We need social mobility

The former Conservative slogan ‘Britain isn’t working’ showing people queueing for work could now be altered to show people queueing for food instead whilst they got jobs now.

The Brexit disaster is a great example why we need more social mobility.  It’s the way this Brexit story came about that makes the case.

At the time David Cameron and George Osborne formed that young Conservative government. Both pals from university, one could almost feel the connection those two had. They both felt strong and nothing bad could ever happen was the feeling they radiated out to us.

And then David Cameron cooked up this recipe for disaster, which is called the Brexit vote. Now we have nothing but division and dismay over this Brexit referendum when the country was split in half by it.  51.89% leave and 48.11% remain. David Cameron himself then left his post as prime minister as he was obviously upset by the results, which he did not expect and his old friend George Osborne followed David’s example to leave government as well.

Yet these two had a lot of power to set up British political events for decades to come, those two uni pals. Apparently many people in powerful public positions know each other from university. In Britain the two most influental universities are Cambridge and Oxford.

There are now some MPs who say we need to honour the outcome of the vote,

The vote was badly set up, it simply asked: ” Do you want to leave or remain in the European Union?”

Obviously things are not that easy. There are contracts and terms and conditions to respect. Only if the policital system in the EU was so bad that we would rather fight them then deal with them could we even consider not honouring our contractual obligations.

The vote itself was very badly set up, very short-sighted.

Neither politicians nor the public were properly informed what staying in or leaving actually implied.

People were not asked whether they want to just leave without a deal or what kind of further relationship they want and that insincerity now causes all the problems.

I blame to a great extent the lack of social mobility because the same mates that go to uni together then find themselves in position of power. If universities get populated more by people who come from different walks of life the whole emotional backdrop would not exist and people would become more rational and actually examine their own mindsets and the whole thought processes in depths.

What now also becomes apparent, is that after years of Conservative government the cracks begin to show. More and more companies close down, or get moved to Europe or other parts of the world. The only way the employment rate is kept high because people are driven into self-employment or zero hours contracts. Apparently many people have to do questionable things to be able to cope with Universal Credit, a system that causes immense misery to more vulnerable people. It also exploits women who are driven into doing things they normally would not do to survive.

Britain is now the least family-friendly country in Europe according to UNICEF.

That current benefit system is self-serving, it keeps the low very low and stoops them lower whilst it supports the government and allows them to keep huge amounts of savings in case of no deal Brexit. So the Brexit saga was merely an instrument to increase the misery of the poor.

Perhaps it is worth examining the data the Department of Works and Pension holds to find out how it is possible to have such a high rate of employment when the press is daily filled with company closures.

It is quite apparent to everyone that most of our high street shops have closed in favour of food outlets and that footfall in highstreet has dramatically decreased.

Social mobility would stop such crass disputes in parliament because the two sides created through our elitist education would not emerge to that extent. Working class and richer kids could mix in uni at student level and get to know each other then instead of clashing later. If there were more people from poor backgrounds involved in government, the policies would change to take more care of the vulnerable citizens.

The emergency of the Change UK new party is a direct result of social clashes and people who want to overcome them.

The only good thing I can say about Food banks is that they are better than the food stamps Hitler used to give to the people he liked and refused to give to the people he let starve to death. Food banks are relatively easy to use and people can access them.

Yet, a political system that boasts full employment but makes those employees relying on food banks despite a minimum and national living wage is obviously very flawed.

 

 

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The Tower Hamlets dictatorship

If I understand correctly that every pupil has the right to choose a school to their liking, to apply for attendance to get an education.

Once in a school, then pupils still have the right to apply for another school for an in-term transfer to any school of their choice.

Yet in Tower Hamlets the council wants to dictate to parents what school to send their children to because the council decides to close a school down.

Without any consultation of parents the council made arrangements with Oaklands school to take over pupils from Raine’s Foundation school once they closed this brand new school.

That is not within the merits of our legal framework as it doesn’t allow pupils to make any choices and the council also did not ask parents whether they would agree to the scheme in the first place.

What makes the situation doubly difficult is that Ofsted has declared Oaklands to be an excellent school and Oaklands pupils also had some very good results last year. But, their pupils are not very polite.  I would have expected that brilliant students also have brilliant and polite personalities but that is not the case.

My daughter was sent to Oaklands in March of this year as one of the best Math students from Raine’s Foundation to take part in the AMSP Maths Feast. She was greeted with shouts of Raine’s are not going to do well. That really ruined the atmosphere.

oaklands head apology

Letter of apology from Oaklands school to Raine’s parents

Now parents went for visits to Oaklands to see whether they want to send their kids to the school and were openly insulted by pupils shouting F….k o..f Raine’s.

