Forum Topics

Support Your Local Newspaper

I hope the good people who run this site don't mind me putting this message up. I'm confident they won't given what I am told about their basic decency.The local chapter of the NUJ is currently balloting for industrial action for staff working for Newsquest in the South London area. This includes the Wandsworth Guardian. What is proposed is a significant number of job cuts across the area and a move to 'remote working' for many of the editorial staff. The paper is currently based in Sutton.Newsquest is owned by a Texas based media conglomerate with a CEO who is paid millions. The UK subsidiary is profitable and only needs to make these cuts to maintain the dividend growth to the parent company.This is not comparable to the opportunistic industrial action taken by overpaid tube drivers. The people who work at these newspapers are skilled professionals on relatively low wages.Many of us may no longer read a local newspaper, and I have to confess to not having picked up a copy of the Guardian for a long time. I do often read their articles online though. There is no doubt that newspapers in general have declined from their heyday but it would be wrong to say that they have lost all value to the local community and we would miss them if they were gone.We are lucky in this area to have a good independent news web site but that is nicely complemented by printed paper and so a shuttered Wandsworth Guardian or a paper produced with minimal editorial content would be bad news for us all.IF you aren't inclined to lobby on behalf of the Wandsworth Guardian by for instance writing to Sheila Boswell, Jane Ellison or Justine Greening then you could still support the local paper simply by reading it either in print and online.

David Parker ● 1825d1 Comments ● 1358d

Balham Literary Festival: 10th-12th June

COSTA AND SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE WINNER HELEN MACDONALD, ROBERT MACFARLANE AND CHINA MIÉVILLE ANNOUNCED TO HEADLINE THE INAUGURAL BALHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL IN JUNEAn exciting line-up of bestselling authors, performers, and outdoor workshops has been announced for the inaugural Balham Literary Festival, at The Bedford in Balham (Friday 10th June to Sunday 12th June). Costa-winning author Helen Macdonald, Robert Macfarlane, China Miéville and performance artist Inua Ellams will be headlining the three-day festival, which is curated by Dulwich Books of West Dulwich and will celebrate ‘A Way of Being in the World.’ The festival starts with a taster event on 4th June called The Midnight Run, a night-time cultural exploration of Balham with award-winning poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams. On Friday 10th June, Rob Cowen, author of the bestselling Common Ground will explain how to find your own piece of edgeland. Later, Helen Macdonald, author of the Costa-winning H is for Hawk will be discussing the resurgence of British nature writing with Sara Wheeler and Patrick Barkham. The day ends with live music presented in conjunction with Caught by the River. On Saturday morning, bird-watcher and author Tim Dee will be discussing ‘the Birds and the Bees’ with poet and artist Sean Borodale, author of Bee Journal, whilst Lauren Elkin and Matt Beaumont will recount their experiences of being ‘flâneurs’ in London and Paris, by day and by night. That afternoon in the Bedford’s Map Room, Kirsty Gunn, Tendai Huchu and Will Cohu will speak about the song of the land, and the creation of landscape and atmosphere in fiction. For those who would rather enjoy the summer outside, Ruth Potts from anarchist collective bread, print and roses will be leading a walking tour around South West London. Back in The Bedford, the festival’s second day continues with Andrea Wulf, James Macdonald Lockhart and Will Atkins on extremes of flight and exploration, followed by China Miéville who will skew the picturesque in an investigation written especially for the event.Sunday begins with Bradley Garrett and Inua Ellams exploring the urban landscape and then sees two events with bestselling academic and travel writer Rob Macfarlane, speaking first about the myth of the Green Man with China Miéville and Nina Lyon, and then later in conversation with Andrew Michael Hurley, author of 2015’s Costa winner The Loney, and Stephanie Cross. Environment writer and author Fred Pearce and architectural writer Owen Hatherley will close the festival discussing our built and natural landscapes and how we can save them. Tickets start from £10.00 and are available at www.balhamliteraryfestival.co.uk.

