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.

I won my appeal against DWP

I am always better on paper than in person. I thought previously the judges were put off by me. But on this occasion HM Courts and Tribunal Service found in my favour because the DWP wanted to stop my Jobseekers Allowance because they said I did not actively seek work in the 2 weeks when I organised the Queen’s Jubilee Party.

Victory of Common Sense for all volunteers on Jobseekers Allowance.

Added later. The judge ruled: “The appeal is allowed.The decision made on 18.06.12 is set aside. Having considered all of the evidence the tribunal determined that Ms Kaschke was actively seeking employment from 30.05.12 to 12.06.12. Accordingly she is entitled to Jobseekers Allowance over the period……..”Also the judge remarked that “The Tribunal reached a different conclusion on substantially the same facts”.

That is also a factor in so many appeals being won in cases involving disability. There at least 40% of appeals are won and of those 40% 1/3 present no new evidence.Margaret Hodge says that the fault lies firmly within the DWP. My sentiment entirely, as I previously mentioned about Iain Duncan Smith.

I am not disabled but find that there is some tuning necessary between policy and facts in Jobseekers procedures. Job Advisors are very trigger happy and routinely threaten claimants with legal action against them, just in case and to be intimidating.

But also look at the amount of time that has elapsed between the wrong decision being made and the appeal being allowed by the tribunal; that makes 7 months of stress and is also a waste of time and tax payer’s money; though at least a good judge got a job.

Bright pupils left to rot

Having gotten a bright child in a local comprehensive, I am frequently confronted with attitudes like, it’s OK she has achieved the expected grades, that’s all we want. There is absolutely no attempt of the school to nurture special talents, to advance excellent learning skills at all. The school doesn’t even try to explore the funding opportunities available to them, that allows for talented pupils to get extra help at the upper end of learning.

My fears are of course again acknowledged by the latest research that shows that the UK and in particular England ranks 26th out of 34 OECD countries in education says a BBC article. That explains why we have so many immigrants from EU countries, it’s because they are better educated than the locals. England ranks behind France, the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic.

Not just in education does my local school not further the child, they also promote slow learners in other functions by making them head of year or head girl or head boy. Each child gets the Golden Book award in turn, regardless of academic achievement to show that all are equally good. Recently my child’s teacher called me to one side to talk about the whereabouts of a 10 pence home made necklace rather than education, which is what kids are supposed to go to school for.

I quote from the BBC website: “Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said: “This is a deeply troubling picture for any us who care about our brightest pupils from non-privileged backgrounds.”

It is symptomatic of England that most bright children are only nurtured in private schools but that doesn’t mean that state school pupils are not bright. It is merely a policy to only help privately educated pupils, which gives them an unfair advantage.

My bright child gets a lot of offers to join art projects but none to help her academically. The report from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) argues that England is falling down international tables because of successive failures to help the most able pupils.

Sir Peter said: “Excellence in maths is crucial in so many areas such as science, engineering, IT, economics and finance. These figures show that few bright non-privileged students reach their academic potential – which is unfair and a tragedy for them and the country as a whole.”

In the meantime my bright child is allowed to rot in her local C.o.E. school whilst the pupils in the neighbouring private school get all the help they need.

The Q-elite

Having read in an article that the youngest MENSA member is aged 2 and that other bright young children can be certified as brain boxes I set out to find how that can be done in the average London borough.

And in the course of that ‘investigation’ I had one of the most enlightening and constructive conversations I’ve ever hand, thanks to the persons who spoke to me, you know who you are.

I thought, how would it be possible to follow the MENSA recommendations and ask an educational psychologist of a local education authority to assess a bright child and learned that there is such a long waiting list for assessing that it would take a very long time to get a child seen if ever. The waiting lists are usually full of children with learning problems get seen first and even they have to wait very long queues to be seen.

One cannot just turn up and say, look my kid can do this and that and is absolutely wonderful. Sorry love, join the queue is going to be the answer. So realistically speaking to get a child assessed one has to pay for it and that is the only way.

So all those children who are lucky enough to have rich parents and can get assessed as having high IQ have to stand out because there is no standard testing that is broadly available to all children. I am certain that if there was a standard testing program many more very clever children would be diagnosed but as it is they just stay in their classes and learn as well as they can with the material and teaching provided.

Of course it is not absolutely impossible that Educational Psychologists that get paid to assess might make results look brighter as they really are because that is the expectation of the paying customer, namely the parent who pays to get an excellent result.

