Schools Masks

On the radio I have just heard a politician describe those who are advocating a rethink on school Covid safety as ‘left wingers playing politics with our kids future’. Apparently schools are perfectly safe and don’t need any form of additional safeguards. Items like masks are not needed and are an infringement on civil liberties. Parents should listen to those that know the facts……

Ok I am just your average muppet single parent. What do I know. How can I possibly doubt the Government’s decision to remove masks from schools.

Shall we listen to the Independent Science Advisory Group. Independent Sage concluded that “don’t think we can do anything but conclude that this government is seriously carrying out its herd immunity policy through natural infection, through school children.”

Or shall we see what a leading World Epidemiologist thinks. I’d rather listen to him than some trumped up politician who plays politics.

Cut adrift.

The end of the school half term. To sum up the last 7 weeks of school at home –

The support is rapidly drying up.

More lessons passing without much support for Hawklad. His work isn’t getting marked in most cases. Increasingly we are having to decide on the areas studied. Whether they are in line with what his class are covering, we have largely no idea. The year exams start as soon as the school returns from the week off. We still don’t know the arrangements for Hawklad. We don’t even know the detailed exam timetable.

Definitely feels like we are getting cut adrift. The support we battled to get for him a few years back has largely been removed due to wider commission decisions, not on individual case circumstances. He’s supposed to see a paediatrician every 6 months but due to cut backs in service and a pandemic, it’s now been over 3 years since his last review. The local council keep putting off his annual education review, again the last one was nearly 3 years ago. School do not provide any additional in class support p.

Maybe it’s partly single parenting and sometimes I get to feel really isolated – but it certainly feels like our family is being cut adrift. Sadly that’s what happens with the vast majority of Autistic and Asperger teenagers. Cut adrift.

Views

What a difference a different view of something makes. Even just a few paces. Same pole but seen from the other side, just a few seconds later.

I worry quite a bit about the state of the UK’s school system. I don’t like it’s direction over recent times. A Government increasingly wanting to control what is taught and how it’s taught. Modern day Thought Police….

The last year of our school at home project has really highlighted that to me. Most lessons are about force feeding facts. The pupils are just expected to learn those facts parrot fashion. They are told what to look at, which books to read, which facts to absorb. What to believe and what not to believe. Pupils are expected to fit into a mould. So little scope to develop free thinking. Few chances to take the time to look at subjects from different directions. No scope to develop their own views and interests.

It really shouldn’t be like this. The irony. We live in a so called free society where our children are not free to think for themselves.

Test subjects

As of last Monday the Government withdraw the instructions relating to wearing masks in schools. Masks are now not recommended for use in classrooms and communal areas. But they are still required in school buses but masks are to be removed once the pupil enters school property. The official line is that schools are perfectly safe. This is contrary to the Government’s own scientific advice.

In unrelated news it has been revealed that the UK Government removed a page from this weeks Public Health Release which showed the extent to which new COVID variants are spreading at alarming rates in UK Schools. The draft report featured that data but the final approved version dropped that entire section. The official word is that data will be released at a later date. Some data was released late last night (very odd timing for Public Health) but with the key school data still missing.

So why the secrecy?

Is it because the data shows that the Governments own criteria for the ongoing easing of COVID restrictions have not been met.

OR

Is it because the Government is sticking to its original discredited Herd Immunity strategy. This time doing it by stealth and using our children as the test subjects.

This is all starting to feel like an X-Files story line coming true.

It had to happen

AV.1.

It had to happen. AV.1 is the Yorkshire COVID Variant. There have been currently 47 confirmed cases in Yorkshire. It’s already spreading. It’s been found in Greece and Chad. The Yorkshire Variant is described as a ‘Triple Mutant’ which potentially opens up the risk of increased transferability and reduced vaccine effectiveness. It is now listed as a variant under investigation.

The worry is that yesterday Yorkshire was described as ‘very low risk’ and people should prepare for full reopening next month. Sadly when a country accepts a relatively high level of infections as acceptable then the risk of mutations increases. As the mutations numbers increase then it’s only a matter of time before current vaccines become ineffective. If mutations are allowed to get out of hand then a tipping point is reached when vaccine updates can’t keep up with virus changes. We then are playing a never ending game of catch-up.

The Yorkshire variant will be one of many to come if nothing significant changes. It highlights the shortsightedness of countries hoarding vaccines while many other places struggle to get any supplies at all. It brings into questions approaches to international travel in the short term.

This war is only just beginning.

Hindsight

According to the Government this morning it was impossible to forecast the emergence of the Indian COVID Variant in the UK. People should stop being ‘Captain Hindsight’. Which is odd as scientists, doctors, opposition parties, other Governments, some in the media and even the Governments own advisers were warning about it when the the variant first emerged in India in February. All calling for stricter border checks, more robust monitoring, even border restrictions until the vaccination programme was completed. But no. Nothing happened again. The horse bolts and then a big thing is made of Boris Johnson then partly closing the stable doors when it’s too late. The UK now has the second highest concentration of the Indian variant in the world now, second only to India.

The UK COVID border process has since the pandemic started been somewhere between nonexistent and a joke. I don’t understand why for this Government. A Government so quick to permanently remove free travel rights for its own citizens across Europe. A Government which is so quick to close borders to immigrants and refugees. So quick to deport any group deemed as ‘unwanted here’. Yet when it comes to a pandemic it is so set against border control. But what do you expect from a Government that has now decided to switch COVID public advice away from trained medics to outsourced call staff with no medical background.

But what does hindsight count for anyway. Maybe this scary fact. Currently at the height of worlds worst outbreak, in India the average COVID deaths per 100,000 stands at just below 20. In the UK , the average COVID related deaths per 100,000 stands at 191…..

What was the quote our Prime Minister is alleged to have said – let the bodies pile high…… Well he got his wish. All without hindsight.

Ticking

Wind back the clock 20 years and a couple walked along a country lane and thought we must try that narrow path that runs along by those trees. Where would it take us.

Virtually every single time that couple walked that lane one voice would mention the need to walk that tree lined path.

20 years, 15 years….

Then it became a family of 3. Still they walked that lane and pondered that mysterious path.

10 years, 5 years….

The TIME ran out. Time ran out for that couple, that family. Since then the bereaved partner has finally run down that path. Found out where it led to. Definitely beautiful but such a powerful symbol of missed opportunity. The dangers of thinking that you have plenty of time. in reality the clock is always TICKING.

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.

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.

The future

The National Autistic Society has carried out research on the reality of adults living with autism spectrum disorders. It’s a sobering read.

I just want to highlight some specific lines in the report.

49% of adults with autism or Asperger syndrome are still living at home with their parents. 65% of these adults have had no community care assess- ments and are therefore unlikely to be known to the statutory agencies who should be supporting them.

31% of adults at the lower end of the autism spectrum are still being cared for at home, despite their high level needs. 45% of parents believed their son or daughter required 24-hour care, and only 15% thought they could live in sheltered or shared accommodation.

Only 3% of adults at the higher end of the autism spectrum are living fully independently, and a further 8% are living independently with some regular professional or family support.

As the report points out Families are picking up the care responsibilities in the UK associated with autism. Repeated Government’s have buried their heads in the sand. The current government unbelievably has probably set the bar even lower.

Like many families around the UK (and worldwide) my thoughts are increasingly focusing on the future. What will happen to Hawklad as an adult in our society which is so badly setup for those on the spectrum. Let’s just say that its currently not an entirely reassuring feeling I have. Yes I’m worried.