Monday, June 17, 2019

Snowflakes in Britain too

An exam board has said that students can complain if they felt “triggered” by a calorie-counting question.

Pupils protested that a maths GCSE question about how many calories a woman had consumed for breakfast was distressing for anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder.

One student, a recovering anorexic, told how she was so upset by the question that she had to leave the exam hall in a panic.

The question said: “There are 84 calories in 100g of banana. There are 87 calories in 100g of yogurt. Priti has 60g of banana and 150g of yogurt for breakfast. Work out the total number of calories in this breakfast”.

Following the concerns, Pearson, which owns the exam board EdExcel, carried out a review of the question and found it to be valid.

A spokesman for Pearson said that any student “who thinks that this question may have impacted their performance” should make contact via their school.

Poppy-Willow Kent, a student from Colchester, wrote on Twitter: “I am sorry, but can I ask what on earth you were thinking by having a question around counting calories?

"Your exams are primarily taken by 15-20 year olds, who are also the age group most likely to suffer from eating disorder.”

A 16-year-old student from Hampshire added: “The weighing food and calorie question on the paper today triggered me so much. Hopefully it didn’t upset anyone else who suffers.

"It just bought back so many bad memories for me that I was about to cry. Do they know about the crisis or I’m being over sensitive?”

Meanwhile, Isobel Colclough, 16, from Stoke-on-Trent, explained how the question left her in a "panic" and she had to leave the exam hall.

"I read the question and it bought back so many memories of counting calories, it put me into a panic where I had to leave the room for about five minutes and a teaching assistant calmed me down," she said. 

"Then the teaching assistant persuaded me to go back into the room and I did manage to finish the exam but it stayed on my mind for quite a while after. For someone who has in the past been obsessed with counting calories, it definitely triggered memories of counting everything."

Miss Colclough, who used to be anorexic, said she is considering making a formal complaint about the question.  It is the latest exam question to have sparked debate this summer.

The exam board AQA came under fire from students for a GCSE English exam which used a passage from a book in which a character was later raped.

Pupils complained that the unseen text in their exam paper was taken from a story that later goes on to detail how a young woman becomes pregnant after being sexually exploited by her employer.

The description of the rape was not part of the excerpt in the exam paper, but students nonetheless protested that the excerpt should have come with a “trigger warning”.   AQA denied that the choice of extract was inappropriate.

Tom Quinn, a director at the eating disorder charity Beat, said that references to counting calories “can be triggering” for anyone with or recovering from an eating disorder. 

He said it can “cause significant distress”, adding that since young people are "most at risk of these serious mental illnesses", exam boards should avoid such material in their questions.  

A spokesman for Pearson said: “In a maths exam taken last week, candidates were asked to solve a practical problem calculating the number of calories in a banana and a yogurt. We have reviewed the question and find it to be valid.

“We encourage any student who thinks that this question may have impacted their performance to get in contact with us via their school.

“We understand the summer exam series is a stressful time for students and we wish all students every success with their remaining exams.”


UK: Father glues himself to school gates in bizarre protest after his daughter, 14, is sent home from class for wearing an earring that 'stops her getting migraines'

The dad of a teenage girl 'excluded' from school for wearing an earring mounted a bizarre protest today - after he glued both his hands to its front gates.

Irate Geoff Smith, 49, says his daughter Bobbiemay, 14, was sent home after getting a piercing that he claims stops her getting agonising migraines.

In protest against the decision Geoff today (Fri) covered his hands with glue and a type of expansion foam then stuck them to two metal bars outside the school.

He staged his protest for around an hour at lunchtime today before he pulled both his hands free from the gates when ordered to by police who were called.

During the protest, which was streamed on Facebook, He said: 'I have superglued myself to the gate. 'My daughter has got a legal right to an education. 'The superglue is burning my hands at the minute... but I would put myself through any pain so my daughter can live life without pain.'

