Monday, 31 May 2010

Another pottery workshop this saturday


Five hundred of these leaflets have now been distributed to local houses. Sorry if you missed out this time. - Another time maybe - every time we leaflet different houses.

Watch out for the arrows around the town to the event this Saturday!
To view the coverage on this pottery project as recorded on this blog
click here!
.

Contact with my local councillors

Re: Mill Dam Park and Gill Banks

Councillor Jan Hancock (one of three town councillors representing me),

Should you want to be kept up to date or even take part in promoting the changes that are being made at these locations, you're very welcome.

One scheme where we have overlap is the Ulverston in Bloom project where I recently made a presentation on the theme of local people getting involved in taking care of their parks.

I am only too happy to share the credit for any work we do!

In the long term I am aiming to be elected for North Ward and would like to feel we are working together.

Geoff Dellow

The above was sent this last Thursday and checking by phone confirmed that that it arrived.

A reply is awaited.

Regular contact is being maintained with another of my town councillors, Colin Hodgson who is also my district councillor over repairs to a high wall in Union Lane. He replied immediately.

This correspondence will be published shortly.

My county councillor , James Airey, has been contacted but hasn't yet replied, even though the request was made by email to be contacted ASAP last Friday. He may well be away.

An email sent yesterday to Mayor Phil Lister regarding a public meeting regarding the Flooding in South Ulverston evoked an immediate response to say that such a meeting is being planned by the Ulverston Town Council for Monday June 28th in the Coronation Hall presumably in the evening.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Friday, 28 May 2010

Motivation

Motivation is a subject that is fascinating me at the moment.

If we understood it, it would enlighten our approach to many subjects:

What motivates nations to fight?

What motivates us to get on with others. How much does passing laws help?

What motivates us to learn?

The Thinker, sculpture by Auguste Rodin Picture taken in Musee Rodin in Paris, France by wikipedian Pufacz who kindly grants us permission to use his photo

What motivates us to work hard?

To do things that we don't want to?

To eat cakes?

To be tenacious and do a job really well ?

To wake up in the morning?

To have another swig at the Whiskey bottle?

To watch yet more Tele?

What place does "ownership" have in motivation?

. _._._._._.

A discussion group I go to every fortnight is examining this subject!

We are asked:

"What motivates me to do what I'm doing now?"

And then to make a note of our answer.

"Dunno" is not a valid answer we are told !

"Fed up with asking the question" is, in my book.

If I go on like this, I'll be motivated to do nothing!

It's good to be made to stop and think - just now and again - but introspection is for Ostriches to use a cliche - poor maligned Ostriches.

Time to go and do 'stuff' and to hell with why?

"Because I want to" is my answer.

But wait a minute.

Perhaps that's the answer to the riddle.

Sounds like a better reason than "Dunno".

The next thing to check, it seems to me, is how do we feel after the event?

Five minutes fter eating a cake - how do we feel?

Five minutes after doing a job really well - how do we feel?

Five minutes after watching tele - again - how do we feel?

Now, how about comparing the results of "How do we feel ?" and deciding which we rate highest?

Having done a bit of analysis of what are we going to do about it?

F**k all, could well be the answer!

What do you think?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Internet

I'm drawing my horns in from networking at a shallow level on the internet .

Trying instead to concentrate on relationships that are far richer - those involving day to day, eye to eye contact. Living, here, in a small town - 12,000 - there are so many opportunities for this around me.

I enjoy them perhaps because I'm good at them.

I had a lovely conversation with five year, Billy, who I've just got to know, teasing by watering his back as I carried a watering can past. It was hot! Lucky for me his Mom laughed.

Billy was not happy and couldn't be persuaded of the advatages of being coool if it also meant being wetted by a stranger taking liberties with water.

Later we both pensively watched a cat stretching out, tummy up, below us as we did our five bar gate routine: a lean, a look and a chat.

It got up and strolled off round the corner - out of sight.

