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Gove has a surefire recipe for educational disaster – guest blog from a headteacher trying to stave off disaster

Posted on 23 February 2012 | 3:02pm

Please welcome with a guest blog Mr Jeremy Rowe, headteacher of Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, Suffolk, who is seeing very close up the effect of Michael Gove’s potty ideology, and is therefore able to spell out a recipe for disaster

Sir John Leman High School was established in 1632.  The school, which currently has 1300 students on roll, is in the small market town of Beccles, Suffolk (population 9,000).  The opening of a brand new secondary school next to its catchment area has created a large amount of surplus secondary school places.

The proposal to open a free school in Beccles, adding to the high number of surplus places, will make it certain that Sir John Leman High School, or the free school, or both, will fail.

How to create an unwanted and unneeded free school

Before starting, ensure you have a range of sharp knives: this recipe involves plenty of cutting

Serves:                         not many

Preparation time:         years in Opposition


1300 children who need a good range of curriculum choices

1 successful Academy

1 small market town, not big enough to support two secondary schools

6 other local schools, including two rated as outstanding, within a seven mile radius: all with surplus places

1 loss-making public school

1 tbsp of disgruntled parents

Millions of pounds of taxpayers money


1. Create legislation to allow any group, in particular faith and public school groups, the opportunity and money to operate a state school.

2. Take a successful partnership of secondary schools and divide them up.

3. Mix a tiny amount of disgruntled parents with a local public school which has recorded losses for six consecutive years.  Allow to simmer.

4. Weigh public opinion: don’t worry about this being accurate.

5. Use the consultation process to cook people’s views, and stew.  Do not allow to boil over.

6. Prepare a series of attacks on the teaching profession. Toss.

7. To remove impurities, allow the new school to decide its own catchment area.

8. Marinade in millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

9. Apply a thin coating of moral outrage.

10. Lightly dust with appearances by beaming cabinet ministers.

11. Pickle the 1904 curriculum for future use.

  • Art

    the wholesale destruction of our state education system at the hands of Mr Gove is frightening – how come places like Finland and British Columbia in Canada have a successful and thriving school system? because they choose to engage with the communities that matter and don’t impose top down dogma. They also recognise that the curriculum needs to reflect the modern era – faffing around with a broken model isn’t going to get us anywhere

  • Art maybe we need a wholesale rethink, rather than outdated political prejudice –

  • sarah dodds

    I could go on and on and on and on about the evils of Gove’s education policy. We have been campaigning, with a degree of success, in Louth for over a year and am pleased to say that (by the skin of our teeth) we have ALL of our seven of our schools still within the LA. I don’t think we can hold back the tide forever though.
    We are totally knackered, a bit war wounded but determined to continue. Because where we have the debate we win – the arguments to justify Gove’s madness just don’t stack up.
    As a Labour councillor I am left dismayed and angry at why we a party we are not even trying to make a fight of this in the way we are with the NHS. Is any meaningful debate on education going to fall by the wayside because the media and the Tories can stick their tongues out at Labour and say “nah nah nah nah nah, you started it?” Is the baggage that we carry as a party on this policy going to prevent us from watching the entire state education system dismantled?
    As a teacher and as a parent, it totally breaks my heart.

  • carolhaughton60

    My dad and my auntie passed their matriculations in 1938, which was great at the time but the point is, it was 1938.  After all these years, why are we so backward-looking and only considering half a dozen subjects as worth anything?  Whilst I agree that not all degrees are perhaps all they ought to be, young people need to experience many things to know what they like and are capabe of, and should all be valued.  We seem to have lost the meaning of the word equality, not only in schools but other areas also; equality means equal NOT the same; 2 + 2 = 3 + 1 but they are not the same.

  • Ehtch

    Gove, yes. of course, or should I say off course.

    Anyway, sad news today to hear that Frank Carson has passed away and gone to that joke shop in the sky. Posted four jokes just here just, in his memory, and to me they are crackers, either way!
    Yipp is my youtubby name by the way, honest, not pulling your plonker. Post vids in another name now and again though, but that is secret, for now.