Hayley Steed ● 1489d0 Comments ● 1489d

DISPLACEMENTS with Ben Rawlence, Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes

Thursday 10th March, 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 and are fully redeemable against a purchase of City of Thorns10% of profits from the event will be donated to CalAid (calaid.co.uk)Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land. To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a ‘nursery for terrorists’; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort. Among those seeking sanctuary there are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education. In City of Thorns, described as ‘timely, disturbing and compelling’ by The Guardian, Ben interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there.Olumide Popoola is a writer, lecturer, poet and performer. In the last year she has made a number of visits to the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais. Unlike Dadaab, which is administered by the UN, the Jungle is a settlement established by the people who live there, most of whom are trying to reach the UK. Olumide’s experiences will be recorded in Breach, to be published by Peirene Press in August 2016, and will tell the story of the crisis through the voices of refugees stuck in Calais. It documents an illusion disrupted: ‘that of a neatly ordered world, with those deserving safety and comfort separated from those who need to be kept out’. Annie Holmes is the co-writer of Breach. Originally from Zimbabwe, she is a distinguished filmmaker, writer and lecturer. She has worked extensively on tackling the structural causes of HIV at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.What are the root causes of current displacements? What are the long-term prospects for refugee camps and the people who live in them? And of course, what can the UK and the wider international community do to help? Join us to discuss the past, present and future of refugee camps. With an unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe, and the continued displacement of peoples on other continents, there has hardly been a more important time to reflect on the status of these precarious communities.

Dulwich Books at The Bedford ● 1554d0 Comments ● 1554d

Help needed from local residents please.

My name is Janet Humphrey. I have reached the final of a competition which may give my brother and I a chance to take our Father Stan Ball to Gallipoli. You may be aware that 2016 is the 101st year since the Gallipoli campaign was started.My Granddad Ball  (Stanley Arthur William) was born and raised in South London, lived in Eltringham Street Wandsworth, and was married on Christmas Day 1925 at the St Johns Hill Church.He joined the City of London Royal Fusiliers regiment. He had already served in the regular army as a member of  2RF between 14 July 1898 and 29 October 1910. 2RF served in India and Burma, we were told by the Fusiliers Museum in London. He was quite a bit older than others who were asked to join up for the war.He rejoined the army on 8th September 1914 so he wasn't in the first flood of returning reservists. He served in Britain (Home) between 9 September 1914 and 9 May 1915, he then went to join the 2RF again this time in Gallipoli, he remained with them until 12th July 1915, where he earned the Star Medal. He was wounded, there but joined his comrades in France, which lasted from 22 September 1915 to 25 October 1915 he was wounded (a bullet wound in the back) which along with his other injuries lead to his death from untreated gangrene in 1950.My father Stan grew up around Wandsworth, and my granddad was treated at St John Hospital Wandsworth, and after the war he trained and worked as a nurse, partly in repayment for the wonderful kindness he was shown. .We have organised a pledge page below, which gives a lot of extra detail on our pledge, and there is a personal message on there as well from my dad, to potential voters explaining why a vote for our pledge would make such a difference to him.https://www.facebook.com/Discoveryuk-MYWBpledge2016-1513515848952030/?ref=hlVoting closes at midnight on the 29th February 2016 but the more publicity we could get now, the more chance we have of winning. Please vote for "Janet Oxfordshire" as one of your three votes, and support a local WW1 soldier's son. Thank you http://www.discoveryuk.com/pledges/vote-now-2/

janet humphrey ● 1557d0 Comments ● 1557d

Internet Safety Workshop for parents: 7pm on 30th Nov

Following the excellent feedback received following last year's event, on Monday 30th November, Wandsworth Prep School will be hosting a highly valuable internet safety workshop with internet safety experts, Childnet International.The event is complimentary and will be open to all local parents.The event will commence at 7pm and will consist of a presentation entitled ‘Supporting Young People Online’. The Childnet Team aim to leave parents with knowledge about how to protect young people online and empower them with take home advice to implement into their children’s online lives.Issues covered will include:1. Positive use of the internet - exploration of websites and applications that offer opportunities to discover, connect and create (this includes a beginner’s guide to Social Networking Sites - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.)2. Potential misuse of the technologies - how children and young people can be vulnerable to inappropriate content, conduct and contact risks3. Cyberbullying - ‘Let’s Fight it Together’ is a powerful film produced by Childnet which is used to help sensitise young people and adults to the pain and hurt which can be caused through cyberbullying4. Minimising the risks - practical advice for adults and children to help them stay safe onlineIf you would like to attend, please contact our Office Secretary, Maria Major, to book your place: www.wandsworthprep.com/contact/

Amy Hebditch ● 1659d0 Comments ● 1659d

Cleaner, greener and cheaper pay-as-you-go cars!

