Dementia sufferer, 77, sent home wearing just an open-backed gown and with a tube still in her arm
A dementia-suffering pensioner was sent home from hospital with a tube still in her arm, barefoot and naked except for an open-backed NHS gown.
Lily Winfield, 77, from Barnsley, was admitted to Barnsley Hospital last Wednesday, after suffering a mini-stroke. The mother of seven was discharged on Saturday, and was sent home in an ambulance because her daughter, Joy Stafford, with whom she lives, was at work.
But when her mother arrived home Joy – herself a carer – was horrified to find a cannula, which was used for an intravenous drip, was still in her arm.
And despite the winter cold Mrs Winfield, who has vascular dementia and diabetes, was wearing just a hospital gown with her clean and pressed nightclothes still unworn in her suitcase.
Ms Stafford said the blundering hospital staff were forced to send a rapid response team to quickly and safely remove the cannula still in her mother’s arm before it became infected. The hospital has since apologised to Ms Stafford and Mrs Winfield and has said an investigation has been launched.
Ms Stafford said: ‘It’s disgusting. ‘I’m a carer myself and I always think ‘what if that was me in that bed or chair? How would I want to be treated?’
‘You think they are in the best place for them, in the hospital, and this makes me not want to send her there any more.
‘She must’ve been freezing. I took her straight upstairs and washed her. I took a photo of the cannula and what she looked like – it was just shocking.’
Now Joy, 43, said she is considering making a formal complaint. She said: ‘It upsets me to think that people get treated like that. I know they are overworked but I don’t know how they can work there and not care.
‘I feel because she is a certain age and has dementia, they thought ‘she’s got dementia, she’ll never know.’’
Heather McNair, Barnsley Hospital Chief Nurse, said: ‘We are very sorry for Mrs Winfield’s experience and, after speaking with her daughter earlier this week, are already underway with a thorough investigation.
Protest in regional British city over immigration levels
A protest against “high-levels” of immigration in a Lincolnshire market town has taken place. The Boston Protest Group said the “peaceful demonstration” was aimed at highlighting the pressure put on local services by migrant workers.
About 300 people gathered at the Herbert Ingram memorial for the demonstration, which organisers said was not aimed at individuals.
An estimated 9,000 foreign workers have settled in the town in recent years.
In the shadow of Boston Stump with the statue of the town’s former MP Herbert Ingram as a backdrop, scores of people both young and old gathered for the protest.
They held banners ranging from “Free Us From The Shackles of Europe” to “Get Back Our Country”.
Many told me they felt it was a chance for them to finally air their views in public after feeling they had been ignored too long by politicians.
There were impromptu speeches on a loudspeaker from some of the crowd, while organisers stressed their beef was not with migrants themselves but with the immigration policies of successive governments.
At one point there was even a good-natured conversation between a demonstrator and a Polish man who made the point he always worked hard himself but sympathised with the protesters and wished them well.
Protest organiser Dean Everitt said: “We had a good turnout of people, the right people, and we put our point across peacefully.
“I hope national government are going to know what we’ve done – we’ll take it to Westminster until we get this issue sorted out.”
He added: “We’ve proved a point – we’re not right-wing thugs, we’re not racists, we’re just everyday people that are fed up and sick to the back teeth of migration.
“I work with Polish people and even they’ve said there are far too many here now.”
But migrant worker Martins Zagers said some English people were not prepared to work in local factories because “it was a hard job”.
“I work in a factory where there are only Polish, Latvian and Lithuanians,” he said.
“From my side I am working hard and I will not take benefits – I am too proud to take benefits.”
A protest march planned for last year was cancelled after the borough council agreed to set up a task force.
A report on population change was published as a result, but campaigners said it had not gone “far enough” and government still needed to listen.
The Home Office said it was working to cut net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and its tough new rules were already taking effect.
Mr Everitt said further protests were being organised – with the next one likely to take place in Spalding.
So much for Christian charity! British church loses battle for tax relief because ‘they’re doing no public good’
MPs are demanding an inquiry into the Charity Commission after the watchdog banned a Christian group from charitable status on the grounds that religion is not always for ‘public benefit’.
More than 50 MPs from all the main parties have signed a Commons motion calling on the charity regulator to think again, amid fears that hundreds of religious groups could be stripped of their tax-exempt status, threatening their very existence.
They accuse the Charity Commission of ‘politically correct bias’ against faith groups after it ruled that the Preston Down Trust of the Plymouth Brethren Church – which has 16,000 members across Britain – is not entitled to charitable status because it does not do enough good works in the community.
MPs say the ruling is ‘outrageous’ because it ignored the way the group, which has enjoyed charitable status for 50 years, runs soup kitchens for the poor and hospital visits for the sick.
