Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Beechwood in the news

Melanie Shaw Awareness Day, Manchester 2019



"A woman in her 40s has been awarded more than £20,000 in criminal damages over the sexual abuse she suffered at Beechwood children’s home over 30 years ago."

"The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a resident at the home in Mapperley in the 1980s."

"The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which is a Government agency, has awarded the former resident £22,000 damages."

"This is despite the fact that the people she said had abused her did not face any charges against her..."

"Although the location of Beechwood is within the city boundaries, it was being run by the county council during the time the woman was there."

"The council has already paid out over £2.5m to more than 125 people in civil compensation to people who were in children's homes and foster care."

"Of the civil claims made to both the city and county councils, more than 140 relate to Beechwood."

Inclusive education ?

"A pupil claims he was thrown out of class after a teacher reprimanded him for claiming there were only 'two genders'."

"The 17-year-old secretly filmed his teacher on a smartphone telling him off and then posted the clip online. It was shared internationally, sparking a debate about free speech and transgender rights with one YouTube video shared more than 9,000 times."

"A leading teaching union defended the 56-year-old teacher and suggested the child had been 'looking for trouble'. Last night Aberdeenshire Council said the video did not show the full context of the incident, and insisted the school's aim was to 'support a fairer, inclusive environment for all'. The three-minute video shows the teacher explaining to the child why he was asked to leave the class at an Aberdeenshire secondary school, after the teenager had claimed there were only two genders."

"The teacher tells the pupil: 'You're entitled to your opinion', to which the teenager responds: 'If I am, then why did you kick me out of class? It's not very inclusive.' Then the teacher replies: 'No, I'm sorry, what you were saying is not very inclusive. This is an inclusive school.' "

"This teacher allegedly kicked a pupil out of class for saying that there are only two genders at a school in Aberdeenshire.  The teacher then says there is more than one gender 'by law', and that by claiming there are only two genders, the pupil had not been 'inclusive'. The member of staff continues:  'You were clearly given an opportunity not to pursue it. You chose to do so`."

"At this point, the pupil tells him: 'I think it's silly to have anything other than two genders, sir.' The teacher then urges him: 'Could you please keep that opinion to your own house?  Not in this school.' The child asks the teacher why staff are allowed to air an opinion, while a pupil is apparently barred from doing so. "

"Then the teacher states: 'I am not putting my opinion out. I am stating what is national school authority policy.' The child tells him this is 'not scientific whatsoever', while the teacher tells him 'not every policy is scientific'. The teenager said he did not have to be kicked out of class, which had wasted 30 minutes of his time, and the teacher tells him to 'make an official complaint'. The pupil tells him: 'I was simply saying there are two genders male and female. Anything else is a personal identification`."

"The heated exchange was captured by the pupil after the 17-year-old claims he was kicked out of class at the Aberdeenshire school The teacher tells the child he had made a point which was 'contrary to policy', and claims the pupil was 'making bad choices'. At this point, the teenager voices his anger that the teacher had wasted his time, to which the teacher responds: 'I am not allowed to tell you how much of my time you have wasted`."

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Mental health connections

[UK Column 7th June 2019 ]

"This is a website which has this amazing story:  `UK University to monitor social media accounts to identify suicidal students` and it`s by a gentleman called David McCourt."

"`Northumbria University in the North East of England is set to take the radical step of using data collected from students` social media accounts in a bid to reduce climbing student suicide rates. The higher educational institution, located in Newcastle upon Tyne, will create an Early Alert Tool to offer aid to undergrads in crisis`."

"So this was a bit more of it. So the university is working in partnership with nine other organisations on the project and they`ve been awarded funding by the Office for Students (OfS). A total of £14.5 million has been put aside by OfS, £6 million of which will go to the social media scanning project, and another £8.5 million going to nine other collaborative projects."

