I like to do a bit of shopping on my hols, between books. Even a different supermarket is interesting to me and I’m a sucker for everything from weaving in the wilds to the magnificent pharmacies of France.
We’ve been having two different kinds of trouble with shopping here. The first is linked to two large shops of the modern type which opened opposite us but don’t really want children’s custom. I get that hordes of youths hell-bent on unhealthy snackage deters other shoppers who may have more cash. I know that handling teenagers isn’t to everyone’s taste and fear arouses anger which generates trouble, especially when highly caffeinated comestibles are in the case, but it's not as if the existence of the school was hidden to the planners. We are big enough to see.
Similar happened in my last school, with a magnet sixth form like Tallis, but gathering also from semi-rural areas. Young drivers couldn’t park in the car park but could in the local streets. This drove residents crazy. Yes, they needed practice parking tidily, but didn’t we all? Young citizens with full licences and insured cars also have parking rights. Responsible young shoppers, some picking up a few things for the family on the way home, could be allowed to go to the shops everyone else goes to, with a bit of planning. We’re working on it.
The second shopping trouble isn’t actually about the shopping. Our local parade, as local readers know, can be a troubled spot, so we operate a post-school curfew. From time to time, working with the police, we ban everyone for a day or two. This infuriates lots of people, but keeps our children safer for a while. Supervising the streets, however, is hard, and one of the things that would help is good CCTV. Some adults have strong feelings about being filmed: I have strong feelings about keeping children safe. We could work together on this.
Anyway, returning to the shopping, I am delighted to update you on Lord Agnew and his champagne. From Schools Week:
The government will not reveal its costcutting advisers’ recommendations to balance the books at two Hackney schools held up as success stories of the controversial scheme… [They] found savings totalling £303 million after visiting around 1,000 schools and trusts. Just £17 million of savings had been made six months after visits. But neither the DfE, the schools nor Hackney council – which commissioned the visits – would release the reports following a Freedom of Information request. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “If you’re going to say that if you get these cost-cutters in you can all save money, then there absolutely is an obligation to say how it is done. An FOI previously revealed that the government’s own research indicated more than half of schools reported the advisers did not identify new ways of saving money.”
I look out of the window onto a sunny day and a sprinkling of cultural dress for the eponymous day. Does what I wear every day count for the cultural dress of an English Headteacher? An online assembly - we have to have them online at the moment because every space is taken up for exams, 22 room changes today - is about to start for year 10 on the Jubilee.
Bradshaw’s been delivering these assemblies which explain everything about the monarchy in 15 minutes. We start with the meaning of Jubilee, a concept first used about 2700 years ago, meaning a shout for joy which started a time of rejoicing or a time of release. After 7 years a year of Jubilee required people to review their community relationships and debts, even more so after 49 years. We could do with that.
When the Queen was 21 she made the famous speech in which she said:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.
There’s a Tallis English challenge for over the hols that invites age-appropriate use of 18 words. I’ve inaccurately divided them into two groups. For your Jubilee homework, which best fits the Queen and which best fits the government? Give reasons, 19 marks.
- Gumption, humungous, iconic, lucid, esoteric, Zeitgeist
- Kerfuffle, quaver, cantankerous, miffed, obsequious, discombobulate, defunct, collywobbles, capricious, ennui, idiosyncratic, ubiquitous, Zeitgeist
Jubilees in the ancient world started with a blast on the shofar. Find me a ram.