Rally Against School Cuts, Birmingham.

The venue is Victoria Square, the date and time: 1pm, Saturday 28 April 2018.

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“Schools in this country are under threat. Across the West Midlands, 1,887 schools are still facing Government cuts. This is simply not acceptable. Together we need to create a noise so loud that no one can ignore what’s happening to our schools and children’s education.

Join parents and teachers coming together on 28th April to rally against school cuts in the heart of Birmingham. We’ll be dropping a massive banner to showing the schools facing cuts. Rally and speeches will follow.

Speakers confirmed:
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington
Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council

Other speakers TBC. Bring banners, your home-made signs, and tell every parent you know in our community. This is a family-friendly event. Everyone welcome!

This action is organised in collaboration with Save Our Schools West Midlands.”

The above text was reproduced from the Facebook Event page.

This rally is set within the context of growing popular disquiet spilling over into activism – increasingly from people with no history of engagement – targeting the attacks upon our system of universal educational provision by the state, whether this be though savage cuts which force schools to shed subjects, resources and loyal, loved and well-regarded members of staff; or perhaps being subject to cherry picking, asset stripped by rapacious multi academy trusts.

Yet others are withdrawing children from stressful and meaningless key stage testing, or questioning the need to baseline pupils from their first day in school.

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Gogwit is going, if you are thereabouts on Saturday why not come along.  Whatever you do, please wish for warm, sunny weather!

Links of Relevance:

Event Facebook Page

School Cuts

SOS – Save Our Schools

Let Our Kids Be Kids

Sad Little England.

GOGWIT IS FEELING annoyed and downbeat today, this brief blog is the substance of what is getting under my skin.

I was born 10 minutes walk from the centre of Birmingham. I have never driven and my passport expired in the early 90s, I did not replace it, there seemed no need.

Fortunately I have my birth certificate.

Even so, a growing number of situations require production of valid photo ID and it is then that we encounter the true meaning of the “insolence of office” which is stressful in the extreme and which pushes me – yes, me – to the verge of losing my temper – which would be unfortunate, embarrassing and rather unpleasant.

But at least I do not have to prove, in addition, my residence status over several decades, failure to comply potentially resulting in losing employment, being detained or even being deported.

Compared to the trials being experienced by the so called “Windrush Generation” my problems seem insignificant.
They do not seem so when some functionary is required to tick boxes for documents I do not possess.

There is so much that is good about this country to be proud of and to rejoice in and celebrate.

However, the way this country has, in recent years, treated so many of its subjects of Commonwealth and New Commonwealth heritage is not among those matters for celebration. It is a matter for shame, it is a blemish and it summarises, most succinctly, where we are wrong and could do so much better.

Today, our Prime Minister apologised publicly to Commonwealth Heads of Governments for this outrageous state of affairs, until recent days UK Home Office policy. The current Home Secretary has already had to backtrack, in Parliament, on this toxic legacy from the days when the current Prime Minister was the then Home Secretary.

Fine words are, well, fine words but alone they butter few parsnips. Harm has already been done and action is required to make amends and to resolve this issue. There were fine words issued after the Manchester concert bombing.
There was an outpouring of fine words following the Grenfell Tower fire, so dreadful that one only need say “Grenfell” and everyone knows exactly what one is talking about; vanishingly few of the issues have been addressed and resolved, few of the promises have been delivered.

We often hear the call to “make a bonfire of the red tape” by which is commonly meant the checks, balances, safeguards and protocols that protect us from unscrupulous exposure to unsound and dangerous processes.

I would like to call for a bonfire of the red tape used to discriminate, deter and debar those resident in this land from living and thriving in productive and happy lives.

Gogwit.

April 2018, (c)

This is an opinion piece; it represents my views and was created as a sole enterprise.

New Verse for Easter

A visit to an East Kent churchyard on Easter Sunday rewarded me with a surprising sight, one which sparked ideas which are set out on this page. I have never before seen a thick, healthy, leafy rosemary bush growing upon a grave.

It made quite an impression on me and suggested the theme of my second piece of verse in this current creative spell.

Rosemary Adorns My Grave.

Rosemary adorns my grave.

Profuse cut flowers by many hands marked
My final resting place; fewer and less frequently
As time passed on and by.
Hues pure and funerary fade, vanish into earth,

Even as have I.

And left behind is mottled stone and the green
Of the thriving bush, which grew from the sprig
That struck and took so many years ago.
Plucked in sorrow from my own back garden
Planted, in love, by a solitary hand.

Whether, by chance, you visit me or your presence
Here is by design, run your fingers through
My leaves, rub one and sense
The earthy herb, this shrub, my bower,

Relict, in memoriam.

