Monday, 21 July 2014

Education for A Year

With Gove packing his 'I Hate The NUT' mug and his marble bust of Margaret Thatcher away and shipping off to don the party gimp suit to become Chief Whipper, the education system is left at the helm of Nicky Morgan, previously Minister for Women and Equality (so she obviously knows what real power feels like. In fact, it's such an important job that she still has it, despite being Education Secretary). Now, we shouldn't paint Ms Morgan with the same colours as Señor Gove, as she has only been in the job for five minutes, but there are certain things about her past that are rather... disconcerting.

The first, and possibly most disconcerting, opinion of Ms Morgan is the fact that she voted against the legalisation of gay marriage. Although some people, and members of our own school, will agree with her, on whatever basis, religious or otherwise, we do live in a society of freedom, and even if you don't agree with something, you shouldn't stop others from doing it. It is very easy to not get married to someone of the same sex if you are against it, and very easy to allow others to if they so wish. Even the Tories have realised this point of view is, even for them, a bit too right wing, and have instated Nick Boles as Education and Skills Minister (whatever that means), who is also openly gay, to pull her and her grip on education into the current century.

The irony is that, not only is she the minister for Equality (I know, leading to the accusation that she is merely "minister for straight women"), she was famously the minister that said in January that the Tories needed to 'hate' less, when she is one of very few hating on same sex marriage. She has said "we're against this, we're anti-that, we don't like them, we don't want them here, we don't want them doing this", which is all heinous and vile unless it is to do with holy matrimony, in which case she is definitely against it, anti-it, she doesn't like them, she doesn't want them here, she doesn't want them doing it.

Similarly to Mr. Gove, Nicky Morgan has never worked in education her entire life (and look where that got him). She is a born and bred lawyer and solicitor, who moved into politics to work at the Treasury. Perhaps rather than telling teachers what they should or shouldn't do, she should be telling politicians what they can and can't do, or, in light of recent event, who they can and can't sleep with (choir boys watch your nether regions). Equally to this, Ms Morgan has never spent a day do her life in state education, which calls into question her ability to govern it. She spent her school years in a fee-paying private school (Surbiton High), not only reaffirming that she fits the Tory stereotype, but that she has no idea how a school is run if the money is not rolling in (which in the case of Hampstead, is not).

As we said, we thought we would not treat Nicky Morgan MP as an iteration of Gove, but unfortunately her past and her mentality do not paint her in a good light to fulfil her newly-appointed post. Instead, we give her the benefit of the doubt, and allow her to, if she so choses, be hoisted by her own petard.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Suggestion Box Exclusive 2014

Can you tell what it is yet? The School Mascot
will soon be featuring at all EQU matches, as
well as the boys' changing rooms afterwards.
Longer-lasting readers will have remember a side-splitting article (we laughed) published March last year, about suggestions supposedly 'found' in the then newly-instated Suggestion Boxes. In the time since the publication of that article, an astounding two of those spoof suggestions have actually been put into place by the school.

So, as it is the end of the year, since the last article was so funny, and as we have some amphetamines left over from the weekend, here is Suggestion Box II:

- The school minivan to be sold and replaced by a whale called Germaine that sings the blues (its a Blues Whale)
- A blazer hood?
- Beds for teachers, so they don't have to sleep upside-down on the ceiling every night
- Older kids to take time out of their busy schedule of non-stop exams and revision to look after us little snot-rags every-so-often, screwing their education over that little bit extra and making them hate us more than already (from A. Year-Seven)
- Correction: there should be an 'A' in the banner that says: 'A SHOOL THT REEDZ'
- Bigger windows in the toilets for smoking out
- Cannabis farm in Ecology Area
- Jacques to be sold in canteens
- A giant crisp packet that dances around the Quad to deter kids from littering
- One Direction
- New Block to be dedicated in beloved former Deputy Head's honour; the Hitman Block
- Spell my name right you "w**kstains" by J. Szme...[the writing becomes too mad to decipher after that point]
- A second betting company to be set up (due to the Competition Commission) named CricklewoodPower
- Sirens at end of Break & Lunch to be replaced by 'That's What Makes you Beautiful' (ONE DIRECTION, AAAAAAAGH) to get people other than Yr 7's to run to lesson.  
- Loudhailers are a form of racism (but not for white people)

In the year and four months since the last suggestion box, we have realised some ideas put forward by students, and are proud to reveal two new services, pictured below:

"East Cricklewood Community Metropolitan Comprehensive School Tut-tuts, with the
school emblem on the back made out of human hair, 26” gold rims and to be
pulled by a panda named Steve."