    • Ehtch

      A joke just for here,
      A tory politician walks into a welsh bar. He goes up to the bar and asks the landlord “My man…” window ——->>>

      : ))))))

  • sarah dodds

    I have come back for a second pop and am lamenting at my typos …I was being battered by my 3 year old at the time.

     But what I really want to do is advertise the education conference linked below at Lincoln University a week on Saturday (March 3rd)
    Anyone in the area (or not!) is more than welcome. With Melissa Benn as keynote speaker, it will hopefully provide a useful antidote to the DE propaganda machine for parents, teachers and governors in the region.

  • Ehtch

    typos are a way of life – be priude of them. : )

  • Michele

    I’m sure I read somewhere, or saw in TY’s TV documentay, that ‘his’ free school was not going to be selective (except in the aspect that compulsory Latin – with its religious connotations – could deter much of its catchment area anyway).

    According to this job ad :
    ten percent of pupils are selected on their aptitude for music so I’m wondering at what stage a non-selective becomes truly classifiable as selective or as at least targetting itself in a selective or excluding way?

  • Janiete

    I despair at the constant battle with Conservatives and their allies to preserve anything decent in our society. They inherit institutions dedicated to providing quality services for the good of all and immediately move to break them up and replace them, in one way or another, with profit making bodies which serve few people well, but short change everyone else.
    I feel as though I have fallen asleep and woken up back in the 80s. The same old vacuous arguments peddled by the same self-serving vested interests, ably assisted by the same corrupt and deceitful media. We just have to find ways of getting clear information through to voters which has not been massaged to fit a profit-seeking dominant elite. How else will the electorate realise where their true long-term interests really lie?

  • Janiete

    Mine too Sarah!
    I was reminded recently of the situation in the NHS during the 90s when the best the tories could come up with was to reduce waiting times from 2 years to 18 months! The public have forgotten this and it’s up to our leaders to remind them.
    We inherited a situation where public services: police, health and education were falling apart. A lot of things had to be done quickly and sometimes private sector involvement was the quickest or only way to do it. But always the objective was to improve outcomes for everyone, not just a few.
    We have allowed our critics, often writing in the Guardian and claiming to have our party’s interests at heart, to equate private sector involvement in the NHS or academy schools with a ‘tory’ agenda. In truth it was always about delivery of quality services for all, including the weakest in our society.
    We need to be far more confident in defending our time in office and drawing a clear distinction between our policies which delivered for all and coalition policies which see the transfer of public funds to the private sector as an aim in itself. The difference is, we used the private sector to benefit service users; Condems are using patients, children and students to benefit the private sector.

  • oh my I love number seven 😉

    Excellent post

  • Anonymous

    I usually like your arguments even when I disagree but this is garbage Alastair. All the teachers in non-free schools think free schools are a bad idea. Just as they oppose curriculums, targets, league tables, exams. In case they might have to sharpen up. How about the parents and teachers what of their views? Tony Blair was one of the bravest and wisest Labour leaders ever, he took on producer interests – don’t sully his good work.

    You’ve had depression and alcoholism Alastair, so have some compassion. In every comp there are kids sitting with depression now due to the bullying they are getting in our lawless schools. And later on they’ll turn to alcoholism.

    I’m all for more schools. Every school in my area could do with a competitor. If you don’t like it then crack down on discipline and results in your school. Competition rules baby.

    Bring back selection too, only this time do it based on behaviour.

    Mr Headteacher, on behalf of all pissed off pupils and towards all complacent teachers: Have that!

  • Michele

    I’ve read this evening that Gove is warning about harder exams being introduced, coursework being scrapped and single exams being the decider for pass or fail.

    That old system suited people like me, we’d fool around all year and then swot night and day at the last moments for single exams – all very well if the eventual schedule didn’t have all my subjects happening to be all in one week …..