This month, Co-wheels Car Club, a social enterprise and the UK’s largest independent operator of its kind, has landed in Wandsworth.Co-wheels members will now have access to the car sharing scheme and 10 low emission vehicles across London Borough of Wandsworth, with additional bays in new locations planned for 2016.  New members can join for free for a limited time (usually £25), and no annual membership fees. To claim your code for free membership, go to: co-wheels.org.uk/wandsworth. The new cars will predominantly be low emission Toyota Aygos, with Yaris hybrids also available from dedicated parking bays in Wandsworth:2 cars in Wandsworth o Ringford Roado Haldon Road2 cars in Tooting o Crockerton Roado Langroyd Road5 cars in Putney o Holroyd Roado Norroy Roado Earldom Roado Lacy Roado Roskell RdAn additional bay will be coming shortly in 2015.Co-wheels operate as a social enterprise and has a commitment to improving the environment with a fleet that is 40% per cent less polluting than the average public-owned car. Wandsworth is the car club capital of south London but Co-wheels will bring something new and different from the existing operators in the borough. As a Community Interest Company, Co-wheels ploughs all of its profits back into expanding and improving the service, whilst keeping rates as low as possible for membersCo-wheels is the largest Car Club operator in the UK with operations in more than 50 locations, from small villages to large cities. With cars available in popular escapes like the Lake District, Shropshire, Norfolk, and Scotland, Wandsworth members can get on a train and have access to cars across the country.

Daisy Pratt ● 1672d0 Comments ● 1672d

Starfish Breakfast Run on Clapham Common

Enjoy a Mother’s Day with a difference by taking part in a friendly 5km run on Sunday 15 March on Clapham Common ¬– and there’s a 100m dash for the kids too!Everyone gets a medal, t-shirt, Mother’s Day goody bag and a tasty picnic basket to enjoy on the common afterwards. There will be a pre-race warm-up to get everyone in the mood and there’s even sports massage available if the legs are hurting.The course is clearly marked and totally flat – perfect for those looking to take it easy, as well as for runners aiming to post a fast time. As well as the 5km distance, there will be 10km and 15km runs for the fitter runners, but the emphasis will be on taking part and having fun.For those members of the family happier to support rather than run, there will be loads of activities such as face painting, a bouncy castle, tombola and other stalls to ensure everyone has a great day out.The Starfish Breakfast Run is organised by the Starfish Greathearts Foundation, a UK-based charity that supports children with HIV and AIDS in South Africa. This year Starfish has once again teamed up Wasserman Media Group, sports and entertainment specialists, who have donated their time and expertise to make the 2015 event even better than last year.Elinor Middleton, Global CEO, Starfish Greathearts Foundation commented, “Last year’s run was a huge success and we are aiming for an even bigger turn out this year to raise money for children orphaned by AIDS in southern Africa. We look forward to welcoming a big crowd on Sunday morning to run, cheer on their friends, or just enjoy the picnic. It’s incredible to think that just one person’s entry can provide two hot meals a day for a vulnerable child for over a week”.Feedback from a 2014 participant: “Thanks for putting on the Starfish Breakfast Run. My wife did the 10km course, while me and the kids cheered her over the line and then we all had a good time at the face-painting afterwards. A great day out for a really excellent cause, well done!”To sign up online for the event, which takes place on Clapham Common at 10am on Sunday 15th March 2015, please visit www.starfishcharity.org. Book in January for a discount offer. All proceeds support the work of Starfish Greathearts Foundation.

