Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Trust nothing. Trust No-one. Everyone is biased. Except Hampstead School.

With the expansion of the Newspeak Dictionary Hampstead Planner came a new bout of worthless pages, which have existed in large print on the walls of our establishment for a while now, resulting in a waste of paper and ink. The only reason we haven't bothered to pick these posters apart before hand is because their flaws seemed so obvious. The writing was literally on the wall. However, with them clogging up an already clogged journal, we thought it time to point out the pure stupidity of these 'initiatives'.

We have already devoted an entire article to the Purple Pyramid of Progress (or the Grey Triangle of Chance to give it its factual name), the link to which can be found here, so we shan't go through that rigmarole again.

The first page we want to touch on can be found on page 8 of the Hampstead planner. The page talks about the school warning system, and how warnings range from “the teacher will remind” to “persistent misconduct will result in a third and final warning, accompanied by a more severe sanction and detention points”, which makes it a bit odd that the title is then “It's all about progress!” Equally, why would the 'more severe sanction' be accompanied by 'detention points', when detention points are only awarded after someone fails to attend their detention? Are they just assuming that any student who gets three warnings in a class will innately ignore the attention?

Now we turn to the HABZ page (27, for those following along at home). We have said in the past that the ideals outlined by HABZ are commendable, just sometimes the fashion to which they are executed is subject to criticism, the same way as the ideal of lebensraum being an aspirational policy of the Nazis, accept invading Europe and killing 12 million people in the process might've raised a few eyebrows. Neither do they do themselves any favours on this page. Apart from the obvious formatting 'quirks', there were several semantical errors (fully explained thanks to our sub-editor P. E. Dant) as well as some other problems. First, in the initial paragraph, its not “we are a group of Hampstead student's here” because the students are not possessive of the 'here', they are plural, and so don't need the apostrophe. Secondly, in the same sentence, they say that they are “here to help stop and get rid of all forms of bullying” which, although praiseworthy, is a tautology. If you 'stop' bullying, it will cease to exist, and so we would be 'rid of' it.

Now, most of the advice they give is fairly sound, especially when it comes to cyber-bullying, if a little contradictory. They say “Deactivate your Facebook, Twitter etc. and don't go online for a few days”, which makes sense. However, later on, they say “Put your profile on private”, which can't be done if you're account is deactivated, and doesn't account for someone being bullied through text. So, to remedy this, below is our step-by-step guide to how to deal with cyber-bullying:
  1. Receive something constituting bullying
  2. Close tab
  3. Get on with something else
This brings us nicely onto the 'E-Safety' page of the planner (28 for the wastemen). The school manages to be notoriously bad, hypocritical or misinformed when it comes to giving advice about the internet, especially to a age strata of people that will always be more aware than them.

The first bold claim was that “File sharing can be illegal. Downloading of games, music and videos unless paid for is illegal”. Damn school with its capitalist agenda. The problem with the statement is that the vast majority of files on the internet are available legally free, such as, for instance, VLC Media Player, Google Chrome, Adobe Flash and the every past paper there has been (all downloaded files the school uses), and with that said, it has nothing to do with safety, as file sharing is only unsafe when downloading files more virus-ridden than a Liberian nurse.

We at the Trash are constantly happy that any files we share are free for use and download, and these can be found at Szemelileaks.

Think about who created the website and the possible bias it may contain within the site. Don't trust anything you see online.” These jabs by the school aren't exactly getting less thinly-veiled, are they? Of course, any serious reporting we do is always backed up by sources, and we try our hardest to cite these in any article of that nature. By their own rule, however, it means we should not unquestioningly trust any claim the school makes online, namely on their website. Claims such as, for example, “Encourage our students to develop enquiring minds [...] in school for them to develop morally” Hmm...