    It’s amazing isn’t it?   It seems not all that long ago that public
    concern was high around 17/18yrs olds being panicky and sometimes even
    suicidal for fear of having spent 2yrs on an A-level course they lived in fear of fluffing at the last minute.

    Coursework put an end to that and a good thing too imhoo.

  • Ehtch

    Gove, yes, danger danger. Electric Six, a few years ago when we touched – fire in the disco, fire in the Geates of HELL! Brilliant track, just perfect for dress down Friday,

  • Ehtch

    Scotty the Star Trek Engineer – it is from ganama, it is from ganami, it is GREEN – show us yer glassss,

  • Ehtch

    Fallen in love with Birdsong, BBC, WW1 stuff, magical, tradgical, hanky time, french lady loving time,

  • sarah dodds

    I could not agree more with you.
    I don’t just put responsibility for this educational capitulation at the doors of the Labour party. I often wonder where the hell the opposition to this is amongst the teaching profession. Why has the outcry from teachers and heads not been the same as from the NHS? Maybe then Labour would have felt braver on the arguments. Everyone is just too scared. I mean that quite literally.
    You cannot expect parents to be concerned about the structure of the education system for everyone. If they think things are going to be OK for their kid, that is enough. This is where we needed the political (-from politicians and from within schools -) opposition to raise concerns that parents do not know they have!
    Sadly, because they have not raised a head to defend the system they did so much for, Labour and the teaching profession have allowed the DE to peddle the myth that education is “bog standard” across the board (sorry…!) and allowed the private sector to move right on in.
    As I have said, parents can only be expected to worry about schooling for their individual child. The Labour party, and teachers, heads and governors should also feel a sense of stewardship for the children of the future.
    My 12 year old will get through OK, even if her school does vote for academy status in the next few weeks as predicted. There will be enough old school teachers left within the system to get her through. But my 3 year old will potentially enter a secondary system that has been privatised for a decade.
    Maybe us “trots” should start taking our schools campaign to playschools and toddler groups! 

  • ambrosian

    Whilst we’re on the subject of Gove, he has just asserted that equalities legislation does not apply in education. So at the very time that the football authorities are being told in No 10 that they must do more to tackle homophobia, Gove is saying it’s fine for teenagers to be given literature in faith schools that says homosexuality is disordered and sinful.

    Growing up gay in the early sixties wasn’t much fun (it was still illegal for one thing) but we were never given leaflets written by loony American evangelicals telling us we would burn in hell. Does Gove have the faintest idea how cruel it is to impose this kind of hate literature on young people coming to terms with their sexuality at a time when they are at their most vulnerable mentally? That’s what concerns me far more than the fact that the Government is saying different things to different people.

  • Michele

    What is your first hand experience of schooling in the last decade?

  • Gilliebc

    reaguns, in line with your interest in things financial you may like to check this out:…15trillion-dollars…

    By anyone’s standards Lord James of Blackheath is a very brave man.  This is the second time he has put his head above the parapet.  Many people think/believe/hope that this is the first crack in a very big dam.  His speech in the HoL a few days ago is also on you tube.  For those expecting to see this reported on our MSM and perhaps not believing anything unless or until the likes of the BBC tells you it’s true!  Then you need to think again.

    Apologies AC for being completely off topic.

  • Anonymous

    First hand? Ie as a pupil or teacher? None. But have plenty of friends and relatives involved and hear about the drugs, pregnancies, beatings, stabbings, suicides. Anyway, so what.

    I also know the fundamental principle that you don’t trust a car dealer when he is telling you to buy his car, nor a teacher when he is telling you his school system is best.

    Competition is always good, though its not always possible to have competition. More choice for parents is always good.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t quite follow it Gilliebc – maybe I’ll have to read it again when I’m less tired.

  • I wrote this recently about “choice” in education:

    The issue is there is already considerable over capacity in the area and 6 schools with in a 7 mile radius with spare places so plenty of “choice”. 

