Saturday, January 05, 2008

"a better mix of pupils"

In my post on the thin line between state education and propaganda, I mentioned the Burnley experiment/social engineering project of merging existing, de-facto segregated schools.

Because of the way school catchment areas had been set historically, he explains, Burnley's secondary schools had been either overwhelmingly white or overwhelmingly black. The white schools got good results and were oversubscribed, and the minority ethnic schools got poor ones. All this is changing, partly as a result of a report published last summer on the reasons for the disturbances.

"The county council is completely reorganising the schools, including the catchment areas, so there is a better mix of pupils," says Labour councillor Mark Townsend. "Five new schools have just opened and we've got rid of all the old ones so the kids now have the chance to grow up together"

I don't know the area at all well. But one of the new schools, Hameldon Community College, doesn't exactly seem to exude that glorious rainbow ethos. It has 1,700 pupils and was created by merging Ivy Bank High (41% in the 2001 tables) with Habergham High School (66%) to produce a school with "more than 40%" A/C passes. You'd rather have hoped for 53% even if there was no improvement.

Alas, the school's already in special measures - quite an achievement considering it's only been open eighteen months. A second Burnley 'superschool', the wonderfully named Unity College, is also in special measures - that's two out of five schools.

Two youths are being questioned after a 15-year-old boy was attacked at his school with a baseball bat. The teenager was in the grounds of Hameldon Community College in Burnley, Lancashire, when he was set upon during the lunch break on Friday. The boy was taken to hospital with head injuries and later discharged. A second pupil, aged 15, who suffered a fit was also treated in hospital ... A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "Police are continuing to investigate the incident, which is being seen as an isolated incident involving a small number of people." The injured pupil is Asian, but police said there was "no suggestion" the attack was racially-motivated.

Following this incident school attendance dropped to 50%, then 25%. The comments on the stories are worth a look. Admittedly it was coming up to Christmas - this may have tipped the scales on keeping pupils away. Police have since decided the incident WAS racially-motivated - no word on whether it's still 'isolated' or 'random'.

Schools usually fail for a toxic cocktail of reasons. To start with, 1,700 pupils is far too many for any school - especially one with no sixth form. How can the teachers know all the kids, to start with ? And, just as any country with 'Democratic' in its name is a dictatorship, so the word 'Community' in any institution should set alarm bells ringing. You know at once that whatever you'll find in the area, it'll certainly be uncontaminated by community. 1,700 pupils - and precisely 60 parents turned up to the two meetings held by the school to reassure them. Whether the parents couldn't be bothered, or whether they thought any reassurances would be worthless platitudes, who can tell - either way it's not good. The school is rated a disaster by the most important users - the parents.

On Monday it was revealed that the school was a first-choice option for fewer than 100 youngsters across the borough when Year Six parents were asked to pick at least three establishments where they would like to send their child for secondary education. Burnley Council leader Gordon Birtwistle said before Hameldon was created, Ivy Bank and Habergham High Schools could expect to attract about 600 such applications each.

From 1200 first choice applications to 100. The chief exec of any PLC whose share price fell like that could expect to clear his desk (admittedly he'd leave with a million or two and a huge pension).

It would be premature to assume that the council's decision to merge one mainly white school with a mainly-Asian one in the interests of "community cohesion" is the sole cause of the school's troubles. I wonder how the magnificently named Shuttleworth College (named after Ken I trust), Sir John Thursby and Blessed Trinity are getting on. I'll lay a pound to a pinch of s***, as they say in the Black Country, that the Catholic school has the best results.

But the failure of two out of five doesn't bode terribly well. Never mind, it's only a few kids' education and it's in a noble cause. If they don't get educated there are plenty of educated East Europeans. Can't make an integrated rainbow omelette without breaking a few lives.


Anonymous said...

The question is, once again, where do the people enacting these decisions live and exactly how are their own children educated?

Reportedly, many of the American politicians who voted in favour of Bussing had their own children educated privately, so that their own children only had to celebrate diversity at a distance.

JuliaM said...

"The comments on the stories are worth a look."

Indeed they are. But could we possibly have a translator for the comments left by the pupils...?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the standard of literacy, see this posting by a teacher The Driving Lesson It begins:

I had a driving lesson recently. My years of teaching have helped me understand how to be a receptive and eager student.

