

And isn’t this typical of Labour Party policy at the moment – that the challenges faced by workers and working-class people are increasingly overlooked by career politicians who are more concerned with keeping their positions as members of the Establishment?

If that’s the political position occupied by Keir Starmer’s Labour, then it is worse than useless to the people for whom that party was originally formed.

Labour Exploitation Party. They climb to the heights by walking all over us.

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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”.

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.

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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.

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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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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