"Now I find this quite extraordinary," says Brian Gerrish, "That these sums of money are being put into watching students` social media. "

"This is another paragraph: `Few details were given about what information exactly would be mined from students` social media accounts. The project will raise concerns about the invasion of privacy, but these issues could be eased somewhat by an opt-in policy that requires students to consent to being part of the program`."

"Now we spoke to the Office for Students and said: `Well, are students going to be able to opt in or opt out? And they said to us that: `Well they don`t know at the moment because the project hasn`t really been formulated`. So we`ve given money for a project which the donor of that public money doesn`t even know what these key details are about."

Mike Robinson comments: "So they`re going to hoover up all this data. Now twitter, facebook and so on, they provide apps to do that. So take part in those platforms, anybody can hoover up your data. But the question here for me is: is this going to end at identifying people that are at risk of suicide or perhaps will they be looking at other forms of thought crime?"

Brian Gerrish: "Well is this just going to be one arm of the Prevent strategy and project Channel, so that if you dare express anything the state believes is right wing extremist you`re going to be reported through to the Prevent system?"

"Let`s have a look at what the Chief Executive said. This is Nicola Dandridge and she said: `Whenever I talk to students, improving mental health support is consistently raised as a priority. Taking preventative action to promote good mental health is critical, as is taking a whole institution approach and involving students in developing solutions..."

"So apparently, we`re at the stage where students are not thinking about their education and how good that education is, they`re preoccupied with their mental health. If that`s true, we`re in a pretty serious position. I`m not sure what the truth is, but we`ll just follow this through a bit."

"Here`s the Office for Students. They`re independent, Mike, as always. They were appointed by central government, and they`re connected through to central government, but they are independent." 

"And we`ve got some interesting people here. Here`s Sir Michael Barber, the chair, and he started out as chief adviser to the Secretary of State for Education in 1997 and he was part of the Prime Minister`s Delivery Unit. So very much an establishment man but everything is independent of government here. And he did a little bit of work with consultancy McKinsey who, of course, has done a lot of work in most governments."

"We`ve got Gurpreet Dehal. He`s a trustee of the multi-school academy trust E-ACT. He also holds non-executive positions with the Ministry of Defence and Equity UK..."

"And we`ve got Martin Coleman, deputy chairman of the board and chairs the Provider Risk Committee. And I found this interesting... he`s a trustee of an organisation called Police Now. I had no idea what that was. So we followed through. Here it is."

"`Join us, change the story, and `Police Now is on a mission to `transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public`s confidence in policing by recruiting and developing outstanding and diverse individuals to be leaders in society and on the policing frontlines`. So you`re not a policeman any more. You`re going to be changing the whole of society."

Mike Robinson: "So this is Common Purpose for police."

"It`s Common Purpose for police; I would say so. And we`ve got some interesting people here. So we`ve got a David Spencer,  co-founder and chief executive officer. He was an officer in the Met Police. So I suppose that makes sense. But he`s done a lot of political degrees... If you have a look at the bottom."

`Dave has a Business degree from the University of Sheffield, a Masters degree in US Politics from the University of London, and is currently studying his research Masters in Politics from the University of London`. 

"We`ve got another police constable there, Tor Garnett... So Sir Ian Powell we`ve got, left Pricewaterhouse Coopers on 13th of June 2016 on completion of his second and final four year term as chairman and senior partner.  Pricewaterhouse, of course, very interesting company with lots of very big government contracts, but he then joined the board of Capita PLC on 1st September as chairman designate. So he`s chairman of Police Now and a member of the committee for the National Gallery."

"So interesting connections. And the other gentleman there, James Darley - well he`s been working in graduate recruitment and he`s got a background in credit Swiss bank. And it`s just interesting to say how does this relationship work? [It`s] where we`re really coming to. And I can`t explain it."

"No," says Mike Robinson.

"We could go on a little bit more. We`ll just do these. Director general for tax and welfare at HM Treasury, James Bowler. So he, according to this report, is the Director General for tax and welfare at HM Treasury."