He informed me with intensity that "cats don't talk" when I told him that the cat was saying it had had enough lying down and was off to explore.

I countered his argument with "Meeow" "Prrr" and " Hsssss" - he was not impressed.

Lots more encounters like this as I work again in the park 4 till 6 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Children are so easy to talk to and give you great eye contact - unlike adults. Have the latter lost their confidence in relating to other people, I wonder?

I'm having a very rich time with people - a group arrived the other morning for pottery.

There was a right babble, exchanging views as to whether a large dumpy pot should have five or six balls below to hold it up.

It's good to have serious controversial issues to discuss. It ended up with eight I think. The spacing of these was easiest!

I'll be finishing stacking my kiln around this pot this morning together with various people's creations from the weekend.

Then again I enjoy time by myself - exploring playing the piano in a somewhat random fashion - composing as I go. I do more and more of it as I gradually get better. Great to be learning new stuff at 75!

As I've said before - with contacts and activities like this - who needs the internet.

However this view needs examination ; it goes too far ; but assessing what place it does have, needs constant review.

Email and blog are working well for me at present.

Twitter, Facebook and Forums - a bit of a let down until I learn to use them!

What are your thoughts?

You obviously read blogs!

Views out the window

What a contrast!

Looking to the right on a hot day in May !



Who needs Picasso's concrete cows when we have the real thing. Friesian, milk cows aren't they?

By contrast :

Straight on in November !



I love the mist and sadness of a windless day with the whiff of a coal fire in the air!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Three activities I'm thoroughly enjoying

  • "Pottery in the Park"
  • The allotment
  • Flowering plants in Mill Dam Park
The first, last Saturday was brilliant.

Yes, it was far too hot and this meant that relatively few people turned up.

But those who did gave a lot of enjoyment - some great conversations because there was time for this. Met some very talented people I've not come across before.

Perhaps the 'adverse' conditions meant that people with engaging characters came along!

The allotment is such a great place to go to. It's a very different environment to being in town.

Everyone is really friendly and helpful. Lots of advice if you want it but people hang back with their criticism.

There is total honesty. Nothing on your patch is touched by other people.

We're all struggling to deal with the soil and a large number of pests. Most of us are there because it's fun - the actual achievement of growing stuff is secondary.

However there are people who know exactly what they are doing and have great success for the amount of effort they expend. Some of them have techniques that allow them to achieve a lot in very little time - a lunch break from work or a quick visit on the way home from work.

I marvel at how responsive, in the right hands, the soil is to producing vegitation; already there are plants eighteen inches high and heading skywards at great speed. Some people with years of experience know the tricks of the trade.

Meanwhile I'm very much on the learning curve and still struggling to prepare the soil for planting - something that really needed doing by February. Never mind - do better next year.

If I come up with anything this year it will make me content!

Then Mill Dam is gradually getting planted out with all the plants that are bursting out of my greenhouse with the cry "Space, space, SPACE"

Flowers from these plants are just beginning to show and the two tons of compost we spread all over are bound to bear - flowers. Keeping up the watering is important.

Looking very promising. Just keep soldiering on palnting and watering every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4 till 6 till the job is done. Sixty more plants in yesterday about four hundred still to go! - be done in less than three weeks!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Is The Green Party the new religion?

Some political parties come across as rational and others as an emotionally held set of beliefs.

I choose to recognise the difference by the way their members respond to rational questioning.

When it's a religion, all the members will regurgitate the same beliefs and there's no point arguing with them.

If they come to your doorstep they come across as Jehovah's Witnesses who will never give ground that they could possibly wrong.

More later - lunch calls.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Parents in action

I have always been fascinated by the way children grow up.

When newly married , I had hoped for four children.

It's probably best for them that this couldn't happen; I didn't do a very good job on the one I did raise. Having trained a number of dogs, I am a lot wiser now.