Tory MP Robert Halfon said: ‘There is something rotten in the Charity Commission. I cannot understand why the Brethren, good people who do so much in their communities, have been singled out.
‘I believe an inquiry is needed into the role of the Charity Commission, to consider how it came to make the decision. What has happened is unjust and is creating fear in many churches across the country.’
Garth Christie, an elder in the Plymouth Brethren, described the decision as ‘a bolt from the blue’.
He said that he and the other members had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on trying to prove their charitable status, and they would appeal all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if necessary.
The group has already appealed to the Charity Tribunal in what is seen as a test case that could threaten the charitable status of hundreds of small religious groups.
Several MPs are threatening to table amendments to the Small Charitable Donations Bill before Parliament later this month in a bid to protect faith groups.
Enlarge The church that keeps itself in an evil world
That would seek to overturn measures in the 2006 Charities Act which removed the presumption for charities that education, religion, or poverty relief are for the public benefit.
In a ruling that sent shockwaves through even the established church, the Charity Commission ruled that its decision ‘makes it clear that there was no presumption that religion generally, or at any more specific level, is for the public benefit, even in the case of Christianity or the Church of England’.
The commission’s decision will have a huge impact on the Brethren’s tax relief.
Some 53 MPs have signed a motion which ‘calls on the Government and all parliamentarians to express their belief to the Charities Commission that Christian groups who are serving the community have the right to charitable status and should not be subject to politically correct bias’.
The motion has been signed by Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MPs, the Scottish nationalists and MPs from the DUP, SDLP and Alliance Party from Northern Ireland.
MPs say the Plymouth Brethren have been discriminated against because they are a highly private group who prefer not to talk publicly about their good works.
The MPs spoke out after Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was ‘very concerned’ about the warning to Christian groups and called for a ‘strong fight’ to resist the secular drift of rulings from the Charity Commission.
A commission spokesman said: ‘We received an application for registration from the Preston Down Trust, a Brethren meeting hall.
‘The application from the Trust could not be accepted based on the information we received at the time, as we were unable to conclude that the organisation is established for the advancement of religion for public benefit within the relevant charity law.
‘We can’t speculate further about this matter while it is subject to an appeal.’
‘Taken to task for doing nothing wrong’: worker demoted for opposing gay marriage was unlawfully punished, British judge rules
Adrian Smith lost his managerial position, had his salary cut by 40%, and was given a final written warning by Trafford Housing Trust (THT) after posting that hosting gay weddings in churches were “an equality too far”.
The comments were not visible to the general public, and were posted outside work time, but the trust said he broke its code of conduct by expressing religious or political views which might upset co-workers.
Mr Smith brought breach of contract proceedings, saying the trust acted unlawfully in demoting him.
Today Mr Justice Briggs ruled in his favour at London’s High Court, in a case which will set a precedent for employees’ rights to free speech in the workplace.
The dispute began in February 2011 when Mr Smith saw an article on the BBC News website headed “Gay church marriages get go ahead”.
He linked to it on his personal Facebook page, which can only be viewed by friends, and friends of friends, and added the comment: “An equality too far”.
Two colleagues read the remark and one of them posted a response asking Mr Smith to explain what he meant.
The next evening he posted: “I don’t understand why people who have no faith and don’t believe in Christ would want to get hitched in church. “The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. If the state wants to offer civil marriage to the same sex then that is up to the state; but the state shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.”
The judge said that the trust did not have a right to demote Mr Smith as his Facebook postings did not amount to misconduct, and the demotion imposed by way of purported disciplinary sanction constituted a breach of contract.
He said that the “very modest” damages due to Mr Smith was the very small difference between his contractual salary and the amount actually paid to him during the 12 weeks following his assumption of his new, but reduced, role.
The judge said the damages awarded to Mr Smith were insufficient for the “serious” nature of the trust’s conduct, and he could have received substantially more in another court. He added: “I must admit to real disquiet about the financial outcome of this case.
“Mr Smith was taken to task for doing nothing wrong, suspended and subjected to a disciplinary procedure which wrongly found him guilty of gross misconduct, and then demoted to a non-managerial post with an eventual 40% reduction in salary. “The breach of contract which the trust thereby committed was serious and repudiatory.
“A conclusion that his damages are limited to less than £100 leaves the uncomfortable feeling that justice has not been done to him in the circumstances.”
He added that if Mr Smith had commenced proceedings for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal, rather than starting an action for breach of contract in the county court, there was every reason to suppose that the tribunal would have been able – if it thought fit – to award him substantial compensation for the unfair way he was treated.
If financial stringency made it practically impossible for Mr Smith to bring such proceedings, then the injustice he had suffered, although very real, was something the court was unable to alleviate by a substantial award.