  • Ehtch

    BLIMEY! Wales playing England in twickers in twelve and a half hours, and I am in a state, having kittens – should be an hell of an event, players banging and crashing and fecking each other up, should be one hell of an humungous event, a must see, unless you are at Turf Moor watching the footie, that is. Taylor, sing to us, please,
    (notice your “best” pal here Alastair, he is a cee though, isn’t he? Michele? smack hands!)

  • Michele

     There has always been competition anyway.

    One’s child has never been limited to the secondary school closest to home (as with primary).  I compared 14 (based in three different boroughs) in the early 90s.

    See what I mean?  I’m curious about all the plurals (especially the suicideS) but not to worry.

  • Michele

    I received a leaflet from our always-littering local non-liberal non-democrat shout-y councillors; described it elsewhere here for its confusing ‘info’ about an increase of 75% of Pupil Premium this year. 
    Given that the amount per pupil has risen by just over 20% I have asked them whether the rest of the increase is actually due to many many more pupils locally becoming entitled to free school meals.

    I also don’t appreciate the ‘difficulty’ being claimed by pet libdems vs their tory masters about that 20+% increase. 
    Coinciding as it does with govt offloading its responsibilities for our children to any amateur that wants to run a free school or any business that wants to run academies I don’t believe there’d have been much of a battle to up the funding/enabling .

  • Gilliebc

    You do that reaguns 🙂
    Because whether this huge sum of money is genuine or fake, the implications either way on this country’s economy and that of the US economy are very serious.  There certainly needs to be an inquiry carried out. 

    Where’s Olli when we need him?

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter if there is 606 schools in the area. We need league tables on their exam results (as I can think of no other way to measure them) and then the best school in the area would not have an overcapacity problem.
    They should receive govt funding per pupil so its in the head’s interests to up standards and get as many students as possible.

    I choose eating houses based on who flips the best burger, it should be the same principle for schools.

  • Anonymous

    I think I see what you mean, you are saying your child had the possibility of going to any of 14 schools? How did you compare, word of mouth etc?

    The plurals: One local school was grammar now academy, its seen plenty of pregnancies, plenty of beatings, a couple of stabbings and 2 suicides I have heard about in the past year. It was one of 3 desirable schools in the area, imagine what the other 4 were like.

    I went to said school myself and the discipline was practically non existant back then. Any would be academic children had to put this on hold and just run with the crowd for those few years. Weeell… slight exaggeration, it did produce doctors, oxbridge grads etc but I felt it could have produced more.

  • Anonymous

    Goodness me I’ve just read that blog entry. Dear me. I don’t want to be ruder than necessary so lets just call it “simplistic”.

  • Michele

     There are league tables published locally and there are Open Days at every single school I know of.  I visited 14 schools, OK?

    It seems to me you can only be repeating what you have heard from others and given the national habit or hobby or competitive sport of moaning and whingeing and blaming others for virtually everything …..

  • Michele

     Further to my last, I’ll add that I do realise I’m luckier than many … we lived on the edges of adjoining boroughs so had much more choice and availability than most. 
    Fares could have been an issue at the time but they aren’t any longer for others’ children, which I celebrate ….. thanks to Ken all school age children now have bus passes. 

    I do think the system might be different nowadays but locality has always come in to play for over-subscribed schools.

  • Michele

    I posted last week about my Primary teacher neighbour, whose school has been absorbed in to the academy company of the locality.

    It was unusual in having two Ofsted inspections within a couple of months of term-time.

    In late June last year they declared it Failing, it became academy-ised in September and in October had another Ofsted visit and was declared bordering on Excellent. 

    There have been no Ofsteds more recently and so for four months the only assessments have been by staff about their own classes and the ratings are ‘improving’.

  • You think schools and burger joints are the same but my blog post is “simplistic” 🙂

  • Ehtch

    Alastair, ref. Twickers yesterday – that was a hell hell hell to the enth degree game yesterday, it had everything. We butchered a couple of chances because our baby-faced assassins were somewhat caught in the headlamps at times, but it is looking good.