Now we come to what we deem the quote that shows the school are antiquated old farts that know little about what goes “on-line”. They say “Our website is filtered so that access will not be given based on addresses, content and key words.” (Undoubtedly words such as 'Trash', 'Zaloom', and content such as 'satire', 'free-speech', or 'Wikipedia'.) Your website is filtered? Your website? Your knowledge of the internet is not even on a par with the collective knowledge of our respective geriatric grandparents, let alone good enough to impart these falsehoods on people, as the eSafety scheme attempts to do (poorly, evidently). If only there was some sort of educational department that dealt with things such as computing in the school that could help you with the correct terminology... Or even a group of technicians that could proof-read what you had written to make sure it was all true...

The school is, actually, talking about the filters that apply to their servers in school, not their website or their instagram (#NoFilter). This is the filter that they proclaim to be them stopping us seeing things that we “don't want to see” (even though most children are perfectly capable of accessing whatever these things may be if they really wanted to, outside of school) is not actually them at all, but something called Grid for Learning, which is a mandate from government that blocks a list of websites the government deems inappropriate for education, not the school. Of course the school are allowed to block their own particular pet hates on the local system (such as this blog), but they aren't exactly God's gift to child protection.

So, what have we learn't today, kids? Well apart from the school being hypocritical, delusional, under the fantasy they are intellectually superior (which you would hope they are), terrible at formatting, terrible at using a dictionary, terrible at giving advice and, at points, simply just liars, not much. Oh well, so much for the planner.


Monday, 16 March 2015

Attendance Logic a No-Show

Over the past week the majority of Year 12's and 13's have been placed on Attendance and Punctuality Report by the school, due to the fact that many students have been supposedly achieving under 95% attendance.

Whilst this may be the case for some of the students on report, the sheer amount of people the school have put on report raises a few questions, first and foremost being: why so many? As many teachers and students have pointed out alike, attendance is based on the a.m and p.m registers. This means students in Years 12 & 13 have a narrower margin for attendance (1 mark off in 4 equating to 25% of an attendance percentage, as opposed to, say, 1 in 20 accounting for 5%). Unhelpfully, the school uses a system wherein unmarked registers also count against your score; if your teacher is off or doesn't take the register, you take the fall for it. This poor mathematics on the school's behalf lead one teacher to call the whole thing "nonsense".

The second question that arises is, what's the point? If the numbers are inaccurate, and are blatantly so, why bother with the report at all? If you have the entirety of a class on report, it's a waste of time for teacher and student, especially if those students are on time and have simply been caught in the net, such as, ironically, the Head Girl and Head Boy, and the Head of Prefects. Don't bother, and reserve the report for those who actually need it. Equally, if the majority of students are on report because they are not meeting standards, but are attending lessons, perhaps the bar is set slightly too high? I know we should aspire to greatness, but the last time members of a school thrust their greatness on students, they were put on a register.

Finally, as a school that supposedly champions the environment through REACT and the many millions of bins on the grounds, it is one hell of a waste of paper.

Monday, 9 March 2015

ORIGINAL BRITISH DRAMA BLOCK: Sneaky Blighters

The second in the series of new school productions.

Sneaky Blighters is a gangster family epic set in Birmingham, England in 1919, just after the First Quad War. The story centres on the historic Sneaky Blighters gang and their ambitious and highly dangerous boss Kinnan Shelby. The gang comes to the attention of Chief Inspector Jacques Campbell, a detective in the Royal Ingrish Constabulary. Winston Churchill charged him with suppressing fomenting disorder and uprising in Back Cage North (which is entirely populated by Muslims, *FOX News, 2015) and recovering a stolen cache of cookies meant to be shipped to Cricklewoodgrad.

The second series is set two years after the first and sees the Shelby cartel expand their empire to East and West Quad while maintaining a stronghold in their Back Cage North heartland.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Respectful Language: Piss Off

The Trash has come upon the presentation given about Respectful Language towards the end of half term. The files, available on the shared area, include the powerpoint, as well as various other documents, including teacher's notes and a lesson plan.

