The strait-jacket of the State just got tighter: UK Supreme Court Ruling against Jon Platt & school absence

Jon Platt speaking outside UK Supreme Court today (taken from his FB page Jon Platt – School Fines Refunds

Reading the news today that the valiant Isle of Wight father, Jon Platt, lost his case in the UK Supreme Court comes as a sickening, if hardly surprising, blow to ordinary, law-abiding parents.

Mr Platt bravely fought the state on its insistence on fining him for removing his daughter for one week so they could go to Disney, because his daughter had been ‘regularly attending’ school having a 92% attendance rate. According to High Court rulings between 1969-2006, he said, this could be defined as ‘regular’. But no longer.

None of this is a surprise to those of us who’ve had children in State school for more than 5 years. In that time, we’ve felt the tightening of the strings on the strait-jacket that school has become. Firstly, the imposition of fines for parents who take their children out without permission in 2013, the connection of attendance rates with Ofsted ratings and the de facto removal of the Head’s authority to grant up to 10 days absence per child. Continue reading

Trump victory: how to keep our heads when all around are losing theirs

kiplingquoteAnd so this morning, the world has woken up to what the vast majority of the British (and I dare say world) public feel is a tragic, shocking, deeply disturbing result: Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America.

It’s like Brexit all over again, but on a global scale.  Even the weather has chimed in – it poured with rain last night just as it did the night of the Brexit vote in a season of unusually dry weather. Continue reading

How to talk to your kids about #Brexit upset

Since last Friday when the results of the EU Referendum on Brexit were announced, the TV, radio, internet and adults seem to be talking about nothing else but Brexit. No matter which way your household voted it is highly likely that your children will be used to furrowed brows, heated discussions, maybe anger or elation, and possibly a fair bit of strong language.

“What’s going on??!!” wrote one friend of my 12 year old daughter’s on her iMessage thread last Friday morning. “Everyone’s going crazy :-(”

Upset & Relief signs Indeed. Many children, both young and teens, are confused, anxious and worried about what this all means. The older ones are angry that they never got to vote yet are all too aware that the older generation voted a different way from how they would have done. The younger ones are genuinely confused:

Mummy,” said my friend’s 8 year old son. “If we do get separated from Europe, will we feel it? Will it feel like an earthquake or something?”

So what do we do or say to allay their fears? Continue reading

Now is the time for leadership – starting with us #Brexit

The shocking result of the referendum last Thursday detonated on Friday morning sending people into either a tail spin of panic, or quiet jubilation.  The unthinkable had happened: the majority (by a hair’s breath) of the British population wanted out from Europe.

As most of my friends were Remain voters, my twitter and Facebook account was full of shock, horror and anger.  None of us really believed it would swing this way.  We knew people were disgruntled, disenfranchised and too ready to listen to disingenuous politicians pointing at migrants as the reason for the lack of GP appointments and school places.  But we didn’t realise it was quite this big, nor that a normally conservative populace would take the radical option, an option that most people had no idea of the full and very real consequences.

And so the proverbial hit the fan.   Continue reading

In or Out? Why this EU vote is so hard for a post-modern society

decision-making-300x300As we draw near to 23 June, the date of the UK Referendum on the EU, it is becoming clearer to me why this is going to be such a tough vote.

It’s not simply because the issues are complex, the case far from clear cut and the reasons for voting to Leave after 40 years as understandable as the reasons for staying.

Whilst these are all very real, I wonder if it is because we are being asked to make a decisive choice: Yes or No. Continue reading