"Treacle Dispensers to be places
around the school."

Thursday, 17 July 2014

An Evening With the Stars?

With the summer term coming to a close, Tuesday brought with it a Performing Arts concert, to showcase the hard work undertaken by all those soon-to-be waiters and waitresses that take arts subjects. Despite some of our reservations, we sent our Arts Editor, Mark Lawless, to check it out...

The evening was dotted with music, dance and drama, and that was just some of the parents finding their seats. The first act pulled out a few fine tunes in quick succession, the Star Wars number being audible on the Head's interview with Channel 4. In said ethereal piece, one of the band members asked to 'play that same song', much to the anger of the person who was timetabling the evening. 

This was followed by some dancing, interpretive, of course (as if there is any other kind). The natural inclination was to interpret it as several people dressed in black falling about on an overly creaky stage; the interpretation the choreographer had wished to put across unbeknownst to me and most of the audience. This was followed by a more traditional ensemble, playing Baroque classics, notably so by the stupidly small and stupidly quiet instruments being played. By this point the Head had graced us with his presence, tapping his foot along (because he is an advocate of the performing arts) to what must have been, judging by his first-hand historic references in assemblies, his graduation song; Purcell's Suite in G Minor. 

Later on in the show there was an abridged (and I mean very abridged; Shakespeare would have been practically gyroscopic in his grave) version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Our review of the play, by none other than E. Rex Sean, stands to reason, however in the hall many of the students performing needed either a microphone or to talk louder. The troupe was lead by what can only be described as a camp sailor, his captain's whites ill-befitting of him; the rest standing at the back doing convincing impressions of surly teenagers.

As the evening came to a close, there came a duet dance, performed by only one student. Murmurs went up in the crowd about a split personality, and that they were performing for the two of them, but the explanation came with the fact that one of them simply wasn't there. The evening came to a close with students playing the theme to our hit show 'Doctor Eh?', with the most notable episode being 'The Day of The Doctor (Brookman)'.

I don't think Tuesday was quite an 'Evening with the Stars', because that sounds a lot like the phrase 'Everyone's a winner', but, certainly, for Hampstead, it was a step up.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Head Says Something Agreeable

With the resignation of Mr. Gove from the office of Education Secretary yesterday, there came a flood of joy from teachers and students, as well as an interview of our beloved Head, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fish of the Sea, Jacques Szhineonyoucrazydiamondkowski, on Channel 4 news, taking place live outside the end of year Performing Arts Concert. In the interview, as a Head that has challenged Señor Gove (to no avail, might we add) along with many other Heads, Mr. Szmilelikeyoumeanitkowski made some very salient points about Michael Gove's reign of terror, discussed below, as well as some slightly hypocritical points that we here at the Trash picked up on.

First let us praise the Head for what he did say against Mr. Gove, however late it came in his career as Education Secretary. The Head said that in his career Mr. Gove had been "meddling in a fairly ad-hoc and arbitrary way in the running of schools", and that he had a "singular view of what's valuable in education [...] and what subjects are worthwhile". The Head also attacked the reforms Gove had made, saying they were "very difficult to implement".

This is all fine, but then the Head went on to say of the event he was outside that "the performing arts festival we've got here is actually a statement from our school's point of view that we value creativity and we value arts very, very strongly". Now, that may be partially true as, yes, many of Gove's policies penalised the arts in favour of the core subjects, and it is true, that the school holds the arts in high regard, but the Head certainly doesn't. We have said in various articles across the time we have been posting that the arts at Hampstead lack a great deal of funds for equipment and events, this being the first in over seven years for a Performing Arts festival to take place, with a budget attached to it. Also, we have had reports that the Head has, in the past, allegedly try to remove at least three Performing Arts teachers, as he didn't see them as neccesary assets. It is an insult to students that he is happy to be interviewed through the first half of the concert, despite standing up at the end and saying he was happy to had seen the entire performance, and an insult to teachers, especially those of the Performing Arts variety, that he is the one to stand up at the end to make a speech and give thanks for attending, as if he personally organised the event. It is unfortunate that a good statement is otherwise tainted, but the Head does not care about Performing Arts; only when it suits him and gains him gratitude.