“Hello, Andrew. You have a lesson.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I’ve been waiting outside for ten minutes”

“Yeah, I know”.

“Well why didn’t you come out”

“Couldn’t be bovered” ...

Anonymous said...

The parents can't complain - they shouldn't have reorganised the schools if it was working well.

What's that? Oh yes, they didn't. The State did it against their wishes. Still, that's Socialism for you - you have good and bad, and that is unacceptable to socialists. Equality before quality is their mantra, and they are happy that everything is worse if EVERYONE is worse.

Anonymous said...

Also, I imagine the original catchment areas were like they were because the Asians self-seggregated. Changing the catchment areas will, I imagine, start a year long process of self-seggregation again. In fifteen years time, unless the town has been burned down by then, we will be in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

"Just like any state with 'democracy' in it's name, the word 'community' should get alarm bells ringing."

It's like the word 'lady', if you have to say you are one, you probably aren't.

Bert Rustle, I believe what happened in the US regarding forced busing was that it caused white, wealthy people to leave areas where their children would be bused, or have others bused in, causing further social problems and resentment.

Anonymous said...

Just make sure you're not one of the last whites going to a school. My contemparies whose parents decided to send their kids to the local comp for PC reasons are still in counselling.

JohnM said...

Shuttleworth College (named after Ken I trust)

Nah, the school's a joke, so I suggest John Shuttleworth is more likely.

Anonymous said...

the magnificently named Shuttleworth College (named after Ken I trust)"

The Shuttleworth family estate was nearby - and James Kay-Shuttleworth, later Sir Jame, was a 19th century social reformer and "founder of the UK system of public education".

Sarah said...

The news that comes out of the education system is a litany of woe. Are there any normal schools with normal, well-educated children left? Not including private schools which, I would imagine, are being inundated with applications!

Anonymous said...

Blessed Trinity will be the best school in Burnley, as St Theodore's and St Hilda's were when I went to the former 30 years ago. And not just in academic terms - we had to play football matches against far-flung opposition just so we wouldn't have to continually thrash the likes of Ivy Bank and Towneley schools.

The money that will be wasted on these new "community" schools is truly staggering and yet again demonstrates the folly of allowing central planners, lefty bureaucrats to a person, to get their hands on the powerful combination of taxpayer's money and our children's education.

Anonymous said...

not a racist incident according to the BBC...

JuliaM said...

"...not a racist incident according to the BBC....."

Well, they are only parroting what the police will have told them.

What do they think it was, then, the first recorded case of 'ginger-bashing'...?

Anonymous said...

Juliam wrote ... Well, they are only parroting what the police will have told them. ... The Drive-By Media seem to follow Reporting Diversity guidelines and the egalitarian fiction that we are all equal and that nobody is to be held accountable. Of course some are more equal than others are, as evidenced by the victim you mention.

In my opinion the Police are under the Diversity Cosh and that within the current framework the reporting of factual crime statistics is not possible, rather only partial reporting of statistics for political purposes. The situation reminds me of the British National Health Service which was once run by consultants for the benefit of consultants, is now run by managers for the benefit of politicians when in fact it should be run by consultants for the benefit of patients. I am also reminded of the imbalance of power between consultants and nurses which appears similar to that between lawyers and police officers.

Typically politicians do not lead but follow, so the electorate is ultimately responsible for the current situation. I would hazard a guess that there will not be substantial changes until the Ruling Class reap what they sow; however as they will remain insulated from the policies they mandate for others will this ever happen? Apparently the Drive-By Media are not prepared to put the work in to create fair reports, the electorate are unwilling to read them and the judiciary and politicians are insulated from reality generally. The Police do not have an electoral mandate and function to gather evidence, not to prosecute, judge, or sentence; as such they are perfectly placed to take the blame for the failings of everybody else.

If you find the time, I would recommend that you read Final Fantasy , especially the comments. Inspector Gadget is a Copper’s blog which I heartily recommend, with apologies to Laban for this comment which is only tangentially related to the original post.

Anonymous said...

The economy's collapsing - it's going to get very very ugly.

Hopefully some of these pc liberal Nulab crazies will be put up against a wall and shot.

We can't go on like this.