Mr Smith said in a statement: “I’m pleased to have won my case for breach of contract today. The judge exonerated me and made clear that my comments about marriage were in no way ‘misconduct’.
“My award of damages has been limited to less than £100 – but that is for technical legal reasons and the judge made it clear he was not able to award me a much larger sum. “But I didn’t do this for the money. I did this because there is an important principle at stake.
“Britain is a free country where people have freedom of speech, and I am pleased that the judge’s ruling underlines that important principle.
“But this sad case should never have got this far. Long ago, Trafford Housing Trust should have held their hands up and admitted they made a terrible mistake. Had they done this then my life would not have been turned upside down and my family and I would not have had to endure a living nightmare. “However, to the bitter end, they claimed I had broken equality policies and brought the Trust into disrepute – all because, like millions of people, I support traditional marriage.
“Something has poisoned the atmosphere in Britain, where an honest man like me can be punished for making perfectly polite remarks about the importance of marriage.”
He called on the Prime Minister to “think very carefully” before before changing the law on gay marriage because people who share his views could be “treated as outcasts”.
Matthew Gardiner, chief executive at Trafford Housing Trust said: “We fully accept the court’s decision and I have made a full and sincere apology to Adrian. At the time we believed we were taking the appropriate action following discussions with our employment solicitors and taking into account his previous disciplinary record.
“We have always vigorously denied allegations that the Trust had breached an employee’s rights to freedom of religious expression under Human Rights and Equalities legislation and, in a written judgment handed down on 21st March 2012, a district judge agreed that these matters should be struck out.” “This has been a case about the interpretation of our code of conduct and the use of social media by our managers.”
He said the Trust had “little option” but to defend the case in court and they had offered to settle with Mr Smith out of court.
Well-known British chefess causes outrage after condemning Muslim Leicester as a ‘ghetto’
Her popularity allows her to speak out
When Clarissa Dickson Wright embarked on a tour of the country, she was hoping to savour the culinary delights of every region. But her visit to one particular city, it would seem, left a bitter taste.
The television chef has caused outrage by saying that her visit to a Muslim area of Leicester was “the most frightening experience of my life”, and claiming that it left her feeling like a “pariah” in her own country.
Dickson Wright, 65, who reached fame as one half of the Two Fat Ladies, said visiting the city made her feel like a “complete outcast” and she described the area as a “ghetto”.
When asked to explain the comments, made in her new book, she said she was “surprised any of the people who might object could read what I wrote as it is written in English”.
She added that she has “never believed that political correctness was a reason not to say what I have experienced”.
The chef was criticised for her “hurtful” comments, with the city’s mayor accusing her of “breezing in from outside” and making “cheap” generalisations to sell books.
Dickson Wright has dedicated one chapter of Clarissa’s England: A Gamely Gallop Through the English Counties to every county, discussing the culinary, cultural and historical merits of each.
On Leicestershire, she writes of the “ghetto” of its city, saying that it demonstrates how multiculturalism has failed.
Describing how she got lost after coming off the ring road to escape a traffic jam, she writes: “I found myself in an area where all the men were wearing Islamic clothing and all the women were wearing burkas and walking slightly behind them.
“None of the men would talk to me when I tried to find out where I was and how to get out of there because I was an English female and they don’t talk to females they don’t know, while if the women could speak English they weren’t about to show it by having a word with me. I have many good acquaintances and even some friends among the Muslim community, yet here I was, in the heart of a city in the middle of my own country, a complete outcast and pariah. If multiculturalism works, which I have always been rather dubious of, surely it must be multicultural and not monocultural.
“However, everything has an upside and one of the results of this is that Leicester has a very good selection of Asian restaurants. I can only hope that in generations to come there will be a merging of the cultures and not the exclusion zone that is the ghetto.”
Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and a city imam, said: “How can she judge an entire community on her one-off rare time of getting lost in Leicester?
“It showed a complete lack of appreciation of the fact we are almost two million in this country, doing our bit for our country. When she says that she was in the centre of a city in the centre of her own country, I take objection. This is also my country and this is also my city.
“I would like to call on Leicester people to be even more welcoming and hospitable than we’ve been so far.”
Sir Peter Soulsby, the mayor and former Labour MP, said: “That is the sort of thing that makes me very angry — when someone breezes in from outside and paints a picture of Leicester that does not have any foundation in reality. It may help sell books, but it is cheap.”
When contacted by the Leicester Mercury, Dickson Wright, who was born in London and lives in Edinburgh, said: “I’m surprised any of the people who might object could read what I wrote as it is written in English.
“Visiting Leicester scared me and I am not scared easily. It frightened me because it was part of my country that I was born in and there are a lot of radical Muslim preachers in this country.
“I was in London when the July 7 bomb attacks happened and this to me was proof for those people who have been saying we’re getting ghettoisation of Muslim areas.”
