What did you learn at school today?

Did you blink – or did you see it? Yesterday, local news sources told us of a new school curriculum which is being introduced. It was also on the government website. Today that news seems to have slipped out of sight on most online sources and little seems to have been said about it. http://gov.im/lib/news/education/newschoolcurricu.xml Maybe they assumed we would be bored with it and for this reason offered the “information” to us in simplified, playful form: https://www2.sch.im/e4l/  The blogs are password protected. I would have thought a curriculum would be presented in a well thought-out and clearly worded document. This is the next generation’s education we are talking about. What exactly are they learning? Could we have it presented more clearly please?

Whilst searching for more information about the news item today I discovered the following: http://gov.im/lib/news/socialcare/childrenandfamil1.xml

A motion has been tabled for the July Tynwald sitting seeking approval for an extra £498,000 for 10 additional staff in the department’s Children and Family service.

The additional staff will be social workers with relevant experience and related support staff. The staff are urgently needed in order to ensure prompt and effective services in the face of a 50% rise in workload within Children and Families Services in the last year. This rise is due to a range of factors, principally the introduction of improved child protection procedures (based on UK best practice and adapted for the Island’s needs) and increased workload to support the Courts in relation to cases affecting children. Within Children and Families Services, both workloads for new cases and for support to the Courts have risen by approximately 500% in the last year.

Five hundred per cent increase? What on earth is going on? What exactly does “relevant experience” mean? Does it perhaps mean that we need to import staff to cope with imported legislation? Child protection is one thing but having narrowly escaped the Big Brother Database this year it would be reassuring if we could have a further glimpse into this situation. Once again we are presented with statements that require some evidence. Not being privy to the reasons for this shake-up makes it difficult to assess the pros and cons.

It seems that control is frequently seen as a remedy.  Ramsey has experienced an outbreak of huge CCTV lamps throughout Parliament Street. I have no idea when they appeared but they are such monstrous items (it really does look like something out of Orwell – apparently they don’t do them in “pretty”) that I can only assume they were not cheap. Do we have rampant crime in the centre of Ramsey? Enough to justify the desecration of the street scene and the expense of installing these ghastly creations?

I can’t help wondering if a more low-key solution might have left some cash in the kitty for more youth-orientated venues. The coffee bars, cinemas and folk clubs of earlier times seem to have disappeared – leaving children to walk the streets. But never mind they can always be observed at all times. Many of us may have felt a little insecure walking past groups of youths and it may be a complex issue but please let’s have some discussion about what is going on and refrain from immediately resorting to the use of surveillance and control as some sort of panacea to any issues that arise.


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