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What will the true cost of the Lockdown be for our kids?

June 1, 2020 1 comment

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As the ties loosen, shops open, horse racing returns and we dare to hope that the pubs will be open before the end of June, the questions that have been troubling many for the duration of the Lockdown are finally finding their way into the news.

It is troubling that only after 9 weeks of the Lockdown have senior Tories recognised openly that there may have been a related increase in abuse for children vulnerable in their own homes.

The voices speaking out against the Lockdown from the start are a comparative few to the number today. But the realities and consequences of a universally-applied Lockdown with a piecemeal response from the Chancellor were openly being discussed back in March.

What the suicides, job losses, bankruptcies, cases of abuse, evictions and a seemingly endless list of personal tragedies that have yet to unfold all have in common is that they will be suffered most often only by individuals, their families and the people immediately around them. These are not stories that will make the mainstream news.

Yet there is one story that is very different to all of the above. That is the question of the impact that the Lockdown is having on our children, their education and what home schooling for the better part of half an academic year is going to involve.

It was disturbing to learn that a Union boss has gone on the record over the weekend to evangelise that Teachers deserve their full summer holidays on the basis they have continued working ‘flat out’ to ensure that the children continue to be taught.

I dont know what parallel universe this so-called representative came from, because it is does not contain the same world where I and many parents like me are from.

Children of all ages and from all backgrounds are completely switched off to education today, and have been since the Lockdown began.

It is impossible for parents to replicate the school environment in the home – no matter how motivated they are to do so, unless there is ongoing proactive intervention from teachers and educators, sufficient enough to keep education and learning real for their students during a period that has been confusing, unnerving and completely strange for adults and children alike.

Some teachers are getting it right. They are using all the great resources at their disposal to get the messages and encouragement through. Yet in the majority, these diligent educators represent not the state system, but the Private Schools that the very same Unions would like to see destroyed.

The disruption to the learning process and backwards leap for children who will only get this one chance aside, the psychological damage that children are suffering from having the life they understood switched off like a light, taking their friends, grandparents and many others out of their lives in one stroke will be very VERY profound.

As adults, 9 weeks of this strange reality have passed very quickly. But to a 9 year old, 9 weeks are an eternity that makes what we perceive as a temporary change, one that feels very permanent indeed.

Parents are beside themselves. They can see what the Lockdown and the withdrawal from life is doing to their kids, but they are dependent on those with responsibility providing the way out.

The majority of parents know it would be much better for children to be back in school learning. Because the benefits of consistent education far outweigh the risks from Covid-19 that only Unions and those with a vested interest in pursing their own agendas are still choosing to see.

 

Teachers are not teaching our children during the Lockdown as they could and they should

If anything demonstrates just how out of touch and anachronistic the Unions are today, it will be the argument being staged on the front pages where Union Barons want to stop teachers going back to work amid the spurious argument that their Members won’t be safe from Coronavirus if they do.

The Daily Mail carries the headline ‘Let our Teachers be heroes’ which sounds great.

But as the whole Lockdown is being perpetuated on the back of myths the Government and its Behavioural Insights Unit created, it really would be good for everyone if Teachers focused on being the nations educators again.

They could begin by doing everything right now to help children of all ages learn as they can and should.

Parents shouldn’t have to wait for the Schools to return or for a discussion about when it will happen for this headline to be used.

To do so suggests the only thing that makes any employee a hero is if they leave their home and become exposed to the perceived increased risk of catching Coronavirus in a job that pays them and which they applied for at some point by choice.

Oddly, many of the people who would like to be heroes right now don’t have the opportunity that teachers have done since the start of the Lockdown and still do.

Technology like FaceTime and Zoom will allow and facilitate contact between teachers and children to be taught on a level not far short of a universal basis.

Oddly, Private schools are already filling this gap and in many cases offering a complete alternative timetable as they do. But State education is not.

Instead, parents of children in ‘free education’ who should today be in schools across the UK have had to manage the fallout of bored and disengaged children who want to do nothing because the people who need to motivate their academic studies are not available to them even in a basic coaching form.