Sex gangs report ‘will play down threat of Pakistani men targeting white girls’
An official inquiry into child sex gangs will fail to highlight the targeting of white girls by Pakistani men.
Instead the year-long Government-backed investigation will say that child sex abuse is a problem caused by men of all backgrounds in towns and cities across the country.
The findings of the inquiry by Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England, are likely to anger ministers and provoke disbelief among those who have observed and investigated cases of abuse of teenage girls in towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
The inquiry into child sexual exploitation by gangs was launched more than a year ago, but its investigations became more urgent this summer following the convictions of nine men in Rochdale for their roles in a child sex ring which groomed young white girls for sex.
The men, eight of Pakistani origin and one from Afghanistan, received jail sentences of between four and 19 years.
In September, police documents revealed that in Rotherham officers ignored evidence of large-scale sex crime by ‘networks of Asian males exploiting young white females’ which dated back more than a decade.
As long ago as 2002, Home Office inquiries suggested that police were failing to question or investigate Asian abusers while treating their victims as ‘deviant and promiscuous’.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said in May that Miss Berelowitz should not let her inquiries be swayed by questions of prejudice and should instead ‘ask tough questions about cultural background’.
However her first report, to be published next week, will argue that the problem lies with men from all ethnic backgrounds.
The findings are expected to reflect opinions that were given by Miss Berelowitz to MPs this summer, when she said child sexual exploitation was happening across the country.
Her report has met an unenthusiastic response in Whitehall, where one source said: ‘It is important we don’t take a politically correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here. Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds.
‘But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.’
A spokesman for Miss Berelowitz said there would be no comment on the report until it is published next week. But a senior political figure with long experience of trying to combat sex gangs said there is a specific problem with groups of young Pakistani men, and that Miss Berelowitz would be wrong to ignore it.
Ann Cryer, who stood down as Labour MP for Keighley in West Yorkshire at the last election, played a central role in bringing a gang of abusers to justice in 2004.
‘Abuse and sexual exploitation is a universal problem, especially with white men who groom targets through the internet,’ she said. ‘But there is another problem in some towns with Pakistani men.
‘This is connected with parents in Lancashire and Yorkshire who have the intention of marrying young men to cousins from Pakistan whom they have never met.
‘This means the men look for other partners. Older white women are not interested, because they know it is never going to end in wedding bells, and they dare not look for girls in their own community. So they look for young white girls.’
Mrs Cryer added: ‘I believe there is a problem and the solution is for the elders of their community to take action.
‘The point is not that they are being picked on because they are Muslim, but that the way they are behaving is un-Islamic.’
Must not speak the truth about Muslims in Britain
He stressed that he did not say ALL Muslims
A Tory MP has sparked controversy after claiming ‘gangs of Muslim men are going round and raping white kids at this moment in time’.
Kris Hopkins, MP for Keighley, said the extraordinary claim was a ‘fact’ and urged government agencies to tackle the problem.
But he has been criticised by Muslim leaders in his constituency, who said he overstepped the mark during a Commons debate.
Mr Hopkins, a former leader of Bradford city council, also claimed Muslim men were ‘fundamentally’ sexist towards women, and politicians had to challenge behaviour and culture.
Speaking in a parliamentary debate on child sexual exploitation, Mr Hopkins claimed mainstream parties had failed by not speaking out about the racial and cultural aspect to some abuse cases and extremists groups had filled the vacuum.
He told MPs: ‘The British National Party will use grooming as a key element of its campaign in the Rotherham election campaign, which will start soon.
‘Not all British Pakistani men are abusing white kids. There is a minority, though. The media coverage gives long lists of notorious abusers – including vicars, priests and celebrities – who are all white and non-Muslim.’ The ‘vast majority’ of child abusers in this country are white, he added.
‘But we should not get away from the fact that gangs of Muslim men are going round and raping white kids at this moment in time.
‘That is an horrendous thing to say, but it is the fact of what is happening. I want to explore some of the state’s agencies’ behaviour towards that, and some of the community’s associated behaviour and culture.’
‘Fundamentally, there is a sexist behaviour by Muslim men towards women,’ he said.
Politicians are demonising independent schools, says top head
The leader of Britain’s public schools has accused senior politicians of “demonising” independent education. In an outspoken attack, Dr Christopher Ray says there has been “wilful mischaracterisation” of fee-paying schools by political leaders, including “malicious” attempts to downplay the help they offer to poorer families and to state schools.
At the same time, he says, ministers over the years have failed to improve standards in state schools, leading increasing numbers of parents to seek to go private.
In an article for The Telegraph, Dr Ray, the chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, writes that British public schools are “the envy of the educational world, even though we are demonised by some here at home”.
