Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Boy, three, is banned from his first nursery school photograph after headteacher brands his haircut EXTREME

I wore a "short back and sides" haircut throughout my youth.  Most men did so at that time too.  I still do. What was once near universal is now "extreme"?

A three-year-old boy has been banned from taking part in his first ever school photograph - after his headteacher ruled his haircut wastoo short.

Delaney Templeton had been excitedly looking forward to having the picture taken with his classmates at his nursery.

But when mother Julieann Yates, 28, arrived to collect him from school later that day the youngster said he had not been allowed to be in the picture and instead had to sit out and watch.

Furious, she immediately went to see the head, who said Delaney's hair broke school rules and was 'extreme' as it had been cut too short.

'I was absolutely furious,' said Julieann, who lives in Marley Pots, Sunderland.

'I was really, really mad. We were really looking forward to having his picture taken with the other children and he was talking about it on the way to nursery that morning.

'It would have been his first ever school photos. I was very, very upset and angry.

'Most of the school had their photos taken.'

She added: 'My son was refused because of his hairstyle. 'He has had the exact same hairstyle since he started nursery in September and the school has never said it was inappropriate.the picture

'He was the only one in his year who was excluded, but there were a lot of children in the school, with comb overs, who had their photos taken.'

Delaney, who attends Southwick Community Primary School, has been left upset and he and his family have been denied his first ever set of photographs they had so been looking forward too.

'He is only three but he is quite bright for his age he did realise that other people got theirs' done and he didn't and he has been talking about it to me and his dad,' Julieann added.

Headteacher Mrs Stoker said: 'Every family with a child at our school receives a home school agreement which includes the school uniform policy and extreme haircuts.

'Also letters are regularly sent out to remind parents of the school rules on extreme haircuts.

'That agreement, drawn up and agreed by staff and parents/carers at our school is there to help maintain levels of attainment, behaviour and discipline and improve standards.

'For a number of years, we have taken the time and trouble to arrange a photographer to come into school to take pictures of children on behalf of their families without any problems.

'We are all disappointed that this year a handful of parents who chose to ignore the home school agreement policies and rules should deliberately disrupt those arrangements for everyone else.

'The vast majority of parents/carers of 370 pupils at our school respected the school uniform policy and will receive their photographs.'


Labour plans to strip independent schools of tax relief

Private schools would be stripped of £700 million in tax breaks if Labour is elected, under plans being drawn up by Ed Miliband.

The "class war" proposal could add up to £200 a year to the cost of a private school education.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow Education Secretary, is today expected to outline plans to "claw back" relief given to private schools from paying local authority business rates.

More than 2,000 private schools across Britain can claim up to 80 per cent cut in their business rates because they are charities, worth around £150 million annually.

Mr Hunt will say that a Labour government will legislate to ensure the schools only qualify for this “subsidy” if they pass a new “schools partnership standard”.

Under this system, private schools would be required to provide teachers in specialist subjects to state schools, and to share expertise to help state school pupils get into top universities.

The will also have to run joint extra-curricular programmes with state schools as equal partners so that children from the state and private sectors mix together and learn from each other.

Barnaby Lenon, the chairman of the Independent Schools Council, said that stripping schools of business rate relief would be “a very ineffective tool to improve social mobility in any meaningful way.”

“Independent schools are committed to helping widen access to their schools and to improving social mobility. Already 90% of our schools are already involved in meaningful and effective partnerships with state schools and their local communities,” said Mr Lenon.

He said that independent schools generate £4.7 billion in tax and save the tax payer a further £4 billion by educating children out of the state school sector.

“To subject independent schools to one-size-fits-all regulations does not take into account the diverse nature of our sector - many are small local schools,” he said.

Mr Hunt, who himself attended the private University College School in Hampstead, North London, is expected to announce that under the new system, independent schools would have to partner with local state schools in order to get tax relief.

Mr Hunt told the Guardian that the schools would lose the tax breaks if they did not break down the “corrosive divide of privilege”, saying it was creating a "Berlin Wall" in the country's education system.

“The next government will say to them: step up and play your part.Earn your keep. Because the time you could expect something for nothing is over," he said.

Mr Hunt believes some schools are only making token efforts to engage with local communities to maintain their charitable status.

The move is likely to resurrect the row between Labour and the country’s top private schools after the last government threatened to strip hundreds of institutions of up to millions in tax breaks.

In a hugely controversial move, Labour introduced the Charities Act in 2006 that ruled that fee-paying schools were no longer automatically entitled to charitable status.

