Wednesday, February 28, 2007

PC Daniel Coffill

Have a read of this awful story on Inspector Gadget's blog. It just about sums up everything that is wrong with our society today.

The two wretches who did this were once perfectly average little boys. Lack of willingness by parents and schools to discipline them and tell them what is right and what is wrong made them into disruptive, violent and unpleasant young adults.

Then they encounter a Police Force hampered by endless petty restrictions, forms and political correctness together with a legal system which has caved into Government pressure to keep crime figures down at any cost by making prosecutions ever harder and sentencing ever lighter. In charge of all this we have a Government who prefer to let criminals roam the streets rather than admit that we need to build a lot more jails.

The result is the awful tragedy of PC Daniel Coffill and his final kick in the teeth as yet another judge demonstrates the huge gulf separating them from mainstream public opinion by deciding to let his attackers out a bit earlier so that they can continue to behave in exactly the same way.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My SMT Is Madder Than Yours...

This story arrived today courtesy of 'The Striker'.

"Have you heard the story about the school (The Billericay School, Essex) that has banned children from eating their lunch using tables a chairs?

Apparently, there is a problem with litter (i.e. food bits) in the playground that attracts pigeons etc. The schools way of dealing with this 'Health & Safety' issue is to stop the children who purchase lunch items from taking it out of the school hall/canteen area. However, this has caused a congestion problem within the hall (forward thinking obviously not one of the skills of the SMT). The solution to the this additional problem? The removal of tables & chairs from the hall, because this is now another 'Health & Safety' issue.

Call me old fashioned, but there must still be some children who use things called 'knife & fork' so I'm not sure how the school expects the children to eat their dinner while standing. Silly me, they can sit on the floor! Is the SMT of this school just stark raving bonkers, or is it just me? Someone from the SMT must have thought 'this would be a good idea' and what really gets me, is that no one had the guts to say, 'hold on a second, are we sure about this?"

I've no supporting evidence for this story (email me if you know anything about it) but it does sound daft enough that it could be true and provides us with a neat starting point for a new competition entitled:

'My SMT is Crazier Than Yours'

Entrants must submit an example of an SMT decision, proposal, climbdown, idea or policy which demonstrates complete and utter madness. Back it up with evidence if possible (ie witness or news link)

Closing date for entries is the 10th March. Judges decision is final.

Way off Topic

Would all car manufacturers please note the following:

1) 'Sport' is an activity carried out for enjoyment which makes gives you a pleasant feeling of tiredness and well being afterwards, along with a good helping of mud. It is not a badge to put on the side of over powered cars which encourage dimwits like Wayne to believe that he is James Bond.

2) 'Off Road' is where walkers, runners and mountain bikers belong. Vehicles should stay 'On Road' or risk being pelted with stones.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Bear this in mind next time you are organising a drugs deal...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Please make your way to the Deportures Gate...

My suggestion for what to do with this wretch is pretty simple as you might expect. Send him out to Afghanistan or Iraq. Not, I hasten to add to burden the Army or the Marines, but simply deported, so he can't bother us any more. We have been far far too lenient with this type of feckless, weak willed individual who is absolutely no use to our country whatsoever.

Hang on a minute though... What's that kid behind him doing?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lions led by Donkeys

Mrs Chalk is also a teacher, but unlike me she is a first class one; held in high regard by pupils and other teachers at her school. She is not interested in promotion which is just as well, since she would have about as much chance of being promoted as I would of winning the Booker Prize.

Her problem is simple; she constantly makes the fatal mistakes of refusing to ignore poor behaviour, of speaking out when something is clearly wrong or not working properly and worst of all; standing up to the weak willed, helpless cases who run the place. I've tried to talk her out of these foolish notions but to no avail.

In the last twelve months she has been rebuked for shouting at pupils, criticising parents, upsetting the Education Welfare Officer, making the School Psychologist cry and annoying just about every member of SMT together with a whole host of other things which should be compulsory behaviour. The fact that she hasn't had a day off in years and her results are far better than the average doesn't count for much.

There are teachers like Mrs C in every school I've ever worked in. They deserve our admiration and respect, for they highlight the most fundamental problem in State Schools:

Those who lead them are weak.