Katie Wand ● 1954d0 Comments ● 1954d

Lost in the Neuron Forest

Funfairs and sea air, first meetings and fond farewells: but the memories are fading fast. Unwilling to become lost in the ever-shifting landscape of her past, Edna seeks out ways of learning about how to preserve who she is in the present. When everything she can remember is falling away, who is Edna in the here and now?Join Edna on a journey of re-discovery through the stories of her past, navigating the depths of the neuron forest following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.An interactive exploration of the personal significance of memories, and how we can retain our sense of self when we begin to lose them.Lost in the Neuron Forest is a promenade performance developed by Bread and Goose with generous support from the Wellcome Trust, The Leche Trust, Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales. The show started out as part of Incubator at the Wales Millennium Centre, and was performed at the World Stage Design Festival 2014.Bread & Goose company info: Bread & Goose create engaging journeys through traditional and non-traditional theatre spaces, always placing the audience at the centre of the story.  Our work aims to be curious and thought-provoking, and encourages the audience to participate, to play, and to respond. Our previous work can be seen on our website: www.breadandgoose.co.ukDates & Venues:Southwark Playhouse 10th & 11th October (Previews)Canterbury Christchurch 15th OctoberBangor Pontio 18th OctoberWales Millennium Centre 21st OctoberMemo Arts Centre, Barry 22nd OctoberNewport Riverfront 23rd OctoberAberystwyth Arts Centre 24th OctoberHUB, Leeds 26th OctoberCamden People’s Theatre 30th, 31st Oct & 1st NovemberMORE INFO:http://www.breadandgoose.co.uk/Lost_In_The_Neuron_Forest.html

Hannah Tookey ● 2086d0 Comments ● 2086d

Cambridge Theatre Challenge: International Playwriting Competition

The “feedback and appraisal…is invaluable” - Aviva Philipp-Muller (participant)“A truly memorable and enjoyable experience” – Ashley Harris (participant)Cambridge Theatre Challenge24 -25 OctoberThe LOST Theatre, StockwellWriters block? Interest in new plays? Sky Blue Theatre presents the premiere of 10 new one act plays from around the world. An eclectic mix of comedy, thriller, romance, mystery and horror in two evenings wherein the audience will be asked to vote for the play they believe to be the best. The Cambridge Theatre Challenge is an international playwriting competition, which has been running for two years.This is a unique opportunity to see the premiere of new work by a group of hugely promising playwrights. The evening includes work from established writers such as 3 time Emmy nominee Arnold Kane to exceptional emerging playwrights like GCSE student Jennifer Sancho.The evenings will feature advice from speaker Leigh Chambers from WriteOn about the advantage of belonging to a writing group, whilst Stuart Ardern from Lazy Bee scripts will talk about  how to get your work published. Our selected winning plays are of the highest quality, so much so that after last year’s performances nine of the ten plays were offered publication. We expect this year’s plays to at least equal if not better that record.Originating at the Junction Theatre in Cambridge, the CTC now moves to The LOST Theatre in Stockwell. The Cambridge Theatre Challenge is growing rapidly in popularity, having more than quadrupled in the number of entrees from 2012 to 2013.The 2014 Winning PlaysA Darker Shade of Closure (Richard C Harris) – New ZealandBaking Bread (Ashley Harris) - UKPolitically Correct (Jennifer Sancho) - ScotlandIn a League of His Own (Mark Griffin) - IrelandWho’s Andy Warhol? (Anne Hamilton) - USAThat’s Amore (Arnold Kane) - USAThen Again (Marianne Philbin) - USANightwalking: Ladder Play #7 (Frank Canino) - USAUp in the Air (Catherine Comfort) - UKThe Proposition (Brian Coyle) - UKFind out more about Sky Blue Theatre’s Work on our website, or keep up to date with us on Facebook (/SkyBlueTheatreCo) and Twitter (@SkyBlueTheatre)BOOK TICKETS:http://www.losttheatre.co.uk/MORE INFO: http://www.skybluetheatre.com/CambridgeTheatreChallenge.php

Hannah Tookey ● 2087d0 Comments ● 2087d

Volunteer tutors needed - English or maths

Change a young person’s life with Action TutoringWithout C grades at GCSE in English and maths it’s difficult to progress in life. Action Tutoring is a registered charity that helps students from low-income backgrounds leave school with at least five A* - C grades at GCSE. These students do not perform as well at GCSE as their more affluent peers, and they are less able to access expensive support like private tutoring. Action Tutoring is trying to change that by using volunteer tutors to make the benefits of tuition more widely available. How can I help? What would I be doing?Apply to be a volunteer tutor and, if successful, we will place you as an English or maths tutor in one of our partner schools. You would then work with one or two pupils for an hour a week across the course of a school term. Tutoring usually takes place after school or on a Saturday morning. Sessions are delivered on school premises at the same time each week. We provide all of our tutors with training and resources, and we will also process a DBS check for you.What will I get out of it?Volunteering with Action Tutoring is a great way to make a difference to the local community, make use of your qualifications and meet new people. It’s also an opportunity to experience a different working environment and develop your skills. If you’re interested in teaching as a career, it’s a fantastic chance to get experience of working in a school, and we are happy to provide references on completion of the programme. When can I start?We run tutoring programmes throughout the academic year. Once you’ve signed-up we will send you a full list of opportunities so that you can select one that works for you.We're working with Lambeth Academy on Tuesday / Wednesday afternoons, starting in mid September. Please contact us for more information.How do I sign up?Applications are open now! Apply here - http://www.tfaforms.com/332860What do our tutors say?"I’ve enjoyed tutoring at a school in my old area. It’s a chance to give something back to the community and pass on some useful skills to younger people. It also gives me a bit of variety and a break from my regular job.” Volunteer TutorFollow us on social media!Twitter: @ActionTutoringFacebook: www.facebook.com/Action-Tutoring/Our website: www.actiontutoring.org.ukAny questions? Get in touch!Email – hello@actiontutoring.org.ukCall – 02079 227760

