Media coverage of strike…


Hello Good People who read this blog….

I just want to write a little thing,because I am so furious and shocked about the media coverage on the imminent strike in the UK for people working in  public services. I just saw that great educationalist, role model for good behaviour and well-known feminist, James Whale ( please realise I writing with extreme sarcasm!), and to my shock  and horror Miriam Stoppard, both criticising the strike, and teachers in particular,in no uncertain terms for striking and depriving children of their education.

I am so furious with them and the media coverage I have seen so far.

I will just speak about the teachers as education is something I know about. First of all , correct me if I am wrong, but by the end of June all the essential teaching, main exams, have been done and dusted and frankly the last 3 or 4 weeks of the summer term, are taken up with end of year tasks, days out, sports days, school concerts, award ceremonies etc. Many children disappear on cheap holidays with their families at this time. You can more or less write off the last three weeks of the school year in terms of serious academic work . Also most private schools are either closed or closing by the start of July while the state schools run for another couple of weeks. If you wanted to close a school for one day this is not a bad time. In fact I hope all young people will support their teachers and join the march.

Secondly in the past, successive governments have totally disrupted the entire state education system in several ways.The government has closed down schools not for one,but many days during term-time, for years now in order to re-train teachers.Originally called “Baker days” teachers have been constantly forced to change the way they teach , what they teach, how they teach in order to please successive governments , and this has meant many days when schools were closed down.In terms of working parents, frankly there is very little consideration or help at any time of year to cope with school hours, school holidays etc., so an extra day of trying to find childcare for a good cause to will ensure quality of education for one’s children, is no big sacrifice.

The government’s implementation of the National Curriculum , league tables, and adding more and more non-academic responsibilities to the work of teachers, has been far more disruptive to children’s education that one day’s strike, at the end of the school year.

The teachers I know get up at 6. a.m. and sometimes work into the evening planning lessons, they also work at the weekends and holidays correcting work and planning lessons. The lessons planning becoming increasingly ludicrous with the ever-changing  demands of the National Curriculum.

For example one primary school teacher I know, who teaches in a very “rough” area of London, explained how she had to create a lesson teaching the painting technique of “Pointillism” , illustrated with famous paintings by Seurat which included rivers, sea and pools of water, so that this could also double-up as a science lesson on water.

I like creative  education, and I am all for teaching art in schools, but considering many of these children do not have books at home, and come from very economically deprived backgrounds, I think maybe Seurat would not be my  priority  if I were in charge of my own teaching.

Getting back to my point, this teacher retired at 60. But even though she worked tremendously long-hours, she loved her job so much,that she decided to stay on beyond 60 as a supply teacher within the same school.  However by the age of 62, she found her energy level were just too low to keep it up indefinitely, and  even though she is incredibly fit and energetic, at 62 she is forced to retire altogether at the end of this term. She can because she has a pension!

Teaching is demanding physically, emotionally, spiritually and one can expect to work a 60 hour week. It requires great commitment to children and to the future of society. Teachers are under-valued and their teaching is constantly disrupted with each changing government’s new policy, no matter which one is elected.

Therefore I am furious at the media coverage that seems to criticise teachers for wanting to retire before the age of 68  and  who expect to have a good pension to live on.

If I were not a hippie, and I was a dictator who ruled  Britain ( which I can be  in my blog), I would seize the private assets of  bankers and politicians, and their power-mad fantasies, and make them do community service: a couple of years of teaching for free in state schools, also forcing  all their children to attend the schools they work in. If they failed their OFSTED inspections then they would have to try and claim benefits and see how far they got before they would almost inevitably give up!

I would also not allow such bias in the news and other media coverage against the strike. Maybe all these critical media people could do worse than spend a couple of years working in a state school as well and then see if they thought they could still do it at 50 let alone 60 or 68.