It would be much fairer to all children if they could get IQ tested aged 2 because they could be very clever, it is just that nobody knows it and once kids are fed into the normal comprehensive education stream expectation stays on a medium level and most children just want to oblige and settle for the median.  I think that results and achievements are related to the expectations that teachers have and in the current educational climate, most schools practise an average policy and so they get average results.

No school would refer an excellent pupil to an educational psychologist to get an IQ result and so we never find out what the potential would have been. Quite astonishingly how do you determine if a child is clever? Many kids play with books when they are two and many are above average readers or ahead in their class work.

I think it has a lot to do with common perception in that we are constantly told that those who pay for tests and education achieve better in life but we have never tried to test those poor pupils and we constantly talk poorer children down as non achievers.  So the common perception is low and a child grows up knowing that it doesn’t have to perform as it cannot achieve in any case. There is normally no program for bright pupils in the average comprehensive and no further propaganda is made by the Department for Education that schools can get grants for high achievers. We only ever hear of the special payments that are made for slow learners. So schools know they get extra money the more problem kids they have and so they like problem children. If schools knew they get extra funding for the better learning achievers then that would be an incentive for them to work along those lines.

If parents were given the choice to get an educational psychologist assessment for their child’s IQ if they wanted then that would be a fair choice to give to people but instead only those rich enough ever get the chance to test their child to get them into MENSA. So how clever is the MENSA system really, is it just trickery to please rich parents or can it help poorer kids to shine?

In the BBC published list of tell-tale signs for a clever child they only list some point but omit the point that MENSA makes that clever children don’t like other children. But that is not stated as a must but as possible option, which is not listed on the BBC website.

I think if you can afford to have your child tested and celebrate their true potential then that is a great starting point for that child but there are many other clever children who never even get the chance to be tested because the parents cannot afford to pay for that and then the child’s talents go mingled up and are not further developed especially because schools do not have the mechanisms to do so.

One thing all those children have in common, when you look into their faces,there is a certain maturity in their facial expression and I often get the feeling that I talk to an adult rather than a child when I talk to my clever kid but then when she goes off to play with others she suddenly turns into her age. Myif child is quite unusual in that she absolutely loves everybody and all other children and gets on with everybody and never says a bad word about anybody else, despite being quite bright and having learned to walk aged 6 months and being far ahead with her reading skills.

But despite all those kids in the Mensa testing coming out tops and being totally adorable an sweet, I think all this testing proves is that those parents could afford a test and that those kids could afford the test. The test result doesn’t mean that there are no other such clever kids around just because they could not have parents who can afford the test.

Yet if all children who are this clever would be found out about at an early age, that would benefit society tremendously as surely that could be nurtured. Why should only those children, whose parents are rich enough to test them get the future elite pampered treatment and be cherished especially high?

Poor and clever children instead get ignored and have to make do with what they got. Their talents might stay unnoticed or even vanished because those around them cannot appreciate someone clever in their midst as it so often happens.

In human evolutionary terms if all those who are especially clever were found out about then we might be able to allocate jobs to those who actually have some talent and not just those who can afford to get certain schooling.  Certainly today, as things are, we would never come across a rich person whose IQ test is low and who would give his money to a poor person because it is better in those person’s hands, instead we would rather see a rich person trying to stamp the poor person into the ground.

Cons catch up on education

Of course it is the stimulation that makes a child grow clever. It is a fact that richer children do get more communication. Why, because there is more to talk about in a home that has more space, more things, more people and more change of scenery.

We no longer live in rural environments when the daily chores got people out of homes and gave them something to do. Kids then learned more naturally and on practical things whilst watching their peers to some type of work.

But maybe it is possible that the government finally has noticed that sitting in front of the TV is not helping children to learn. It is the personal involvement and engagement with the environment, things and persons around that make the development of a child.

In today’s small inner-city households, kids practically spend all day within 4 walls, often with only the TV on. Stoic parents also have not much else to do but watch the television because there is no money to do anything else. There are only a few summer months and then its cold and people do not want to go to parks or have less time to do so. It is too cold to play outside. Whilst wealthier parents can do all sorts of things that cost money, the poor can’t. It is quite accepted that the early years are very important for the development. A child’s brain gets a lot of stimulation. The training and learning received in the early years are the building blocks for later on.