    And by the way, do the english press know anything of the requirement of downward pressure on the rugger ball for a try – for it to flap off your flat hand on the ground is not a try at all. The whinging poms…… : )))

  • Ehtch

    Posted some Mother Earth life jokes there, since that is connected to my sense of spititual religion. We used to pray before food, but for the wrong reasons, it should have been for older reasons, native reasons, where give thanks and sadness to the animals and plants to feed us – yes thanks, for them that have lived to die for us. Sometimes quite often it worked the other way, but not much these days, unless you are caught with your trousers down in the Serengeti, with a hungry lion about. But Cheetahs are sweet cats, they might just nibble a couple of fingers off, that is all.

    And by the way, to tell a female robin from a male robin when you out in your backgarden to feed them, is a female robin will fly about you making wing noises like anything, but moving too fast if she is showing her behind. Clever birds robins. But that is if you are a male human feeding them that is. Bet Kate Humble never said this on the telly, nor Michella Strachan and the rest of them. Tarty robins? – NOOO!

  • Anonymous

    No offence but visits and open days are visits to the car showroom again. I certainly remember how different my school was from its open day portrayal.
    I think there might be a Chris Rock sketch about this.

    League tables and word of mouth are unfortunately as good as it gets. Of course its good that you checked 14 schools and had 14 to check.

    Blaming other people for what… rubbish schools? Schools with no discipline, no academic competitiveness etc? Well yes the last time I checked it wasn’t me running the schools nor were they running them based on my ideas so I certainly am blaming others just as I’m blaming the government for the economy.

  • sarah dodds
  • Michele

    / / / / Monday 27 February 2012
    The schools crusade that links Michael Gove to Rupert Murdoch

    The education
    secretary has close ties to Rupert Murdoch and would be a key figure if
    he attempts to move into the UK schools market

    —————————………………Given what I was told yesterday by my teacher neighbour, I’d hope that Ofsted don’t approve of the self-assessment being allowed and publicised by academy-ised schools.  Wonder why we’re not hearing from them?

  • Anonymous

    I’ll give you that one, couldn’t be bothered completing my last paragraph. For burger joints we can experiment with different ones. For schools you don’t get to try a lot of different ones so picking the best one is hard.

    Your blog was simplistic – some people can have a choice between various crap schools, some can have no choice but get a good school anyway. No shit sherlock. Anecdotal evidence. Like saying “well I know someone who got good treatment in a private hospital and bad treatment in NHS” or vice versa.

  • Michele

    You seize at anything don’t you?  A school is filled with its pupils on Open Days, do you think ‘bad’ pupils would behave themselves courteously for the sake of their teachers?  Do grow up fgs.
    Know the year when Philip Lawrence was knifed to death?
    Heard about the school in Dulwich (edges of the Village) that was closed down due to violence and re-opened as ‘Phoenix’?  Or the one just south of the Village that was under special measures for years?
    There have always been ‘incidents’ and some are mis-reported and exaggerated  by bored hacks (which I suppose is part of where your 2nd hand opinions are from).

    I was not seeking your approval when describing how many schools I visited btw (and I doubt you realise I was talking about the situation in ’92).

  • Michele

    Off topic – parallel universe time.

    As a fan of Prezzer for years – well done that man, thump! bam! – I find myself wondering if there’s a strategy here that I just don’t get re tonight’s performance on Two?

    We know so much now about NoW employees’ behaviour.
    I wouldn’t like to work in such an atmosphere – been so straight up and down re expenses that my boss once asked me if I was daft ….. so, WHY, when we know NoW hacks could claim cash with no checks being made, WHY is Prezzer going along with so-far unproven allegations that those claims were really payments to coppers and not lies re cash straight in to hacks’ pockets? 

    What’s in it for anyone, never mind for him?  Will apologies ever be made (or not, because it’s so hard to prove a negative)?  Will this slime of slurs ever be retracted if only for the victims’ feelings?

    We had Maitliss this evening, so exercised at the possibilities of corruption that she’d not even had the slippy lips applied  ….. where does this come from?