“The existence of incredibly successful independent schools is an irritant to many Labour politicians, a puzzle to Liberal Democrats and, it often seems, an embarrassment to the Prime Minister.
“We are often damned with the faintest of praise, knowing that they cannot afford either financially or politically to dismantle us, whatever sabre-rattling they employ.”
David Cameron has appeared sensitive to accusations from political opponents that his “posh” or “privileged” education at Eton College leaves him out of touch with voters.
The few prominent Labour politicians who have sent their children to private schools have faced fierce criticism from within their own party.
The attack by Dr Ray, who is also the High Master of Manchester Grammar School, comes at a key time for the Coalition as ministers seek to persuade independent schools to sponsor new academies in their flagship education programme.
However, Dr Ray criticises academies and the claim by their supporters that they benefit from being independent of local education authority control.
He says their continued reliance on state funding means they are not truly independent and that the term has been “abused by those who would like to dupe us into thinking that red is blue”.
He points out that an increasing number of academies are in chains run by powerful chief executives, and notes that the freedoms they now enjoy may be reined in by a future government – “What one secretary of state may give, another may take away.”
He directly dismisses an appeal from Lord Adonis, the former Labour schools minister and one of the architects of the academies policy, who this month urged independent schools to get involved with the programme, warning that otherwise they risked failing in their charitable missions.
In his article, Dr Ray accuses Lord Adonis of “failing to understand the nature of the independent sector”. “It is ludicrous to characterise us all as exclusive public schools, educating only the rich.”
The dispute echoes the row between public schools and Tony Blair’s government in 2006, when the Charities Bill forced head teachers to justify the “public benefit” their institutions were providing in order to retain charitable status, which allows them not to charge VAT on school fees.
In his party conference speech this year, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, made a point of highlighting his education at Haverstock comprehensive school in north London, claiming that his time there had taught him “how to get on with people from all backgrounds”.
Mr Cameron did not mention Eton by name in his speech but simply said: “I went to a great school and I want every child to have a great education.”
In a broad-ranging attack on standards in state schools, Dr Ray says that under Labour they “stubbornly resisted improvement” while a policy of “spend, spend, spend” had left only a “mess, mess, mess”.
Grade inflation at GCSE and A-level, he argues, masked a decline in the performance of students relative to their international peers as recorded in tables released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
About half a million children now attend independent schools, accounting for around seven per cent of all pupils aged 11-16. They produce a fifth of all students at the country’s top 10 universities.
A survey published earlier this month found that 57 per cent of families would send their children to an independent school if they could afford to, up from 51 per cent in 1997.
Supporters of private education have argued that it saves taxpayers £3 billion a year, the extra cost that would fall on the state system if it were required to educate all the pupils currently at independent schools.
Last year, independent schools supported almost 40,000 children on means-tested bursaries with an annual value of almost £300 million, while more than 1,000 fee-paying schools had partnership links to help state schools or local community groups.
Dr Ray has led Manchester Grammar, a boys school founded in the 16th century, since 2004. The school, whose alumni include Mike Atherton, the former England cricket captain; Ben Kingsley, the actor and Chris Addison, the comedian, provides 230 bursaries for children from poorer families, has links with three academies and partnerships with 10 state primaries.
Britain’s compulsory reading test ‘should be scrapped’
Bright children are being “failed” by the Coalition’s controversial new reading test for six-year-olds, literacy experts warned today.
Pupils with fluent skills are being confused by the assessment that forces children to decode “nonsense” words using phonics, it was claimed. The UK Literacy Association warned that the test – compulsory in all English state schools – may label some good readers as failures and knock children’s confidence. In a damning report, it was suggested that the checks were “costly, time-consuming and unnecessary”.
The Department for Education has defended the test, which was introduced for the first time this year, insisting that it enabled teachers to identify pupils lagging behind in reading after at least a year of school. It is feared that any failure to improve reading skills at a young age can have hugely damaging effects on pupils throughout primary and secondary education.
But David Reedy, UKLA general secretary, called for the tests to be made voluntary. “This shouldn’t be a compulsory test and we strongly recommend that the Government re-thinks this,” he said.
“We know phonics is important, but for some children it is holding them back. It should be part and parcel of what teachers have to hand and they should be able to use it when they think it’s necessary.”
The check is taken by around 600,000 pupils at the end of their first year of formal schooling. Pupils are supposed to use phonics – a system which breaks words down into a series of sounds – to decode a list of 40 words. The list includes made-up words such as “voo”, “terg”, “bim”, “thazz” and “spron” to ensure pupils are properly using the phonics system.
A study conducted by the UKLA analysed teachers’ opinions of the test at 494 primary schools in England.
Many schools said the results of the check, which is used as an indicator of a child’s reading skills, “did not reflect children’s reading abilities as there is much more to reading than decoding”.
