Leafless

Won’t be long before the trees are leafless.

Could be a long winter.

For the fourth day running, UK had the most new Covid Cases in the world. Our cases running at least 10x higher than our European neighbours. Averaging about a 1000 Covid deaths a week. Hospitals under huge pressure. 1 in 12 secondary school pupils testing positive.

Apparently our Plan A is still working. No need for mandatory masks . No need for additional measures. No need to speed up the vaccination programme. We are learning to live with Covid.

Are we really learning to live with Covid or is the Government just trying to ignore the inconvenience it causes them.

Waterproofing and holidays

That’s a proper Yorkshire view. A midday view… It’s going to be a right test of your wind and waterproofing.

Much shaking of the heads this morning. A teacher sent a brief revision guide ahead of an exam straight after the half term. Notes on the areas covered so far. Worryingly 3/4s of those areas are new to Hawklad. Just how much of class learning hasn’t been shared with him. Just how far behind is he falling. AND school don’t know as they are clearly not tracking his progress. Not one teacher has asked. How much of his submitted work is being marked. Often the only marking is where the answers are provided and Hawklad has to mark his own work.

Much shaking of the head….

So Hawklad has a much needed week off in a few days. Much needed for pupils, teachers and parents. These are tough times to be at school. So much stress, anxiety and pressure. That week off is needed.

Over that week Hawklad has to revise for 5 core subject tests that happen within the first 2 days of his return. That’s a shed load of revision over the holiday.

What is the issue with letting our children have true time off to actually enjoy themselves. Oh I forgot, Victorian Hard Work Ethics are good for society. Well I’m sorry if our Prime Minister can have a week off in a luxury holiday destination, painting his watercolours, unavailable for work, WELL surely our children can as well.

Frustration

This week has been frustrating. So frustrating.

It’s been as tough a week that I can remember on this school at home project. Links with a number of teachers have become very strained. I bet the teachers are as desperate for the upcoming week break as we are.

Work has been a struggle. What can you do when so many are off with Covid. Not enough people still standing to cover the jobs. As much as I move the pieces around I’m always going to be short. Oh yes, sorry, apparently the pandemic is over….

My diet is a struggle. It’s a gluten and dairy free life for me at present. Yet those items are strangely unavailable at our local stores. Clearly the gluten free wagons are stuck somewhere trying to get into this brexit wonderland. I guess it’s a week of mostly jacket potatoes. I know what Matt Damon feels like in The Martian now….

Wow I need a break. But that break seems further away than ever. If only I could be Boris Johnson. Tell everyone we are in this together, take £20 a week off the poorest in our country then jump on a jet for a weeks painting and drinking at a Billionaires pad in the sun.

Dreams of a much better life are there. Stronger than ever. Just not this week. Not any time soon. Need to be patient.

Sleep. I find it’s a commodity vastly overrated but actually much needed….

And yet…..

If I just look up it’s amazing what I can find even on a 1 minute walk to the postbox.

There is always something to hold on to. There is always hope. When I focus on what really matters to me. The amazing in my life. I realise actually it’s still a wonderful life. Yes I’m ready to go again…..

Minecraft

The farmer doing his job.

The farmer starting to play MINECRAFT…..

I’m a simple bloke. I don’t have many talents. Not many redeeming features. It’s actually a good job that I look like a cross between George Clooney and Thor then….. 😂😂😂😂😂😂

Today one of the lessons Hawklad had to work through was in an area that I’m trained in. I can actually do this. But rather than a rare chance to show off I ended up shaking my head. It was that bad that I had my first real coffee in months.

What on earth are they teaching our children….

Who is deciding on the areas to learn…..

On what planet do they think that this is the best way to learn…..

Does anyone have the faintest clue if any child is ever going to need this information…..

Basically the lesson focused on the wrong areas, was highly selective, contained inaccuracies and was out of date. The potentially interesting and useful areas basically ignored. The mundane and least worthwhile areas most definitely focused on.

Is it the teacher – Maybe, maybe not. It is the national curriculum – DEFINITELY.

I’m seriously cheesed off with education. Maybe I should join the farmer and play Minecraft. Hawklad would definitely be better off playing that computer game than wasting his time on that lesson.

