Climate change in action by Susan Grimsdell

A survey of how kids get to school found that of the sample number of approximately  800,000 young people, about 580,000 get there by car, 450,000 of those driving themselves, which means they were unlikely to be able to take a passenger.  About 100,000 took a public bus or train and just over 100,000 caught a school bus. Action not words I was interested in these numbers when I thought about the kids’ recent climate change march.  “What do we want?  Climate change action. When do we want it?  NOW!”  I’m all… Read More

School donations in New Zealand by Susan Grimsdell

Schools in New Zealand are rated from 1 to 10, depending on the socio-economic  zone in which they’re located.  Decile 10 applies to wealthy areas and Decile 1 to deprived areas.  The system was introduced in 1995 by the right-wing National Party. Donations required Primary and high school education are free here, but almost all schools ask for a donation from parents to fund facilities and amenities not normally supplied. In Decile 10 areas, parents donate heaps, as you can imagine.  In poor areas, donations are a problem for parents who simply… Read More

I don’t blame me! By Trevor Plumbly

Remember this 1970s pop lyric? Dad’s gone down the dog track, Muvver’s playing bingo, Granny’s boozing in the parlour, You oughta see the gin go. No-one seems to notice me, isn’t it a sin, What a crazy world we’re living in. My circumstances were such that I didn’t suffer from any of that sort of family indifference as a child. Okay, the lyrics are sort of funny, but for a hell of a lot of kids it was a reality. Back then kids were left to their own devices to an extent… Read More

A day at the beach with Year 4 by Angela Caldin

Yesterday I went as a helper for my granddaughter’s class on an outing for the whole of her year to a nearby beach. There are 26 in her class and there are five classes in the year, making a total of about 130 children aged 8 to be transported, supervised and occupied for five hours or so until the return to school. There were five teachers and various helpers who each had a group of five children to look after. The organisation required before and during was mind boggling and I wholeheartedly… Read More

The Wimp’s progress by Trevor Plumbly

Systematic selection As technology continues to herd us into a convenient mass to maintain its influence, let’s spare a thought for the poor sods struggling to survive under the thumb of the ‘wimps’. These previously insignificant little buggers now rule cyberspace. Such folk were once the dross of the school system; in those days  ‘average’ set the standard for academic achievement, above or below that attracted unhealthy attention. Thus the more active thugs were labelled ‘misfits’ and those unable to fit in either slot were deemed to have a ‘nervous disposition’ i.e…. Read More