Going into teaching after a career as first a chemical engineer at Glaxo and Shell in California, followed by self employed at The Falls, converting and running self-catering holiday cottages and then converting and running what is now the Oxfam building in town, was perhaps something that fulfilled this desire I had for understanding how children tick.

I am now back in touch with quite a number of very young children, at times being given sole charge of their activities. They are fascinating to relate to.



Now, working in Mill dam park, I get to observe a wide range of parent - child behaviour.

One comes to understand that patterns of behaviour are established at a very early age in fact from the hour a baby is born.

More later :

Why do parents give food as a way of controlling their children - isn't this going to lead to problems in years to come?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Local activities - Mill Dam / Gill Banks

A very successful two days at Mill Dam Park. Should look good in a fortnight!

Tuesday saw an active group of seven people spreading the two tons of compost over the impoverish beds in the park followed by planting out bedding plants and watering, using the Mill Dam Headrace.

Wednesday a different team set to and planted out more bedding plants into the prepared soil . Already over 200 plants have now been put in with another five hundred still to go.

In all some twenty people have now done something towards adding flowering plants and pottery to the park.

Plants are being put in most weekday evenings between 4 and 6 pm : "Come and choose your corner and the flowers to plant out !" Next session Friday!

With the increased interest in the Pottery making in the Park at Gill Banks, potter Geoff Dellow has been preparing a record quantity of rolled out clay for the event. New easy to assemble tables have also been purchased and experienced pottery workers will give plenty of help to anyone wanting the opportunity to leave their mark for posterity (or until someone takes it into their head to have a smashing time) in the form of art work on the railings at Gill Banks as two hundred yards of pottery art work becomes a realistic target!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Quiet here!

That doesn't mean that there's nothing going on in those very little grey cells - there is - some of it quite contraversial with hopefully some of your views that help me stay in tune with 'the man in the street' - something I value.



My preoccupations this week are on Mill Dam Park and the pottery event coming up in Gill Banks on Saturday 11 till 4 - lots of clay still to be rolled out in preparation - will my wrists hold up to the strain. Two bags of clay done, four to go!

How do you like my new logo for these events - pleased as punch with it! Hopefully you've seen it around the town somewhere!

Then there's the allotment with veg crying out for space!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Sounds familiar !

Dealing with the police, locally.

I too am finding that it is not straightforward to have samples and information erased.

I wonder how many less persistent individuals also have their details held on the national data base when they have no business being there?

Given half a chance the national police seem to want to collect and hold onto all the data they can lay their hands on.

At present I'm still trying to assess the situation but the signs are not encouraging.

There are clear glimpses of a police state.

I'm not too happy - things are not the way I thought!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Proportional Representation down the shute ?

With AV the Liberals get substantially more seats next time round.

Have they conveniently forgotten about PR?

I can see that The Greens won't be happy.

This should fuel them to fight even more determinedly

I how they start now.

In the long term I believe they are the only ones with far sighted vision.

Too far sighted for most of us but in my view the best.

They are more active, here in Ulverston, than any other party who, in my view, are half asleep, and just drifting along.

My reaction would be to start campaigning at their table by Murray's chemist tomorrow.

Pity they are disinclined to reply to my emails, but hey, what's new!

I suspect I'll be calling round at their house to get my answers first hand!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Pottery in the Park, Gill Banks

New date announced:

Saturday May 22nd 11 till 4

Gill Banks

Join us to make your own addition to the railings.

Forecast at the moment looks very promissing!

Splendid cooperation from SLDC Parks Dept

Just had a great phone call which will, I'm sure, result in both short and long term improvements to Mill Dam Park as more and more bedding plants are put in and upgrade in equipment is made possible by the locals!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A Touch of Colour

The bulbs, provided by B&Q, put in in late January, Looking good in Mill Dam Park


Saturday, 8 May 2010

Please let the Cameron take charge without support

Call their bluff and let's see what he really stands for.

He'll then have no excuses of not having access to the financial figures and have to spell out the cuts that he is really proposing.