Morning

A brief bit of blue between the rain.

A time to pause.

This is version 2 of this post. The first was I guess similar in tone to many of my recents posts. I can summarise it in one line

Well if you don’t look at his submitted work then what is the point…..

But maybe I’m missing something. What happens if I look at the issue from a different angle.

Years ago I worked with a guy who was a right pain in the backside. He avoided work, blocked initiatives, sucked the life out of the organisation. But I got to know him. He wasn’t always like that. He was once keen, dedicated, wanted to make a difference. But years of rejection, failures, dead ends and broken promises took their toll. Eventually it changed him, drained him.

I have been hard on some of the teachers at school, as I am frustrated that Hawklad isn’t getting the support that he needs. But here’s the thing. In my country Teachers are undervalued and underpaid. They have become the whipping boys for the Government and the Media. Teachers are not allowed the freedom to teach. They are told by the Government what to teach, how to teach it and what learning sources to use. The syllabus is rammed full. They have to teach often in out dated classrooms with insufficient resources and support. Class sizes are too large often with teachers trying to teach something like 30 pupils. Teacher performance is measured purely on narrow measures set by the Government. With all this, is it any surprise that Hawklad isn’t getting the support I think he needs. Teachers are like pupils, just cogs in the system that is about the needs of the economy. It’s not about the needs and dreams of individual pupils.

No wonder that those kids who need support, don’t get it. That’s modern education in Britain.

Rainbows

One rainbow makes the last 24 hours of rain worthwhile.

One day the dark times my country are experiencing under this charlatan of a leader will be over and a true rainbow will be there. I just want to give you the words of our Rogue Prime Minister yesterday live on TV. Strangely not being publicised by his friends in the media but it’s telling of his character. So telling.

I’ve given you the most important metric, which is – never mind life expectancy, never mind, you know, cancer outcomes – look at wage growth,”

This man would happily unplug your life support to charge up his mobile phone. One day he will be history, just a really bad memory. Until he is gone then he will continue to destroy and ruin so many life’s.

As dark and as difficult as life can seem, a rainbow might just be around the corner.

Another school at home week dawns in a few hours. How long can we give this. Today Hawklad seems further than ever from a return to the classroom. I am convinced more than ever that his learning lies elsewhere. But is his call. His future. Is it better to stick in this less than ideal course until after his exams in 18 months time or is it better to twist now. On top of his anxieties he is wrestling with these thoughts. My job is to support him and to keep reminding him that as tough as it seems, that rainbow may be closer than he imagines.

Brave New World

Empty shelves in the shops, no petrol anywhere across the area, limited availability of blood test container tubes for Doctors resulting in the rationing of patient tests……..Another day in the Brave New World after Brexit.

As Hawklad rather adroitly put it this afternoon “this is what happens when a country needs leaders but votes in CLOWNS. Really nasty clowns.” As one commentator put it – the kinda clown who would happily pull out the plug on your life support machine so they could charge up their mobile phone.

It’s all going very dystopian here in Britain. To make the Huxley story link then we need a bit of genetically engineered trickery. What follows is the lamest link ever. Genetical engineering in the form of baking. My baking. Yes that is my latest bread loaf. Cheese topped Gluten Free, Dairy Free Honey and Sunflower Seed Bread. Huxley would be proud of me – it tastes rather fine. BUT…

“Dad that’s all very well but weren’t you supposed to be baking a sponge cake .”

Oh yes, I wondered why I was making bread when I already had a full homemade loaf still to eat. I must have got confused.

“That’s what happens when a kitchen needs a parent who knows what he’s doing and ends up with a MUPPET. Admittedly a muppet who can now bake bread.”

Way forward

Who needs a shower when you can walk through an autumnal Yorkshire meadow. The sun might be out but it’s wet. Very wet.

Who would have thought it. THOR with shorts on walking across that very field 😂😂😂 Much waxing needed 😱😱😱😱

Apparently The Government believes that 100,000 children currently off school as a result of Covid is far too many. Letters are being issued to many parents about the need for children to be in school. If parents don’t cooperate then they will be ‘officially assisted’ in getting their children back. I’m sorry but there is a pandemic on. Maybe if those in charge had made schools safer rather than just remove all the requirements for masks and social distancing, then far less kids would have ended up catching Covid.

