Day 20 – On the Buses

SMS was out on the campaign trail yesterday, leafletting in Queens Park and talking to voters and taxpayers, some of whom are parents. It was interesting, informative, and maybe good practice for things to come. Of course, not everybody agreed with SMS, but honestly, SMS would say the majority were in favour of the retention of three tier. It was around 2:1 in favour of retention during the official public consultation in 2006 as SMS recalls.

One voter used to be a bus driver and said that he thought it was crazy that the little-uns would be put with the big-uns on the same bus at 11. He said the older kids smoked when they were obviously not supposed to (and not just tobacco either) and that he, on his own with 60 or so youths, was pretty much powerless to do anything to stop them.

Do you want your sons and daughters on school buses at age 11 with 15-17 year-old youths?

Or will we employ inspectors to stop the corrupting influence of older children?

A rather entertaining image of our elected Mayor as Blakey from On the Buses just came to mind there…must be the lack of sleep…

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10 Responses to Day 20 – On the Buses

  1. sarah k says:

    This is a really good point!It doesn’t stop there: just imagine year 6 children on the playground with children from reception/year 1? Or 11 year olds mixing with sixth form students? Of course, other places do it – but is that scenario better than the one we have now? Of course not.
    Try to imagine some of the real children you know in that position, maybe transferring to a large secondary school from a very small primary school. Would they be prepared for what they find? Middle school allows children some growing space, where they can be children for that little bit longer…

  2. mp says:

    Just want to say am in total agreement with sarah k and can imagine the scenario to which she referes only too well. The whole thing is frightening.

  3. Rachel and Debbie says:

    We can only agree, children that go to a middle school learn stratagies to better approach the demands of the exam years. The age difference then does not appear to be so vast. Surely this is a good thing?!

  4. James says:

    How dare you say we want to stop the corrupting influence of older children

    Well I am an older “child” in year 11 (We prefer to be known as young people” and I am certianly not a corrupting person.

    Maybe you should ask what we think – The council have already told us they will listen to our views so will you?

  5. savemiddleschools says:

    How are the council listening to you? Are you participating in debates? Do you have a vote? Did you realise the UN Children’s Charter specifies that children have the right to be consulted?

    Why don’t you demand the right to be heard and listened to? Was Middle School good or bad for you, or do you want a massive disruptional change for future pupils without overwhelming evidence of a step change in standards?

    The council aren’t really listening to you, they are trying to railroad this ill-thought chaotic change through without opposition.

    And of course not all young people are a corrupting influence, just like not all older people are solid citizens. But some of each undoubtedly are, and 11 year olds have the right to be safe too.

    Demand the right to be heard James – we listened to you – will the council?

  6. James says:

    Thank you for responding (i do have to say that I thought you would ignore my comment!)

    We do have a youth cabinet, supported by the old County Council and now the Borough council which meets monthly with senior council people to discuss all kind of things and was elected by over 11,000 young people.

    We have lots of youth forums across North Beds which the council officers come out and support.

    We are quite often asked to help the council work on stratergies and I saw in the paper that there are two young people who are now sitting on the childrens trust board – the board that will be involved in making this decision.

    I also think that the council has workers and a team who are there to work with Children and young people to make sure thier voices are heard.

    I still don’t understand why an 11 year old wouldn’t be safe….. despite what papers say we are not all drugged up asbo people who sleep around (which is what you are tying to make out in this post and some others)

    an 11 year old can still mix with older young people at lots of differant times not just in school – Personally I think this is a bad tatic to take.

    I wouuld also like to add that I have seen lots of middle school aged people smoking and drinking!! If there was a two tier syestem they would get better support earlier.

    Yes I did go to middle school which was okay but I woudl have prefered changing school once and earlier (it takes time to make new friends and decide what subjects @ GCSE you want to do) to be honst I woun’t be at school when changes take place. But It does make me very angry when people try to blame young people for things.

  7. savemiddleschools says:

    James, it is wonderful that the Middle School system has produced such a confident and mature young adult as you. You obviously have a bright future ahead of you !

    If you have children of your own later in life, then you will understand the fears that many parents have for the safety of their children. Of course these dangers aren’t restricted to those we have been talking about, and it must be infuriating to be labelled with a negative stereotype such as the drugged-up asbo people thing.

    I would say though that the original post was concerning a real encounter with a real ex-bus driver. It was an anecdote which we wanted to share.

    The other side in this debate have all the power and influence. They are using taxpayers money to get their message across. All we have is some very committed parents, teachers and governors who believe we are sleepwalking into a nightmare of chaotic change.

    And of course we wouldn’t censure anyone – unless their comments were unsuitable for public display. We believe in open and honest debate – the other side apparently doesn’t.

    Ask your pupil forums why we aren’t being equal platform time in the official consultation exercise.

    Ask why your pupil forums are being fed one side of the argument.

    Ask yourself whether the council are trying to manipulate this process.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.

  8. James says:

    Thank you.

    I would dare to suggest that it was more the upper school debating team that helped me be confident rather than the middle school but you may twist that comment to lol

    I look forwarc to watching the argument from both sides unfold over the next few weeks and will try to commnet on her with my opinion every now and then – you never know you may convert me!

  9. savemiddleschools says:

    I wouldn’t dare twisting anyone’s comments…well not much…


  10. Helen says:

    “The corrupting influence of older children”, “the whole thing is frightening” – I’m sorry, but what kind of monsters are these “youths” and “year 6 (age 10-11) children on the playground”? Certainly nothing I can recognise as a parent and voluntary youth leader.

    James is justified in being offended by the generalisations in these comments. The actions of a few young people, and the problems of society as a whole with regards to smoking, alcohol abuse, drugs etc are being projected onto the majority of (generally) well-behaved, hard-working, fun, sociable and caring young people who can be seen all around us doing great things – community work, music and drama, environmental projects, sports and coaching, socialising and building themselves into well-rounded individuals through youth groups such as scouting. Problems on the buses are caused by inadequate adult supervision, and do occur on buses to Middle School too. The driver can not – and should not have to – maintain discipline, the borough needs to provide a budget for paid supervision, perhaps out of some of the money to be saved by not going 2-tier?

    Get to know a few more “youths” individually – they do have reasonable opinions and must be listened to: “Every Child Matters”, remember? Ask them their views about the Middle Schools debate, but please do not lump them all into one basket. This is what all the pro two-tier discussion of statistics (Grade A to C at GCSE Results, KS2 results etc) is about and we must resist this kind of pigeonholing and reliance on selective quantitative data in favour of the qualitative, overwhelming evidence from Middle School OFSTED reports etc.

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