Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maude the Pension Pilferer

Maggie Thatcher was Maggie the Milk Snatcher - a byword for Tory
penny-pinching cruelty. Francis Maude will go down in history as Maude
the Pension Pilferer. If we let him get away with it.

The government has already reneged on a solemn and binding undertaking
(and such things are two a penny with politicians) to link pensions to
increases in the cost of living. By sleight of hand they have invented
a brand new measure of the cost of living and !surprise! it comes up
with a lower figure than the retail price index. Far from sympathising
with the pensioners the privileged and pampered politicians are
pinching their pennies.

The government has refused to negotiate in good faith with the public
sector unions. They behave as though attacking the unions were more
important than making a grown-up decision over public sector pensions.

All of the teacher unions are acting together to lobby parliament on
26th October. This is where Maude's union bashing has got him. Firstly
the ATL, most inoffensive and moderate of unions, has taken strike
action for the first time. Now the Secondary Head's union ACSL is on
the march. And if the Tory Party cannot depend on the ACSL they cannot
depend on anybody.

Maude should stop pretending to be a reincarnation of the blessed
Margaret and remember her ignominious defeat over the Poll Tax. It is
a pity the Labour leaders are so weak and willing because the Con
Dem's wouldn't last five minutes against a half-decent opposition.
Instead we have Ed the strike-breaker and a load of Balls about
supporting cuts from the shadowy Chancellor.

Trade Unions deserve better representation than Labour can provide -
we need a new workers' party.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lobby MPs over pensions

At their meeting on 25 September the West Sussex Teachers Association
Executive agreed to support the lobby of Parliament on Wednesday, 26
October. The lobby is to protest against ruthless pension cuts in the
education sector. The unprecedented action is part of a joint campaign
by seven leading education unions to draw attention to the myths
surrounding the debate on pensions and to the severity of the cuts
being proposed.

Teachers are concerned that pension changes could cause a recruitment
crisis. Teachers and lecturers who are entering the profession, or who
have recently
entered, will face the greatest difficultly in increased costs for
their pensions. New teachers and lecturers may have large student
loans, which could be over £30,000. Teaching is one of the top
graduate employment destinations; this could change if the proposals
are introduced.

The lobby is being held during the half-term holiday to avoid
interrupting school children?s education and causing disruption for
parents. However the seven unions have not ruled out further
industrial action if the government continues to erode pensions.

Organisers of the campaign issued this statement:

The fact that thousands of teachers and lecturers from around the
country are giving up a day of their half-term holiday to come to
London to lobby MPs shows just how high feelings are running. The
profession is absolutely united in condemning the scandalous way
pensions are being ransacked to pay off the national debt.

The public has a right to know that cuts could ultimately affect the
quality of education for young people as high calibre graduates
re-think their career choice. We will also be challenging the myths
about how public sector pensions impact on taxpayers.

Teachers and lecturers never take strike action lightly and for this
reason the lobby has been organised during half term, to ensure there
is no disruption to pupils or parents. However if the government
continues to erode pensions, which they know are both affordable and
sustainable, teachers will be left with no option but to take further
action, including strike action.

We urge the government to listen to the message that this lobby sends.
Teachers cannot stand by and see their pensions eroded for purely
political reasons. It is entirely possible to avoid further disruption
but for that to happen the government needs to negotiate fairly.?

Details are available on the website:


Shared resources on the TES website

Weekly report on your shared resource(s):

Views: 58
All time views: 544

Downloads: 47
All time downloads: 479

These are just worksheets (mainly Maths) uploaded to the TES website.
They are free. The idea is to avoid re-inventing the wheel every time
you want a worksheet on fraction equivalents etc.

My target is 500 downloads.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A survey conducted by TES has received massive publicity. It shows 49
percent of parents supporting corporal punishment in schools. The more
significant finding which the tabloids did not cover was that more
than eighty percent of parents opposed cutting education spending. I
can't imagine why the gutter press was not interested in that one!

I have taught successfully without the use of corporal punishment for
32 years. It is many years since corporal punishment was allowed in
British schools and in many cases the people who are condemning the
"feral youth" of today did not actually get caned themselves.

A sign of the times was when a private school wanted to utilise a
loophole in the law and carry on caning (sounds like a good film
title). They found the only place they could purchase canes was a sex
shop which could also have provided whips and bondage gear. When this
got into the papers they thought it was not quite the image they
wanted to portray to the public.

I did not go into teaching to hit children, however provocative the
little darlings may have been. I have however had (very rarely) to
physically restrain pupils from harming themselves or others. That is
not punishment. And interestingly the most difficult of the pupils I
have taught in all that time have been beaten by their parents. And a
fat lot of good it seemed to do them.

This does not surprise me. My brother was caned on his first day at
secondary school for "fidgeting". His school had substantially more
physical punishment than mine yet by any standard the behaviour at his
school was worse. Perhaps the culture of bullying was passed down from
teachers to pupils. I saw the school bully at my school outside the
head's office on numerous occasions. Did he cease being a bully? No he
became a bully with a sore backside.

There are some issues which the polls showing public support for
corporal punishment seem to avoid. An example would be ?would you be
happy for your daughter to be caned by a male teacher?? An
overwhelming "NO" shortly followed by "I'll have the law on yer!" would
be a probable response. Many people approve of beatings for other
people's children of course, but are not too happy about their own
being beaten.

The other issue involved in the question is corporal punishment for
girls which many parents find abhorrent. It means that exactly the
same offence by a boy would receive a caning and by a girl some other
punishment. How just is that?

I once had the privilege of being driven by a taxi driver who had an
opinion on education. His went a little further than most. He would
have a quiet word with any miscreants and tell them he knew where they
lived and he knew people who knew people who could set their house on
fire. What can you say in the face of such considered judgement? All I
did say was that I valued his input and of course I wouldn't dream of
telling him how to drive a cab.

If anyone chooses to suggest that my classroom must be a haven of
licensed wrongdoing, do spend five minutes there before drawing such a
rash conclusion. After all I would have sought an alternative
occupation if things were like that - you know an OFSTED inspector for
example :)

The caning issue is being used as a diversion from the real problem in
education: a problem correctly identified by parents who
overwhelmingly oppose the cuts. Gove and co really do want to turn
back the clock: unqualified teachers in dilapidated schools for the
poor and only the best for the rich. Of course many of the old
Etonians in the cabinet will have felt the cane. And it cannot be said
to have improved their behaviour one jot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All of a Flather

Baroness Flather has claimed Pakistani and Bangladeshi families are
having lots of children in order to claim extra benefit payments. The
first female Asian peer (and a very good argument for the abolition of
the House of Lords) was branded "deeply irresponsible" and "out of
touch" following her comments.

However it has come to our notice that a woman living on state
benefits, a Mrs Windsor of Buckingham Palace, has had no less than
four children in order to increase the amount of civil list benefits.

Despite subsisting on state handouts, Mrs Windsor is rumoured to have
massive personal wealth stashed away and is thought to be the richest
woman in Europe. I think Baroness Flather could turn her attention on
this waste of public money.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The EDL are linked to Anders Behring Breivik.

Lily Allen wrote a song about the BNP called "F*ck you very much".
Perhaps more appropriate for the EDL is Imelda May's "I go with a

The police however have believed the assurances of the EDL that mass
murderer Breivik really meant some other EDL not them!