They have their excuses ready to trot out at the drop of a baseball hat:

"There's nothing we can do"
"We've decided that Shane deserves another chance"
"Shazney has a difficult home life"

We all know that Heads don't have as much power to discipline kids as they should have, but we also know that they could do a lot more than they actually do. (Exclusion, and to Hell with how the figures look; or involving the Police and the Courts. In fact just dragging the parents in and laying down the law in no uncertain terms rather than backing down to avoid a confrontation, would often be enough from a strong leader)

Generally however they prefer not to admit to problems in their school and either cover bad things up or pass them back down the ladder. What so many fail to realise is that in the eyes of the teachers who look up to them for support; trying and failing is so much more impressive than not trying at all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hidden truths

After reading an article in the Sunday Times alleging that lots of eggs and chicken sold as 'organic' by the supermarkets are anything but; I started to wonder if there are any blogs by Supermarket Buyers.

I've tried to do my bit and publicise the scandalous state of Comprehensive Education in Britain today, Copperfield has disavowed us of any foolish notions that the Police spend their time catching criminals and Dr. Crippen reveals where our money is burnt in the NHS. There must be plenty of other murky secrets that should be brought to the Public's attention, so let me know if you are aware of any bloggers doing this and I'll add them to the sidebar.

No More Spam For Us (hopefully)

A deluge of spam from people who seem to think that my readers are desperate for Viagra, dubious pictures and homemade drugs means that you now have to type in some random letters to show that you are a real person each time you leave a comment.

Sorry about the extra hassle.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We're On The Road To Nowhere...

(Sorry, the link has somehow disappeared.) Is anybody really surprised by the fact that two thirds of Comprehensive School teachers don't have degrees in the subject that they teach? Or that thousands of student teachers last year failed basic literacy and numeracy tests that they took as part of their course (and then were allowed to resit as many times as necessary)?

Whilst there are still some brilliant people going into State Education, the average ability of new trainees is in terminal decline, due to the simple fact that teaching is no longer very appealing to Bright Young Things who know exactly how bad Inner City Comprehensives are, and have no desire to have anything to do with them. This only leaves the highly devoted and the absolutely hopeless.

Ever worsening conditions of employment have left us desperate. The only qualification necessary for a job at St Thickchilds is a pulse.

You can get onto a BEd course nowadays with two poor A Levels and a few years later be stood in front of a group of possibly far cleverer kids trying to learn for their own exams. I encountered dozens of 'teachers' throughout my career who had little grasp of the subject they were attempting to teach.

My opinion is that it's the working conditions that are the problem, more so than the pay.

Say you were given a choice. On the one hand, you can have a nice, clean graffiti-free classroom, strict, properly enforced school rules (which would result in a massive decrease in poor behaviour from both children and parents). No more silly forms to fill in, targets to make up and a more sensible curriculum. OR you can have a pay rise. How much would you want before it became more desirable than the first option?

Time's Running Out

The last date for signing the petition is in a couple of weeks so please sign it if you agree with its aims and haven't yet done so.

It's ranked about 140th which isn't too bad since I chose to leave it up for a shorter time period than many of the others and the site simply rates them in order of the total number of signatures. There are a few entertaining ones and some poor Government minion will no doubt get the job of replying to them all.

By the way I've discovered why the lady who blogs about living in a cottage somewhere is all over the Sunday Times. It's because she used to work for them!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Book Reviews

Here's a couple of book reviews for your amusement:

Amazon Scroll down to Richard Knight's review on Feb 7th. I don't think that he's a big fan of mine but nevertheless I owe him a great debt of thanks for giving me an excellent idea:

No matter what we might think of Jeremy Clarkson, the indisputable truth is that he has sold over 2 million books, making him one of Britain's most popular authors. If we can start the rumour that I am actually him; then before you know it, myself and Mrs C will be frolicking in the Bahamas. I urge all readers to spread the word whilst I nip into town for some Levis and a nice perm.

City Journal This one's by Theodore Dalrymple. I'm not sure whether 'Gogol' is just 'Google' spelt wrongly. I shall email him to ask.

Jealousy is a Terrible Thing

Sorry about the lack of posts, I've been away for a few days visiting some old friends who live in rural Derbyshire. This really is a lovely part of the Country, with lots of hills for walking up and endless opportunities to say to the locals; "Do you live in Hope?"