Only around one in six of those questioned said that all of their pupils who were fluent readers achieved the required level to pass the phonics check, the study found. Almost three-quarters said that one or more of their good readers failed to meet the expected standard to pass.
UKLA’s study found that teachers felt there were “far too many nonsense words”. “These confused more fluent readers, who had been taught to read for meaning, and therefore tried hard to make sense of the ‘alien words’ they read,” it said.
The study warned that the check focuses on decoding words without their meanings, which “goes against everything the children have been taught”.
One teacher told researchers: “The test took longer for some able readers who read for meaning. I felt that words very close to real words were unfair – e.g. ‘strom’.” And another said: “Almost all children, regardless of ability said ‘storm”‘.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “The phonics check is based on an internationally proven method to improve children’s reading. “Too many children are not reaching the expected levels of reading whilst at a young age, do not catch up, and then struggle in secondary school and beyond. “The pilot last year found that the test only takes a few minutes to complete, and that many children enjoyed it.
“Ensuring all children master the ability to decode and sound out new words is essential if they are to become confident readers. The phonics check will ensure that no child slips through the net still struggling with this basic skill.”
1 in 5 boys at British primary schools have no male teachers while some could go through their entire education without one
Nearly one in five boys is being taught in a primary school without a single male teacher on the staff.
Official statistics compiled for the first time reveal how 360,485 boys aged four to 11 are attending schools which have only women teachers.
Of these, 61,060 are eligible for free school meals because of low household income.
The disclosure prompted claims that too many boys are having little or no contact with an adult male before they reach secondary school.
And since the number of male teachers is also low in many secondary schools, some could go through an entire education without being taught by a male teacher.
With women increasingly taking on the role of caretaker, in some schools ‘there will be no male on the premises’, according to experts.
The figures, which were placed in the House of Commons library, will add to fears that misbehaviour among disaffected boys is partly driven by a lack of male authority figures.
Lack of role models: Some boys could even go through their entire schooling including secondary without having a male teacher
Lack of role models: Some boys could even go through their entire schooling including secondary without having a male teacher
The data shows that 18 per cent of two million primary age boys in England are being taught in schools with no qualified male teacher on the staff.
But in some areas, particularly the south east and east of the country, the figure is significantly higher.
The Department for Education said campaigns to boost the number of male teachers in primary schools were beginning to bear fruit.
Officials said the number of accepted male applicants onto primary training courses was up 50 per cent in three years.
They said a more balanced workforce would better reflect society at large and help children to engage confidently with both sexes.
But they insisted the aim was not to achieve statistical equality but to recruit ‘the best possible teachers’.
John Howson, a teacher recruitment expert and visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University, said that in some schools, all staff including the caretaker will be women, ‘so there will be no male on the premises’
With men in secondary schools were over-represented in leadership roles, ‘it is perfectly possible for boys to go through their education without a single classroom teacher who is male.’
‘The changing nature of households is such that there are significant numbers of children who, even though they may spend a lot of their childhood in households with more standard relationships, will go through periods of time where there is no male role model around,’ he added.
‘School is the only other institution in society nowadays where they spend any additional amount of time.’
Some boys may grow up with a ‘distorted’ view of society, he warned.
‘If you never get a chance to interact with one gender, then you are not getting a rounded education,’ he said.
‘We talk about female role models – why can’t we have male role models in schools?’
He warned that past paedophile scandals have tended to have a knock-on effect on recruitment to teaching.
While education has been largely immune from the current furore which began with revelations about Jimmy Savile, there is a risk some may be put off, he warned.
‘We have to make teaching an equal opportunities career which is attractive to both men and women,’ he said.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘We want more men to consider primary teaching. Applications from men have already risen, with 50% more male primary trainees in 2011/2012.
‘We’re encouraging men to apply for training places by holding events where they can speak to teaching experts and other trainees. Up to 1,000 high quality male graduates will take part this year in a new school experience programme which will boost numbers further.’
More on the BBC’s *secret* list of climate advisers
Secrecy is chronic among Warmists and whenever that secrecy is finally busted we see why: The facts are destructive to their scam
A list of attendees at a climate-change seminar the BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to keep secret has been unearthed on an internet archive. The listed names emerged after the publicly-funded broadcaster fought off requests for the list under freedom of information (FOI) laws.
This surreal story is only tangentially about climate change: the disclosure raises questions about the evidence submitted to the information tribunal by the BBC and Helen Boaden – its director of news who “stepped aside” this week.
The case also highlights once again the BBC’s corporate strategy of using an FOI derogation, or legal “opt-out” clause, to withhold a wide range of material from citizens who wish to know whether the BBC is fulfilling its statutory obligations under its Royal charter.