Then with a bit more honesty we would understand what the choices really are.

The result of the next election could then be considerably different. With a repeat of the debates run in an improved way we might have a more informed election.

Furthermore the British would perhaps understand the consequences of certain actions by watching the delemas facing Greece and the Europeans.

At the same time the Lib Dems should prepare themselves for another election within the year.

Perhaps young people particularly those at university will get more involved with politics.

Good communication with the public is essential - is there a bigger place for the internet rather than 'the media' - the papers and TV?

Better organisation at local level with good publicity in place is essential .

Discussions between the Lib Dems and The Greens at local level are essential to avoid a repeat of the Carson fiasco when squabbling between two parties holding similar views enabled the opposition to get in.

It would be good to see these two parties working together rather than against each other.

How about it Barry Rabone and Chris Loynes?

Uncertainty reigns.

It's a good lesson to learn - there's plenty more of it in the future - we need to get used to it!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Jo-Anna Clare DUNCALF you have a lot to answer for

Results for Mid Furness:

AIREY, Caroline : Conservative : 1132

CARSON, Jane : Liberal Democrats :986

DUNCALF, Jo-Anna Clare : Green Party :203

Carson was doing a brilliant job of serving Ulverston as a District Councillor and now some thoughtless actions have taken votes off her when if they had stopped and looked, she was firmly behind most of the things the Greens stood for.

This is the problem with blind Party followers.

We deserve better than this from the Greens. Of all the parties they are the most forward thinking but this clearly demonstrates the flaws in their system.

Gutted.

Did anyone read this before voting?

I doubt it!

Making the Environment a next Government issue

If you are like me and see the environment as the most important issue for a new government, then a message from Friends of the Earth is very relevant.

You may want to sign up!

They write:

"No one has an overall majority, so Liberal Democrat support is crucial to deliver a workable government.

What does this mean for the environmental movement?

It's a fantastic opportunity. In the run up to the election, over 200 Liberal Democrat candidates signed personal pledges to support our key climate change policies. When over 8,000 of you co-signed our letter to Nick Clegg, he responded within hours.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto was the best among the three main parties' - and the response of Clegg's candidates was better than the other major parties' (if not up there with the Greens').

We need to make sure that some of the key pledges that Nick Clegg made are not dropped.

We've got to send a clear message to Clegg now, telling him we're going to hold him to the environmental promises he and his party made during the campaign. The Lib Dems have enviable leverage now - and they should use it to help prevent disastrous climate consequences.

Add your name to our petition:

http://election.foe.co.uk/page/s/petitionclegg



For more info on the support given to this issue see this information page

It's quite staggering that the Conservatives give no measurable support to this issue.

It's easy to loose sight of the most important issues for us!

The world hasn't gone completely mad

Tim Farron got in with a thumping great majority.

The way they were talking, I half expected the Conservatives to pip Tim at the post; in fact he was well on the way to getting twice as many votes.

We can look forward to him having an excellent influence on the way MPs in this area conduct themselves and hopefully having an influence in the way the next government, whoever they are, conducting themselves.

Sarah Teather also got in ahead of Dawn Butler. Pleased for Sarah but Dawn, I understand had also been a hard working MP too -Labour. They were fighting against each other because of boundary changes. Sarah has impressed me regularly on Question Time. She stood up for a guy in her constituency who was in effect kidnapped by British authorities and send to Guantanamo. She's someone to support and will make a great team with Tim and the financial guy and several others. Sad that Dawn Butler wasn't standing for us and then i would have been happy.

I rate people and their character ahead of their parties.

Now, the icing on the cake would be some really calm decisions being made before the announcement of who leads the country. Please take as much time as possible especially to get some sleep. (Naturally they'll be listening to my advice!)

Any results that stood out for you?

Who's really happy with a result?

The Place of Art in the midst of turmoil


I'm so grateful that Printfest revisited Ulverston again.