I feel this government is trying to re-create class differences in the UK  and prohibit social mobility by creating two types of education. I doubt if private schools would employ full-time 68 year old teachers! If the teachers did not strike it would show that they didn’t understand the nature of their job and that they did not care about the quality of education for children.

Love and Peace

Born2rant

( will be joining protests soon in support of them. I had both a private and a state education, my best school  teachers were without question from the comprehensive I attended.)

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On London Youth Crime


Hello Good People who read this blog

This is a comment I put on a Channel 4 blog in response to the “Disarming Britain” programmes last night which I thought I would copy here. I hope my son doesn’t mind that I write about him but then he asked me to write this blog to try and point out how our society has changed.

“When I watched Channel 4 last night , all the programmes about youth and knife crime I broke down and cried. It surprised me to react so strongly but I feel we have failed our children so badly.
I could have told you 15 years ago that London youth was heading in this direction.
15 years ago I took my son out of school and home educated him to protect him from violence and attack from boy gangs in school and in the streets to and from school.
I was a single parent and was given an extremely hard time by the authorities both of us were. For years he had been brutalised in school by gangs which they mistakenly called “bullying” and their attitude was always to say that he was bullied because I was a single parent and didn’t look after him properly. It was all my fault and they took no responsibility for controlling the gangs in the school or even acknowledging that they existed.
One of my son’s friends was murdered, shot dead last year for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a sweet caring intelligent peaceful young black man.
I bet those responsible were in a gang and “bullied” other children in school, I bet no one really did much about it.
After I took my son out of school a couple of years later I sent him to Southwark College when he was repeatedly threatened with knives and was attacked. The response of the college when I had a meeting with them was to say that he was being paranoid and imagining it because I was over-protective and clung onto him as a single parent. At Southwark College , this was 12 years ago now, my son’s black friends often brought not just knives but machetes and other weapons into the college, these were the nice kids. They carried these weapons to college because they were so scared. The staff working there and the other schools my son attended were always in denial and basically were more concerned with league tables and Ofsted inspections, many parents like myself who complained were told we were the problem and that there was no problem in the school.
They really were nice polite kids but the mainstream society was/is all about money, appearance, getting ahead, I’m alright jack, competition.. ..no morals basically since Thatcher got in.
What do you expect?
I am of the “love and peace” generation but we were blamed for loose morals, well a fine mess the money -and- TV- fame-and-appearance-is-everything culture has made, I prefer love and peace and understanding and being creative as ethics.
As a result of taking my son away from the violence in schools and home educating him he did extremely well at University and is now a University lecturer himself in Germany. He has sworn never to come back and live in the UK due to the crime and the ” Zero Tolerance” of the police and CCTV cameras which only alienate youth further and doesn’t give them a better place to grow up.
In my opinion we need to make community a priority and let groups of youths have some control and power over their lives , to get them to help set up youth clubs with creative activities that can make them feel good about themselves and give them better ethics.
I also think parents should encourage activities with their children, family activities so that their children do not spend their whole time playing violent computer games getting wired and de-sensitising them from violence. Also to help girls as much as boys as they are also suffering from this rubbish culture we have adopted from the US, we need to look more at cultures where young people are not so troubled , watch less tv, get families to spend more time sharing activities with their children. Families need some help too, if everything is so expensive that parents are either desperate or both parents have to work what do their children get up to? There’s just not enough help out there for families and their children. Not enough good summer holiday facilities for growing children who might be alone for 6 weeks of the year from 11 years old onwards while Mum and Dad are at work.

Love and Peace to you all. Good luck, empower youth with guidance don’t disempower them.”

Born2rant

P.S. They say it takes a village to bring up a child but just look at how many people actually “get involved” or care about what is going on in some sections of London and other cities.

How difficult is it to grow up in a complex stressed out city where crowds of people are anonymous and education systems and laws are constantly changing ,many situations are transitory providing no emotional security.

( I apologise for the inappropriate content of the generated links below! I hope that they change them).