And it raises further questions about the effectiveness of the BBC Trust. The trust, which replaced the Board of Governors, was created with a mission: an “unprecedented obligation to openness and transparency”. It has yet to enquire into the corporation’s use of FOI derogation to withhold data such as the BBC’s US tax contributions, website statistics, and strategic policy-making decisions.
A ‘brainstorm’ that became historic
The seminar whose attendees the Beeb sought to keep secret was birthed by three organisations. In 2004, the International Broadcasting Trust – a lobby group funded by a number of charities, including many involved in campaigning on climate change – devised the first in a series of seminars on development issues, where the lobbyists could address broadcasters.
One event on 26 January 2006 was a “brainstorm”, in the IBT’s own words, “focusing on climate change and its impact on development”. The BBC sent 28 senior staff, and 28 outsiders were invited. The event was also organised by CMEP, its second parent – a now dormant or defunct outfit operated by BBC reporter Roger Harrabin and climate activist Dr Joe Smith, and once funded by the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and pressure groups.
Harrabin later explained that the BBC’s head of news in the 1990s, Tony Hall, had invited him “to devise meetings with politicians, business people, think tanks, academics from many universities and specialisms (science, technology, economic and social sciences, and history), and policy experts and field workers from NGOs – particularly from the developing world”.
The third parent of the seminar was the BBC.
Normally such a talking-shop would have no great significance. The 2006 seminar, however, subsequently became very important indeed. The following year a thoughtful BBC Trust report on impartiality cited the discussion there and said it had settled the argument – as far as the BBC was concerned – on climate change.
Filmmaker John Bridcut wrote:
“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts [our emphasis] and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].”
The BBC is under a statutory obligation to remain impartial, so this gave the “brainstorm” a historic significance: the BBC has not previously abandoned impartiality in peacetime.
A blogger, Tony Newbery, was struck by the difference between contemporary evidence that the seminar was educational and composed largely of activists – as confirmed by Harrabin – and the trust’s insistence that it was a sober scientific presentation that could justify a historic policy change. (The BBC Trust has done nothing to disown or qualify Bridcut’s description of the event.)
Fresh light was shed on Harrabin’s CMEP in 2010, in the second batch of Climategate emails. An email from Mike Hulme, the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climatic Change Research at UEA, complained about a BBC Radio 4 item broadcast in February 2002. The piece featured global-warming sceptic Professor Philip Stott and Sir John Houghton, who was a Met Office chief and the editor of the first three IPCC reports on climate change. Houghton came off worst, and an infuriated Hulme wrote:
“Did anyone hear Stott vs Houghton on Today, Radio 4 this morning? Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media/Environment Programme to starve this type of reporting at source.”
Newbery filed his FOI request for the seminar’s attendees to the BBC in 2007 and was rebuffed, setting him on a long path that culminated in a second round of information tribunal hearings a fortnight ago. The cross-examination of the BBC’s Helen Boaden in a court room was reported here.
The BBC is regarded as a public authority by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, but it can withhold information held “for the purposes of journalism”. But how wide should this derogation be?
In an earlier and separate FOI case against the BBC, Supreme Court Judge Neuberger argued the opt-out should be interpreted narrowly – otherwise the BBC could withhold information about “cleaning the board room floor” using the journalism get-out clause – an absurdity.
In the Newbery case, the BBC maintained that archival material on the seminar could not be found, but also it should not be found: as a back-up argument it argued that the seminar was held under the Chatham House Rule – an agreement of etiquette, rather than a law, to prevent quotes being attributed to particular speakers at a meeting – information that Newbery did not seek.
On Friday the tribunal ruled decisively against Newbery, and for the the BBC.
Case closed? Think again
However science writer Maurizio Morabito has unearthed a list – once hosted on the IBT’s website and now stored in the Wayback Machine’s cache of the internet.
It confirms the accuracy of Harrabin’s description of the composition of the invitees, with most coming from industry, think tanks and NGOs. And as suspected, climate campaigners Greenpeace are present, while actual scientific experts are thin on the ground: not one attendee deals with attribution science, the physics of global warming. These are scarcely “some of the best scientific experts”, whose input could justify a historic abandonment of the BBC’s famous impartiality.
Intriguingly, Tony Newbery had been supplied with a later version of this document, he tells us – but with the attendee list stripped out. Newbery says he has written to the BBC’s solicitor to confirm whether the Wayback Machine IBT list is accurate.
The dramatic appearance of the list raises many questions. Did the BBC know the information was publicly available? If so, why were corporation lawyers spending thousands of pounds to keep a public document “secret”? (FOI requests for public information typically state, quite simply, “this information is public”.) How much is this legal strategy costing TV licence-fee payers? (An FOI attempt to obtain legal costs in the similar case Sugar vs BBC was rejected by the BBC.)
