Category: Education

Champagne Socialists or Hooray Henrys?

Grimy Miner, Going Postal

I my previous post (see here) I highlighted the concerns regarding the drinking culture at Durham University and how the Labour MP for Durham City, Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, voted with the student element in the referendum, indeed, in conversations that I had with her on her blog (now deleted by her) she said that she voted that way because of the student vote in Durham, and how important it was to heed their voices.

When it was pointed out to her that the student vote was transient and that her resident constituency had voted massively in favour of Leave she severed contact.

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Sex and drugs and upper firsts

I live a few miles out of Durham City, in a former pit village. For those who don’t know Durham it is a World Heritage site

Grimy Miner, Going Postal

and home to Durham University, one of the prestigious 5 Universities in Britain (Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Imperial College London being the others).

Durham University is (temporary) home to some seventeen and a half thousand students (last available figures 2014). There exists an uneasy truce twixt Town and Gown but our MP, Ms Roberta Blackman-Woods, and Durham County Council, seems to hold them in higher regard than their more permanent constituents. I communicated with Ms R B-W regarding her stance on Brexit and she eventually stated that she voted to remain because “the student vote was to remain”. When it was pointed out that this 17,000+ voter base was transient, and that they could not ALL be remainers and that her total constituency had, in fact, voted to leave she closed communication with me and deleted the correspondence on her blog.

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Labour and the Destruction of Educational Diversity

Jwp, Going Postal

“If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every fucking grammar school in England. And Wales. And Northern Ireland.” (Crosland is so quoted by his wife Susan Crosland in her biography, Tony Crosland (Jonathan Cape, 1982), p. 148.)

In 1968 I passed the 11+ exam. I was the first ever and since to have done so in my family. Coming from a long line of Dock Workers it was hailed as something marvellous in my family, to the point of embarrassment. What will he become, a doctor, a teacher, a scientist? My best friend from across the street didn’t pass and yet, contrary to all that was said about selection breeding divisions in society, my friend and I have remained best pals for a lifetime. Our educational paths diverged. Our affections did not.

Perhaps I am fortunate in having experienced both Grammar and Comprehensive systems. I enjoyed two years of Grammar School followed by four years of Comprehensive. Thanks to those Educational Iconoclasts, Antony Crosland and Shirley Williams, the Burke and Hare of Schools, my Grammar went Comp in 1971. A school of 260 boys was merged with a Secondary Modern of 750, and the small and nifty frigate became an unwieldy aircraft carrier, impersonal, unmanageable, inhomogeneous and most importantly of all unBritish.

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‘A’ Level Result day In the Evening Standard

Eraser of Love, Going PostalTo:
date: Thur , Aug 18th , 2016
subject: ‘A’ Level Result day In the Evening Standard.

Dear Sir,

It is with Great anticipation that I look forward to reading your Publication this evening on my commute home. This is the day when Lives of Vibrant young Londoners originally from Tehran to Katowice to Hyderabad can Change forever, ‘A’ level result Day.

A Big Day In the Evening Standards Calendar, when its readers are treated with metronomic precision every year to front and centre page cliched pictures of ‘It ain’t half hot mum’ chorus lines of young girls in hijabs frozen in mid air and in Perpetuity, celebrating their results with gusto.

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