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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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Recent news reports prompt us to turn our attention to schools, which is a subject The GOS can claim to know something about, having been a teacher for a large part of his working life.
 
First, Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail ...
 

 
What kind of country sacks a dinner lady for telling the truth?
Over the past few years I've lost count of the number of times people have asked me: what does someone have to do to get sacked in this country?
 
That question has never been posed more frequently than during the recent MPs' expenses scandal, with many of those guilty of outright criminality still clinging on to their jobs. Even after (some of the) members of the Government caught bang to rights with their sticky fingers in the taxpayers' till have been shamed into leaving the Cabinet, they continue to draw their parliamentary salaries and allowances - at least until they can be ejected by their constituents at the next general election.
 
There used to be a convention that ministers who deliberately misled the Commons would have to resign. Now, though, Gordon Brown routinely lies through his teeth and gets away with it.
 
About the only crime you can get sacked for under New Labour is telling the truth.
 
This government has a long and ignoble record of persecuting whistleblowers and dissenters who reveal institutional wrongdoing and incompetence. Paddington train crash survivors who asked awkward questions about railway safety and elderly patients who complained about the NHS have been subjected to vile, orchestrated smear campaigns and character assassinations.
 
Exposing the dodgy dossier which was used to take us to war in Iraq cost BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan his job and claimed the scalp of director general Greg Dyke. Respected UN inspector Dr David Kelly was hounded to death for questioning the veracity of the (bogus) claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.
 
This pernicious culture has spread like a virus to every nook and cranny of the public sector. Whenever they're caught out, their first instinct is denial, followed by cover-up and a demented witchhunt to discover and persecute whoever leaked the story.
 
It culminated a few months ago in a Home Office civil servant and a Tory frontbench spokesman being arrested for exposing Labour's systematic lies over illegal immigration. This sinister operation was authorised by lying thief Jackboot Jacqui - that well-known paragon of honesty, who eventually had to quit the Cabinet after alleging for expenses purposes that her sister's spare bedroom was her 'main' residence. And it was endorsed by Labour stooge Gorbals Mick, the disgraced former Commons Speaker, who spent thousands of pounds of public money trying to keep secret the wholesale stealing of taxpayers' money by MPs.
 
Take Hazel Blears, guilty of dishonesty and 'flipping' properties to maximise her exes and avoid capital gains tax (though no worse than Chancellor Alistair Darling, who remains in office). Despite flamboyantly paying back 13,000, she had to stand down under pressure, but still sits as an MP.
 
In The Crazy World of Gordon Brown, embarrassing the Prime Minister is considered a far more heinous sin than robbing the paying public. Blears, though, has fared better than a civil servant who worked in her department. Lisa Greenwood has been sacked for bringing the Government into 'disrepute'. Her crime was to criticise Blears on the internet over her abuse of the expenses system and refusal to apologise. This is what she wrote, before little Hazel was thrown to the wolves: 'You are only sorry that you have been caught. You are a disgrace. Why haven't you been sacked?'
 
Miss Greenwood's comments sparked a full-scale inquiry. Although she had posted her remarks anonymously, they were traced back to her work computer and she was fired. You tell me who is guilty of bringing the Government into 'disrepute' - a brazen, tax cheat Labour minister or a lowly administrator who merely gave vent to the disgust and anger felt by just about everyone else in Britain? The case of Lisa Greenwood is scandalous, but worryingly indicative of how deep the cancer of secrecy and total obedience to the party line is ingrained into the system.
 
Information is power, only to be shared with mere mortals in extreme circumstances. Any public employee who dares to transgress the code will be dealt with severely. Which is why dinner lady Carol Hill finds herself suspended from her job at Great Tey Primary School near Colchester.
 
Mrs Hill rescued a seven-year-old girl, tied to a fence by four boys, who were whipping her with a skipping rope. Although the school informed the girl's parents about the incident, the full details were withheld. The truth only emerged when Mrs Hill bumped into them at a Beaver Scouts group.
 
Now she has been charged with gross misconduct for breaching pupil confidentiality - even though the parents had an absolute right to know what happened. If found guilty, Mrs Hill would lose not just her job, but also her criminal records clearance, which would prevent her volunteering as a Beaver leader or working with children ever again.
 
