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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...


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"Ofsted" is the government department responsible for overseeing schools and teaching standards.
The GOS was a teacher for a large part of his life, but eventually escaped, for which he has been deeply grateful ever since. Not long before his retirement from proper work, he paid out a considerable sum of his own money to be trained as an Ofsted inspector, in the fond belief that an elderly gentleman with considerable experience of schools, a successful teaching career followed by a fairly senior post in educational administration, and the author of several school text books, would find visiting schools, observing lessons and reporting on teaching standards a congenial and lucrative retirement pursuit.
How wrong he was. He qualified all right, but so traumatic was the experience that he could never bring himself to do any actual inspecting. Ofsted was revealed as a deeply flawed organisation that was determined to reduce good teaching to a series of meaningless criteria whose only virtue was that they fitted a list of tick-boxes that could be filled in by a trained monkey, never mind an educationalist. And that was just as well, because to be honest the standard of the other applicants was pathetic: few had been successful teachers, many had got out of the classroom at the earliest opportunity because they were plainly unsuited to it, some had no educational background at all (at the end of his career the GOS briefly went back to the classroom, and once had the dubious pleasure of being inspected by Ofsted: the lady who observed his teaching turned out to be a private piano teacher who had never stood in front of a class in her life, and plainly didn't have a clue about managing more than one child at a time).
So it has been interesting to see Ofsted nailing its true and very tattered colours to the mast recently ...
Parents who teach their own children at home must undergo criminal records checks, say Government education inspectors. The estimated 40,000 parents who choose not to send their children to school should be vetted, says Ofsted. It said that parents whose records throw up suspicions should be barred from teaching their own children.
Vetting to root out any record of violence against children would be by the Criminal Records Bureau. It would reveal to local authorities parents’ criminal convictions, cautions and warnings, and even information that did not lead to a criminal conviction. It would also show any unproven complaints noted by the controversial new Independent Safeguarding Authority, set up to vet adults working with other people’s children. Parents who fail the checks could also find themselves receiving attention from child protection social workers.
If accepted by ministers, the Ofsted rules would be the first state attempt to investigate and vet ordinary parents over the way they bring up their own children. The proposal brought fierce protests from family campaigners. Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust said: ‘It is sheer madness for Ofsted to suggest that parents should be required to undergo CRB checks to be with their children between the hours of 9am and 3pm from Monday to Friday during term-time. If it is deemed unsafe for children to be with their parents during normal school hours, it is equally unsafe for them to be with their parents in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays. If Ofsted are calling for CRB checks for home-educating parents now, how long will it be before they are demanding that all parents are CRB-checked?’
Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank said: ‘You can no longer be a parent without a piece of paper from the state. This is a monstrous idea and it shows the danger of taking things to logical extremes.’

And this came from the Sunday Times ...
An insider has accused Ofsted, the children’s inspectorate, of destroying “smoking gun” documents that could expose an attempted cover-up in the Baby P childcare scandal. The Ofsted whistleblower alleges the watchdog deleted draft reports from its computers that gave a highly favourable verdict on Haringey, the London council whose failings contributed to Baby P’s death. The drafts were about to be finalised and released when the tragedy became public. The assessment was then hurriedly scrapped and rewritten to condemn Haringey as inadequate.
The Ofsted documents are being demanded by lawyers for Sharon Shoesmith, the former director of Haringey children’s services. Her dismissal was ordered by Ed Balls, the children’s secretary, over the council’s failure to protect Baby P. Critics believe Shoesmith may be able to pick up hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation from the taxpayer because of the behaviour of Balls and Ofsted. Shoesmith’s legal team, pursuing her claim for wrongful dismissal, argue that the final report — along with another whose drafts Ofsted also tried to suppress — was toughened up only after excessive pressure from Balls on Christine Gilbert, Ofsted’s chief inspector.
Tim Loughton, the Tory children’s spokesman, said: “This all seriously calls into question the integrity of the way Ofsted has been operating. “There are indications of a cover-up and, given the failings of all parties in this case, it is essential we have transparency. In particular, Ed Balls needs to explain exactly what discussions he had with Ofsted behind the scenes.”
The whistleblower has come forward because of concerns that the inspectorate will fail to disclose the evidence in court, where they could constitute a “smoking gun” vital for Shoesmith’s legal team. The insider, who is preparing to disclose the full evidence in public, said the papers had been “deleted from the Haringey shared folder on the Ofsted system and the High Court should have access [to them]”, adding that the deletion of the documents was an attempt to remove the “clear audit trail of all assessments relating to Haringey council”.