This promped the head teacher to make a written apology to Raine’s parents for the bad behaviour of pupils hoping that parents will still send their kids to the school as it is save.

Obviously the whole scheme is flawed from start to finish. An education authority should never dictate to parents what school to send their kids to.

I don’t think that good exam results alone are a good indicator that pupils will actually be welcome at a school when that school has a certain ethos that is determined by one particular class of pupils.

I have now written to Ofsted because I think that the process to shut Raine’s and transfer pupils without formal consulation is legally flawed.

Ofsted should never stop inspecting schools. Even the best schools should get an inspection at least every 5 years and there should be a better ability of parents to contact Ofsted directly if they feel they cannot make themselves heard at the school.

Unfortunately with those constant ministerial changes of our current Conservative government it is literally impossible to get heard. The cut-backs of civil cervants makes government departments under-staffed and any communications do not get read properly with excuses that they need to await a new minister to take up the post.

The school and council should have consulted with all parents prior to making any arrangements. The school did arrange a meeting with the head of Oaklands schol but parents weren’t told that an amalgamation was on the cards and so the meeting was very sparsely attended. Parents were clearly told in the spring that nothing would change to the education arrangements in the future. See notification-of-change-of-leadership-arrangements

We have now decided to not even consider a place at that unhospitable Oaklands school.

Yet in Tower Hamlets

Whilst I am positive about the Labour win in Peterborough for tactial Brexit reasons, I must say that the Labour council here in my home borough of Tower Hamlets has caused a lot of concern to local parents, pupils, teachers and school staff for wanting to close down a Christian Secondary school to amalgamate it with a non Christian council run school, which mainly caters for Muslim pupils.

Please sign an online petition against the closure.

The way the council goes about this is illegal. Also the Council has published a petition against the closure on its website without telling anybody in writing that it was there. So nobody signed the petition on the Council’s website but thousands of people signed the petition on change.org as aboe.

The closure was announced to parents and pupils at a highly stressful time. Just prior to year 11 pupils sitting their GCSE exams they received a letter from the council’s Corporate Director for Children and Culture Debbie Jones stating that the school is to close.

This caused immense stressed to the pupils who didn’t know anything about this.

What is also worth mentioning that the letter was addressed to pupils directly and not to the parent or carer of the pupil.

The new term to start in September 2019 has pupils who have applied for year 7 places and the Cabinet member for Children, Schools and Young People, Labour Councillor Danny Hassell has written to me defending his decision to cancel all year 7 places because the school is undersubscribed and because the school was visited by Ofsted and found to be in need of improvement. Also our local Labour Councillor Sirajul Islam supports the closure of this Christian school in Tower Hamlets.

It is obvious that there are many other solutions rather than close the school. The council refused to finance another Church of England headmaster financially who was drafted in to help.

At the same time the council has decided to close the school and disperse and transfer current pupils to the nearby Oaklands school or other schools by 2020.

Yet, yesterday on Facebook, the Council’s post, which promoted healthy air in the borough stated that no decision about the closure of the school has been taken yet and the decision is put off because of a pending public consultation.

The Council’s website lists the process here

The consultation is now open till 24. July 2019.

I think that the council has acted unlawfully and already decided about the closure of the school prior to even running the public consultation, which is not open yet.

Parents were invited to a meeting 7. May 2019. which was very badly conducted. In fact the council officer running the meeting, kept on grinning and smirking at parents.

There is now a public demonstration planned outside the school on

14. June 2019 between 3 – 5 pm. Approach Road, London E2

It has to be said that Raine’s Foundation has a brand new state of the art building, which cost millions to erect and is only about 4 years old. The school is in a lovely location, near Victoria Park and has a great quality of location to it.

Unfortunately only 1 Conservative councillor and 1 Liberal Councillor are prepared to support the school staying open. It is very sad that the Labour Council sees it as an easy option to close a Church of England run school with Christian values.

It seems that only a Judicial Review will help this problem. Please get in touch if you can help. And please we do not want a radical atmosphere during the demonstration.

The school has found support by other publications.

Further reference from East London Lines.

East London Advertiser 

 

Peterborough for Labour

I must say I like it that Labour won Peterborough ahead of the Brexit Party. It is a clear indication that people voted against Brexit in an area that previously was predominantly pro-Brexit.

Now, that most of the lies and rumours about how glorious Brexit is, have been dispersed, people vote for remain.