Under the reforms, schools had to prove they provided wider benefit to those who could not afford to attend – allowing them to hang on to tax breaks and effectively remain in business.

Schools were told to provide more free and heavily subsidised places to poor pupils to pass the new "public benefit" test, with fears from some bursars that they would be forced to dramatically increase fees for existing parents to meet the requirements.

One private school leader accused Labour of a “medieval” attack on the sector, comparing the government’s crackdown on fee-paying schools’ to Henry VIII’s seizure of land and property in the 1500s.

The reforms resulted in a bitter court challenge brought by the Independent Schools Council that resulted in the rules being watered down in 2011.

Last year, an analysis by the Labour MP Simon Danczuk showed that charitable relief significantly reduced the amounts paid in business rates by independent schools, including Eton and Harrow.

Mr Danczuk used figures from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to show that more than 3,000 independent fee-paying schools had benefited from an estimated £141m in business rate relief in the last year.

He calculated that independent schools have a combined rateable value of £360m, which would require schools to pay £170m a year in business rates. Charitable reliefs reduce this to £34m.

Any charity can receive up to 80 per cent relief on rates relating to premises used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes. Relief for charities has risen from £770m in 2007-8 to an estimated £1.3bn last year, according to the VOA figures.

"For the charity sector to be robust and continue to enjoy high levels of public confidence, we need a fair assessment of what’s deemed to be a charity,” Mr Danczuk said at the time.”It seems wrong that commercially focused organisations such as Eton, which are geared towards meeting the needs of some of the most privileged people in society, are deemed to be charities – and receive business rates relief.”

This week, Andrew Halls, head of King's College School in Wimbledon, south west London, warned that middle class British families were already being priced out of independent schools and would end up relying on the state sector.

Mr Halls said an "endless queue" of rich families from outside Britain had led to a rise in fees at the £20,000-a-year school.

“We have allowed the apparently endless queue of wealthy families from across the world knocking at our doors to blind us to a simple truth: we charge too much,” he said.


Affirmative action: the real racism on campus

A lawsuit filed against Harvard and UNC reveals affirmative action’s racist heart.

The term ‘affirmative action’ first emerged during desegregation in the US in the mid-1960s. An executive order issued by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 stated that people applying for jobs with government contractors should be selected ‘without regard to their race, colour, religion, sex or national origin’.

Over time, however, ‘affirmative action’ has come to mean something different. It now refers to the policy of actively favouring members of a particular social group, usually by ensuring that a sufficient quota of said social group is employed in a workplace or represented at an educational institution.

Of course, the idea that racism and other forms of discrimination can be mitigated by institutionalising perceived racial differences might seem counterintuitive, not to mention slightly racist. But, according to affirmative-action advocates, this doesn’t matter; it’s all about lessening the pre-eminence of those groups that have enjoyed more than their fair share of privilege – primarily, those who are white and male.

After all, one can’t be racist and sexist against white men because they’re the ones who do all the nasty racism and sexism. And so affirmative action, also known as ‘positive discrimination’, a process of putting people’s race and sex before their capabilities and achievements, pulled off the amazing trick of making itself look like a progressive force. The illusion of progressiveness could persist for as long as white males continued to be the highest achievers. If this was to cease to be the case, the policy might have to discriminate against another group, and that might end up making such policies look a little racist. Inevitably, that time has come.

A lawsuit has been filed in the US against the affirmative-action policies of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC). The Project on Fair Representation, a legal defence fund for students who have been discriminated against in university admissions, has called for an end to race-based admissions policies, which it claims unfairly discriminate against Asian students in particular. The lawsuit claims that high-achieving Asian students, who would otherwise easily gain entry to Harvard or UNC, are forced to fight it out for the allotted Asian places, while their non-Asian peers can sometimes easily secure a university place with the same grades.

The move is justified because it is now no longer enough for admissions policies not to be racist. They must also actively promote diversity, and Harvard and UNC just had far too many Asians in their classrooms. The term ‘diversity’ is often used as a synonym for ‘not-racist’, but a ‘diversity’ policy that judges a person’s suitability for something on the basis of race is the very definition of racism.

Of course, being denied a university place on the basis of one’s race is unjust, but more galling still is the fact that such discrimination takes place in the name of anti-racism. Apart from the inherent unfairness of these policies, such selection processes also undermine the academic integrity of the universities themselves. The fact that prestigious universities like Harvard or UNC are choosing students on any basis other than their academic achievement makes a mockery of the idea of the university. Here’s a quick fix that would restore academic integrity to these educational institutions: prospective students should be judged on their individual merits alone.


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