The school was clearly trying to conceal the extent of the assault, rather than admit a shocking failure to exercise its duty of care towards the girl. So it is prepared to destroy the life of a blameless dinner lady - just as the Government persecuted to his grave an honest scientist, who exposed the lies about Iraq's non-existent nuclear arsenal.
 
This is how Britain is now governed. For all Brown's talk of 'trans-pair-ency', official activity at every level is about as transparent as a burkha. Labour has created a self-serving tyranny of lying and concealment, where duplicity is rewarded and the punishment for honesty is the sack.

 

 
Like Littlejohn, we also find it incomprehensible that a school which deliberately concealed from her parents the details of the assault on the little girl, has so far not been criticised publicly in any way. When will we learn that the Head Teacher is also facing a disciplinary hearing for duplicitous conduct towards the parents of the children in her care? Or for failing the little girl who was attacked?
 
Reading between the lines, something we all seem to have to do more and more these days, it's perfectly possible that the assault might not have been as serious as it sounds. The little girl may have thought it was all a bit of a lark, the "whipping" may not have been painful, it could all easily have been a game.
 
But that doesn't really make any difference, does it? What matters is that the dinner-lady, a member of the village community, is being disciplined for talking to her friends, for being concerned with the welfare of her neighbours, something that village people have been doing for centuries. In her innocence it probably never occurred to her that the parents hadn't been told what happened to their daughter. She is being threatened with the sack not just for telling the truth, but for not being as dishonest as her employers.
 
The same newspaper printed this letter from a teacher on Thursday, complete with a great big black headline "Time we all sang the same tune over standards", and a picture of the teacher, Roger Griffin, casually leaning on his piano and smiling winsomely. His letter ran ...
 

 
"I wonder how I would get on with Schools Secretary Ed Balls's proposed 'MOT' for teachers. I teach advanced musicianship skills to primary children in a state school - at least I used to.
 
I was ordered to scrap my successful and proven work scheme in favour of banal drivel produced by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. I doesn't matter that I have videos of Year 6 pupils sight-singing elementary melodies (that is, pitch and rhythm combined) on the treble stave: I must conform to rules that amount to dumbing down standards.
 
One problem that might affect my MOT is that the pupils illustrating their achievement are in Set A. Set B is following the same scheme of work but at a slower pace, so they haven't yet reached the same heights as Set A (though they will, with sufficient time and practice).
 
Teaching children in sets, like with like, doesn't go down well in some circles: apparently only mixed-ability teaching can give all pupils the same opportunity. In fact, few subjects lend themselves to mixed-ability teaching and, in a subject like musicianship, it is a practical impossibility to differentiate in a mixed-ability class with audible sound: so Year 6 were fortunate that their class teachers agreed.
 
This seems beyond the understanding of my Local Education Authority: yet these mandarins, who think they can order specialists what to teach and how to teach it, are reluctant to demonstrate themselves that they can come even close to achieving my standards, under the conditions that they would impose. After refusing to obey an instruction to adopt QCA materials and because I won't adopt artificial half-term "targets" with boxes to tick, I have been dismissed.
 
To bolster the LEA case it has been thrown in that I shouted loudly and at close quarters at two disruptive miscreants in Year 4. The Authority was horrified that I was more interested in protecting the learning opportunities of the other children than in showing respect and deference towards miscreants exhibiting delinquent behaviour. Yet recently Sir Alan Steer, the Government's behaviour 'tsar', advised that it is all right to "give kids a right rollicking".
 
To the mandarins at the LEA my admonishing miscreants in a tough way amounted to 'bullying' and 'harassment'. No matter that I had first used the accepted sanction of detention: the plight of the majority, whose education is being jeopardised by the bad behaviour of the minority, is of no consequence to these mandarins. As for the stress on teachers, that's immaterial too.
 
I don't think I will stand much chance with my 'MOT'."

 

 
No, Roger, I don't think you will, and a bloody good job too, you plonker.
 
No need to read between the lines here, for anyone with any experience of schools. For a start this idiot has been teaching a subject, "advanced musicianship", that does not exist. He has decided for himself what subject he wants to teach to his long-suffering pupils, what the content of that subject shall be, how it should be taught and what should constitute a measurement of its success. Then he wonders why his employers are concerned! Simply put, he just isn't doing the job he's being paid for.
 
