Thursday, March 29, 2007


We are all simple creatures at heart. If doing something which is easily discovered, carries a severe penalty and the likelihood of that penalty being carried out is a certainty, then funnily enough we are less likely to do it than if there is no real deterrent.

The Government has spent a fortune on 'initiatives' to combat truancy. Todays figures show it might as well have been poured down the drain.

Whenever words like 'combat' are used to describe a new idea, with its suggestion of strong decisive action; you can be sure that it will be nothing of the sort.

I reckon the best thing to do would be to talk a bit tougher and start 'Waging War on Truancy'

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Man of the People, David Cameron; said yesterday:

'If children are misbehaving we should say something. If we're met by a volley of abuse then other adults have a duty to intervene. We don't want to live in a walk-on-by society.'

This is absolutely right, however if unlike Mr Cameron; you aren't fortunate enough to have a bodyguard or two, then intervening can often lead to a beating or worse. Peter Woodhams discovered this, as have many others.

Mind you; if you are lucky enough to escape or get the better of these 'misbehaving children' then rest assured the present legal system will ensure that you are prosecuted for something.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

Today is clearly my lucky day as the following email arrived this morning:


Dear Partner,

I presumed that all is well with you and your family. Please let this do not be a surprise proposal to you because i got your contact information from the international directory in few weeks ago before i decided to contact you on this magintude and lucrative transaction for our future survival in life. Moreover, i have laid all the solemn trust in you before i decided to disclose this successful & confidential transaction to you. I AM MR.IBRU.KUMAR THE CHIEF AUDITOR INCHARGE OF FOREIGN REMITTANCE UNIT of our bank and i have had the intent to contact you over this financial transaction worth the sum of NINTEEN MILLION, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ($19,300,000.00 ) for our success.This is an abandoned sum that belongs to one of our bank foreign customers who died along with his entire family through plane crash disaster since few years ago.

Meanwhile i was very fortune to came across the deceased file when i was arranging the old and abandoned customers files in other to sign and submit to the entire bank management for an official re-documentation and audit of the year against 2007. Be informed clearly that it was stated in our banking rules and regulations which was signed lawfully that if such fund remains unclaimed till the period of 5 years started from the date when the beneficiary died, the money will be transferred into the treasury as an unclaimed fund.

As an honour and advantage bestowed to our foreign customers base on the rules guideing our bank, it was stated obviously that if you are not a Burkina Faso citizen, you have the absolute authority to claim the fund hence you are a foreigner despite your differences from the country of origin of the deceased. So the request of you as a foreigner is necessary to apply for the claim and transfer of the fund smoothly into your reliable bank account as the NEXT OF KIN OR EXTENDED RELATIVE to the deceased.

On the transfer of this fund into your account, { 39% } being ( US$7,527,000.00) will be your share in respect of the account provision and your assistance rendered during the transfer of the fund into your bank account,{ 52% } being (US$10,036,000.00) will be my share being the codinator of the transaction while the rest { 9% } being (US$1,737,000.00) will be shared to the respectable Organisations Centers such as Charity Organisation, Motherless Babies homes, and helpless disabled people in the World.

If you are really sure of your trustworthy, accountability and confidentiality on his transaction, contact me and agree that you will not change your mind to cheat or disappoint me when the fund have getting into your account. Besides you should not entertain any fear because i am sure of the success as an insider in the bank ok. Please reply with the assurance, include your private telephone and fax numbers necessary for facilitate an easy communication in this transaction. I expect your urgent communication.

Yours sincerely,

What good luck for me to have been selected out of all the people in the World who are not citizens of Burkina Faso!

I think we can trust Mr Ibru, as he is the Chief Auditor Incharge in a country whose banking reputation is beyond reproach. As I do not need the money (having recently invested in a Nigerian Pyramid Selling Scheme), I am passing on this opportunity to any reader who wishes to take advantage of this 'lucrative transaction for our future survival in life'

If however you would feel guilty at profiteering from the poor people who died in that 'plane crash disaster since few years ago', you may wish to provide the email address of your your Head or perhaps the parents of a pupil that you believe to be particularly deserving, so that they can benefit instead. (Remember that they must not be citizens of Burkina Faso)

Oh by the way, Mr Ibru can be contacted at

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I know I've said this before, but I'm finally getting round to putting some notes up about 'It's Your Time...' (Link is on the right hand sidebar under the adverts)

By the way; if you were to make a TV series based on the book (and I can't say any more than this at the moment) how would you go about presenting it? ie would you make it in the style of any current shows?

Veteran readers of the blog will quickly realise that I am unashamedly trying to get you to do my own work for me. (I told you I was SMT material..)

Friday, March 23, 2007

School Leaving Age Going Up

I can't help but think that this distracts attention from our biggest problem which is the complete lack of discipline in many schools which makes it impossible to teach.

Do we seriously imagine that anything planned for 2015 is really going to happen?

You may have heard me wittering the above on 'Five Live' yesterday. I felt a bit sorry for the other teacher who had clearly been sent by his Head with orders to say as many good things about his school as possible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

US vs UK

Have a read of this article and imagine a parent coming into a UK school uninvited, swearing a bit and making some threats. (ie the average end to a school day)

Why can't I imagine them being chucked in jail and only released on a £400 bond?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Nathan and Ruby

Here's two twelve year olds, Nathan and Ruby. Nathan is a very bright boy with a sharp mind and a quick reply to any comment I might have. He can argue confidently with adults and frequently does. Ruby is an average girl; pleasant, not particularly intelligent or talented in any respect.

