Summer

Cold, cold, cold but sunny.

Can’t believe the break from school is almost over. As Hawklad isn’t ready to go back we go again on the school at home project. Wait for it. Using my fingers to count past 10 I think Monday will be the 212th home at school teaching day. Does that make me a proper teacher now…..

I must admit there feels like there is quite a lot of schooling fatigue on both the pupil and the parent now. If this was true homeschooling then now would be the time for changing things up. But it isn’t so lessons start again at 840am on Monday. The weekend will be spent trying to complete holiday homework.

It might just be about limping through until the summer break. This summer feels like it’s the crucial time. Can’t see him returning to school before then. So summer is when we either fully commit to homeschooling or we try to move closer to a return to the classroom.

The process will be tough enough….

The last thing we need is a self righteous horse whip clown determined to use children as a way to become PM. To appear the hard man. Wanting to take schools back to Victorian values. A clown who is trying to now push through changes to extend the school day, reduce school holidays, increase homework and drive through increased discipline.

If I’m honest I’m not looking forward to the next few months.

Warning

Warning. In some countries the self absorbed, moronic idiots are still in charge.

Photo from The Guardian

Remember this PRAT. He is in Secretary of State for Education. Yes the idiot with a horse whip on his desk. A bloke who has been recently described by a respected former member of the Government as a ‘venomous, self seeking little s**t’.

Well the Prat has spoken again. Apparently ‘a generation of children have lacked discipline and order during the pandemic’. So he will be launching a crackdown on behaviour in schools……

Is he going to bother revealing his evidence for his claim. Or as usual is he just getting his views from the a couple of extreme right wing political lobbying groups that he follows.

It’s odd as every teacher and parent I have heard have been praising just how good school children have been, how well they have reacted to the pandemic. They have been brilliant. An unprecedented time of disruption. Schools open and closed. Exams on and off. Exam results messed up by the actions of this prat. Not being able to meet with friends. Holidays cancelled. Sports and leisure activities curtailed. Living through such awful times. AND TOO many going hungry as families struggle.

But this prat thinks they need discipline. Has he forgotten that he was sacked by the last PM when he was the Defence Secretary for leaking official secrets. He broke the Official Secrets Act, behaviour that ends up in prison for mere mortals. Clearly someone with high personal behaviour standards.

How did my country go so wrong. So wrong that someone like him ends up running our schools. Now people will vote for him, it’s currently still a free country. They might agree with him. Fine but if that is how they view our younger generation then I have the same contempt for them as I do for this prat. The children aren’t the problem, it’s the people who think the way this prat thinks who are the real problem. The children are the future, the hope, the solution to this corrupt mess.

Mix messages

So two days after my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and alright. Didn’t feel much on Friday apart from a little prick but hey what’s new… Yesterday I felt a bit achy. Had a two hour spell where I felt really hot (that’s so not me….). As if I was going down with something but that ebbed away. So currently it’s been ok.

What’s not ok is the mixed messages. The medics are telling me that until I get the second vaccine then any protection may be limited. Even after the second shot I will still pose a risk to others. I can still carry and spread Covid. The vaccines may only provide up to 50% protection against spreading it to others. So it’s vital I stick to social distancing and wear masks for the foreseeable future. YET this morning I heard a government minister say that when you get the shot you are covered. As soon as lockdown eases get out to pubs, to the cinema, to the stadiums and most importantly to the office. By June the minister said we would be back to normal.

Then our really hard working PM. A fine man, who is honest, much admired, never corrupt, never racist, never sexist and most certainly never a self absorbed git…. Most definitely never a someone who has an affair with someone and then gives his lover £126000 of public money. Anyway that pillock was unbelievably working at the weekend and talking. Apparently now was the time to stop home working and get back into the office. Office’s and public transport are completely safe. “Time to stop the DAYS OFF…….” I heard someone in the Government use the term HOLIDAYS….

Do they know 126,000 people have died so far from this pandemic. Days Off and Holidays are the most distasteful terminology to use but it just sums them up. Staggeringly people are still prepared to back them. So what do I know….