Questions abound this morning on Twitter about the ability of the BBC Trust to maintain its duty to transparency. The BBC’s legal strategy entails the indiscriminate application of its FOI derogation “for the purposes of journalism” – this effectively rewrites the 2000 Act, and redefines the BBC as a private body. The trust is surely aware of this; it has a small mountain of correspondence on the subject. But it has yet to enquire, let alone pronounce on whether this is healthy – or legal.
Popular British singer warns wind farms ‘scarring’ British countryside
Bryan Ferry, the British rock star, has hit out at wind farms that are spoiling Britain’s countryside, warning that “enough is enough”. In an outspoken attack, the 67 year-old, said he was left angry at the “scarring” of “breathtaking” views after he took a flight over Yorkshire. “I absolutely hate them,” said the father-of-four adult children, whose current wife Amanda is 36 years his junior.
“I was in a plane a while ago and I was flying over Yorkshire. “It is possibly one of the most beautiful landscapes in this country and I looked down from the window and all you could see were wind farms scarring this gorgeous, breathtaking countryside. Enough is enough, when is this going to stop?”
His comments in the Mail on Sunday’s Live magazine came amid a new debate over the role of wind farms in Britain.
Last week a Conservative minister defied Liberal Democrat Energy secretary Ed Davey to insist no more onshore wind farms would be built beyond those already planned. Energy Minister John Hayes said it was “job done” in terms of the number of onshore wind farms required to hit European Union renewable energy targets.
Asked on Channel Four News whether more onshore wind farms were needed, Mr Hayes said: “With respect of what’s built, with what’s consented and with a small proportion of what’s in the planning system, we will have reached our ambition in respect of the renewables’ target – end of story.” Almost 4,000 turbines are scheduled to be built across Britain in the coming years.
Prime Minister David Cameron had appeared to back Mr Hayes when he was careful only to couch support for wind farms in terms of wind turbines sited off the coast of Britain and not on the mainland UK.
Several senior Tories, including Owen Paterson, the new Environment Secretary, believe wind farm “blight” has not been properly considered before allowing development. Mr Paterson will formally respond to a government review on the community benefit of wind farms shortly and is expected to warn about their impact on rural areas.
Earlier this year, more than 100 Conservative MPs urged David Cameron to block the further expansion of onshore wind power.
Also last week George Osborne’s father-in-law, Lord Howell of Guildford, said the Chancellor was the driving force behind an apparent policy shift against onshore wind farms. The peer, a Government minister until September’s reshuffle, was secretly videoed by green campaigners suggesting that Mr Osborne was behind the about-turn.
Eco-campaigners have been alarmed by an apparent policy shift, with sceptic Tory ministers like Environment secretary Owen Paterson and energy minister John Hayes appointed to key positions in the Government.
A spokesman for Mr Osborne said: “The Chancellor supports Government policy which has helped secure record investment into the UK energy infrastructure.”
The Government is finalising a new energy bill which will replace existing subsidies in 2017, and add incentives for nuclear power stations.
Stressful pregnancy ‘could make children easier prey for bullies’
At risk of being unkind, this study could be interpreted as showing that feral parents have pathetic children. The physiological effects postulated could be real but are speculation. Genetic factors could also be involved. The journal article is: “Prenatal family adversity and maternal mental health and vulnerability to peer victimisation at school”
A mother’s stress can pass to her baby in the womb. Children whose mothers were stressed during pregnancy are more likely to be bullied at school, according to new research.
A study of nearly 9,000 children found anxiety during pregnancy could be passed on to the baby in the womb. Affected youngsters were more likely to cry, run away or feel anxious at school, making them easier prey for bullies.
Research leader Professor Dieter Wolke, of the University of Warwick, said: ‘When we are exposed to stress, large quantities of neurohormones are released into the blood stream and in a pregnant woman this can change the developing foetus’ own stress response system.’
The study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry is based on 8,829 children from the Avon Longtitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
Prof Wolke said: ‘This is the first study to investigate stress in pregnancy and a child’s vulnerability to being bullied. ‘Changes in the stress response system can affect behaviour and how children react emotionally to stress such as being picked on by a bully. ‘Children who more easily show a stress reaction such as crying, running away, anxiety are then selected by bullies to home in to.’
His researchers identified the main prenatal stress factors as severe family problems, such as financial difficulty or alcohol and drug abuse, and maternal mental health.
Added Prof Wolke: ‘The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle, a child with an altered stress response system is more likely to be bullied, which affects their stress response even further and increases the likelihood of them developing mental health problems in later life.’
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) – which is also known as Children of the 90s – is a long-term health research project.
More than 14,000 mothers enrolled during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed in great detail ever since.