I think Brexit was all along a red herring to keep people’s attention on a right-wing nationalist agenda for the purpose that the Conservative government could re-create Victorian values in Britain.

The Conservatives lost many councils in the recent council elections for the reason that people are fed up to the teeth with the cut-backs they have to suffer to do with care for the elderdy, children, schools, rubbish collections and so forth.

Councils are running out of money and its this Conservative goverment that is responsible for it.

Whilst the government keeps on saying people didn’t vote for the Conservatives because the Conservatives failed to deliver Brexit, the reality is that people didn’t vote for the Conservatives because of the severe cut-backs on local council spending and overall policies.

Policies, which saw the wider introduction of Benefit cut-backs for the disabled, the Universal Credit, that left people queueing for Food banks to be able to survive, Zero hours contracts and a reduction in overall wages value by 6%.

Obviously Nigel Farage was very deflated about the second place in Peterborough but I think it indicates the line of pro and against Brexit voters in favour of the against.

Yesterday’s D-Day 75. Anniversary, saw veterans in tears over Brexit planning because they fought for freedom in Europe and want to keep it that way.

This article is not meant to be a blank cheque of support for Labour, who have many faults but it just shows that on the political strategy people voted tactically for the party that could counter the Brexit party in that local by-election.

Added on 7/6/19, the newly elected MP Lisa Forbes was caught into questions over alleged anti-semitic behaviour.

 

 

A new approach to education

Sir Michael Wiltshaw weems to be breaking ranks and so the last hope of Michael Gove for more Grammar schools is fading. It is refreshing to actually now get some hard statistics instead of beliefs and assumptions.

Sir Michael Wiltshaw says that in a Grammar school only 3% of pupils are on free school dinners and that Ireland, that has a lot of selective education did worst in recent international comparisons than the UK. Article here. However, this 3% figure could be explained by the geographical location of the Grammar schools. We have none in Tower Hamlets with a high percentage of free school dinner kids.  Grammar schools are mainly located in rich areas, hence the amount of free dinner users is low through this. Somewhat the argument of SMW doesn’t quite add up.

I would say the benefit for Grammar schools would be that it weeds out the rich kids that are anyway getting all the chances in life because they are rich. Not so talented rich kids, that do not do well in Grammar schools, will be stopped through the selective process.

UK still very low ranked in the eduction league tables

It is no wonder that the UK does so badly. As an immigrant from Germany I struggle daily with English attitudes to almost everything. I just live along and get on but just educating my child is hard at times; though the school has now improved and provides better for gifted and talented pupils. Hopefully that will carry on in Secondary School.

No wonder my learning disabled daughter likes it so much in Wales, as Wales is the lowest performing part of the UK, when the UK’s best performing part is Scotland.

I am stuck here in London, considering going to Germany as their schools are doing better. See tables.

Try out your skills you can take the PISA test here.

chartered surveyors want and end of rented housing

This is a typical manipulation of the parliament, trying to squeeze out the rented sector altogether and get parliament to give the go-ahead to rob the poor tenants of their homes. I am disgusted with this article that demands more homes for sale, so that they can become cheaper. Apparently the Chartered Surveyors Instituted blames cheap homes for rent for house prices to rocket and comes up with the brainless idea to demand less homes for rent and more to buy so that homes becomes cheaper.

Fact of the matter is, that because there is an unlimited amount of capital available worldwide, any rich person can join the monopoly game that currently helps tycoons to disperse with property among them to buy houses, build hotels and manipulate the English property market to their liking.

There is a very unhealthy tendency to strip the poor of their statutory rights, housing is one of them. It all started with a disintegration of the employment rights, e.g. more nil hours contracts, less long-term employment, went onto schools, e.g. free schools in temporary buildings.

It wants to keep workers on the move without permanent abodes, so that the rich can shift workers around the globe on demand without permanent housing or jobs.

Childish inspections do not allow improvements

I watch this debacle about OfSted inspections and think they are only used to get insight into local communities for the purpose of monitoring them. What is the point of the government trying to achieve devolution and giving more power to local authorities if in the matter of education, the government can just enter local schools and impose failure notices to boards of governors?

Michael Gove himselfs laments about teachers moaning and not being constructive but Mr Gove should ask himself why this is. Are his inspection reports constructive, do they give teachers guidance that can be used or are they just compositions of moaning?

One local OfSted report used sentences like, “the lessons are boring”. That is something a 3-year old would say. Where is he constructive criticism in this? How can an adult OfSted inspector even make such a judgement.

