Given the Telegraph’s paywall

We don’t know the reason that the expert goes on to give:

The Government proposals for some pupils to focus on English and maths when they return to school in September could lead to “cultural apartheid”, an expert has warned as headteachers vow to ignore the Government’s advice….

Our task therefore is to ponder what reasons there possibly could be.

Ideas along the lines of, well, literacy and numeracy are waacist, innit, are too obvious. What therefore is that argument?

The winning prize is employment at the fool think tank of your choice.

So here’s an interesting test then

We’ve been told for generations now that the secret to a better education is smaller class sizes. We must,m therefore, hire many more teachers. True, this has largely been said by the teachers’ unions but even that source might occasionally have a valid point. Although, when we consider that teaching is the profession with the lowest A level grades at entry perhaps not.

So, now we get to find out:

Maximum class size of 15 for England’s returning school pupils
Children will be kept in groups around half the size of normal classes but unions raise fears

Let’s see shall we? There’s going to be a massive rise in school performance? Or not? And someone is taking notes about this, right?

Entirely true Lily, entirely true

Children who are bullied for having ginger hair are “not dissimilar” to race victims, the actress Lily Cole has claimed.

It is indeed people being mean over a perceived physical difference.

About which we might say two things. Bullying occurs in entirely homogenous societies too, for human children are evil little bastards whatever the marital status of their parents. The second flowing from this first, if racist bullying is much the same as other kinds of bullying then perhaps we shouldn’t worry so much about the racist kind?

Actual racism, sure, that’s to be rooted out. But kids being nasty shits? And?

Certain changes would be needed to make this work

University students should be drafted into a new “national service” to boost social mobility, a Government adviser has said.

When undergraduates start their courses they could be automatically enrolled as Maths or English tutors for underprivileged children at local schools, according to Prof Lee Eliot Major of Exeter University.

The major change required would be to bring all new university students up to a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy.

Two Es in variants of grievance studies doesn’t constitute that proof.


Oxbridge row as report reveals diversity drive will hit ‘middle class’ students

If the middle class currently benefit then changes to benefit others will reduce the middle class benefit.

Seems logically obvious really.

Tee Hee

Her daughter, Iman, 21, studied for her GCSEs at Brighton College and was last year taking a fast-track A-level course in London.

Three or four years late is fast track now?

Yes, yes, I know, but…..

The way out

My Burning Ears:

I do hope that someone not utterly hare-brained has an idea how to get us out of our current one. Have the central banks actually been following some kind of long-term masterplan to that end, or have is what we’ve seen so far just a dance between periods of fire-fighting and spells of trying to gradually pull away from the fire-fighting without the steps necessarily belonging to some grander underlying scheme?

So far it’s been firefighting and hoping. Peeps keep trying to raise interest rates to get back to “normal” and the economy deflates again.

The problem is difficult.

The actual answer is economic growth. Well, yes, D’Oh. But the generation of that, well. Actually, this is an area where Ritchie is partly right. Monetary policy isn’t going to solve that problem. It can – and has – prevented deflation and thus negative growth. But actual growth?

Fiscal policy isn’t it either, although it can help. Reducing the UK tax burden to something like Singapore’s would help, certainly. And while I can dream no, that’s not a serious suggestion.

The other bit is government. Reduce the regulations preventing growth. The 1930s, for example, saw a housing led boom in the economy. But then back then it didn’t take 5 years to get from field to breaking ground with planning permission. REACH, as properly insisted upon, means you should pay up £250,000 for making even lab bench amounts of some new chemical to show that it’s not harmful. That slows down chemical research a bit, no? The entire economy is festooned with these restrictions that slow down economic growth.

One reason that it’s been computing – and online manifestations – that have been growing so much is that it’s all new. There are no regulations to stop you experimenting with whatever. You just can’t do that in any extant area of the economy.

The actual way out of the current slow growth and low interest rate world is laissez faire. Within the usual Common Law strictures of don’t kill the customers etc. But just leave markets and capitalism free to get on with experimenting.

Qualifications, eh?

This is my last column. After 26 years as a staff writer and 20 years – on and off – as a columnist, I’m leaving the Guardian. In April, I take up a post as professor of sociology at Manchester University.

The academic background is, umm, what?

Or are the two, Guardian columnist and professor of sociology, the same thing?


In a tweet directed to the university, she said: “This speaker is part of the anti-trans platform. Free speech is one thing, but trans rights are human rights and we shouldn’t be debating human rights.

We’re told these days that health care is a right, housing is a right, food is a right. We cannot discuss these things?

