"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Friday, 28 September 2012

Goin' Travellin' or Cathedrals & Scones

Elizannie and Other Half are attempting that difficult challenge to marital relations: a road trip and are off on a three week tour around the UK. Spending a lot of time together in a car might prove our nemisis - watch this space - but could equally prove which one has the most patience with the other.

We have just entered Scotland and the biggest problem so far has been the loss of raincoat, probably left in a hotel in York. Since York during our stay experienced flooding due to the second highest levels on the River Ouse and many residents were evacuated from their homes, it would seem mean to have a tantrum over such a small material loss and I did manage to desist mid-scream.

Inevitably one cannot help comparing 'Points of Interest' on the way and we agreed that Lincoln and Durham Cathedrals were equally impressive for different reasons. But the difference in scones in the various tea places were indisputa ble. So far the best has been found in Edinburgh Castle tea shop and would have made the gruelling climb worth while even if we hadn't thought the views magnificent! [More on Edinburgh Castle here] I had a lovely chat with one of the guides in Edinburgh Castle about the shortcomings of a couple of the Stuart[or Stewart in Scotland] Kings. We were also impressed with the Scottish crown jewels, against our better judgement! Subjects for another day, another blog will include perhaps the 'us and them' feeling [or the 'us and plebs' as one cabinet minister would have it] that is enhanced when looking around the stately homes en route. Meanwhile today's other exciting moments have included the first view of the Forth Bridge and our first proper look at a Scottish Loch - Loch Leven just up the road to our hotel. Beautiful, but unfortunately at the moment on this borrowed laptop I can't figure out how to add my photos! Subject for another blog, another day and if you are lucky, dear reader, you might miss the link for that blog! Onward tomorrow, another place!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Who's sorry now, Mr Clegg?

Yesterday's 'apology' by Nick Clegg put me in a bit of a parodying mood:


Who's sorry now, who's sorry now
Whose heart is achin' for breakin' each vow
Who's sad and YELLOW, who's a cryin' FELLOW
Just like we cried over you

Right upto BRIGHTON, just like a WRONG 'UN
WE tried to warn you somehow
You had your way, now you must pay
WE'RE glad that you're sorry now

Right upto BRIGHTON, just like a WRONG'UN
WE tried to warn you somehow
You had your way, now you must pay
WE'RE glad that you're sorry now **

Personally, I think that it was just as easy for Nick Clegg to say sorry for breaking his promise as it was for him to promise all sorts of things pre-election. After all in 2010n he probably thought it was near to impossible that he would have any power post election. He would have realised that the only chance that he could have a stab at power sharing would be through forming a coalition with one of the two other parties - which of course happened - and then he would have the 'excuse' that he would be over ruled in 'big decisions' like this one.

The fact that yesterday's 'apology' is probably a preamble for a conference seeking apologia is all too evident and makes him look like the true hypocrite he really is. The Autotune Remix to which I have put a link below has now been 'accepted' by Clegg on the condition all proceeds go to charity, a children's hospital in Sheffield [his constituency] As Other Half commented, they wouldn't get any funding any other way..... Yet another of this government's achievements of which surely Nick Clegg must be proud. Or is he sorry now?

[Watch Naughty Nick singing his apology here]

**With my apologies to ruining the lovely lyrics [B.Kalmar/T.Snyder/H.Ruby] sung by Connie Francis.

The photograph above has been taken from the live blog by Andrew Sparrow at the Guardian Well worth reading.

Now it is time for my apologies! I am trying to work with the new blogger.com website. Any errors and omissions are therefore my own and the photo of Nick Clegg above should be bigger and I am sure that once I understand the instructions it will be......

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mr Gove's School Report

It's not like Elizannie to pass up an opportunity to disagree with Michael Gove. He just rattles me whenever he speaks - largely because whatever he says I find usually 100% opposing my own views. I have tried to be fair and mark Gove's examination paper of the school system which has resulted in the new Education Baccalaureate qualification which will come into force in the next few years impartially. But I can't give it a pass rate and these are the reasons why:

How old do I feel now that the exam system for 16 year old has changed *three* times in my life time? CSEs were brought in whilst I was at school and run concurrently with GCE ‘O’ levels which were really divisive – I went to a [really bad] grammar school and the lower forms were not allowed to take ‘O’ levels however good they were at individual subjects. I was in a higher form but had to take ‘O’ levels even in the subjects at which I was really bad! Then the amalgam of GCEs and CSEs: the GCSEs arrived which were supposed to be fairer although with the foundation paper system they were still divisive especially with schools who wanted their rating systems to be based on the number of ‘successes’ on the A-C passes.

And now this, the ‘Gove Levels’. Michael Gove should write out one million times ‘We must not play politics with our childrens’ futures’.

To be fair, there is one thing that I really like about the new system, that one examination board across the country will result in 'a level playing field' for all students - but maybe getting rid of league tables for schools would have been a help too?

If all the money that all these changes will cost is spent in improving the current system instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, surely this would prove a more effective investment? No scheme will ever be perfect but the current system does seem to favour both those who are good at exams *and* those who work steadily throughout the year.

Having worked for some years in education I can of course point to weaknesses of some areas that need improving whilst at the same time recognise strengths in other areas. One area that does not seem to have been addressed so far in detail in the forthcoming system is in the provision of special educational needs like dyslexia and other learning difficulties and I will be reading any announcements in the next few days with interest on these points.

Two examination questions Mr Gove failed to answer are:
1. Why are these 'reforms' not to come into force until after the next General Election?
2. Since the school leaving age is to be raised to 18 why are the 16 year old examinations the 'target' of your venom?

Mr Gove, take note of all those that are examining your results at the moment, please.

Some interesting articles and blogs on this subject:
The Telegraph
The Spectator:Isabel Hardman
The Independent:Richard Garner

Photograph courtesy of Guardian.co.uk