Mike Robinson: "But he`s helping Police Now transform secure society."


"Good stuff."


Mike Robinson: "I mean what can we say about this?"

"Not a lot."

Friday, 14 June 2019

Edinburgh taxi outing

ACE awareness

John Swinney MSP referring to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) at the ACE aware nation conference and his ambition that Scotland will be the first ACE-aware nation in the world========================
The Scottish Review:

"Nobody would dispute that childhood, adversity and development are important when it comes to adult 'mental health' and physical health, especially in people who present with issues in adulthood, but the evidence on ACEs does not support a 'risk preventative' psycho-social public health policy that targets everybody, especially children who are 'well'... "

"... Children as young as a five are asked to reflect upon relationships, emotions and their families. Psychological projection tools are used which encourage such reflection and yield much information (i.e., qualitative data) on children's families, lifestyles, struggles, problems and difficulties. "

"Anecdotal reports are suggesting that younger children are becoming confused and distressed with this aspect of the school curriculum (an ACE in itself?). And these 'lessons' are conducted without informed consent or consultation with parents..."

"The Scottish Government have been here before; their failed Named Person Scheme proposal was deemed by the courts to be unnecessarily intrusive, destructive of family life and highly totalitarian. With ACEs, who some critics believe is the Named Person Plan B, we are again getting into totalitarian lands."

"These curricular developments are wholly inappropriate; the school is not a place where you meddle with the 'mental health' of a child, or extract information from them on issues pertaining to 'mental health' and well-being."

Friday, 7 June 2019

No lessons for climate change activist

"Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg will take a year out of school and travel to the US to continue her campaign to promote environmental protection."

"The teen kicked off the hugely popular ‘school strike’ movement last year for kids to push their elders into taking a serious stand to tackle the devastating effects of climate change and safeguard their future..."

"As part of her commitment to the cause of reducing carbon emissions, Thunberg does not travel by plane. Accepting an invite to the UN’s special climate change meeting in New York in September means a lengthy transatlantic voyage ahead, so she’s decided to take a sabbatical year to make the journey."

"Thunberg also plans to attend the UN Cop25 climate change summit in Santiago, Chile in December."
 A comment under the RT article:

But the percentage of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is not the only fact that has been misunderstood by Greta.

Here is UK Column`s Mike Robinson, along with Patrick Henningsen from 21st Century Wire, who recount Greta`s good news towards the end of the programme:

"I just wanted to end on a positive note," says Robinson, "Because really `good news,` Patrick: Greta Thunberg, the teen climate change campaigner ... is taking a year off from school so she can go to the United States and, in fact, America in general to promote her policies to deal with climate change."

Patrick Henningsen: "Sacrificing her own education for the sake of the climate ..." 

"So you`ll be glad to know, of course, she runs this campaign about Flight Shame.  So, apparently, she is not going to fly to the Americas and the United States. She`s going to take a boat which is really a bit unfortunate because this organisation ... reported to the Guardian in 2016 that if you`re on a plane, aircraft use 0.257 kg of CO2 per passenger mile. But unfortunately ships use 0.43 kg of CO2 per passenger mile. So this is a little unfortunate for poor dear old Greta. She clearly hasn`t considered this..." 

Patrick Heningsen: "Well maybe it`s better, Mike, that young Greta takes the plane instead of the ship. And if she does that then she won`t need to take the year off school because she`ll be spending less time travelling by boat..."

Operation Grange continues and many ask: why ?

"The Home Office has agreed to keep funding the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann for another year."

"An application had been made by the Metropolitan Police Service for a further £300,000 to keep the investigation going until the end of March 2020."

"Today the Home Office confirmed the investigation would get `similar` funding to last financial year, when it got £300,000."

"The British police investigation, called Operation Grange, has cost £11.75 million since it began in 2013."

Read more