Freedom of religion is a human right yet we cannot discuss Israel, Judaism?

Tracey Loughran, a historian and dean in the Essex University humanities department,

She really want to insist that universities cannot discuss human rights?

Well, no, of course not, the argument is in fact that what I declare to be rights isn’t discussable only what we might add to that roster in the future…..

Gli Twatti Alla Guardian

So, whinge, whine, peeps being unfair to the North:

‘Scallies with matching coldsores’? It’s time to stop sneering at northern towns
The media battering of the north of England, seen recently in Jack Hurley’s Rubbish Seaside posters, fosters shame and hopelessness in those growing up there. It needs to end

The poster series, actually in The Guardian itself, includes Exmouth, Southsea, Margate, Teignmouth, Brighton, Yarmouth, none of which are traditionally considered to be Northern towns.

Can these people actually read?

Rebecca Grant started her teaching career in Blackpool. She currently working on a PhD about educational disadvantage in Manchester, writing for Kick Down the Barriers in Blackburn and continues to teach in secondary schools. Charlotte Yates has worked in a number of roles in education and currently teaches English in a state secondary in the North West of England.

Does explain what’s wrong with the education system though.

BTW, the poster series is rather good.

Well, yes, of course

Geography has become a “soft option” for students from privileged backgrounds expected to enrol at universities, an Oxford University professor has claimed.

Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford, said British geography departments often have “some of the narrowest and poshest social profiles” when looking at the backgrounds of students.

You’re not actually going to subject bright kids who might actually be able to do something to an education by Danny Dorling, are you?

And even at Ampleforth

Children in care who are given boarding school places are three times more likely to go to university, the first major study has shown.

Sending vulnerable youngsters to boarding schools also makes them six times more likely to achieve at least two A-levels, according to a new report by the Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation.

The charity works with local authorities to place disadvantaged children in some of the country’s most prestigious institutions including Eton College, Harrow School, Radley College and Wellington College.

And even at Ampleforth they’d be less likely to be fiddled with too.

One from the memory banks

As I recall it. So, Facebook is still really only in US universities and being used to rate people hot or not more than anything else.

So, UK student sets up something similar. And gets closed down by the UK university for being a naughty boy.

I know I’ve written about it somewhere, somewhen. But does anyone recall the full story?

The surprise here is what?

Only one out of every 25 pupils in schools for those with behavioural difficulties or exclusions managed to gain passes in English and maths GCSEs this year, according to national data which also shows little headway being made in improving overall exam results.

People who don’t study don’t pass exams.


Entirely missing the point

Essay-writing firms claim that they use a service offered by Turnitin, a plagiarism detection tool used by universities, to provide their customers with reassurance that the work they purchase will not be flagged as suspicious.

OK. Tool to detect p[algiarism exists. So, people wanting to avoid plagiarism will use tool to do so.

And, obviously, those selling the essays will use the tool to ensure that the tool used to try to find them doesn’t.

All obvious enough.

When a student or staff member at a subscribing institution runs a Turnitin check using that institution’s subscription, the article that they are assessing is often added to the Turnitin “student database” so that future submissions can be checked for plagiarism against its content. However, when an individual uses the WriteCheck service, essays are not added to the main database.

Access to the WriteCheck service costs $7.95 (£6.40) for one paper, $19.95 for three papers or $29.95 for five papers. HE registered with the service and had one article checked. At no point in the process were we required to verify our identity or say why we were using the service.

The essay mills aren’t paying to have stuff checked individually, don’t be stupid. They’re employing a student with access to an institutional account to do it.


The new Rocco movie

Chris McGovern, chair of the Campaign for Real Education and a former Government advisor, said that the focus on workload has become a “distraction”.

He added: “Teachers end up being used as porns in a political war, they are being encouraged to think they are over worked.

Although the genre of teacher does overtime to educate the pupil has been covered before….

Hmm, well, yes

Labour is “ripping apart the fabric of education”, independent school leaders have claimed, after John McDonnell warned that the party would treat them “like any other business”.

In a move that threatens the closure of private schools across the country, the shadow chancellor yesterday confirmed that a Labour government would impose more than £1.6bn in taxes on them.

It comes after The Daily Telegraph obtained a leaked shadow treasury document, revealing that Labour is planning a £1.64bn raid on private schools by imposing VAT on fees.

Treated like any other business?

OK. Operate like any other business then.

None of this crap about sharing facilities, guiding the local state schools. Sod the bursaries. As we don’t get charitable tax treatment so we’re not going to act like charities.

It’s possible – not likely, but possible – that the nett would be on the schools’ side.