Ruby will do far better in life than Nathan. I can say that with sadness but with certainty. Ruby comes from a nice, supportive, quite well off family who can afford to send her to a boarding school. She is taught in small classes along with other well behaved pupils of similar ability. She associates and makes friends with other girls who will also go to good universities. If she struggles, she will be given extra help and her father will pay for a tutor occasionally during the school holidays. Ruby has every possible chance to make a great start in life.

Nathan on the other hand; lives in the Cherry Tree Estate. A run down, crime ridden hell hole populated with the workshy and the criminal. Drugs, gangs and asbos are rife. He can only attend the local school, which is little more than a youth club, staffed by an endless rota of disinterested supply teachers and 'led' by a Head who is desperately seeking a post elsewhere. There is no discipline and no real chance to learn anything. Most lessons are little short of anarchy. Every desk and exercise book is covered in obscene graffiti. All around him Nathan sees examples of anti social behaviour without consequence. He cannot attract the teacher's attention because they are too busy trying and failing to prevent the lesson sliding into chaos. Nathan's friends are starting to experiment with drugs and get involved in a depressing spiral of vandalism, violence and theft. He is following them down this road, as he can see no alternative path.

Nathan never really had a chance from the day he was born. I taught so many kids like him that they blur together in my mind.

There are hundreds of thousands of Rubys and Nathans in the UK marching towards their pre ordained futures. It is massively unjust and terribly sad.

I've always said in my blog and in my book that it's no use moaning about something unless you propose a solution. Mine as I've said many times is 'selection by ability'. I would dearly like to put children like Nathan in schools where they would be taught by the best teachers who don't spend their days trying to do crowd control. I'd like to see kids like Nathan experience a work ethos and associate with kids who don't sniff glue. I'd like to show him that there is life outside the Cherry Tree Estate. In short, I'd like to give him the same chances as Ruby has. It will not happen until we are brave enough to risk being called 'elitist' or 'old fashioned' and admit that the Comprehensive Education system simply does not work. Until that moment we are simply fooling ourselves and betraying poor Nathan.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Petition Response 2

I only got to the end of the second paragraph last time so let's have a look at the rest of the Government dogsbody's response to my petition.

Paragraph 3: We have already scoffed at the negligible number of parents taken action against compared with the number of truants. The rest of the paragraph neatly demonstrates just how many obstacles are put in the way of any action. (It also assumes that the Local Authority will have the slightest interest in getting involved which they rarely do.) The greatest sanction is that the parent might be asked to attend a 'parenting program'. (With no penalty if they don't).

Well that will certainly sort them out!

Paragraph 4: I don't want disruptive pupils in mainstream schools. I want them thrown out and taught in secure units, preferably underground.

Paragraph 5: All schools do indeed have a discipline policy. Unfortunately the children can ignore it with impunity.

Well that's what I think of their response. If I was marking it for a 'dodge the issue' competition, I'd give it an 'A'

Just Say 'No'. (Or 'yes'; it doesn't really matter)

A couple of teachers have emailed me recently to say that their school has abandoned its 'zero tolerance' approach to drug use, as their Heads are not prepared to face up to the number of expulsions it would require.

My view is that it's the usual 'Head in the sand' situation. Do nothing and you encourage it, expel a few and you show that you mean business. Kids are not slow to realise this.

What's your school's approach? Action or acceptance?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Anyone fancy the Head's job here?

Haven't these people read the Government Menial's response to my petition? Don't they know that everything is fine in schools now and whinging old gits like me are just moaning about nothing.

Headmaster Mark Morrall says that the behaviour of his pupils is mostly very good. Hmmm. why's he leaving after just 12 months then? Wouldn't it be great if he had the courage to be honest and just say:

"Actually they're a nightmare and I'm not daft. Bye!"

This article is chock full of funny quotes so I'll shut up and let you read it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

How could they...

I would certainly never suggest for an instant that Drama or Media Studies are in any way less serious subjects than Chemistry or German. (Unlike Dr. Coe)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Petition Response

Many thanks to the 1267 people who signed the petition to No. 10. We didn't do quite as well as more important requests such as this one or this one

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't beat us eventually but never mind.

The Government's response is here and it's well worth a read.

Firstly they admit that behaviour in some schools is unsatisfactory (I'd have used the words 'beyond belief') and admit that teachers in a small minority of schools have to regularly face poor behaviour. I don't believe that it's a small minority, do you?

They then claim to have taken radical action to address this problem. That sounds pretty good so let's have a closer look.

'Headteachers have the power to exclude pupils' (Haven't they always had the power to do that?) However now there is an appeals procedure which overturns the Heads decision in 1 out of 10 cases. Chucking out nightmare pupils is an extremely difficult process for Heads involving numerous unnecessary steps, which is why so many do anything they can to avoid it. Why not have each Council provide secure units for excluded brats, so they don't just get moved around to cause mayhem in another school.

This also doesn't quite tie in with Estelle Morris' announcement in 1998 that 'Heads should think twice before taking severe action against children found with drugs such as cannabis.'

They have also introduced tougher fines for truancy. (Presumably they mean fines for the truant's parents.) How many parents of truanting kids do you know who have actually had any action taken against them?

I've only got to the end of the second paragraph and already I've lost all hope. What do you think to the rest of it?

Can't You All Behave Yourselves?

I go away for a week and look what happens...

Poor Toni Comer, whilst taking a break from looking after her two year old, accidently got howling drunk, was thrown out of a nightclub, vandalised someone's car, then punched, bit and spat at the poor copper unlucky enough to have to arrest her. Obviously she is a victim who needs urgent compensation.

This chap is sacked for saying things that he knew to be true, but which fall into the category of 'Things you can't say'

20 % of parents can't get their kid into their first choice of school. Tony B says that the solution is to have more good schools. Now why didn't anybody else think of that?