Anyway again it’s mixed messages. The Government are telling people offices and schools are perfectly safe. We are soon going to be back to normal. No need to change anything. YET their very own scientific advisers are warning that we are in this for the long run. The vaccine programme is only a part of what is needed. They are warning of the need for long term social distancing. They are calling for places like schools, offices and trains to be fundamentally improved. To make them safer and better placed to work safely during a pandemic (and after). Better ventilation and more space have to be built into them urgently.

MIXED MESSAGES.

Delightful

Red sky at night Shepherds delight.

I’m taking Boris Johnson so I guess I might be getting some of those delightful fan mail messages again.

Watching the news and again shaking my head. Just maybe the UK could vote for a leader next time who could be bothered to comb his hair or dress in front of a mirror. So our esteemed PM has been talking again. Amazing considering he has just got others to pay for a £200000 makeover on his flat.

Apparently 120000 deaths is in fact a sign of a job well done. Something to be proud of. It’s silly to compare us with other countries with much lower death levels as comparisons are meaningless. Soon things will be apparently back to normal with most of the restrictions lifted. Crowds will be back. Football grounds, restaurants and pubs will be full again. Life will be good within months. Which is bizarre as he then mentioned that (entirely down to Europe and absolutely nothing to do with lifting restrictions) a third wave will likely hit the UK real soon.

Ok….. Didn’t we already go through our really bad third wave after Christmas when the PM lifted restrictions against the advice of his medical experts. If a FOURTH wave hits then it’s not down to Europe. The threats sources are clear. From vaccine resistant mutations spreading far more rapidly due to premature restriction easing. The threat comes from still not having any meaningful Covid screening checks at many airports and ports. It comes from a bizarre refusal to address overcrowding, design failings and poor ventilation in our schools, offices and public places. It comes from using schools as a way of promoting a discredited ‘herd’ strategy. It comes from pinning all our hopes on a ‘vaccinate out of this mess strategy’ and close our eyes to other long overdue changes. It comes from still not having an effective track and trace system. It comes from a wonderful health service which has been cut back over far too many years and is now utterly exhausted. It comes from mixed messages from the top which is resulting in some people following social distancing and others thinking the pandemic is over.

Moan over….

That sky was delightful.

Homework

Let’s be honest I’m not the biggest fan of school homework. Not a fan all those years ago when I suffered it as a child and certainly not now as a parent. Occasionally the homework I’ve encountered has had some learning merits. On a few rarer occasions it’s been interesting even wait for it – FUN. Sadly in the vast majority of cases it’s unremittingly dull, of little value to the child and no better than parrot learning dross. A desperate attempt to tick off parts of the government curriculum. I’ve lost count of the times Hawklad has put so much effort into a piece of homework and then gets zero feedback. Too often it’s probably not even marked.

What is the point….

Hawklad has a number of such seemingly meaningless pieces of homework to complete this week. Let’s just look at one of those. How about Religious Education. To paraphrase

Look at your last classroom assessment. Examine your answers and look at the comments. Make corrections to your answers in green pen (must be in green) so that all the teacher comments have been clearly considered. Now fully re-answer two of the assessment questions in your book ensuring all teacher comments are addressed. Homework must be submitted before the start of the next lesson.

That’s RE…. I might be missing something but is that really how you teach this subject. How you teach any subject. How is that approach doing anything positive. Talk about draining the FUN and ENJOYMENT out of school. And guess what.

Dad can I drop this subject….”.

Homework – don’t you just love it…. Well the Government does as it fits in with their schooling vision….How depressing is that.

Rainbow LOST

First rainbow of the year here. Sadly I failed to find that pot of gold. If I had found that pot then I could have happily binned this application form in front of me.

Having carefully followed the IKEA flat pack like instructions that came with the application pack I was officially LOST. Don’t you just love filling out Government Forms. Especially the ones which are designed to stop you claiming any money from them. You know your in trouble when your lost on the FIRST page with another 30 to go. Only thing left was for me to contact the dreaded customer care line. 🤯🙈

Having showed them the tattoo on my left buttock as proof of who I am and confirmed that I was a UK citizen… the main event started. I carefully explained my personal circumstances

“How can I help you Sir.”

Box 4. I’m not sure which option to tick in terms of circumstances.