Whilst I do not think it is only money that helps to occupy a child, it is often the social isolation that comes with little money that makes children slow to grasp things. People do little in groups these days as we are a society of single dwellers, we all live in little flats by ourselves. Only time we go out, its to the local shop and that is all a kid sees these days.

I suppose it is correct that not all parents would spend more money on brain building activities and evolve into better educated people because of it. So early learning for all is an excellent idea and really needed.

I am certain there are many clever poor children out there but they do not get the chance to develop that side of their personality that shines in the class-room. But here in my area, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, we are the only borough in the whole of the United Kingdom where there is a Sure-Start program that allows full-time free nursery education for children who live in difficult circumstances. And education is doing quite well and even better year on year despite the density of living. The school discipline and early learning help given to families supports learning.

Education is taken so seriously here that the Mayor even chose to substitute the former education allowance for college students. I suppose there is little point in giving only when kids are small as they still need help when they get older tool.

I am certain many boroughs will appreciate the new free nursery education for 2 year olds but all would like the re-introduction of the EMA

The plot thickens

I was more than astounded to read that Rebekah Brooks was arrested by hacking police by appointment. It sends a shiver down ones spine to realise that any appointments in a police station might lead to your own arrest when you go there.

When I was at an appointment during the meeting of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association and a subsequent meeting after that to discuss matter to do with the Association with a police inspector I was aware of the fact that I could be arrested any time whilst there voluntarily. I now had to quit my voluntary post as chair of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association because of employment legislation and hours of voluntary work. Yet what always helped me through life was and still is the fact that I always do things according to the rules, I always did and alway will. It seems that the most honest in life are not the best to get on in business.

That means I never was able to carve out a career for myself as it seems many things and organisations are dodgy, so it seems. If not dodgy outright and meaning to be so but it turns out afterwards that some things were amiss. As the latest article on an appointment of a former News of the World journalist who was appointed PR advisor by Sir Paul Stephenson who hired Mr Wallis some time ago.

The problem is though that one wrongdoing always starts off a chain reaction and some people get caught up in it. How can that be avoided is probably the most constructive question one can ask as a result of the latest revelations. What safety catches are needed to make sure the rules are always adhered to? Obviously bribery cannot be established quickly and culprits only get found out some time later usually. I think it would be a bit far fetched to constantly scan the bank accounts of police officers to see if they get any extra monies into it. Mind you just as a self-employed person, I had to justify my bank accounts to a special benefits advisor at the Department for Works and Pensions for 10 years, hence there is no stone that remained unturned in my life but the same strict scrutiny is not the same for people who work for the state.

Will the Daily Star Sunday take over the Sunday spot of the News of the World?

Just received this e-mail from Gareth Morgan, editor of the Daily Star Sunday to inform me that the Daily Star Sunday is the fastest growing newspaper. As I was wondering what is going to replace the News of the World, I got the answer right into my inbox. I know what my sons are going to read each week from now on and that is just the way its going to go in the UK for Sunday reading I suppose. Just to be fair our home usually sports 2 Sunday newspapers each week, the other one is the Sunday Mirror, just to balance out the mind.

I miss the News of the World, the paper with always excellent headlines and even better pieces of information that satisfied the scientifically minded like myself.

Selling pigs to China?

I wonder whether there is a mistake but it seems like Britain is making a contract to sell pigs to China. That is a surprise and seems ridiculous to say the least because looking at the sheer geographical difference of the 2 countries, it is quite and  more than obvious that China has got much more space to breed and farm pigs than Britain has. So why does Britain invest in pig farming when there is so little space already?

the idea to send British architects to China to help them develop good building structures is a good one and makes sense taking the news that buildings in China collapsed into account, but the pig and poultry story seems far out.

I think politicians should consider how much space is there, how can that space be put to best use and not make agreements that see us increase pig production to sell to a huge country that can easily produce their own pigs. We are short of housing, short of green space and decide to sell more pigs?

I wonder whether there is more behind that meeting than the media will let on. I thoroughly welcome that the meeting includes talks about the environment as China has become one of the biggest polluters in the world.

Lines like “China’s rapid economic rise is good news for the UK. It means more money flowing into our economies and has the potential to create more jobs and investment opportunities for British business at home and in China.

“The summit will be an opportunity to tap that potential and to continue to work closely with China to find global solutions to a range of issues from climate change to global security.”, that come from Downing Street, sound a little bit stale and meaningless, taking into consideration that China is a Communist Country with a very poor Human Rights record.