As a result, there are three new pictures in my living environment - one of which - Journey by Don Braisby - is immediately to my right as I write!

It was great having an exhibition of this quality on my doorstep. The ticket price allowed me to revisit, something I find I need to do at art galleries.

There's a limit to the amount the brain both reason and emotion, can take in at each go and I was pleased to have been able to go three times for just over an hour each; the last time with the express purpose of deciding which pictures to buy.

Though we have more pictures than we need for our small house, we have now adopted the plan of rotating pictures maybe every six months!

Art fuels our emotions and emotions are the powerhouse for us living. Motivation and action spring forward as well as encouragement to sit still and reflect all come from our emotions.

I'm reminded of another of my main web sites about my love of reflection as well as action!

Art around me provides more security than money in the bank!

I come back to the thought that what we are inside is far more important than what we have outside!

Art is essential to this - though art doesn't have to be possessed - it can simply be enjoyed - like a free walk amongst trees.

All are contributors to the me that walks down the street!

Thank you to the organisers of Printfest for all your time and risktaking - you do a great job.

When frustrated - do something!

If you're unhappy about the election results then here's something you can do!

It's only a small start but it's something.

No system will never get it right as a friend of mine pointed out in this article.

However I feel better if I've done something instead of just moan!

It's that 'having-fun' thing.

.

Even Esther didn't get in!

What a strange way of voting!

Esther didn't even break into the top three! She came forth with only 4 % of the votes.

Martin Bell was right - it's bloody hard to get elected as an Independent but for me in a lot of cases its the only way to be.

What a contrast: Esther is turned down and John Woodcock gets in!

And people are proud of our "Democracy".

And now we face a future of having a very inexperienced career politician as our MP.

What chance do we have of real support for local issues?

Let's find out about what he's made of.

Will he help reverse the dreadful Academy decision?

Will he promote much needed diversity in the Barrow manufacturing industry?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Outstanding Photographs

I was visiting Allan Wilson's Gallery in Brogden Street when I spotted a collection of some of his Skateboarding Photographs.

He kindly sent me these to display here on my blog.

For me they put across the excitement of this sport and the enjoyment there is to be had now at Lightburn Park now that this facility has been built.






Visit Allan Wilson's web site at allanwilsonphotography.co.uk or far better visit his place in Brogden Street close to the town centre.

This Blog

Hits an all time high with 418 people visiting 1,169 times in a month!

If you vote Tory

Be prepared for the biggest shock of your life when you find out just what they are planning and the social unrest it will produce.

The Conservatives at the next election won't dare show their faces.

It will be a field day for the rest of us!

By then we will know the score on cuts and global warming and be better placed to vote wisely (does this ever happen!) .

Who knows what the next election will be like!

I can imagine the debates being a lot more fiery, next time round!

The Greens might even get in on the act!

What fun!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Greens are still at it!

Can one of the Greens please explain the rationale for running such a good campaign in an area where they have no hope of winning.

Furthermore they have someone who comes close - but not close enough I agree - to what they want - Rabone , Liberal. He, with a good hard push, could get in. Sadly the Liberals here seem to be a dozy lot and haven't campaigned half as well as they could. The Greens far outclass them - however:

I had got the impression that the Greens were an intelligent and farseeing lot. But no.

This is the trouble with party politics; people are encouraged to be blind and just vote for their party - it's a nice simple mantra.

Why can't they be more farseeing and work together with others that have very similar interests, instead of spitting the vote.

This happened when I ran for County. Had the Liberals and Greens voted for me when I was standing for all they wanted, then I would have got in.

But no they vote for others who got less than me and none of us got in.

People seem incapable of using their heads and thinking clearly.

It will be interesting to see how close Rabone gets and whether if you add the Green vote this would have tipped the balance.

The Labour guy is in my opinion a waste of time as a person - Just parachuted in to win a relative safe seat, but no experience of life to speak of - a real yes man and the Tory is no better with little drive of his own - just a cog in a machine.

What will happen at the next local elections?

