Injustice

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ed Balls: is he Minister enough?

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Let me also refer you to my Education Education Education in blog archive.Davey
The Department for Children Schools and Families is a colossal one and would be a handful for any minister if Children, Schools or Families were 3 separate departments and not only is Mr Balls over all in charge of what happens in schools he is also responsible for social services with OFSTED somewhere in between!
For the benefit of this blog I will divide this department into 2 halves;
Schools:
I have to admit that I find myself in agreement with some of what Ed Balls is saying to Jon Snow in the video (click above), children should be assessed at the age of 11 or year 7 so they are not just thrown to the wolves in secondary education.
I speak from experience as when I attended a school reunion 10 years ago, I asked a former classmate why was it whenever we were out of line we were threatened with expulsion (rather then an alternative)? His answer was telling, as he said as we were in the bottom class there was nowhere else to go! So whatever you arrive with when you get to the summer holiday before moving up to secondary school, maps your life there after, as you stand little or no chance of substantial advancement unless you are a gifted child, which poor results shown previously prove you are not !
Many children end up on the scrap heap before they start and along with the school not able to offer discipline any longer allows some children in the grey area of law from 11 to 16 to just about do as they please, and end up feral teenagers on the streets (a subject that will be extensively covered in forthcoming blogs)
I would also ask what of OFSTED? Are they offering correct and substantial reports that are beneficial to parents seeking placements for their children? Are some erroneous headteachers pulling the wool over many inspectors eyes so they keep their, not always deserved, high accreditation and resulting funding in place? Parents are then fighting for places, often finding themselves braking the law to get their child in a school as they are lead to believe it is better then the next one 3 miles down the road. With the additional bearing of house prices close to a 'better' school!
Is it not incumbent on the education authority that a minimum standard is achieved at ALL schools so this disparity is reduced and rather then credit schools that excel beyond the reach of many children offer similar chances to other nearby schools and even share resources!
Who actually oversees the activities at OFSTED?
Social Services:
Keeping with OFSTED on this one too, did you know that this self regulating body gave Haringay Council a clean bill of health the week Baby 'P' (Peter) was killed then had to scurry back some weeks later to produce a damming report on the same council. How was this possible what did OFSTED see some weeks earlier which could change so very quickly or moreover what did they not see? I believe there should be a whistle blowers amnesty (see my blog of a few days ago titled Grandparents4Justice4Baby'P' on this)
This problem is not confined to Haringay and as my blog in the Birmingham Sunday Mercury reveals there are problems in the Midlands and the question posed was, is Birmingham Council the worse in the country? Then up came Darlington then Cornwall..etc so no it is not confined to a single council it is endemic throughout the land and a tragedy as happened in these councils could happen elsewhere at anytime, and what of Ed Balls reform in the wake of Baby'P', Victoria Climbe and Khyra Ishaq he promised?
Well this has consisted of throwing millions (£830,000 in the case of my local council) of pounds at the problem and all he has asked in return is for them to recruit more social workers! More into an already failing system? Why not fewer and better ones into a reformed Social Services and also why not pull ill equipped court reporters out of the family law court system where all they achieve is to generate future business for themselves from the families they break up! They could concentrate their efforts in preventing more Baby 'P' tragedies even if it means going against the 'book' on occasion or having the courage to speak out when they clearly see there is something wrong, and managers should be able to respond to this with robust support rather then threats of dismissal if they go against council guidelines. Do you not dive in to save a drowning child's life or sit on the sidelines because it tells you to in you handbook? I wish there were more Nevres Kemals and they should be revered not made to flee for their own safety!
I would also ask why does a child such as 'Jenny' end up in irreversible care just because a neighbour complains that a dog is barking in her families kennels suggesting cruelty, even though the case was not up held ( Jenny's story can be seen in the side bar to your left) This industry is in need of root and branch reform, but is Ed Balls Minister enough to do it?
The opposition. Rt Hon Micheal Gove MP.
At a time of the worst Government in living memory we also have the weakest opposition in the form of the Conservative Party who rather then offer some substantive policy or guidance on how schools should be run, such as less bureaucracy more identification of stragglers so they can be brought up to speed (Both poor teachers and pupils),regular in class reviews,and what I have described as a preparation year at age 11, for pupils to be given socially accepted communication skills, sex, drugs, and rock and Roll education and awareness of peer and media pressure in readiness of what is to come!
Instead we see Gove and Balls squabbling like kids in a playground over peripheral issues rather then the crux of the matter.The wife.
The appointment of Yvette Cooper to the Department for Work and Pensions to succeed James Purnell means an uber-Blairite is replaced with an arch-Brownite.
I would imagine the breakfast time conversation in their household would go something like " I wonder how many people's lives (esp children) we can screw up today!" The CSA that falls under Mrs. Balls DWP remit should, along with CAFCASS, Blairs 10 years old failed brain-child, should simply be disbanded as both departments serve the vengeful mothers and feckless Dads whilst penalising the good parents both Mums and Dads!! Davey
Yvette Cooper and her ridiculously named husband Ed Balls must be jumping for joy this evening, for MPs have voted to keep their current expenses system in place. Why don’t we let criminals vote on whether or not burglary should have a prison sentence next time?MPs have voted against thorough audits of their expenses, voted against banning claims for improvements to their furnishing and against not having to show receipts for expenses under £25.This is the system that has allowed CooBalls to state their Yorkshire residence as their main home, while they school their children in London, in order to have parliament pay off their Westminster residence’s mortgage – AND furnish the pad to boot.Furthermore, a reliable Labour Party source informs me that one MP is employing his mother on a salary of £25,000 for basic tea making duties in his office. But not to worry, because this sort of practice is common place and as of this evening democratically voted back in.
A spell based in Arkansas helping out on Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 saw her launched on a political career and she joined first Harriet Harman and then Mr Brown as an adviser.
The alternative?
This is the guy I believe is best placed to reform the Department currently the responsibility of Ed Balls (Just wish it was under a Farage leadership, Davey view) he has a raft of experience on this subject so would bring a wider range of pragmatic experience to what I believe is the most crucial of all the domestic Government departments (I would not object to Camilla Cavendish being an advisor)

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