    Me hack, me greedy, me know it easy peasy so me make expenses claim for £3k nahhhhh WTF …. ooops WTH ….. let’s go for £5k, me fill in petty cash voucher me say me paying me source me not need to tell anyone else me contact details for ‘im/’er but me believable to me boss ‘oo eez oooops me not really Latino, me kinda cockney …. me not need to tell ’em oo me iz paying for some info me az made up or got from me sneaky private ‘tec ‘oo me will bung a Ton to ‘ack real people’s phones but me cannot say that as we are not yet in late 2011, I have to pretend I got my slimeball snooping from people we hope are conscientious but WTF eh?

    ‘Ooooo cares? 
    I hope Prezzer does not succeed in what should be thwarted (but not by him) re elected commissioners . 
    We need a real hero not reactionary populist opportunism.

  • Ehtch

    Alastair, another bonkers video and song, but from the early 1980’s, starring an Alfa Romeo Spider and larve. Quite good, always stuck with me, Yello from Switzerland,

  • Ehtch

    By the way, as I have seen outside my kitchen window, seeing a robin sweating to outfly a sparrow hawk after it and that is a site to behold, the robin with a very worried face on it. Usually happens in late spring, with the new chicks have just left the nest. Ah well Kate/Michella, such is life, harsh proper realities and all that in wildlife, fight of the fittest.

  • It is a story illustrating that choice and satisfaction are not the same. It’s meant to make a simple point so I guess it is simplistic! Some people seems to conflate choice and satisfaction/quality I am just pointing out with a simple story why they are not the same thing. 

  • Ehtch

    Why hasn’t there been a magical Thomas the Tank Engine/Down the River Bank/Wallace and Gromitt type cartoon with a Robin bird, they are incredible characters.

    BIG WHOOPS – I should have taken a patent out, shouldn’t I, Dragon’s Den?

    Ah bollocks to it, Ivor the Engine to you all,

  • Anonymous

    No they are not the same thing, but just about every study, plus surely any common sense analysis shows that usually choice improves things. Thats the view of just about every economist I’ve ever read.

    Sure, there are two Indian restaurants near my house and they are both mediocre, whereas my mate lives in the sticks beside one indian restaurant that is awesome. But I still reckon that Brick Lane or Delhi will give a better chance of finding a good one than any small town with only a couple of options. Not just because there is a higher probability of finding a good one, but because the competition itself will generally make ones in those areas perform better.

    Same with Unis, someone might live near a few universities but someone who lives beside one can get a better one if its cambridge. This is like the school one, where it gets difficult – the choice and competition ones only works with incentive, ie where the failing schools get less money and smaller salaries – a voucher system. Of course if they brought that in here we’d have riots. I say bring it on, and leather into them teachers – they’ll find out that corporal punishment does work after all.

  • Anonymous

    Replying at top of page.

  • Anonymous

    Michele said “A school is filled with its pupils on Open Days, do you think ‘bad’ pupils would behave themselves courteously for the sake of their teachers?”

    Oh my God, ok you beat James Hargrave! First of all, yes pupils will behave better in certain situations to gain teacher approval (you have been to school, right??)

    Second of all – come off it! Which pupils do you think get invited to be at the open days! I don’t seem to remember getting invited to it! Its all the teachers pets and wannabe teachers pets! (Feel like I’m back at school talking like this!)

    Ok, I suppose this proves that there are some good kids in the school and you can compare the good kids in one with the good kids in another but it is very much a select type of pupil you are meeting.

    I suppose I wouldn’t have been much use at the open day as when asked I’d have told the parents “Your son isn’t gay is he? No? Good because there were two here last year and they got bullied to the point of suicide attempt and leaving for a different school respectively. Cool. He doesn’t have a different religion than anyone else? That doesn’t work well either here. Lets see what else… we’re struggling with racial issues a bit but you’ll be fine… oh he doesn’t support the wrong team does he? Also don’t ever let him become ginger, or grow too fat, too skinny, too tall or too short. Have you considered which gang he might enrol in? And his choice of self defense. I can show some good concealed options.”