Baby P, Peter Connelly, died on August 3, 2007, aged 17 months. He endured months of torture, suffering some 50 injuries, despite being seen by council and NHS staff about 60 times. His mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and her lodger Jason Owen were jailed for causing or allowing the death. While Haringey was failing to spot what was going on in Baby P’s home, Ofsted was giving the council a clean bill of health. In 2006 a review by Ofsted and other watchdogs praised Shoesmith’s “strong and dynamic leadership”. In November 2007, just three months after Baby P’s death, its annual performance assessment (APA) rated Haringey’s management of its children’s services as good.
The documents leaked by the whistleblower, copies of which have been seen by The Sunday Times despite the alleged destruction of many of the originals, include draft reports, evidence notebooks and minutes of meetings. They show that in November 2008, Ofsted was within days of releasing yet another favourable assessment of Haringey. Then the convictions took place, the Baby P case became public, Balls ordered an emergency inquiry and the draft APA was scrapped. The final 2008 APA, released last December, gave Haringey the lowest rating in four out of seven categories: “In staying safe [the category for safeguarding children], outcomes are poor”, adding that as a whole its services were “inconsistent … and … inadequate overall”.
The whistleblower’s leaked draft, approved by a key Ofsted committee known as a regional consistency panel just days before Baby P’s death became national news, had given far more favourable judgments — a grade 3 “good” rating in both safety and overall effectiveness.

... while in the Telegraph Simon Heffer says ...
Things are not looking fabulous for Ofsted, which last year soaked up £222 million in ensuring that schools get progressively worse and pupils progressively thicker. Friends in the education world tell me much has changed since the golden age of Chris Woodhead, and the body has become a Left-wing front dedicated to maintaining the pretence that schools under Labour are getting better all the time. I do not support wholesale retribution against Labour placemen should we have a new government, but the future of Christine Gilbert – Ofsted chief and wife of Tony McNulty, a Labour MP and former minister who recently had to apologise for financial irregularities – should surely lie outside her present field.
... and the Times gets into the action too, with this article in which a whistleblower tells how her fellow school inspectors fret more over pupils’ lunch boxes than their literacy ...
One day last summer I found myself sharing a table with three seven-year-olds in an inner-city primary school. It was chaos. The three children were giggling, kicking each other and chatting. Their attention was on what was immediately in front of them — each other. Somewhere on the periphery of our vision, the teacher walked about, struggling to keep order. Elsewhere, behind our heads, hung a whiteboard with work on it — gleefully ignored.
I was getting crosser and crosser. It was not just that my knees were hurting nor that the girl opposite, with striped bobbles at the end of each plait, had spat something pink and sticky onto my handbag. No, what upset me was simple. Nobody was learning anything.
When I helped Cedric, the boy next to me, with his comprehension, I got a shock. He could barely read, let alone write an answer to the question. He shrugged, threw a rubber at the girl with the bobbles and was sent out of the class.
It was the last straw. I liked Cedric, who was obviously bright. I forgot I was meant to be an observer and confronted the teacher. Instead of sending children out, I said, why not improve discipline and concentration? We could rearrange the tables to face her and she could stand in front of the board. She looked at me with horror. “The pupils are working together, directing their own learning,” she said, her voice almost drowned by noise. Had I not appreciated what was going on?
Ofsted’s annual report to parliament, submitted last week, makes clear this is taking place across the country. More than a third of schools are providing inadequate teaching. Also last week Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Marks & Spencer, one of the nation’s biggest employers of school-leavers, summed up the implications of the incident I had witnessed: “They cannot do reading. They cannot do arithmetic. They cannot do writing.”
I have spent the past year visiting schools and interviewing teachers, pupils and parents in an attempt to find out why black Caribbean and white working-class boys are failing. Again and again I saw the dire impact of educational ideology and government initiatives on children’s lives. A 16-year-old heroin dealer from Streatham, south London, summed up the effect this had on him: “School shatters your dreams before you get anywhere.”
Ofsted’s report blames schools and teachers for the shortcomings. What I saw made me think further: what about Ofsted’s inspection process? How much is it to blame for what is going wrong?
Shortly after encountering Cedric, I was in a scruffy south London sandwich bar. My informant had insisted on meeting there because she feared being seen with me. Amy (not her real name) was an Ofsted inspector and she was very angry. She had taught English for 20 years and had inspected schools for more than five. Far from protecting the education of our children, she told me, Ofsted inspectors were “ actively discouraged from inspecting what really matters”. Take reading and writing: despite the introduction of a literacy hour and a big increase in spending on education, a third of 14-year-olds have a reading age of 11 or below. One in five has a reading age of nine.This is an extraordinarily high level of failure. Why do we accept it?
There is compelling evidence that synthetic phonics is the best method of teaching children to read. Unfortunately, in the surreal world of education, success is not enough. However good the evidence, synthetic phonics is unfashionable among teachers such as Cedric’s because it depends on direct teaching, not learning through play.