He's being paid to teach "music", not "musicianship". "Music" in schools involves providing pupils with opportunities to take part in musical activity and performance, to be exposed to music of many different types and origins, to find the colossal confidence and enjoyment that comes from performing with others, and the self-discipline that arises from shared endeavour. The National Curriculum, which is what the plonker means by "QCA materials", is far from perfect, but it comes a damn sight closer to these ideals than dividing the kids into "good" and "bad" groups and drilling them to sight-read elementary tunes on the treble stave.
 
Sight-reading (that is, the ability to look at a written piece of music and know what it should sound like) is a useful skill, and frankly not all that difficult if approached in the right way. But it's a very tiny part of musical experience, and far from essential even for quite skilled musicians in most genres. Teaching it to classes of primary school children and calling that a musical education is about as useful as teaching goldfish to juggle: jolly clever, but what's the point?
 
There are some skilled and dedicated and very sensible people in staffrooms up and down the country. But sadly there are also a few with tiny little minds who have decided what they think they ought to be doing and can't be bothered to question their methods, take seriously the ideas of others, or work out effective and enjoyable ways of delivering meaningful education to their pupils. If the 'MOT' weeds a few of them out, so much the better, though it has to be pointed out that in Roger Griffin's case the LEA have managed perfectly well without Ed Balls's help.
 
Our deepest scorn should be reserved for the Daily Mail, which printed - indeed, highlighted - this pathetic piece of forlorn self-justification by a failed teacher, without checking whether what he said was good sense or not.
 
All they had to do was ask us!
 
Finally we cannot leave the subject of schools without discussing the terrible case of the Mansfield science teacher who has been charged with attempting to kill a 14-year-old pupil.
 
Frankly it's a miracle this hasn't happened before. It's certainly going to happen again. There are thousands of teachers up and down the country who are thinking "there but for the grace of God ...", remembering the many times in their own careers when children have abused and insulted and goaded them to heights of frustration that can only be controlled with super-human effort.
 
Teaching is a bloody awful job, and The GOS would have gone to considerable lengths to prevent his own children from following in his footsteps. Luckily they had more sense. The hours are absurd - not enough time during the school day to get anything done properly, then when the kids have gone home hours of preparation and marking and pointless meetings. The terms are too short to adequately cover the curriculum and prepare the pupils for examinations so that one is in a constant state of desperation. It's infuriating that the criticisms casually flung at teachers by unthinking people - that the hours are too short (they're not) and the holidays too long (they are) - are two of the major factors in making the job more difficult: if only one could teach the pupils for adequate amounts of time, standards might rise and tempers fall. Government and local authority initiatives load more and more requirements on top of the obvious lesson-planning and marking, while schools are smothered by the government's mania for measuring everything in sight in the hope that it will hide the fact that actually schools aren't improving at all because there isn't enough money and there aren't enough teachers, and those teachers that are available are increasingly poorly trained for the job.
 
Then there are the children. Let's be clear, children can be, and often are, delightful. There are whole classes that are a joy to teach. The GOS looks back on a teaching career of which probably 75% was bearable, and 25% very rewarding indeed, which he imagines is not bad for any job. But make no mistake, in almost every school there are other classes that are hell on earth.
 
Even when The GOS started in the classroom fifty years ago, children could be quite unbearable towards anyone in whom they sensed the slightest weakness, and it's grown far worse since then. Their arbitrary, motiveless hatred is not tempered with any decency or fair play, they admit no moral imperative that causes them to feel respect for their elders, they feel no fear because they see no sanctions, their over-riding emotion is the spiteful, howling glee of a pack of chimpanzees as it surrounds a helpless victim. To them, it's fun.
 
Every week teachers are being attacked by pupils in the classroom. There are cases of sexual assault and even rape by pupils - not many, thank goodness, but some. But these extremes are small beer beside the daily, constant grind of rudeness, disobedience, obstruction, threat and ridicule that many teachers have to endure. As we said before, it's a bloody miracle that more of them don't snap.
 
So you'll have to forgive us if we show scant sympathy for the 14-year-old boy who was battered.
 
Our sympathies are entirely with the poor bastard who put up with it just one day too long, who could no longer control the red mist of rage and misery, who will probably end up in prison or a mental hospital, whose family will have to move (did you pick up that his two children attend the same school?), who will never work again, whose life is now totally ruined ... because a few adolescent little scroats thought it was funny.
 
We say again. It could so easily have been us.
 

 
The GOS says: More on the subject of education here, here, here and here.
 

 
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