Their teachers have instead relied on pages of dreary worksheets made available through clever portals that they tell us are a workable replacement for the work and the learning they would receive if they were physically in school.

Yes, some of our kids are motivated to utilise whats on offer to them however weak it might be. Like many other parents, I have one child who is and one who is not.

This damaging replacement for schooling that the Government and media have systematically overlooked doesn’t allow for the significant number of disengaged kids nor those that sit somewhere in-between.

The counter argument is likely be that as there are children (or parents) that don’t have access to the internet or to smartphones, schools cannot give to one or any number if they cannot be certain that they can give to all.

This is a sad, regrettable reality where rights and inclusion have been twisted by activists who have nothing to lose like our children do and have assumed the responsibly to police the workplace and every perceived misdemeanour that is involved.

The outcome is it is always the lowest common denominator in standards or achievements that inevitably comes out on top.

Parents who are desperately doing all they can to keep their jobs whilst working from home are not responsible for changing what any healthy child’s perception of their home vs. the school environment should be.

Home is home. School is school.

The only way to find a happy median in the shitty circumstances this Government created is for teachers to make the best of the situation and get actively involved.

Ignore the climate change concerns of young people and children if you dare. But addressing the shared fate of nations will help to solve many more of our UK problems as they have the same cause

September 20, 2019 Leave a comment

getting-startedYoung people and children share an idealistic view of the world and how it should be. Their view may not be practical or show any understanding of the issues involved. But that doesn’t mean that their passion should not be our guiding light and the one that we follow. Not just in terms of tackling the real causes of the climate problem, but also as we move forward to a future where we work together to put all of the wrongs right.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg appears to have set the world alight with her ideas and passion for the climate cause. But the sensationalism around her carries as much cynicism as it does genuine feeling. In fact, it may well be a whole lot more.

Whether you feel able to argue about the causes of climate change or not, the reality is that change is certainly taking place. It is now in everyone’s interests to do everything possible to mitigate anything and everything that we recognise as being a possible cause.

The biggest problem that we, and the many young protesters that are out and about this world of ours today face, is that the focus on climate change that they and most of us already share is based upon and focussed only on the effects of the problem. Not the actual cause.

We are not talking about the overuse of plastics, chemicals, fossil fuels and more. Those are but the effects of the problem. A problem which is based on a worldwide culture where those with more always want more.

The world uses materials and methods of working which damage the environment because they make everything cheap. Not cheap for us or other end users. But cheap for the people and companies that make, sell and transport our goods and services to us.

Climate change is costly for the future of the entire world.

But for those making money out of it, futures costly misery comes to them today feeling rather cheap indeed.

What we are seeing unfold in front of our eyes really is the fate of nations. Nothing less. Nothing more.

And as our children and young people are rightly telling us, climate change or the effects of it are no longer something that any of us can or should attempt to deny.

The momentum which is now being unleashed by the passion of younger people alone, can now open the doors to dialogue and change that before has been resisted by big business and self interest. It has therefore has been unknown.

But to capitalise on the opportunity, there must come a wider realisation between all of us that we cannot continue to think that the only god available to us is money. A way of thinking that will require our politicians to bring a very different, intuitive, considered and above all selfless way of working to the fore.

The companies, bankers and financiers that sit behind these problems, making money all the time, just need to be handled differently, by leaders able and not afraid to act upon all that they know.

They must be asked the question ‘would you prefer to fold when the wheels fall off all of this in just a few years, or change approach and adapt to a new way of thinking, so that you are making a good profit, albeit ethically in many years time?

To do this, our politicians and the governments made up of them must think very differently and look at every level of shared commonality as what makes us all one.

Politicians can no longer see themselves, their own interests, their own ideas and the people they relate to as the only priority or cause.

This is not a question of creating a world government or trying to use anything as an excuse to build empires.

Its about accepting and being open to working together. Knowing that even across borders, we have things in common as part of a bigger picture, that must now outweigh the comparative trivialities that only define us as nations and as cultures.

We can be different. But also the same.

We only need to make the right steps and to do that we must look all of this for what it is.

We must stop still and pause.

 

image thanks to unknown

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