In her report, Christine Gilbert, the Ofsted chief, blamed primary schools for the fact that a third of pupils start secondary school without a grounding in the basics. This is disingenuous. It is her inspectors who are not enforcing the rules — as Amy learnt in an inner-city primary school with weak Sat scores. She asked the chief inspector why nobody was checking the reading method used. Was it synthetic phonics and how well was it being taught? He shrugged and said: “I don’t ask the question.” Presumably it was contrary to his educational philosophy. Amy, outraged, complained to Ofsted. And was duly “fobbed off”.
Ofsted’s lack of interest in these basic skills is clear from the self-evaluation report every inspected school must present. Amy pulled one from her bag. It was dauntingly thick and contained 48,000 words: of those, a mere 12 dealt with literacy and numeracy. They read: “School X promotes good basic skills, especially in literacy, numeracy and ICT.” Amy dismissed this as “wish fulfilment”. She went on: “It ‘promotes’ but what does it achieve? It says nothing about achievement.” Amy wanted to replace the useless self-evaluation with maths and reading tests done by Ofsted inspectors without warning: “That would make schools sit up and take notice.”
What was Amy allowed to inspect? She sighed. Ofsted orders inspectors to concentrate on social welfare, behaviour and attendance. They have to check if children are “independent learners” in charge of their own education and if a child enjoys “ownership” of its work. Work should not be corrected in red ink by the teacher.
This, like many educational fads, misses the point. Amy put the low standard of writing, even in good schools, down to the low standard of marking. She was shocked to see that a child’s work was often marked only one in three times for accuracy. Even then, children were not asked to write corrections. When she complained — again — to the chief inspector, “I was rapped over the knuckles for ‘discouraging’ the children. Well, it’s going to be a lot more discouraging when they get to 14 and can’t read the sign on the front of a bus”.
As for government initiatives, “don’t even get me started”, said Amy. “I spend more time looking in children’s lunch boxes then testing their literacy.” In the topsy-turvy world of state education a fizzy drink causes more horror than poor spelling.
The latest buzzword initiative is “community cohesion”. Ofsted inspectors must ensure that a school “has developed an understanding of its own community in a local and national context, including an awareness of each of the three strands of faith, ethnicity and culture, and the socioeconomic dimension”. Nor is that all. Each school has to demonstrate it “has planned and taken an appropriate set of actions, based upon its analysis of its context, to promote community cohesion within the school and beyond the school community”. What does this mean? And why is a body guilty of such gobbledegook in charge of our children’s education? There is no mention of the impact that illiterate teenage boys have on community cohesion.
As well as ideological fads, Ofsted is subject to political pressure. The emphasis is on what makes the government look good rather than what might benefit pupils. Take the “deprivation factor”. A school can be well below average in Sats results but still be classed as satisfactory purely because of its intake. Schools with ethnic minorities, for example, parents without college education, children with special educational needs and even too many boys, all contribute to the deprivation factor. This is nothing more than an excuse for failure. A “deprivation factor” is not going to get a young man a job, buy him a house or take him on holiday.
Progress of learners is another dodgy item on the inspectors’ list. “We are besotted by progress,” said Amy. “The majority of the Ofsted report is based on what the school plans — not on what is actually going on in the classroom.” As long as a school demonstrates progress, it can achieve a “good” and sometimes an “outstanding” Ofsted report — even if the result is still below average. This emphasis on progress has serious implications. A good report means the school will not be inspected so frequently. It misleads parents and the public. Amy pointed out: “If the end result is still weak, however much improvement there has been, how does that help the child?”
Now we came to the crux of what had made her so angry. She leant towards me and said: “We forget that for these children this is their only chance of an education.”
Back in the primary school it was break time. In the staff room the teachers complained that the boys misbehaved every afternoon. They saw this as immutable. I suggested the PE teacher organise football every lunch break. The teachers — female and two stone overweight — looked at me as if I was talking an alien language. They dismissed competitive sport as promoting “negative feelings among our children”.
Cedric had spent his surplus energy putting a schoolmate’s head down the loo and was confined to the library. I showed him a book on castles. He had never seen a castle. He was immediately engaged and asked intelligent questions. In the afternoon he lasted barely 10 minutes in class before being sent to stand in the corridor.
I left the school gloomy. I was interviewing teenagers and young men in their twenties. I knew what lay ahead for bright, energetic boys like Cedric. Our warped inspection process, the emphasis on government initiatives and ideological fads create countless victims. Cedric possesses talents that should be the making of him. Instead he is already another statistic of failure.

While we're at it, let's turn our attention to another government watchdog with this report by Laura Donnelly in the Telegraph ...
Social workers who abused children were left free to carry on working because of critical failings by the watchdog in charge of them, an inquiry has found.