After less than a minute a worker from the school, Cockburn John Charles Academy in Leeds, West Yorkshire, comes over and asks, 'what are you doing?'.

Mr Smith, who works as a roofer, then instructs the man to call the fire brigade.

Police and fire service personnel attended the scene.

Luckily Mr Smith was able to pull his hands away on his own, although a layer of skin did remain attached to the bars.

Police opted not to arrest him and Mr Smith then entered the school to have a meeting with senior staff.

Bobbiemay got the piercing in her tragus - the middle part of the outer ear - five weeks ago.

Alternative medicine proponents argue some ear piercings stimulate nerves under the skin and muscle tissues, thereby producing pain-relieving substances, such as endorphins.

Mr Smith said the piece of jewellery is not a fashion statement and that he bought the smallest, most inconspicuous stud he could to avoid it being an issue at school.

Speaking yesterday (he said: 'It's awful for a school to deprive a child of their education for something so minor.

'We tried everything to stop Bobbiemay's migraines - she can be in agonising pain for a week at a time with them. 'But she hasn't had one since getting the piercing five weeks ago. The piercing is working, it's not coming out.'

He added: 'Bobbiemay was doing really well at that school so that's where I want her go go back to. 'She's missed a lot of school now and it's not fair. She's an intelligent child and they have had no other issues with her until now.'

In a statement released yesterday, a school spokesman said: 'We would like to make it clear Bobbiemay Smith has not been excluded from the academy. 'She is welcome back at any time, as long as the earring is removed. Students and parents are aware of our clear uniform policy which is applied consistently.

'In this particular case, medical evidence or a doctor's note has not been provided to suggest exceptional circumstances.

'At all times, our focus is on Bobbiemay's welfare and best interests and we hope to see her return to the academy as soon as possible.'


Australia: Childcare is costing parents more than fees for exclusive private schools - with some spending $50,000 a year. It's costing $50,000 a year for full time care, and $30,000 for part time care

We see the fruit of all encompassing regulation.  When I was a kid, parents would send their kids to be minded to the old lady over the road who had already brought up her own family.  She charged pennies so those who only earned pennies could afford it.  And because she was known in the area there were no fears about it. 

That should still be allowed but these days she would be a deep-dyed criminal, in breach of dozens of regulations.  Why not revive the old system by allowing a regulated and an unregulated sector?  We would soon see how much parents valued the regulations which are allegedly "for your own good"

Parents are forking out more for childcare than the cost of the some of the country's most exclusive private schools, with some centres now charging over $200 a day.

In the most extreme cases, daycare costs are setting Sydney families back $50,000 a year for care five days a week, and $30,000 for part time care.

Parents would be paying less to send their children to Cranbrook in Sydney's eastern suburbs, an elite boys' kindergarten to year 12 college, which costs $37,230 per year.

Australian Childcare Alliance NSW chief Chiang Lim told the Saturday Telegraph that Sydney is the hardest hit city in the country when it comes to extreme childcare costs.

'It is absurd that it can be more expensive than some of the elite private schools in Sydney,' he said.

A recent OECD cost of living report found that Australia has some of the highest childcare costs in the world.

On average, Aussie parents are spending 26 per cent of their joint incomes on childcare.

Sending one child to daycare in Mosman, on the north shore, costs an average of $159.56 a day, with one centre charging $210.

Meanwhile, fees in Coogee are slightly less at an average of $150 per day, while Canterbury in Sydney's inner west costs $115 for a day of care. 

'We really need a review of the entire system,' Mr Lim said.

Wealthier families in Sydney's affluent suburbs put their kids on the waiting lists of community pre schools with cost just $40 a day.

Childcare subsidies are paid directly to the centres, but are capped at an hourly rate of $11.77, which doesn't offer big savings for struggling families.

Couples with a combined income of $351,248 per year don't qualify for subsidies, and parents who take in between $186,958 and $351,247 have a capped subsidy of $10,190 per child.

This has lead to parents working less or finding other ways to get their children looked after. 


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