As we have said in a previous article, the presentation was, in a few respects, very funny, as on slide three it referred to the Head among religious leaders (as well as a random person called Iman, because the school cannot spell 'Imam'), and shouting 'Fire in a crowded theatre' (see below). However, on closer inspection, we found some things we had missed first time round, and this gave us the chance to mess around a bit.




First thing we noticed was the splattering of Article 13 about the presentation, the title slide proclaiming that "Every child must be free to say what they think and to seek and receive all kinds of information". Yeah, because the school is famed for that. What makes it more ironic is that that isn't even a direct quote for the Rights of a Child Charter. The school put that down. 1 point to wishful thinking.

The class settler was supposedly to play them the "respect rap". Now, this may be us just being cynical, but we reckon a hilarious out-of-touch cringe-worthy video is the last thing to get any year settled.

One of the additional questions in the notes was "What impression of Hampstead School and its students, do you think a visitor would get if they crossed the yard at break, lunch or after school and heard students using swear words as part of their everyday speech." P. E. Dant noticed that not only does the question lack a question mark, but so do all the questions on slide eleven, as well as questions on slides five and twelve. To answer the question: who cares? If one of the hinging points of children talking to each other in a formal manner is because they, or the school, are worried that someone might hear them (chipping away at the fantastic facade the school has generated), then they probably ought to re-evaluate their priorities.

To quote something on slide four, which sums up the presentation, and the 'initiative', as a whole, is that it is about "finding ways to express ourselves without causing offence to others", which we thought was rich, especially after certain members of the schools, in assemblies, advocated the work of Charlie Hebdo after the shootings, the main prerogative of which being that in France they uphold the right to offend, and offend they did.

We at the Trash believe there is and always will be a place for swearing, as with any word. Any English teacher will tell you that every word is used to evoke a certain effect; the same goes for swear words. Obviously overuse, and use in the wrong context or situation, is bad, but sometimes swearing is a necessary thing, regardless of respect.

However, now on to fun making. We began with slide eleven, wherein we replaced every mention of 'language' with 'dildo'. We wonder how it worked out...
For those that want to play along at home, another word that works is 'whisk',
although suggestions for others in the comments are greatly appreciated.
The presentation also asked that "On the piece of paper provided write down every ‘negative’ language word you know". Unfortunately, the last time a writer for this blog did that publicly, he was expelled.

We Must Have Respectful Language, Unless you're Telling Someone you had Sex with their Granddaughter

The title of this article, of course, refers to the Sachsgate scandal, which included quite a lot of Disrespectful Language, or 'fruity' to put it in the words of the Head. It seems hypocritical that that sort of language is defended in the classroom, but, simultaneously, admonished; tutors being asked to "encourage the use of appropriate school language".

In previous articles, we poked fun at the Respectful Language 'initiative' the school has taken upon itself in the past few months (in the run up to being assessed for Level 2 Rights Respecting School, coincidentally), but then we discovered a whole trove of incendiary presentations on the subject. Like in the previous article, we found an 'Extension Activity' in one, featuring the word "responsibilities" far too much, and so we inserted 'fetishes' instead of it, to see how it worked out:


At this point P. E. Dant stuck his fat hooter in and pointed out some of the stupid little mistakes that jumped out when you actually looked at the presentation for more than a second. For instance:


He pointed out that the black comment seemed to be written by someone smashing their face repeatedly against a keyboard. Not only should the first 'the' have a capital letter (because its the start of a sentence you four-year-olds), there should be a semi-colon or full-stop and capital letter after 'insult', but we don't recall 'people' having a zero in it. Also, another full-stop at the end.

Also, the word 'gay' doesn't always mean a homosexual. In fact, the use of 'gay' to describe a homosexual only came about in the 1920's and 1930's; before that it meant someone who was “joyful”, “carefree”, “full of mirth”, or “bright and showy”. Come the 19th century and the word gay referred to a woman who was a prostitute, and a gay man was someone who slept with a lot of women. Ironic, no?


This one was fairly obvious: "Write this done in your books"?