Sunday, 9 December 2012

Noone needs the poor kids

Noone needs the poor kids.

Well all this started with the previous government with a Labour unelected politician name of Lord Adonis. No not his name, Lord, - he was a lord, a titled person, and obviously been given, or had he assumed a brief that was quite beyond his experience or knowledge.

He will go down infamously in history as pulling the first thread that unravelled  the great UK education system. And he abused the powers that he had assumed for himself by giving away public buildings and public institutions to private companies for no other reason than they were exactly that: private companies.

He wasn’t the first to start on the demonisation of the teaching profession. No, that honour rests with Margaret Thatcher. And he wasn’t the first to mess about with the English language.  Just as “With all due respect” came to mean “with no respect at all”, so a secondary school, if now controlled by a private business was to be an “academy”.  This had an implication of high standards, building on the use of this term for advanced football and other sporting institutions.

The definition of an Academy is that there is no definition. - usually this meant just a school that is excluding the children with challenging behaviour as fast as they can.  This way, no inner city kids were troubled by kids with troubles and troubling behaviour, and why not! You don’t send your kids to school so that they sit next to kids who have no control over their own behaviour and who can and do trash lessons.

So now your new school is named an academy, and it is placed in an inner-city area, eg Seacroft Leeds, but it doesn’t take all the children from the immediate neighbourhood. In order to have a greater mix of social classes it is operating a system it calls “fair-banding”, and selects the clientele. And it selects in the first place, and then again in the second place [by excluding anyone who is not going to give them to grades].

Thus, in Leeds, the David Young Academy.  Of course the other schools in Leeds are picking up its reject pupils, and it is not as if we all don’t know this, but how it is spun?

So this is the problem, and it is not the one that is being addressed. There are children in this country being abused, physically, mentally and sexually. There are pupils who live in such desperate poverty that are hungry; they go without holidays; they have no space to call their own; these children barely have shelter; and do you know, they sure do drag a school’s results down. And the school gets the blame for keeping these children.  For the school’s survival, you need to lose these needy children. It hardly seems fair that a school should be blamed for the neighbourhood’s problems.

And of course life is complicated these days by our immigrant kids; some families come to the UK as economic migrants [posh expression for from abroad and very poor], or as people fleeing persecution [euphemism for surviving war zones, in itself euphemism]. And how can you concentrate on life in a schoolroom when your head is still full of dead relatives? 

I think the best answer is to close all the high schools in the inner-city, so that the poor kids get dispersed around the city’s periphery and then, logically the richer kids will outnumber the poorer ones, and the school’s academic results won’t be too badly brought down. Obviously where this has started to happen the richer kids’ parents are now sending their children further out of the city, so now the ringroad schools have a disproportion of the poor, needy and non-English speakers. Only now they have travelled three miles away from their family homes to be there. 

And actually that’s not really going to improve their academic performance. If anything I’d say it was likely to worsen it. 

random bird of prey hovering over the charity run at Harewood House

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