  • Michele

    On another ‘butch roll’ reaguns?

  • Michele

    For someone with NO first hand experience and so obviously gullible re gossip and hype and anecdote you make a good act of knowing it all.

    Stick to your posing.

  • Anonymous

    When did you resort to this method of argument? Well I’ll engage your points even if you don’t engage mine.

    No first hand experience? I’ve been to school, and I’ve worked in competitive industries and non competitive ones. I know what would have improved my school.

    Which gossip and hype are you referring to?

    And I think you will find me calling out people on anecdotes rather than vice versa. For example I said use league tables not the words of the specially selected teachers pet.

  • Michele

     You have no first hand experience of how schools are now compared to how they have improved since mid 90s.  That is the point.

    Your examples of NOW are 2nd hand from rags, from people thwarted about the schools their kid did not get in to for one reason or another (believe me, I understand, having even asked someone if I could use their address during ’92). 

    There have and always will be violent children, poor Mr Lawrence remains proof of that and there will always be emotional highs and lows among hormonal teenagers, it’s called life (and the raw materials for ‘journalists’). 

    I note you have not commented on my INFO about a recently academy-ised local school.  Yep, my info there is second-hand (albeit from a reliable source), it’s also sickening.

    You’ve been to school, wow, how bl**dy relevant is that?  I have lived next door to Brixton for decades, I have never once been troubled there but if I scurried every which way around it to avoid it I might well believe all the hostile headlines many might.  I’m not that desperate to moan. 

  • Anonymous

    Re academy info I don’t recall reading this? There is one school near me which became an academy and has enjoyed a remarkable transition – people who would never have darkened its doors are now queuing up to send kids to it but do you know what that is Michele – its an anecdote! You know, the thing you told me off about yesterday even when I hadn’t used one!

    Next, you seem to advocate that nothing can be done about violent kids, thats life, c’est la vie etc. Well lets just say that where I used to live there have been a few quite successful pilot schemes that prove the contrary.

    I do no subscribe to the far left theory that nothing can be done about criminals or badly behaved kids by government, but that the government can intervene and control the economy. In fact the opposite is true, finally recognised by Tony Blair to his great credit and to the long term benefit of the party and the country.

    I have first hand experience of going to school, I have first hand experience of good teachers thriving in any environment, and bad teachers only thriving / leaving when pressure is put on them. I have first hand experience of competition improving just about anything.

    But anyway thats playing your game, is noone allowed to have an opinion on something unless they have first hand experience? Can cancer not be treated by a doctor unless he has had cancer himself?

    Believe me I’d be more than happy to live in a society where people without experience have to keep their noses the hell out. First rule would be no middle class people get to vote on policing arrangements in working class areas. The middle class can hug hoodies in their own time on their own dollar.

    Second rule, noone who does office work will be allowed to have any say in the affairs of people who do manual work, ie the likes of Boris Johnson will not be allowed to tell people to dig ditches or work in pret.

    Oh we could take this very far. No MPs allowed to make military decisions without serving in the army!

    But we can’t have it both ways…

  • Ehtch

    Alastair, topped the jokes up on above vid.

    But anyway, just one for here, this yank comes on hoilday to the UK, but lands in Cardiff, due to fog on Heathrow or something, could be a bomb alert or something. Anyway, he goes through customs, and he gets asked, “anything on you like butt like mun?”. And he says “oh christ, my plane was hijacked, wasn’t it, and I am in Libya now, but with rain”.

    Stoopid yank. Needs to get out more.

  • Michele

     Ofgs on and on and on. 
    You didn’t read about the academy-ised school?   LoL.  It’s on THIS thread.
    Late June – school declared ‘failing’ by Ofsted.
    6 ‘term time’ weeks later, in mid Sept – school is academyised.
    4  ‘term time’ weeks later – school declared ‘approaching Excellent’ by Ofsted.

