Why the Government needs PREVENT training.

demonstrations, education, livingroom, london, politics, protests, society, Wednesday writing prompt

Figures released today show that hate crime has risen in the last couple of years.  This comes as no surprise to anyone who has undertaken PREVENT training recently.

PREVENT is part of the Government’s counter terrorism initiatives which aims to prevent people from turning to terrorism.

The hypocracy of the iniative however, is hard to swallow.

Prevent is founded on the idea of protecting “British Values”. But how can the Government talk of mutual respect and tolerance being British Values? The former Foreign Secretary makes derogatory comments about Muslim women, the Home Office issue hostile immigration policies, and the Brexit campaign was based on scapegoating and falsehoods not dissimilar from Zach Goldsmith’s vile campaign for London mayor.

To be taken seriously, British Values should be heralded as HUMAN values- a way of life that we ALL need to follow especially by NOT except for the Government.  Then we could all work towards “protecting” them.

If the Government wants to prevent extremism in this country, perhaps it should explore the underlining issues causing the breakdown of our society, which results in the rise of hate crimes and other forms of terrorism.

Could you imagine the change it would make to “global terrorism” if the UK changed foreign policy away from the colonial dominance and resource grab approach, to a perspective that respects the rights and sovereignty of other (non white) countries and territories.

Imagine if the Government chose to invest in education, NHS, housing: restored workers rights, legal aid, scrapped employment tribunal fees and improved work conditions. The Far Right grooming cries of “They’re takin’ all ‘r jobs and hosital beds..” just wouldn’t have the same gravitas.

Imagine if the Government didn’t propagate and pander to media scapegoating and properganda about immigrants.

What a simple way to reduce the isolation and abuse that members of our society face due to their religion, skin colour or immigration status.  A way to build unity and community rather than fraction society.

But that is all very John Lennon. (Imagine)

But scapegoats are always useful.  So rather than irradicating the causes of fear and anger – we have PREVENT.

PREVENT with an approximate annual budget of £46 million.

That money partly used to “train” professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers etc to report any “vulnerable individuals” to local Government.  All the training in the world though, still leaves the system highly susceptible to personal bias.  Especially in a scapegoat saturated society.

Ask the average person to describe a “terrorist”.  You could probably accurately guess the description…

brown skin

beard

Very few would describe:

white skin

football shirt

and a pint of beer in hand…

So it is no surprise that in the PREVENT system there is a huge discrepancy between reports of Islamist terrorism concerns compared with Far Right reports. (Please note that every individual deemed requiring support is investigated by the police…)

Which is particularly condemning when you look at the current hate crimes statics which show a 50% increase in the rise hate crimes towards Muslims. Yet Muslim individuals are by far the largest group indentified and investigated under PREVENT. Something just isn’t working.

So yes of course I will continue to safeguard and prevent any harm to the upmost of my ability.  I only hope we elect a new government that will do the same.

If you want to help prevent the rise of The Far Right join the protest Saturday 17th November 2018 in central London.

 

 

 

 

Was there ever a time before Scapegoat Britain? Part 1

education, Life Beyond The Kitchen Sink, society, zerotohero

At first it seemed ridiculous to believe that people would believe that all of England’s problems were the result of the EU and of course those “terrible immigrants”.  

We laughed about it in the staff room.  The same staff room where for the past year, disgruntled colleagues have  viciously blamed and attacked the Head Teacher for staff cuts that are solely the result of Government cuts to education. 

I remember a boy at our school who was an amazing football player.  Even at the tender age of five he had incredible ball control.  
The problem was he was arrogant, rude and violent to children and adults alike.  But when reprimanded for his actions, it was never his fault.  Spurred on (particularly) by his mother, it was always another child’s fault or the teacher had a personal vendetta towards him. Rather than changing his behaviour, he changed schools.  

Unsurprisingly his misbehaviour continued.. So he moved back to our school, blaming the teachers and children at the previous school for the move back.  Of course, as soon as he got into trouble again he resumed into his usual routine of pin the blame.  


And that’s how it continued. 

