NZ schools go gender-neutral

Submitted by Matthew on 11 October, 2017 - 10:05 Author: Colin Foster

New Zealand’s secondary school teachers’ union has called on all schools to offer gender-neutral uniform, toilet and changing-room options. All students should be able to “choose from a range of shorts, trousers, skirts of different lengths and styles, with both tailored and non-tailored interchangeable shirts... access to specific uniform items [should not be] not limited on the basis of biological sex or perceived gender identity”.

The right to be cool Matthew Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:21

June 2017 was the hottest June for 176 years. Across Europe temperatures went up to 38°C, and groups of school children and workers defied instructions and wore skirts to school and work to try and keep cool.

Against Borders for Children AWL Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:46

On 14 January, I went with another member of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty to the Against Borders for Children (ABC) conference. The event was about fighting for refugee children, and was organised by ABC, a group that allies with teachers and students to fight for refugee children who are being spied on or even arrested by the government.

UK school system bad for children AWL Fri, 12/09/2016 - 10:11

The Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) rankings were published on 6 December. These put UK schools in the 20s among the 72 countries surveyed.

Socialists don′t put great store by the PISA ratings, which measure different nations academic achievements by testing 15 and 16 year olds in maths, science and reading. However, the UK’s poor results do demonstrate that, even by their own standards, the Tories model for education is failing.

Football abuse: overturning a culture of silence Matthew Wed, 11/30/2016 - 11:40

More than 20 ex-football players have come forward with reports they were sexually abused as children by coaches. The revelations have sparked an investigation by five police forces, as well as an internal investigation by the Football Association. An NSPCC hotline has already received over 100 calls.

What "balancing the budget" means martin Tue, 06/21/2016 - 17:33

"Crikey, had a great 'win' last week which sent some parents into a storm", boasted Mark Small on Twitter in mid-June.

His firm is a contractor which is paid by local councils to fight parents' claims to get Special Educational Needs provision for their children. As the Guardian puts it, "its success rests on its ability to help cash-strapped local authorities cut the costs of SEN provision".

It also sells training to council officials to help them minimise SEN provision.

A failed attempt to silence Matthew Wed, 05/11/2016 - 12:48

On Wednesday 4 May the government sacked Natasha Devon from her unpaid post as mental health champion for schools. Evidently it concluded that the parents protest the day before against excessive testing, when thousands kept Year 2 children off school, showed that Devon was having too much effect.

Mental health shortfall worsens Matthew Thu, 02/04/2016 - 09:29

Waiting lists in the NHS are increasing for physical illnesses. But at least they are monitored, and the government feels pressure to reduce them.

According to a new report from the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), one child in five of those referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) is denied service. For those who get it, the wait for an assessment appointment averages two months across the country, more than 26 weeks in some areas, and “years not months” in others.

Capitalism vs human life AWL Wed, 01/27/2016 - 11:34

Capitalism has created life-enhancing possibilities. It has even realised some of them. My older daughter has epilepsy. In pre-capitalist times, if she’d had medication at all, it would have had no, or harmful, effects, and the seizures would probably have become more severe until they disabled and killed her. Today, she has been able to end the seizures with just a few pills, without side-effects.

Docking benefits won't keep children in school

Submitted by Matthew on 14 October, 2015 - 11:00 Author: Gemma Short

Parents of children who are absent from school will have child benefit docked by £120 if they do not pay a fine within 28 days.

Local authorities can already take parents to court if their children are “truanting”; courts can fine parents £60, rising to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days. Larger fines, community or jail sentences are also handed down to “persistent offenders”.