Rosemary adorns my grave.

Ben A Harvey
Easter 2018

(c) 2018, All Rights Reserved.

St Paul’s Square, B3.

This is the first sustained creative work I have delivered since 2015, I believe.

It came to life on the X14 bus on my way to visit my dentist, Dr Jalif, and was finalised on my return journey, by train, from Selly Oak to Sutton Coldfield.

I hope that you enjoy reading this work. I enjoyed writing it.

St Paul’s Square, B3.

Open field hemmed in by buildings
Workshops, forges, manufactories.
Parts of these turned into houses
For the owners wealth and riches,
For the craftsmen leather breeches,
Tools and ale and most of all
A bed and roof over their head.

Simple people with religion
Men and women all of God.
They raised a splendid place of worship
Visible from house and workshop,
Visible from home and tavern,
Reminding them of place and duty
By then the open field was gone.

Wooden box pews, songs of praise
Hymns ancient and modern.
Blight and blitz and times of plenty
Baptise, confirm, marry, bury,
Offices of life and death,
The churchyard is a garden now
To take the place of field and heath.

Ben A Harvey
24 March 2018

(C) 2018, All rights reserved.

Thoughts from a retired headteacher…

I reblog this with sadness. Sadness that a headteacher should feel motivated to write in this vein; sadness that the argument of this piece is essentially true. The keyword here is, I think, sadness.

Let Our Kids Be Kids

Teachers, headteachers, parents… use your power!

“I daily thank god that I am a retired teacher and headteacher. I simply could not ask my staff to persecute children with never ending ‘tests’ that do nothing to further any child’s education or ability to make sense of the world. I simply would have refused to cooperate with the idiots charged with designing our so-called education system.

Teaching used to be a joyous profession. Happy children, staff who didn’t dread walking daily through the school gates and heads who were left to manage their schools without the constant interference of people who couldn’t do the job themselves.

I used to be described as formidable by LEA officers, advisors alike. Yes I was. Formidable in my determination to do the very best I could for the young people in my charge.

Schools used to be about opportunities for social mobility- a chance…

View original post 118 more words

22/7/14: The Day in Trojan Horses.

The ‘Report into allegations concerning Birmingham schools arising from the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter’ authored by Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM was published today, Tuesday 22 July 2014, and can be found here.

Also published today on this theme:

• Trojan horse: teachers may face misconduct hearings, says Morgan (The Guardian, 22/07/14)

• Trojan Horse probe shows ‘clear evidence’ of ‘deliberate action’ to introduce ‘intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos’ (Birmingham Mail, 22/07/14)

• Watch: Oldknow Academy principal: ‘I was forced out by Trojan Horse plotters’ (Birmingham Mail, 22/07/14)

• Trojan Horse: Undercover report reveals school governor was racist bigot (Birmingham Mail, 22/07/14)

• ‘Disturbing’ Trojan Inquiry Findings (BBC News, 22/07/14)

I am grateful to The Guardian for their live online coverage of the Statement by Nicky Morgan on the Trojan Horse Letter debated in the House of Commons today, Tuesday 22 July 2014. The Telegraph and The Sunday Times, neither of which would sit on gogwit’s coffee table, should also be mentioned for running this story when it was being written off as right wing, Islamophobic, racist fiction.

I have used the local press as a source of many stories offered today on Gogwit’s Blog, I make no apology for this.
Local parliamentarians have spoken out on the “Trojan Horse” issue today Birmingham Hodge Hill (Birmingham schools ‘feel like the Balkans’ – The Guardian, 22/07/14) and yesterday Birmingham Perry Barr (Stop pretending Trojan Horse plot is fake, urges Birmingham MP – Birmingham Mail, 21/07/14).

The output from three news sources on one sunny July day. The content requires no further comment from gogwit at this time.

Other local news: Today many students are graduating from local universities and many local school children have begun their summer break. I wish them all the very best.

Cut Benefits to Stir Up the Skivers?

So will cutting benefits push the work shy into employment, as we are told by the UK Coalition government, or will the effect of doing this make life even more grim for hard-working employees whose meagre wages are subsidised currently by benefit payments?

Here is ‘Ripped-Off Britons’ analysis of how benefits subsidise the low wages of millions of working Britons and it is shocking to see how many in employment are paid at below the minimum wage.

It is also eye-opening to realise, as I did for the first time, that the assumption made in the living wage calculations is that the recipient is in receipt of benefits. This is not the case, universally and the shortfall for those on this minimum level but not in receipt of benefits is substantial.