Well sir you are not classed as a widow. You also don’t meet the definition of single, divorced, separated or married. So you would tick the box marked OTHER.”

Ok there is a problem being OTHER. That option then directs me to the final page. I get a paragraph to fill out with any other information and that’s it. I don’t get the chance to fill out the other 28 pages of questions. I’m guessing they are kind of important to the overall claim…

Unfortunately those are the current protocol rules. You do get that box on the final page to set out you circumstances and information relating to your claim.

Is there anything else I can help you with….

Would you mind answering a few prerecorded customer care questions…..”

*****

So I’m not entirely convinced that my claim will go that well. More chance of finding that pot of gold….

Are we really happy about this

It’s still not even midday on this stormy Monday and it already feels like it’s been a long week. Much shaking my head at the areas and topics Hawklad is having to learn. Really how will these facts and skills set him up for the future.

Then he listens to the news. It’s filled with talk of pandemics, nepotism and a country rapidly appearing to be an inwardly looking police state. Women having to protest because they don’t feel safe. A complete and utter Brexit shambles. Ongoing environmental disasters. Lots of waving the flag and saying we are better than anyone else. Look how much we can blame on immigration. Everything has a price. Profit is king. A world where the makeover of the PMs flat is more important than a pay rise for nurses. Leaders talking about bringing Victorian values back into schools.

Hawklad hears this. He talks about this.

Are we really happy that our children are being exposed to this. Being brought up in this type of world. Learning this stuff. Are we happy that the likes of these people are in charge of our child’s education.

Deciding exactly what they learn, how they learn it, where they can source there information from. What part of the economy they can be slotted in to.

Is it really about the children or is just about the economy. If it is really about the children then why don’t we ask them what they want. What interests them. What works for them. What world do they want to grow up in.

I bet it’s not this type of world….

Support

Too wet for a photo today so let’s go back a year.

First true fully open school day. First day with classroom teaching and Hawklad at home. It’s been one of those days….

In the First lesson one brief document was shared by the teaching staff on the online system. That kept Hawklad going for about 10 minutes in a 90 minute lesson. Second lesson absolutely nothing was shared. No communication. Basically complete radio silence. The third lesson was again a complete blank. Nothing. Thankfully the final lesson had some of the teaching materials shared.

On the same day I heard someone representing the Government say that online support should be limited to encourage all children back into the classroom. Well the schools seem to be doing as they are told…..

Whip

The sun almost shines down on a Monday morning. So the schools are now open again.

A real media blitz is underway telling parents just how safe things are and also reminding them of the fines that can be given out for keeping children off school. The Education Secretary is talking about change. Changes he thinks are necessary. Ways to extend the school day so children learn more. Changes to the school year drastically cutting back on school holidays. Finding ways to get pupils to keep studying during weekends and those reduced holidays. Changes he thinks are long overdue.

Strangely no mention of changes to make schools better places to learn and have fun. No mention of changes to the Government’s dogmatic national curriculum. No mention of investment in home schooling. No mention of changes to the funding cuts the Government has made to child mental health services. No mention of more input from pupils, teachers and parents in shaping a better future. The only change required is clearly to make children work longer.

But what do we expect from a politician who is supposed to be in charge or our schooling system and who makes a point of having a horse whip on the front of his desk. Photo from The Guardian

Back this week!

So much space…..

So all the schools are back this week. With some changes. A bit more of an encouragement to wear masks. All pupils to get a couple of rapid Covid tests per week. A test which gives inaccurate results in potentially 1 out of every 5 tests. But let’s not mention the giant elephant in the rather cramped classroom.

Most children and staff will be returning to classrooms in a country with rapidly emerging virus mutations without mandatory masks, in rooms likely to have really poor ventilation, with pupils definitely and staff probably without the security of a vaccination. And here’s the elephant entering the already cramped room. The PM has been doing repeated photo opportunities in classrooms. In carefully selected modern classrooms containing only a handful of children. Lots of space. But that’s not the reality for most schools. Too many are squeezed into small spaces. Nothing has been done to reduce the high classroom numbers. Not one thing. If Hawklad was returning then it would be to a class size which is between 30 to 32 pupils and 2 members of staff. In a building which is well over 50 years old.

Please tell me how this is a good idea.