Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

We don't like rules.

Courtesy of BBC
A school in Suffolk is to ban girls from wearing skirts in a crackdown on uniform infringements.
St Albans Catholic High School in Ipswich said it would enforce the ban from September after pupils broke dress code rules.
So, although the parents might have let their daughters be a bit careless with the existing rule, they of course agreed that it was a good idea for girls to wear trousers. Trousers mean there will be no problems with excessive thigh exposure which could attract horrible paedophiles. Trousers will keep the girls' legs warmer in winter ... and so on. Good idea, don't you think, after all, some schools expect all their children/pupils/students to wear trousers because they're meant to be safer for girls than skirts. And anyhow, there are rules, as the school says :-
"Our prospectus lays down a rule that skirts must be from knee to mid-calf length, not tight and no slits are allowed."
But no, the parents didn't like the idea of their daughters obeying rules, they followed the best practices of modern Britain and :-
Parents and pupils have set up a Facebook petition opposing the ban.
Parent Claire Calver goes one step further, she's realised there's no real difference between staff and children/pupils/students because, she says :-
"I'm disgusted. I hope the female teachers won't be wearing skirts either."

Actually Claire, unless you're a school governor, it's no business of yours what the teachers wear to school, nothing whatsoever - it's your job, as a responsible parent, to help the school turn out a fresh crop of adults who are going to be of some use to the country. With an attitude like yours the rest of us might as well stop trying.

But, to be honest, it looks as if the school needs to rethink a thing or two, too :-
School manager Alison Turner
What on earth is a "School Manager", and since when did head teachers need to hide behind "managers"?

According to AskOxford 'manager' is
noun 1 a person who manages an organization, group of staff, or sports team. 2 a person in charge of the business affairs of a sports player, actor, or performer.
Ordinary folk see a manager as somebody fairly ordinary, somebody they could be if they were in the right place at the right time -  such as an ex-footballer who becomes a football team manager (and can  mess up the team's chances); a supermarket manager who used to work the tills (and can be unreasonable by telling customers not to wear their pyjamas);  a coffee shop manager (who shows teenagers how to make expensive cups of coffee)  or even the manager of the local takeaway (who, errm, makes and sells takeaways).  Ordinary folk have heard that managers of whopping great NHS hospitals earn more than surgeons, and put patients into cupboards, and we've been told to view Bank Manager with disdain because they're responsible for the country's financial woes.

How then are parents, any parents, supposed to react to a school manager? Is this a person who should automatically generate respect? If so, why - because who, these days, can presume to be respected because of their job?

On top of all that there's the very careful newspeak the educational establishment has been forced to use - because nobody is allowed to fail, nobody is allowed to be seen to slip through the academic net, every child is a winner but if they should do badly in their GCSEs there's a brilliant excuse - as Leg-Iron points out, there's been some research which decided that 'everyone is born with the same level of intelligence and it's only their subsequent life that determines their IQ' - so anybody who fails their exams can say the rich family-up-the-road / MPs / Bankers / Lottery-Winner has stolen their brains.

It's wrong to pick on just one school, so take a look at your local school's website and see what it says for both it's "motto" and "Mission Statement" - it'll be on the front page.

The school will probably say "we aim to" and "we strive to" along with "inspire", "caring", "inclusive", "ethos", "enrichment", "celebrating".

What will be missing will be the word "teach".

It's unlikely the school will have "We will", or a "We are going to" or "the students will".

These "Mission Statements" are always couched in very careful language so that if the school messes up it hasn't actually broken a promise to either the kids or their parents. In the end it means that 'these days' nobody really knows what schools are for, they're not allowed to be excellent at anything other than football or drama, and it's open season for tearing up the rules and teacher bashing.

It didn't take long for it to be completely broken, did it?

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