Well it is apparent that the publisher wants to not aggravate global security concerns further by only hinting on the issue of global security in the article on the BBC website, which is in my view the overriding objective of the talks in the first place.

But apparently the UK wants to secure £1 billion worth of bilateral trade, I reckon that is a matter Labour would be proud to do. I am not confident that this deal will work for us however taking into account the geographical obvious problem that Britain is very small and China very big. Our bargaining power is not as big as China’s is obviously.

It would be interesting to look into all the agreements China is trying to make at the moment world-wide, which will take a little time to research.

Yet if the Human Rights issue can be knocked on positively that will be a welcome effect of those talks alone.

Rising prices with living wage?

I heard that cleaners at Tesco receive £5.95 but that the Living wage is £8.30.  Protests are to be staged at Tesco to demand the Living wage instead of the minimum wage. I just wonder what will happen to prices if that Living wage takes over the minimum wage. I don’t suppose that a retailer will not pass on the cost to the consumer.

Will not all food prices rise in line with the wages? Then if Tesco pays the Living Wage other employees in other companies will want the same and we will see a huge increase in prices and that won’t be perceived very well I presume. I do not think that a company like Tescos can catch up the loss in profit by just raising the prices of luxury products alone. I have very mixed feelings on the subject because, as I said so many times previously, a rise in a fixed salary does not guarantee that inflation stays low, it does not guarantee that my proportion of income against costs stays equally low.

Of course a fixed wage will force companies to earn sufficiently to even employ people and that will narrow down the spectrum of companies that can trade and employ staff. Is there really that much benefit in forcing employers to pay a bigger wage, which will increase prices? Of course currently the balance of cost is carried by the tax payer, whose taxes are then distributed to those needing a bolster in the shape of tax credits, child benefits, housing and council tax benefits. So is there really so much benefit through an increase in the minimum wage to the living wage?

The poorest would be hit hardest by increases and of course those who are in the gray area between benefits and their entitlement ceilings are just around the mark of entitlement. Currently we have a good economic stability and relative social stability, though crime is present but it is being contained.

Of course it has a considerable political impact if particularly Jewish traders are approached for protests in their trade because Tesco traditionally has a Jewish owner and I do wonder whether that has  anything to do with the fact that Tesco is targeted for such protests to take place.

Of course there is also the other side of the coin, the side of the producers who have to earn sales to Tesco by providing products for certain prices, would it not also affect those producers if wages had to rise because both producers and distributors like farmers and Tescos would have to pay higher wages and that would definitely have to increase prices all-around.

I think it is slightly narrow minded to just calculate the take-home pay of one group of employees. This is similar to the pension discussion that currently goes on, in that employees are asked to work longer and make higher contributions to their pensions, which might even slightly decrease. It is a matter of finding a balance that will please all residents and not just a few.

Cloud coockoo social worker’s mansion

I wonder whether the proposal to allow social workers more direct decision making is supposed to be a joke or not. Considering that in my area social workers consist of immigrants, who hardly lived long enough in Britain to speak the language, I cannot see how allowing such new additions to the culture to make more decisions about the future of children.

All I can understand is that the local and national authorities are looking for ways to further certain families and repress others. Social control is what its all about, so that some children are raised under the mantle of the state to obtain more population control.

There is a lot of discrimination going on today. First of all clever but poor children are kept in place by a comprehensive education system that allows easy discrimination against clever but unpleasant children, that means children from families that are not favourite of the state.

In Birmingham an attempt was made to control whole population groups with spy cameras. I understand they were never switched on and are being removed.

It is obvious that the social fibre of any society rests on the shoulders of individuals and their families and friends and what is happening in Britain today is selective discrimination in favour of favourite families of the state.

In local schools children are selectively chosen to be furthered by selective education and that spans as far as local scout groups, where children are discriminated against by not getting places or being held back. Of course that is besides the big discrimination of poor families they suffer by just not getting any money so that their children cannot take part in any social activities that happen to cost money. That may include further education.

It is all about the social pecking order and those who are unpleasant to the state are discriminated against and a lot of effort is done to keep them small. Of course we have seen how really oppositional the right and left in the UK really are in that they work together the whole time and support each other. In the UK it doesn’t matter whether you are left or right as long as you are part of the social network that is on top, that is all  that matters. The press is only part of the puzzle that ridicules those that need a public dressing down because they have fallen out of line somewhere. But even that little bit of attention shows that Social and political corruption is more than rife in the UK today and alive and well.

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