One day he was scouted by one of the big UK premier league teams.  Such a life changing opportunity.  

But he was dropped.  

He wasn’t a team player, couldn’t handle feedback and didn’t respect authority or his team mates.   But, of course, it was the coaches/team mates fault, “they didn’t respect him” enough.  

Such a huge opportunity lost because he had failed to take responsibility or learn from his mistakes.  


I saw him the other day working in a local shop.

Just imagine what could have been.

#scapegoatBritain

academy

That time I almost burst into tears on the treadmill..

education, politics

Music pumping in my ears, feet pounding away on the cross trainer, I gaze up from the flashing dashboard to the row of televisions hanging from the gym ceiling.  Ivory poachers in Gabon, a posh gardener in a tight squeeze, the usual random something or nothing on London Live all bid to grab my attention with alluring titbits of subtitled conversations. Gazing towards the last screen, fifteen little words grab my attention so violently that I catch my breath. Wrapping the enormity of their meaning around my throat, those little fifteen words stab me in my chest and make me gasp out loud “No!”

Government announced plans today to rush ahead with proposals to change all schools into academies..

If we were living in a time of reason and logic I would have laughed – How on Earth would the privatisation of the British education system make it through Parliament?  But we are living in bizarre times. A moment in history where junior doctors are being branded as greedy, while bankers and banks are bailed out.  Forests, parks, libraries and social housing  are being sold at a public loss for a private profit.  Workers rights are being dismantled, employment tribunal fees have risen whilst legal aid cut.  Zero hour contracts for our most vulnerable and tax breaks for the wealthy.

I have been a primary school teacher for nearly ten years. I have worked in both Local Authority schools and an academy chain.

If these proposals go ahead we are literally and figuratively selling our children’s futures for a private profit.  I entered teaching because I knew that a good education can change lives. It changed mine.  Every evening or weekend, when I’m marking, or planning or creating resources for my class, I’m motivated because I know I am helping to shape a child’s future.  It is a beautiful honour and I get to do it for a living.  Politics, business and money can not play part in that process.

The most obvious difference between the two types of school is that Local Authority schools are bound by the National Curriculum and the Teachers Work and Pay Conditions frameworks,  whereas academies are free to develop their own curriculum, HR practices and standards.  After working in an academy however, I felt the most dramatic difference was school culture, the academy felt like a business.

“There is no educational proposition behind them [academies], no philosophy of how or what children should learn, no model of what a school should be like. The point of academies is political, not educational.”

My time teaching in an academy was soul destroying.   A culture of blame, pressure and divide and conquer fuelled by financially driven leaders and impressionable inexperienced staff naturally led to high staff turnover and challenges in behaviour.  In my first year, only two classes out of the whole school lasted the academic year  without changing teachers at least once.  Children in desperate need of stability, received erratic teaching practice, at times by trainee teachers with no class based experience.

Perhaps this is why academy advisers swarmed the academy during the Ofsted inspection.  Failing teachers disappeared as experienced advisers appeared in their classrooms teaching lessons and being observed by inspectors. There was a lot riding on the inspection outcomes, principals bonus payments for starters.

This is what happens when children are not children but results.  The success of the “chain” relies heavily on  incredible test results.  Incredulous results.  During my time at the academy I saw staff meetings dedicated to the editing of children’s independent writing folders, teachers forced to raise grades and accusations of the principal changing test results. I heard the pressure for “results” being compared to that of the pressures on the trading floor.

By no means am I saying that all academies are terrible or that the teachers are all inexperienced or don’t care about the children.  Far from it, many of my friends are amazing and dedicated teachers working in academies.  There just isn’t enough consistency or evidence that the academy model is successful  for it to be rolled out to every state school in the UK.

“Current evidence does not prove that academies raise standards overall or for disadvantaged children,”

If you agree please support the campaign to stop the proposed plans to convert all state schools into academies by signing the petition below.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124702

If you don’t have time to follow all the links in the article, this link below nicely sums up the financial impact and profits of academies.

http://www.thecanary.co/2016/03/16/government-announces-decision-privatise-state-schools-england/

 

BH xx