Who will stand against me when I stand for the Town and District Councils as I plan to, at the next opportunity. And which area, if any, will want me?

I certainly don't plan to make all the effort I did last time. I reckon I can spend the time - a whole year I spent - more effectively actually doing things for the town with others than trying to get myself elected!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Funding cuts threaten schools' knife-crime programmes

From the Guardian today.

This is the kind of thing that we all need to be on the lookout to protect.

It seems to me that groups of people need to get together ready to step in and fund these types of projects out of our own pockets if the government are so blind as not to see their importance.

Surely a group of one hundred people could work together and support this kind of thing.

How about starting a fund here in Ulverston - I'll put up a fair amount for starters! (Don't infer that I've got cash to spinkle around willie-nillie - I have changed my attitude to cash in recent years - I reckon I can earn some when required and don't need a lot at present)

Any takers?

The three main parties' attitude to EDUCATION

It's good to receive something on the election that for a change isn't "Bla Bla Bla I'm the best" and tells you nothing! Here at least you're invited to use your brain!

I've just received what I thought was a balanced view from a moderate but active teaching union - the NASUWT:

What the parties are pledging for education

CONSERVATIVES:

1. All headteachers will be given the power to pay good teachers more in order to attract the best teachers and subject specialists.

2. Teacher training will be reformed with the expansion of Teach First and the introduction of two new schemes: Teach Now for people looking to change career and Troops to Teachers to attract ex- service personnel into teaching. In addition, the entry requirement for taxpayer funded primary school teaching will be raised and graduates will need at least a 2:2 to qualify for state funded teacher training.

3. Reinforce discipline by strengthening home-school agreements and giving teachers new powers to deal with violence in the classroom.

4. Key Stage 2 tests and league tables will both be retained and made more rigorous and technical academies will be introduced to develop vocational learning.

5. Academy schools will drive forward education reforms with any good education provider given powers to open an academy and all existing schools given the opportunity to become academies. The academy programme will also be extended to primary schools.

6. School inspection will become more rigorous and will focus only on the areas directly related to teaching and learning. Any school that is in special measures for more than a year will be taken over by an academy provider.

7. Parents will have the power to take over and run schools threatened with closure.

NASUWT’s comments in brief

The rhetoric of opportunities and high standards of education for all is right, but the policies intended to deliver it are wrong.

The Conservative mantra of freedom for schools and teachers is seductive but deceptive.

Freedom comes at the high price of, among other things, abandoning national pay and conditions of service for teachers and allowing all schools to select their pupils.

The education manifesto is a patchwork of policies, littered with contradictions.

This education manifesto is not about giving power to the people. The massive expansion of academies is about throwing state schools to the mercy of the free market to gamble with, and profit from, taxpayers╩╝ money.

LABOUR

1. Secure the recovery by supporting the economy now and more than halve the deficit by 2014 through economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower priority spending.

2. Spending increased on Sure Start and free childcare services, schools and 16-19 learning.

3. An expansion of free nursery places for two year olds and introducing 15 hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three and four year olds.

4. Ensuring that every pupil leaving primary school is secure in the basics, with a 3Rs guarantee of one-to-one and small-group tuition for every child falling behind, and in secondary schools, a personal tutor for every pupil and a choice of good qualifications.

5. A choice of good schools in every area and, where parents are not satisfied, the power to bring in new school leadership teams, through mergers and takeovers, with up to 1,000 secondary schools part of an accredited schools group by 2015.

6. A guaranteed place in education or training until 18 for every young person, with 75 per cent going on to higher education or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training by the age of 30.

NASUWT’s comments in brief

For the last 13 years, the Labour Government has focused on rebuilding the education infrastructure through unprecedented investment and positive workforce reform in partnership with trade unions.

That investment is clearly set to continue.

The proposal for the chains of providers and the number of schools involved had been signalled prior to the publication of the manifesto.