So this morning I listened to the Government talk about parents again. They should listen to the official message. Do the decent, patriotic thing and believe in what the Government tells them. Schools are safe, send your kids into class. Even if there is underlying health conditions or covid in the household or a covid outbreak in the classroom, kids must be sent in.

Ok…

Hairy Thor can see a slight problem with that. I remember just a few months ago. One Monday morning. The Government was telling parents schools were completely safe. They wrote to schools to instruct them to stay open. Letters were issued talking of the legal consequences of keeping children off school. Headteachers and Parents were threatened that Monday Morning. So schools stayed open. Kids were sent into school. Then just 12 hours later, that very same Monday, after a day of repeated official untruths, The Government CLOSED all schools. Suddenly schools had become a serious vector of pandemic spread. They were apparently not safe after all. How many children, teachers, support staff, parents and grandparents ended up catching Covid needlessly that day…..

I had a long talk with Hawklad. We agreed that regardless of his anxiety levels, he will NOT return until classrooms in his school are safer. That helps with his mindset as well. He was feeling under pressure to return too soon. Let’s see how is mindset is at the end of October.

The path is clearer.

Reasons

There is something about this time of year. It just keeps on producing the most amazing mist covered skies. Almost as if the sky was an old watercolour art work.

We will ignore the absolutely sodden feet. Something about this time of year and wet socks as well….

The school term is well underway and finally a few subjects are providing some home materials for Hawklad. Certainly not the entire lesson but at least it’s something. One teacher even marked some work he had submitted and provided feedback. That’s a real start. But it all seems pretty disjointed and I get a sinking feeling – he is falling behind those in class. But at least it’s improving. I wonder if there is another reason for that.

Under the new Government Rules schools don’t notify parents if there are any in-class Covid cases. Lessons continue as normal without any additional precautions. Direct contacts with confirmed cases are NOT asked to isolate. It’s out of Headteachers hands now, external officials control the process. Those officials will not intervene until the number of cases escalate beyond thresholds set by the Government. So parents are kept in the dark and apparently should assume there is no news. Schools are completely safe.

Well a teacher accidentally let the cat out of the bag today with a stray email. The email talked about those unable to attend class due to having tested positive. In Hawklad’s class of 30 pupils, 6 are currently suffering with Covid. Those pupils sitting next to a confirmed case (that’s sat for hours, shoulder to shoulder with someone with Covid) are not traced. Mid last week all in the class had been given the all clear after the quick self testing process. A testing process which is not compulsory.

So I guess the reason for the improved home workload might just be that a sizeable proportion of the school are off…..

Crime and punishment

The sun sets on another day. Closer to another school at home week. Yes that’s right – no return to the classroom yet. Actually that might not be such a bad thing.

I’ve mentioned this before but I find some of the syllabus just completely baffling.

Hawklad loves History. He really loves History. I’ve never seen him ever find History anything other than awesome. He has a passion for it. Until now. Until the School History Programme. One third of the course is on Crime and Punishment. So far he has spent weeks learning about Jack The Ripper, Victorian violent crime and Capital Punishment. He has months more of this to come.

Yesterday Hawklad said that he was finding this all seriously disturbing. It was making him really anxious and stressed out. A few phrases struck home

“I found some of the images really disturbing.”

Some of the crime descriptions and autopsy details I just can’t get out of my mind.”

It’s putting me off History…..”

This is school history, it’s not criminology, it’s not a Stephen King Horror Novel. I know history will often have to cover really distressing topics but does that really have to include graphic details about a notorious serial killers crimes. Yes they are graphic….. Of all the history in the world to go for and the Authorities had to pick this. I know the Government has a bit of a fetish about Victorian times. They like to hark back to ‘good old’ Victorian Values. Why… Is it about the unrestrained power of the rich that is appealing or is it the downtrodden lifestyles of those without. Maybe it’s those in charge liking the idea of having Victorian punishment regimes at their finger tips. But whatever the reason, do we really have to suck our children’s education into this area as well.

“It’s putting me of History”. A subject he loves. Not on my watch…..