He backed up his previous point by saying of the Arts Industry that "it is a powerhouse of our economy and has been marginalised by Mr. Goves reforms". However, another fly in the ointment came towards the end of the interview; when asked by Channel 4's Prize Winner for Feigning Interest what had been the problem with Gove, what he had done or how he had done it, Jacques Szabbathbloodysabbathkowski answered "the way he did things", which, we are sure, would offend many people who believe that many of Mr. Gove's reforms were regressive as well as badly handled, rather than progressive. After all, he is a Conservative, which we suspect the Head is after a statement like that (or maybe he was just trying to protect his Public Sector paycheck).

In spite of this, the Head ended the interview with the notion that the next year be "a period of stability and consultation and consolidation", which sounds awfully like a plenary.

To see the full interview, click the link here.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Year of Mourning: A Year on from SLUDGE's Obituary

A year on from the now-infamous SLUDGE Obituary article, Heywood Jablome looks back at the points raised in the rant, and what the result of the aftermath was.

‘Sup w**kstains, what’s good?

It's a year since the article that eventually lead to this blog's notoriety, yet many of the issues raised by SLUDGE in his Obituary are still prevalent today. Going back through the article point by point, it is possible to see that a year since, there has still been a lack of change made by anyone over the points Kinnan raised in his article that, seemingly, many students agreed with. 

"The blame does not lie with the teachers, it lies with the management, whether that be the SLT or the Government."  This point remains true. Under Gove's regime, an emphasis on grades over understanding has been glaringly obvious, and schools (not just Hampstead, but nationwide) have been pandering to this. The changes in a few years for students to only get one shot at GCSE or A Level exams are putting 15 to 18 year olds under even more staggeringly stupid amounts of pressure than previously, something said to be hindering results. At the end of the day, umpteen exams sat for an hour over a period of a month decides the future of someone's life, who when finding themselves working, will see that the coursework Gove so despises is actually the closest to what the everyday experience is.

"So f**k you school management, f**k you."  This is where we delve into Kinnan's Fruity Language & Mad Writings A*. Granted there was probably too much choice language in the article, but it's no more choice than heard on the Quad day in day out; no more choice than used in Sachsgate, which the Head defended the use of in English lessons. Anyway, let's ignore the hypocrisy on swearing, and look at the points he makes in that paragraph:

  • "Not helping with any extracurricular activities" We have said time and time again that the number of clubs decreasing year on year, nowadays you'd struggle to find any that aren't sports clubs, which wasn't the case a few years ago.
  • "For the pointless media appearances" As referred to by SLUDGE in his guest return for #OneYearOfTrash, "A full-page advert in the paper that practically condemned its public image to faeces and things are supposedly ay-okay!"
  • "For the obsessiveness and money you put into producing photos and banners that nobody actually likes" They like to make themselves seem larger than they actually are (That's what she said). We have shown recently that all the banners, adverts and photos come at great cost to school funds.
  • "for the amount of bulls**t you spew out about the school is in the top ten percent nationally, when really its for most improved" This statement was expounded upon by Cllr. Hugh G. Rection last November, where the numbers the school had produced were taken apart and shown that even the Head's 5 Year Trend was largely untrue, which can be found here.
  • "For the lack of enthusiasm you put into listening to students' concerns" This strikes at the heart of the Trash and the reason we started it in the first place. Kinnan said it, and we all thought it, and had been thinking it for years. Like any office of power, the school's management honestly do not care for the students' opinions, but society dictates that they have to seem to care; hence why, as we have picked up on many a time, we have an inefficient School Council, pointless suggestion boxes and a democratic system that largely does not work and is easily bypassed. This needs to change. Even though a large majority is written in jest, both our humorous and our serious articles highlight the views and problems that students have with the school. It voices opinions that otherwise go unvoiced. 
Now, we could go on and dissect SLUDGE's Obituary article point by point, such as above, as, despite its 'fruity language', it is one of the seminal and most poignant articles this blog has ever produced, but we thought those five quotes meant the most to where the Trash is now, rather than this time last year. You can, of course, go back and read that famed article by clicking here.

However, since Kinnan has left us and gone on to university, his 'mad writings' have only gone and won him Student Writer of the Year at Portsmouth:

Who knew Portsmouth liked their language 'fruity'.