The NASUWT welcomes the commitment that these chains will operate under national pay and conditions of service but there is no evidence that structural change is the key to raising standards. We, therefore, continue to oppose the governance and management of schools being handed over to external providers.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS:

1. Invest £2.5 billion in a ‘Pupil Premium’ to boost education opportunities for every child.

2. Guarantee special educational needs (SEN) diagnostic assessments for all five year olds and improve SEN provision and training for teachers.

3. Improve teacher training by expanding the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) and Teach First.

4. Establish a fully independent Educational Standards Authority (ESA) to oversee the examinations system, school inspection and accountability and the curriculum.

5. Reform the curriculum by slimming down the bureaucratic Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and inflexible National Curriculum. Scale back Key Stage 2 tests at age 11 and create a

General Diploma to bring GCSEs, A levels and high quality vocational qualifications together, with14–19 year olds given the right to take up a course at college, rather than at school, if it suits them better.

6. Introduce an Education Freedom Act banning politicians from getting involved in the day-to-day running of schools.

7. Replace academies with ‘sponsor- managed schools’. These will be commissioned by and accountable to local authorities and could be run by educational charities and parent groups.

8. Give schools and colleges more freedom over teachers’ salaries, while ensuring that all staff receive the minimum national pay award.

NASUWT’s comments in brief

The screening of every pupil at the age of five to identify their special educational needs (SEN) could have unintended consequences unless a comprehensive package of support is also guaranteed to meet any special educational needs (SEN) identified.

The proposal to allow every 14 year old the right to choose to attend college rather than school is puzzling. The direction of travel for 14-19 education and training is increasingly based on collaboration between schools and colleges. There is a risk of placing too much emphasis on the place where a pupil is educated rather than the nature of the curriculum they receive.

These proposals, together with those to extend parental leave rights and the provision of 20 hours of free childcare, are ambitious but need to be properly costed if they are not to become a pious wish list.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Support the Head Teachers

This letter has been forwarded to me as a former teacher.

The NUT are a fairly militant and main stream Union.

They are supporting the National Association of Head Teachers who most people would describe and a very responsible union who only would take action under extreme circumstances.

They see the SATs as being counterproductive, and I agree fully with their view.

What happens in primary schools is a switch in the teaching emphasis in the last year, year 6, to one entirely geared to achieving good SATs results.

This puts a strain on both pupils and staff.

Pupils in my view stop being educated - encouraged to be inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning - in favour of being coached to do well in a set of exams.

Over the last five years the Head Teachers have done all they can with the present Labour Government to persuade them to drop this kind of testing.

I hope you will support this petition to get the message across and support the stance of the NAHT which is currently in the news.



Please sign our petition to end SATs

Well over 30,000 people have now signed the NUT and NAHT's petition to end SATs. As our boycott of SATs in 2010 approaches, we're asking for your help to boost our wider educational campaign. If you haven't already, please go to www.teachers.org.uk/petition to sign the on-line petition.

If you've already signed up then please try to encourage at least one friend to sign up too - feel free to send this email on to non-teachers.

More support for our campaign

You can check the front page of the NUT website for highlights on the SATs campaign and go to www.teachers.org.uk/assessment for more detailed information and resources.

We are very pleased to have recently received support from children's authors such as Michael Rosen, Alan Gibbons, Roger McGough, Beverley Naidoo and Ros Asquith (see the campaigns section of the website).

Robin Alexander of the Cambridge Review wrote in the Guardian on 27 April calling for politicians to 'Ditch the discredited dogma that there is no alternative to SATs'.

Please do what you can to support the campaign for an end to SATs!

Yours sincerely,


NUT GENERAL SECRETARY

An amazing way to view the art work on the railings at Gill Banks

Someone - I don't know who yet - has taken about 12 photographs of the art work here and skilfully pasted them all together to give a very long photo. Then Chris Dennett has taken this and created this dragable magnifying glass to show us the detail.

Brilliant stuff.

A big

Thank You