In one local school, a child had died of cancer. When the whole class was grieving, a oouple of days after that death, the OSted inspector arrived, just to announce that in the class, where this child had tragically died, the lessons were boring and insufficient. There is no compassion in OfSted, there is no understanding about human feelings whatsoever.

Of course Mr Gove will only achieve reactionary refusal of his inspections if the inspections are perceived as widespread nuisance

Go East

Not surprising for me, Michael Gove now urges us to adapt Eastern lifestyles to improve our Maths. It’s just as I wrote in my previous blog “Thatched Mary” that Britain is less British since Margaret Thatcher, changed us to have a shopkeepers mentality. Mr Gove wants longer school hours, ,shorter holidays.

The argument that the old  term rhythm is grouped around old rural lifestyles might be true but then proposals had already been accepted to shorten the summer holidays and stretch out terms equally around the year.

I do however smell a rat around the term argument because fees are often paid per term and if terms get shorter and more frequent, as suggested by some,then we can simply be asked to pay more money for education and more often. One school wants to have 7 terms per year. David Young Community Academy in Leeds which operates a seven-term year starting in June.

There is absolutely no proof that different terms or longer school hours improve the Maths of a pupil. My child is doing very well at Maths with the terms and school hours we have. There are a lot of factors involved like ability, which is something we constantly get ignored by modern education.

I do agree that academies like Harefield, that specialises in athletics, need much longer training hours because often sports require intense physical training on a daily basis.

I think it is a mistake to use a blanket approach and say now we have to copy Chinese lifestyles because they already manufacture our goods. That was not the idea to end Christianity and become Communists, though that is what many modern Conservatives think would be a good idea.

I could almost imagine how Mr Gove wants us to work longer hours for less pay, just to copy the Eastern lifestyles more authentically, in the hope that our children Maths would improve, NOT!!!

 

Studio Studiosis

Having just read about Studio schools I think they are an excellent idea and exactly the best path to help young people into employment. Some of my children also gotten employment from similar schemes and have never been unemployed since.

It is a bit silly to say that it is too early to cement a young person into any particular career. Just look at the off-spring of many celebrities who mostly follow in their parents’ footsteps because that is what young people do, they grow into an environment and like to stay in it as they know it well.

Sadly today many young people do not have parents with businesses to rely upon, so they have to carve their own paths but many like to start working earlier rather than later.

When I was young one started an apprenticeship, working at least 40 hours per week and spending 8 of those in school to learn the theory.

Studio schools are the next best thing to apprenticeship and are also sponsored by companies. Of course it would be one better if those companies could teach and let learn by employing the young people outright whilst doing so.

Just to see that Studio schools are themed around one particular science or practical craft is very encouraging. For example

  1. Dorset Studio School in Dorchester, will focus on environmental and land-based studies and is backed by groups including the National Trust, RSPCA and the Royal Veterinary College
  2. Sir Frank Whittle Studio College in Leicestershire, will specialise in engineering, retail and logistics and hospitality and leisure
  3. Space Studio Banbury in Oxfordshire, will focus on space, science and maths, with the involvement of The National Space Centre, UK Space Agency and European Space Agency
  4. Apollo Studio Academy in Durham, specialising in Stem (science and maths) subjects, health, care and early years and with the involvement of the NHS Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust
  5. De Salis Studio College in Hillingdon, which will specialise in business and finance and be supported by Accenture, PWC, and HMRC, among others
  6. Future Tech Studio in Warrington, specialising in ICT, with involvement of National Nuclear Laboratories, Barclays Global Technology Centre, and Talk Talk
  7. Island Studio School on the Isle of Wight, jointly proposed by Southampton City College and the Isle of Wight Council, specialising in marine manufacturing
  8. Knutsford Academy: The Studio in Cheshire East, specialising in digital technologies and “employability skills”; links with Barclays, Deloitte and Manchester Airport
  9. Manchester Creative Studio, led by the founder of the Collective Spirit Free School in Oldham which is due to open in September this year. It will specialise in the creative industries, particularly in design, interactive media and digital technology
  10. Studio West in Newcastle, proposed by Kenton Academy and with links to various local employers
  11. The Bath Studio School, proposed by a group of five schools; specialising in business, IT and administration
  12. The Digital Studio College in Derbyshire, proposed by Derby College and backed by local employers including Age UK
  13. Vision Studio School in Nottinghamshire, proposed by West Nottinghamshire College; specialising in health, care, engineering and transport and backed by employers including Sherwood Forest NHS Trust and Ilkeston football club

All these school ideas sound fantastic and I am just wondering how a kid from London can go there because they are all over the country and I am not sure if people from further away can attend and get somewhere to live if not from the vicinity.

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