Tag Archive for Schools

I need an Octeday

It’s been over 2 weeks since I last posted, I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit recently.

So what’s been happening in the last couple of weeks?  Well, I went to the UKIP leadership hustings in Birmingham last week.  I’m backing Nigel Farage for leader of course, he’s the best candidate by far.  The second placed candidate, David Campbell Bannerman, is going down in my estimation every time he says or does something and I’m not the only one – I’ve had DCB supporters get in touch to tell me they’re switching allegiances since he got Farage pulled from BBC Question Time.

I’ve somehow found myself standing in for the Chairman of Brookside Improvement Group, my local residents’ group, while the Chairman recovers from illness.

The Campaign for an English Parliament’s new website is up and running.  We’re still tinkering around the edges but it’s there or thereabouts.  The latest feature to be added is a supporters mailing list.

There are a few hours left to take part in the competition over at Bloggers4UKIP.  Nigel Farage will be judging the best post published on Bloggers4UKIP by close of play today (October 22nd) and the winner will receive a signed copy of his book, Fighting Bull.  Anyone interested in taking part, use the contact form on Bloggers4UKIP.

David Wright has finally replied to me on the 500 RBS redundancies in Telford but fails to explain why he did nothing to stop the RBS policy of English Jobs for Scottish People when he was working in the British Treasury.  I asked for a meeting between him and the CEP, he’s told me to speak to his secretary to find out details of his open surgeries.  If he wants to play games, I’m happy to play along.

We’ve been doing the tour of the secondary schools again, #2 son is leaving primary school next year.  Hopefully he’ll get his first choice because it’s going to be a logistical nightmare (not to mention, expensive) if he doesn’t.

Orange are still pissing me off.  Unbelievably, a week after Three turned off their mast near my house resulting in me not being able to get a Three signal in my street, Orange did the same thing.  It hasn’t affected signal strength all that much but the already overloaded network is now worse than ever – from Friday afternoon to Monday morning, Mrs Sane can’t make or receive calls or send and receive text messages and my Three phone won’t roam onto Orange for most of the weekend because Orange cut off roaming partners when they’re overloaded.  It wouldn’t be so bad but I provide 24 hour cover for work every other week and for the second weekend in a row I’ve had to give my home phone number to work because the Orange mobile they’ve given me is useless.  Orange are now refusing to accept – despite having already admitted to me, terminated my contract early and paid me a considerable amount of compensation for refusing to admit their fault for months – that there is a problem with their network!

It’s been a busy few weeks … in fact, it’s been a busy few months.  I really must make an effort to blog more.  If anyone knows a way of slotting an extra day in the week I’m all ears.  Terry Pratchett has the right idea – I could get loads done on Octeday.

Penalising parents for exercising their rights?

#2 son is due to start secondary school next year and we’ve just put in his application for the same school #1 goes to and his preferences for the LEA-controlled schools.

#1 son goes to an excellent independent school (top performing state secondary in England) and #2 son wants to go there as well but the school is badly over-subscribed – they turn down over 1,000 applicants every year – so the odds are stacked against him getting there.

For his LEA preferences, we haven’t chosen the nearest school to home because it’s rubbish which presents us with a bit of a problem – if he doesn’t get into the same school as #1, how is he going to get there?

I drop #1 son off at school in the morning on my way to work as it’s in vaguely the same direction as the office but the other two schools on #2’s list are in the opposite direction.  What we need is for one of them to be able to go to school by bus but there’s a problem: none of the schools is more than 3 miles from home and a weekly bus pass for a child is £10 – taking off school holidays, that’s about £400 a year!

The 3 mile rule is what the British government says is the maximum distance a child of secondary school age in England can be expected to walk to school.  There are exceptions for children with medical conditions of course and #2 has a heart problem so he fits the criteria for getting a free bus pass … but only if he goes to the local, rubbish school.

You can get a free school bus pass for your children if you meet the usual criteria and it’s this that has annoyed me.  If you’re unemployed your children can have a free school bus pass.  If you’re an asylum seeker your children can have a free school bus pass.  If your household income is below a certain level your children can have a free bus pass.

It may surprise my regular readers to know that it’s not the freebies for the workshy or asylum seekers that irritates me, it’s the latter.  I work, I earn an above average wage but I have 4 children.  Someone on minimum wage with 1 child getting income support, housing benefit, etc., will have as much, if not more, disposable income than me but the household income criteria is an arbitrary threshold, it doesn’t go up if you have more children to pay for.

Ok, so it’s my choice to have 4 children (although I did inherit 2 stepsons) but if the system offers help for parents – which my taxes pay for – then it should do so fairly.  And if the system purports to offer parents the right to choose which school they want (or need) their children to go to, it shouldn’t penalise them for exercising that right.