Wednesday, February 20, 2013

British teacher returns to school after appeal over smacking

The head teacher sounds a complete bull-artist

A drama teacher who successfully appealed against a conviction for smacking a 13 -year -old boy in the head with a folder because he was talking has returned to the classroom.

Vanessa Hermione Greening, 49, was found guilty of assault after a court heard she lost her temper after he spoke during a drama performance in February last year. She faced magistrates after parents of the pupil at Alexandra High School, in Tipton, West Midlands, complained to teachers who then contacted the police.

The schoolboy admitted speaking, but claimed when Miss Greening lashed out with the binder he had not said a word. The court heard the boy was shocked but uninjured and told police "it didn't really hurt".

Miss Greening, from Bearwood, Birmingham, was sentenced at Sandwell magistrates' court in November to a six -month community order. After an appeal the following month she was cleared of any wrongdoing. This week the school lifted her suspension.

Ian Binnie, the school's head teacher, said Miss Greening had been phased back into work since February.

Alexandra High School is described as a large comprehensive with about 1,400 pupils.

Writing on the school’s website, Mr Binnie describes the children as “very friendly and eager to learn”.

He said: “Most of the pupils are lovely. Their parents send them to school well turned out, ready to work and tell them to behave themselves. Most do. They welcome new teachers and are both loyal and generous.”


By-election controversy in Britain

A Conservative Cabinet minister has defended the party’s Eastleigh by-election candidate after she said it was “impossible” for her son to get the education he needs at a state school.

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said it was quite right that Maria Hutchings, should be able to send her child to a private school if she chose to do so.

Mrs Hutchings, the Conservative candidate to take the Eastleigh seat previously held by Chris Huhne, has faced Labour attacks for a comment she made about the education one of her children.

Last week, she is reported to have said that her son could not get an appropriate education in the state sector.

She said: “William is very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him – impossible in the state system. He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon.”

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said Mrs Hutchings had “insulted every pupil and teacher at our state schools, including those in Eastleigh.”

Mr Shapps told the BBC’s Sunday Politics that Mrs Hutchings had every right to educate her son privately if she chose.

He said: “It's perfectly reasonable to look for the best options for your children.”

Mrs Hutchings has four children and the Conservative campaign in Eastleigh has presented her as a “local mother”.

Labour and Liberal Democrats in Eastleigh have suggested that one of her children attends a private school shows she is not committed to the area’s state schools.

Mr Shapps insisted that Mrs Hutchings supports state schools, saying some of her children go to them.

“The fact that she's got four children and two or three of them are in the state system, I think rather illustrates that she believes in it," he said.

Mr Shapps also used the row to make a jibe at Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, who is expected to send his son to an independent school later this year.

“I think every parent wants the best for their child whether that's Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband or Maria Hutchings or myself,” he said.


Music lessons to boost your child's academic achievements 'are a waste of money', scientists say

It is just one of the ways in which ambitious  parents try to give their children an edge at school.

But making a child learn a musical instrument   to boost their academic achievement is a waste of money, according to scientists.

Although research has shown that youngsters who take music lessons are more likely to be top of their class, a psychologist claims this link  is misleading.

Instead, improved academic performance may be because brighter children from privileged backgrounds are more likely to learn an instrument, rather than music classes helping to boost their intelligence.

‘Music may change you a bit, but it’s also the case that different children take music lessons,’ said Professor Glenn Schellenberg of the  University of Toronto, who added that parents’ education was the most influential factor on musicality.

He told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Boston: ‘Children who take music lessons come from families with higher incomes, they come from families with more educated parents, they also do more extra-curricular activities, they have higher IQs, and they do better at school.’

In tests on 167 children who played piano or other instruments, they found their answer to personality tests could predict how likely it was for them to continue their music lessons.

Those who were more outgoing and conscientious were more likely to continue to play.

Although children who took music lessons did better at school, when the researchers adjusted the results to take into account their social  background, there was no link to increased intelligence.

Instead, the research suggested upbringing and background played a crucial role.

Asked if so-called helicopter parents were wasting their money sending their children to music lessons in the belief they could boost their school results, Professor Schellenberg agreed.

‘You can explain almost all of the data that are out there by saying that high-functioning kids take music lessons,’ he added.

But Daniel Levitin from the McGill University, Canada, said: ‘There are benefits to having a society where more people are engaged with the arts, so even if music instruction doesn’t make you a better mathematician or a better athlete, even if it only gives you the enjoyment of music, I think that is a good end in and of itself.’


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