Hundreds of social services staff accused of disciplinary breaches, including paedophile offences, were left free to look after vulnerable people while decisions about whether they should be suspended or struck off were delayed. Hearings into their cases were put off for months, and in some cases years, so that the regulator could delay paying the costs, according to a report for ministers. Some of the most serious cases were abandoned with "little or no" investigation, by staff who felt under pressure to shelve cases regardless of the dangers to the public.
The head of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) was quietly sacked this month after investigators unearthed a catalogue of failings by the watchdog. Mike Wardle, the organisation's chief executive, was dismissed under the GSCC's own conduct procedures.
On Tuesday, the Government will announce proposals to extend training for junior social workers, and to increase pay for the most experienced practitioners on the front line. Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, has defended his handling of the Baby Peter scandal and said a new Royal College of Social Work would speak up for the profession.
Among the social workers who remained free to work for months after allegations were lodged with the GSCC were individuals who were later struck off for sexually abusing their own children, or for repeated attacks on young girls in care homes, according to evidence seen by The Sunday Telegraph.
Delayed cases for which adjudications have been published by the GSCC include:
• Senior social worker Douglas Makey, struck off in September for grooming and sexually abusing girls at a children's home in Gravesend, Kent, stayed on the social work register for eight months after the complaint against him went to regulators.
• A man struck off last month for a seven-year campaign of sexual abuse of his partner's young daughter, remained on the register for 11 months after the allegations were raised. Another who abused his three-year-old son was only suspended three months after the complaint was lodged.
• It was three months before Christopher Hardman, from Batley, Yorkshire, was removed from the register after regulators were told he had encouraged vulnerable teenagers to pose naked for cash.
• Craig McLoughlin, from Sheffield, was free to work for four years after an incident in which he encouraged a recovering alcoholic to drink whisky, while informing pubgoers that he was the man's social worker. The GSCC's conduct committee said it was "lamentable" that Andrew Forbes McLauchlan, from East Sussex, had carried on working for three years with complaints against him pending. A charge of dishonesty was upheld but no sanction was imposed, due in part to the time elapsed.
In the two years ending in March, the average delay between a complaint being lodged and a resulting suspension was more than seven months. Most complaints against social care staff are handled by councils, but the most serious allegations, such as those relating to child abuse, are referred to the GSCC, which holds the register for social workers. Ministers ordered an investigation after the watchdog was discovered to have built up a backlog of hundreds of complaints.
A report to Parliament says:
• Staff at the regulator felt under pressure to delay or abandon complaints against social workers, "regardless of the public protection implications," in order to ensure the regulator kept within its budget.
• The risks of allowing social workers accused of abuses to continue working were ignored, or decisions were left to junior clerical staff.
• Many cases were abandoned before reaching disciplinary proceedings, with little or no attempt to seek information from police or the councils employing the social workers. In some instances, even evidence of criminal convictions went unprobed.
• One case was dropped on the insistence of the social worker under investigation that there was no danger to the public – with no corroborating evidence.
Ministers ordered the investigation by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE)- an independent body which reports to Parliament – after a backlog of 200 complaints was discovered at the GSCC. The inquiry's report concludes that the watchdog's practices were so poor that it was impossible to estimate the level of danger posed to the public by social workers whose conduct failings were delayed or never fully investigated. The CHRE found that a backlog of disciplinary allegations against social workers had been allowed to grow for several years. By early 2007, more than 700 disciplinary proceedings against social workers were "delayed in the system".
But the CHRE identified a deliberate change in policy immediately after the appointment of Mr Wardle, a former private secretary to David Blunkett, as GSCC chief executive in September of the same year, when the board decided not to schedule any conduct hearings until the start of the next financial year – six months later – in order to save money.
Investigators said: "All the staff we spoke to within the conduct team were consistent in informing us that they felt pressured by the executive in 2007/2008 into not proceeding with conduct cases, regardless of the public protection implications, because of budget restrictions".
Of a backlog of 200 cases found in July this year, many had not been risk-assessed, and 21 were quickly identified by the GSCC as involving an "ongoing risk of harm" to members of the public. The regulator insists employers were aware of and "managing the risks" or the person was no longer working as a social worker – as far as the council which had previously employed them was able to ascertain.
The inquiry found that cases involving serious allegations, and even cases where social workers had already been convicted in criminal courts, were closed with "little and sometimes no attempt" to seek further information from employers or police.
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, described the investigation's findings as "absolutely shocking". He said: "The situation the report describes is a total abdication of responsibility, which has left children, and vulnerable adults at risk. These failures bring the whole system of social work into disrepute."

With failures on this scale among the ranks of government inspectors, does it seem just the teeniest bit absurd for them to be proposing even more inspections of even more people? We come back to it - just how long will it be before all parents will have to be inspected by these incompetents before they're allowed to care for their own children? What have families to look forward to - a world in which children can be snatched from their homes and sent into care so they can be abused properly by professionals?

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