According to The Times, a lady called Judith O'Reilly has been given a £70 000 book deal for her blog which seems to be about living in the North of England after living in the South. Have a read of it here. If you like it, I'll put a link on the sidebar.

Copperfield and I thought we were doing really well when we got taken out for a curry by our Editor...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Home Alone

After the enthusiastic response to the last two questions about schooling, here's a third which I think is a harder one:

'Would you educate your child at home?'

Ok they would probably be able to pass their GCSEs at the age of nine but would they not end up a bit odd from missing out on all the other stuff kids learn at school (drugs, violence, anti-social behaviour, gangs, cider, sex...)

Say whether you would do it as a last resort (ie local comps are War Zones and you can't afford the Private School fees) or whether you might consider it regardless.

You don't need any qualifications to home school by the way. The Council just check up on you every so often. (Probably about as often as they fill in potholes, but I don't really know)

Sydney here I come!

Good news for all of you in Downunder Land. My book will shortly be published in Australia.

You may note an interesting parallel with the Real World, where action has been replaced by debate. Once upon a time we used to actually send our criminals and their offspring there, now we just send my views on them instead.

I have suggested a book tour of the East Coast, taking in all the diving and surfing areas...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Voting Result

After 24 hours we've got about 30 'Yes' votes and not a single 'No'. I can't help but think (as Lily said) that it's a pretty terrible comment on the State Education system.

Let's move on to a question posed by a reader in an email yesterday.

"Why are the Private Schools so much better than the State ones?

NASUWT Support

Get your teeth into this article...

A Teacher writing a book? It's outrageous.

Good to see the NASUWT standing up for her with a message of support. I'm sure if she had simply been a completely useless teacher, or one who is never in; they would be up in arms.

I can't help but wonder why the Head has nothing better to do with his time. Mind you, if I were him, I'd be unable to resist saying: "We were going to investigate this but there's too much at stake..."

(Which may well explain why I was never promoted.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Votes Please

As a commenter on the previous post suggested, let's try to get a rough idea of what percentage of State Teachers would send their kids to Private School.

We'll make a couple of assumptions:

1) You can afford the fees.
2) There isn't a superb State School nearby.

Combined with the fact that not every teacher reads this blog and I've no idea how genuine the responses are, it will obviously be slightly artificial, but then all polls are. Only certain types of people stop to answer questionnaires in the street, fill in forms or even vote in elections. I suspect that it will be interesting though.

State School teachers or former ones only please. We'll tot up the scores after a week.

I'll start the ball rolling:

Mr Chalk: Course I would.

Friday, February 09, 2007


As an enthusiastic critic of the Teaching Unions, let me be the first to praise the NASUWT for its efforts at the fairly awful Ridings School in Halifax.

Believe it or not, 71% of their members at the school have decided to actually try and do something about the behaviour of some of the horrors that go there. I hope their efforts are rewarded.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Help, help It's snowing!

I have never understood why some schools close when there is a millimetre of snow on the ground. I'm quite sure that the words 'Health and Safety' would be used to somehow justify everyone sitting at home whilst causing an absolute nightmare for parents who have to go into work as normal and find someone gullible enough to look after their children at short notice.

Worst of all, it just lowers the general public's impression of teachers even more.

If your school is closed for a few days, I dare you to tell everyone that you went on a short skiing break to the Alps...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Exciting New Ideas and things... (I think)

After following Archduke's link and reading the article twice, I have to confess that I cannot understand any of it. Sorry

Monday, February 05, 2007

Good to see

Good on the organisation called Meco, for taking a stand and doing something. (It doesn't say how much they're going to give but at least they are contributing, which is more than can be said for Buckinghamshire Council)

If this had happened in Caterham, would the group be called Mecca?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Need to look for a new school.

Would this bloke have been sacked if he'd said that most IRA bombers were Catholic? I wonder if his Union will stand up for him...

If you're a reader, Mr McLuskey drop me a line and let me know.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Attacks on Teachers

But when I read this I knew they had been reading my book. The comments at the end are worth a look too.

Every SMT and Teaching Union should be up in arms and taking action about this sort of stuff. Instead they simply engage in endless debate.

We will read the same story next year and the year after. We are simply on a countdown to the first teacher to be killed at school in the UK.

Another me

When I read this, I thought "Has this bloke been reading my blog?"

But the sad truth is there's thousands of teachers in awful schools who could write the same thing.