    4 months on; NO subsequent Ofsted visits, all reports to the academy company are self-assessments of pupils’ progress by teachers. 
    The teachers themselves are worried about this (those that realise thre are good and less good among them).

    Try not to get hysterical when responding to posts.  Stating the FACT that there has always been violence and extreme highs and lows among teenage pupils is NOT saying ‘do nowt about it’ – it is saying it is not teachers’ or schools’ faults and not necessarily solvable in the short term. 

    The Govt is happy to have the wool pulled over its eyes by private providers while shoving what should be ITS responsibility off on to them (especially in those areas where Pupil Premium is more prevalent … oh yep, LibDems will still boast about the ‘struggle’ with increases to that ….. another LoL).

  • Michele

     I don ‘t know what the guest moderator is thinking of this thread so far. 
    However it’s worth one of us mentioning that the constant adverse publicity about state schools is highly unlikely to imbue pupils with respect for what they’ve got.
    The unfairness of so much of it, when it’s often inspired only by media sales targets and ideology means we don’t give our children the optimism and confidence they need.

  • Anonymous

    Airey fairey fluff.
    (Trying your new style from the other day – doesn’t really suit me but hey!)

  • Anonymous

    Violence is a very simple thing that is often made complicated.

    My local nightclub used to have friday night punchups on if not a weekly then certainly a monthly basis. Yes I was involved myself a time or two when youthful exuberance and dutch courage overpowered common sense.
    The nightclub owners used to say “What can we do”.

    Then our town got a new judge, I forget her first and second name but pretty sure her middle name was “hang-em-high”.

    She said that every time there was trouble outside that nightclub the owners and doormen would be prosecuted. They were. Some did time. Now they control the area outside the nightclub and there is no violence.

    Schools could stamp it out too by expelling all violent pupils.

    P.s. who is hysterical?

  • Michele

     Ooooh get you Tarzan.

    Dolt, like that more?  You’re more than welcome.

    Have some concern for children who, allowed positivity, can thrive.

  • Michele

    You are, hysterically intent on your pretensions.

  • Anonymous

    Reply at top of page.

  • Anonymous

    Michele said “Have some concern for children who, allowed positivity, can thrive.”
    That is my point, advocating ways to allow more children to thrive! I think it takes more than just positivity though, as I’m sure you agree.
    I think bullying and violence needs to be stamped out. Perhaps this can’t be done totally but a lot more can be done than is currently being done. I don’t want to go back to the days where horrible schoolmasters are the violent bullies either.

    Also I don’t believe the violent kids should be thrown to the wolves – for many of them it is indeed not their fault, they grow up in families and in areas where there is no choice but to be violent. We should not let them perpetuate that violence on other kids, but we should seek to tackle those deeper issues. Its hard, but alongside national defense and national health I can think of no nobler cause. And we certainly do not do enough on it. As many a wiseman has pointed out this should be one of the two fundamental issues of government, yet for most western governments they don’t do it because they spend too much effort on other things that they shouldn’t go near. Or shouldn’t go near at least until they have fulfilled the two fundamental duties of government.

  • Michele

    Any Qs this week is from Beccles itself
    Margaret Hodge / George Monbiot doing sterling jobs re the topic of the blog at 40mins in :

  • Michele

     The Finnish social system sounds great, even if it does take about 45% taxation to fund it (I haven’t looked for how much is untaxed).
    My nieces in Sweden seem very secure, having passed through education to age 18 (in vocational subjects that so many here look down upon).

    Must admit I’m puzzled about the Finns – along with others – having a lot to say about the Euro bailout, while their reps must have voted for it and concerns there about religiosity and the right wing (but then the labels right and left are often used differently to how the UK tends to).

  • damon

    Just come across this page of interesting comments. Has anyone worked out yet why free schools are becoming popular and, why so many parents don’t want their children to go to Mr Rowe’s school? Clearly many people appear to have no confidence in the Head and many other like him across the UK. I have read somewhere else it is ultimately Mr Rowe who has cost the taxpayer £2m……….