Category: Kids

School funding crisis in Somerset will mean closures and redundancies

Editor-in-chief

Somerset County Council shows no signs of changing course on school closures and staff redundancies in Somerset  Plans for wholesale changes to schools in the Crewkerne and Ilminster area came to Somerset County Council’s Scrutiny for Policies, Children and Families Committee this week (Wednesday 3 March), prior to the Council’s Cabinet making a final decision on […]

Should charity start and end at home?

Valerie Huggins

In the UK, times are hard and budgets stretched. One in five children are living in food poverty. There is increasing use of food banks. More homeless people are sleeping on the streets. It is hardly surprising that there are growing calls for us to reduce the amount we send in overseas aid to other […]

Flag of convenience

Mike Zollo

“A poke in the eye! That’s what you’ll get, so I’ll take your sticks away before you hurt one another!” Imagine a little 6-year-old boy, so excited at holding his very own flag for the first time. As we lined up in the school yard ready to troop off to the venue at which hundreds […]

Slasher Gav hunts for headlines

Mick Fletcher

It’s certainly dramatic language. Gavin Williamson is on record as planning to “slash” (some sources even say ‘smash’) the taxpayer subsidy for subjects such as media studies. More cautious ministers might have spoken about reducing funding or withdrawing support but that’s not harsh enough for tough guy Gav. After all, this is a man who […]

Has Brexit wrecked my life’s work?

Mike Zollo

“You may buy from us in English … but you must sell to us in my language!” This much-quoted maxim highlights the importance of language skills to international trade. What German Chancellor Willy Brandt actually said in the early 1970s was: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen […]

Gav’s latest whoopsie cost £425m and a Cornish school is not happy

David Hencke

Company predicted “successful business performance” on the back of feeding poverty stricken children The spectre of poor children going hungry during the Covid 19 crisis is something the government have had to be put under pressure to remedy – notably by Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer. But now it has emerged that even when […]

Between Two Worlds

Doro Williamson

Doro Williamson is 11, and lives with her parents on the southern edge of Dartmoor, Devon, UK. This poem was written while schooling at home, as part of her English work, assigned by her year 6 teacher after looking at alliteration and juxtaposition. Between Two Worlds The liminal lockdown kept us at homeFraying our tempers […]

Pinching pupil premium – the Williamson war on poor kids continues…

Andy Jolley

Short thread on how DfE sneaked out a £250 million cut to school budgets in the middle of a pandemic and how it will impact the poorest and most vulnerable pupils. No publicity, no great public announcement as @educationgovuk cut a quarter of a billion pounds from its Pupil Premium budget. Pupil Premium (PP) is […]

Long Covid kids

Sammie McFarland

A year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all become armchair experts. It’s hard to remember a time when it was new and we had so little information about what to expect if we were unlucky enough to catch it. A few key messages emerged early in the first lockdown in March. […]

Gavin must go; but that’s only the start

Mick Fletcher

No part of this government comes out of the Covid-19 pandemic well, and the staggering death toll is the tragic summation of a whole raft of failures. Probably the most expensive of these failures in terms of financial cost and, more importantly, human life, is ‘Test and Trace’ on which the Department of Health has […]

No deal takes UK back to the 70s and food anxiety

Robert Saunders

No apologies for reproducing yet another Twitter thread. Everyone should have the chance to read this. Ed The 1970s was a decade of serious anxiety about food supplies. Norman Tebbit, of all people, urged the government to consider rationing basic foodstuffs. That played a significant role in the decision to join the EEC, and raises […]

The worst and the best of Cornwall

Tom Scott

The news that every one of Cornwall’s six Conservative MPs had voted against extending help to hungry children came as little surprise to anyone who had studied the parliamentary voting history of Scott Mann (North Cornwall), Derek Thomas (St Ives), Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay), Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall), Cherilyn Mackrory (Truro and […]

Timeline of a Tory PR disaster – the free school meals debacle

Sadie Parker

“Short of drowning a basket of puppies live on air, I can’t think of a worse communications fail.” No, that wasn’t me. That was Sarah Vine in the Mail on Sunday in a column entitled, “How could N°10 let free school meals turn into a dog’s dinner?”  Me agreeing with the fragrant Mrs Gove —for […]

Saxby wriggles. Mercer, Foster and Streeter keep digging.

Anthea Simmons

On 23 October, we published an article on North Devon MP Selaine Saxby’s insensitive but revealing comment on the free school meals issue. You can read the article here. Ms Saxby has attempted to defray the criticism of her (speedily deleted) Facebook post elicited thus: Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m never very […]

Tin-eared, tone-deaf – Selaine Saxby gets it very, very wrong

Anthea Simmons

No-one should have to tolerate abuse in the workplace and bullying is wholly unacceptable. An MP is a public servant with a duty of care to his or her constituents. Having taken on a public role, MPs must expect to attract opprobrium if they act in ways which their constituents do not like. They should […]

Questioning capitalism is not extreme

Mick Fletcher

There is something especially hypocritical about this, of all governments, telling schools that they should not use material that could ‘undermine the fundamental British values of democracy [and] the rule of law’ It was, after all, this government that firstly broke the law by seeking to prorogue parliament and then, having been judged guilty, announced […]

Charity focus: What About The Children?

Jane Reddish

When I read the article by Dr Pam Jarvis in Yorkshire Bylines, I wrote to the Editor of my local Bylines to say how impressed I was by Dr Jarvis’s insight into the needs of young children, particularly because of my trusteeship of the charity What About The Children? The Editor-in-Chief asked me to let […]

School reopening: mixed messages and mixed feelings

Virginia Stephen

The last day I spent in school, in March, was unnerving. I had been watching the distressing scenes from Italy and Spain and everyone already knew that we should have closed the week before. I felt too anxious to stay in the staffroom at break and lunchtime. A child with symptoms who had been sent […]

An ounce of prevention…

Sarah Cowley

When I was in practice in the 1980s, I didn’t give much thought to the number of health visitors nationally – just my own caseload. We visited all ages, in theory, but mostly under-fives. There would be around 40 to 50 new births per year, per health visitor – so up to 250 children per […]

Cut off by Covid – the impact of the pandemic on young minds

Kathryn Fox

It’s summer, normally a time for holidaying, socialising, enjoying the long sunny days and building resilience for the darker days ahead. Most of us remember summer holidays from school as one of the best times of our lives; meeting friends, going on trips, learning to flex our wings. This year is, of course, not like […]

Kids’ puzzles

Alex Pilkington

The first West Country Weekend kids’ puzzles to keep little ones occupied. Suitable for ages 3 to 7. Just click on the file below to download and print out on A4 paper.