A grieving teenager is exposing the grinding reality of everyday discrimination, and the results could be transformative, says Guardian columnist Adita Chakrabortty
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
So opens a Jackanory-style film uploaded to social media this week by one Birmingham mother, featuring her reading aloud from a picture book called Mommy, Mama and Me. It’s a cosy, toddler-friendly bedtime story about two mothers doing what mothers do the world over: pouring juice, tucking children up in bed, playing hide and seek. Your children’s primary school or your local library might well have a copy. Although they might have plumped instead for And Tango Makes Three, the tale of two daddy penguins adopting a chick.
Her point, of course, was to reassure anyone alarmed by wild rumours about primary school sex education that the idea of gay relationships can be introduced in a perfectly age-appropriate way, even to five-year-olds. Watching that film, I thought how far we’ve come since the 1980s, when tabloid scare stories about leftwing councils stocking such books in libraries panicked Margaret Thatcher into introducing section 28 – the ban on local authorities “promoting homosexuality”. Now we have an openly gay schools minister and a generation of kids who thankfully won’t have to grow up heaped with corrosive, lifelong shame. Times have changed. But not so much that we can take them for granted.
In a YouTube clip published last year, the softly spoken Dr Kate Godfrey-Faussett takes to the stage, apologises for delaying lunch, stutters slightly – saying she has an entrenched fear of public speaking – before launching into an impassioned speech about the government’s “totalitarian endeavour to indoctrinate our children in sexual ideologies”.
Godfrey-Faussett, who describes herself as a chartered psychologist and Muslim academic, is the latest voice entering the tinderbox row over LGBT lessons in Birmingham schools.
The debate has so far led to the removal of hundreds of children from school by parents staging weekly protests against lessons they claim promote LGBT lifestyles.
News that an academy trust founded by the Conservative peer Lord James O’Shaughnessy is advertising for unpaid volunteers to fill key roles in its two primary schools was met with disbelief and dismay by teachers earlier this month. The Floreat Education Academies Trust is looking for full-time and part-time volunteers to fill the jobs of finance assistant, office administrator and personal assistant to the chief executive, Janet Hilary, who was paid £128,768 in 2018.
chief executive, Victoria Academies Trust, West Midlands
“No, schools shouldn’t rely on volunteers – although with funding levels at an all-time low, I can understand why school leaders are having to make such difficult decisions. We are at a cliff edge. There are more than 300,000 additional pupils in the system since 2015, the education services grant for academies has been scrapped to the tune of £600m, and almost a third of local authority secondary schools are in deficit. Not to mention the increase in pensions and national insurance contributions.
“That said, the solution to the problem seems obvious – fairer funding for schools so that heads won’t be forced to make such decisions.
Racism is truly alive and kicking in British society, not least in liberal, progressive universities. This was evident in early March when a black female student released a video of people shouting “we hate the blacks” outside her room in her halls of residence. Unfortunately, this incident is far from isolated.
In my new book, I examine how race and racism continue to disadvantage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds both in universities and wider society. By virtue of their racial identity, such groups are positioned as outsiders in a society which values and privileges whiteness.
In Britain, policies that attempt to be inclusive actually portray an image of a post-racial society, in which racial inequalities and racism no longer exist. In reality vast inequalities between white, black and minority ethnic communities continue to exist. They exist in the access to the labour market, in schools – and in higher education.
Source: Why a post-racial British society remains a myth – even in universities : The Conversation
This twice a year farce should never occur and should be stopped immediately.
This whole explanation of children going to school in the dark and the farmers problems with the milking of cows only adds to the farcical situation.
If there is really a problem with children going to school in the dark, why is it not a problem with them coming home in the dark, especially when, in many cases there are now breakfast clubs at schools and also many extra activities at school after schools officially close for the day.
Instead of causing the whole of the UK to go to the expense in time and money to alter the clocks twice a year, why not change the times of school and may be have schools at weekends to cut down on the time at school during the day. What should be considered with schooling is not just the children and the school staff, but also their parents. These days many parents both the father and mother have to work and how many employments will be geared around school times. The whole picture needs to be considered not just a certain portion.
Then we come to farmers, can cows tell the time or do they just rely on is it dark or light. Also with many dairy herds now in closed quarters do they even see the light of day or dark of night. It will be another burden on farmers, but surely they could milk cows at different times of the day, especially as most milking, now is not by hand, but by machinery.
But, no we have done this ridiculous system of changing the time twice a year, surely now, with a modern thought process it is time for a change for the better for the UK as a whole.
Today the Clocks went back!!
What an absolute farce. I now don’t quite know what the hell the time is. Every time I look at a clock I have to ask myself if it has automatically updated itself or not. Some do and some don’t. I have to go around in the same muddled state that the country was in when we went decimal. Some measurements are in old and some new – some in pounds and ounces and some in kilos, some in old pounds shillings and pence and some in newfangled pence. So what is the time in real time? Did we go forward or back? Do I take an hour off or do I add it on? And how does that now line up with other countries?
Supposedly I got an hour extra sleep. Not that I noticed. I woke up and checked the clock and my…
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Dinosaurs are fun
Another funding crisis, what a surprise, but unfortunately it is not. These areas of crisis have not sprung up over night, but have been the consolidating effects of insufficient funding, changes in direction, political maneuverings and many other factors from successive Governments over many years. To plan for any future you need a long term plan and these plans need to be inter-related with all other plans in other areas of Government. That is not only an effective plan for Education, but how this plan reflects with other plans, say for health, Social Services to name but 2. No areas of Government, Local Government, Health, etc can and should be considered in isolation, but the impact of all areas within the country.
This is not rocket science, but common sense, which, unfortunately can be sadly lacking when such policies are being considered. Persons within a position of power and control, Ministers and MPs, to name but 2 may not have a full understanding of the implications of the policies when the ‘Big Picture’ is brought into the equation. This assumes that there is no political agenda or agendas in mind when these policies are being considered, for who would dream of this to occur.
For we place great trust in the persons in power and would we really consider that they do not have the countries interest at heart, over their own.
I will leave it there or is there some jest, but it is a serious subject on which to dwell.
While schools are regarded as the main educators of children, they are not the only educators. For before children go to school they are usually at home and are being educated by their parents, whether this is intentional or not, as children observe what is around them and what is occurring.
So all parents have a duty to their children in the way they conduct themselves when in front of their children, for what children hear and see they will copy. However, there may be other factors, for they may go to a nursery and pre-school and also the community environment in which they live.
All of these are factors in how children behave, however, in many instances their behaviour could be tempered by how they are disciplined by family members.
So all in all, while teachers have their part to play, so do parents and all factors need to be taken into consideration.
Children who enter reception with poor English language skills — whether it’s their first language or an additional language — are more likely to have social, emotional and behavioral difficulties in later years, finds a new study. The research found the cognitive advantages of bilingualism tend to help with academic achievement only if English skills are sufficient at school entry for the child to be fully engaged.