Sunday, June 16, 2013

British school bans frilly socks after child trips over

I knew that frills give females a thrill but I could not even imagine what frilly socks would look like.  So I am glad I found the picture below.  Very humourless to deprive little girls of them

After one of the pupils tripped and fell over last week head teacher Jan Buckland banned the children from wearing socks with a frill longer than 3cms.

Some parents have vowed to defy the new rules, but if children turn up wearing the extra long frills they will be forced to change into plain socks Mrs Buckland bought from Primark.

The trend at Kingsholm Primary School in Gloucester was started by pupil Lily-Jo, 6, who was the envy of her friends with the socks handmade by her mother Tracy Rudge.  "I have been making them for Lily-Jo since she was at pre-school," Ms Rudge said. "All the other children wanted them. The kids love them as they are fun.

One girl tripped over last week and the head teacher has now banned them - but her fall was nothing to do with the socks. "All of the parents whose children have them have defied this silly ban and sent their kids into school wearing them.  "But the headmistress ordered them all to take off their socks and she made them wear plain socks that she had bought from Primark."

The cleaner has been making the socks as a hobby while she is on sick leave from work. She has given more than 50 pairs to parents.
She added: "This ban is ridiculous. They have gone health and safety mad but show a complete disregard for us as parents, and our children.  "My daughter knows that she is to follow mum's rules but then she gets to school and is told something different."

A letter was sent home to parents of the school's 438 children to warn them that a new frilly sock ban was coming into force, which outlaws any frill larger than three centimetres.

Those children that defied the ban by coming to school wearing the prohibited socks on Monday were given a 'reminder' letter. Mrs Buckland said: "I have enforced a ban because there was an incident where one of the children, who was wearing a long, lacy frill, fell.  "We had to fill in a health and safety risk assessment and it was clear these socks were a trip hazard.

"The governing body and I decided that a ban was appropriate because the frill had been trailing on the floor.

"The parents made a point of allowing their children to come in wearing them again.  "I asked the children to remove them and we provided them fresh, new pairs of socks. If parents are defiant, the kids will have to change out of them if they arrive in the building wearing them."


GOP: Education system 'congested' with mandates

A Senate committee voted this week to move forward with a Democratic-backed education plan, but Republicans argue the proposal forces the country's school systems to further rely on the federal government.

"Over the last decade, the United States Department of Education has become so congested with federal mandates that it has actually become, in effect, a national school board," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said Saturday in the GOP weekly address.

"If you remember the childhood game, 'Mother, May I?' then you have a pretty good sense of how the process works-states must come to Washington for approval of their plans to educate their students," he continued.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions approved a bill called "Strengthening America's Schools Act," which was filed by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The ESEA was originally passed in 1965 and requires periodic reauthorization. The current version of the law, No Child Left Behind, was passed under the George W. Bush administration and requires states to set higher standards with greater accountability through standardized testing.

Republicans, however, say the federal government is too involved in students' education and argue the task should be left to local governments.

"Republicans voted to move in a different direction," Alexander said, talking about a bill he proposed that failed to make it out of committee. Alexander said they put forward a 220-page plan that restores "responsibility to states and communities."

"It rejects federal mandates that create a national school board, and prohibits the Education Secretary from prescribing standards or accountability systems for states," he added. "It continues the requirement that states have high standards and quality tests, but doesn't prescribe those standards."

Education is also a hotly debated item on another front this summer, as Congress has until July 1 to reach a deal in order to avoid a doubling of the interest rate for undergraduates borrowing new subsidized federal student loans.

While neither party wants the rate to go up, Republicans and Democrats disagree over how to solve the problem. Republicans wants to tie the rate to economic factors and cap the interest rate at 8.5%.

"It's fairer to students and fairer to taxpayers," Alexander said.

Democrats want Congress to decide the rate, but propose no cap. They would instead include a program to limit a former student's annual expenditures on the loan to no more than 10% of discretionary income.


All pupils must be equal, according to British teachers

Thousands of children risk being consigned to educational failure because of Ofsted demands to set pupils by ability in secondary school, teachers’ leaders have warned.

A move to scrap mixed-ability groups in favour of low and high sets will have a “negative impact” on standards across the board, it is claimed.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said that setting and streaming resulted in a slight improvement for the top set but any gain was more than outweighed by declines in results achieved by traditionally middle- and low-achieving pupils.

The comments will fuel the debate over the value of teaching children separately according to their prior attainment in academic subjects.

It came as teaching unions bitterly rejected the conclusions of a major Ofsted report that claimed large numbers of bright pupils were being systematically failed by state comprehensives.

In a report, the watchdog claimed that clever children were well taught in just a fifth of mixed-ability lessons, often receiving “mediocre” exercises and “insufficiently challenging” homework tasks.

At least a third of schools now use mixed-ability groups for the majority of lessons aimed at 11- to 14-year-olds, with other schools employing them for some subjects, it emerged.

But Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, said he was strongly in favour of setting by ability in most classes from the age of 11 onwards.

Supporters of the approach claim that it allows the brightest children to progress at their own pace while allowing those at the bottom of the ability range to get specialist help to catch up.

But the report was attacked by teachers’ leaders, who claimed it was “absolutely wrong” to suggest that secondary schools failed to set high expectations.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said that a move to scrap mixed-ability classes was contradicted by recent research on the subject.

One study by the Department for Education showed that setting in maths had a “negative effect on both attainment and motivation”, she said.

A separate study showed “that while there may be slight improvement in attainment for pupils in the top ability group, this is significantly outweighed by the negative impact on the rest of the class”, she added.

However, a study published last year by the Royal Economic Society showed that a higher proportion of “low-achieving pupils” in each class had a “negative and significant effect on the academic achievements of regular pupils” because they monopolised teachers’ attention.

Sir Michael said: “Unless you have well-qualified, experienced people who know how to deal with mixed ability then it doesn’t work. And if that’s not happening, it is much better to move towards a setting system.”

But Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This is too important an issue to be reduced to sweeping generalisations.

“We know there are some schools that should be doing more, but to suggest that a culture of low expectations is rampant in our schools is absolutely wrong.

“The majority of schools have good strategies in place to stretch all pupils.”


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