James Mason ● 2093d0 Comments ● 2093d

An Open Letter to the New Secretary of State for Education

Education may well be a critical tool of socialisation; But it's only a tool.. that's why it's debatable whether education does, should, or can imbue us as citizens with a sense of our national identity and priorities. It all depends on how education gets used, and by whom. So from my own critical perspective I certainly don't think education does or should act like a gang of construction workers, cementing a shared but distinctly concrete narrative of common purpose. Rather I suppose education should kindly facilitate whatever individuals want to learn, whenever or wherever we want to learn it.. but maybe this might seem too radical.. If you had a non-Muslim school that encouraged teenage girls to dress modestly, successfully persuaded pupils not to drink alcohol, railed against gambling, engaged in lengthy study of ancient scriptures and languages and achieved good exam results, the Conservatives would be lining up to lavish it with praise. More so if it were Christian. Michael Gove's disastrous tenure as Secretary of State for Education has united the vast majority of Academics, Educationalists, Head Teachers and Teachers against hi...m like never before in the UK. 'At its May 2013 conference, Gove was criticised by the National Association of Head Teachers, whose members condemned the climate of bullying, fear and intimidation they claimed he had created during his time as Education Secretary. The conference passed a vote of no confidence in his policies. Votes of no confidence were also passed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers at conference in March 2013, the National Union of Teachers at its conference in April 2013 (unanimously), and the NASUWT.' I hope the new secretary of state for education will do something positive to improve the educational standard of the Muslim children. Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This means the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islamic teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Muslim schools should be inspected by Muslim members of the Ofsted. They understand the needs and demands of the Muslim children as well as their parents. Twenty leading educationalists and Muslim leaders have questioned Ofsted's impartiality in the Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' affair, education consultant Robin Richardson reflects on the factors behind its controversial recent inspections. What gives OFSTED the right, or indeed any Brits, to preach to minority groups about how they should live their lives. This is a cosmopolitan country, the Muslim community have the right to educate their children how they choose. What has being British got to do with your religious belief? In Britain there are Hindus Sikhs pagans Jewish Buddhists atheist Zoroastrians Rasta's and many more should they all change there religious beliefs because they are British? Studying the Qur'an will certainly help towards these children becoming fully integrated citizens of the UK. Like many Ofsted stories this is no news. There are lots of schools up and down the land without male teachers. Teaching is so female dominated you wonder why pupils are so poorly behaved. After all feminism blames men for everything and here are the results of female dominance...IALondon School of Islamics Trusthttp://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2142d1 Comments ● 2114d

Ofsted

Muslim schools should be inspected by Muslim members of the Ofsted. They understand the needs and demands of the Muslim children as well as their parents. Twenty leading educationalists and Muslim leaders have questioned Ofsted's impartiality in the Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' affair, education consultant Robin Richardson reflects on the factors behind its controversial recent inspections. What gives OFSTED the right, or indeed any Brits, to preach to minority groups about how they should live their lives. This is a cosmopolitan country, the Muslim community have the right to educate their children how they choose. What has being British got to do with your religious belief? In Britain there are Hindus Sikhs pagans Jewish Buddhists atheist Zoroastrians Rasta's and many more should they all change there religious beliefs because they are British? Studying the Qur'an will certainly help towards these children becoming fully integrated citizens of the UK. Like many Ofsted stories this is no news. There are lots of schools up and down the land without male teachers. Teaching is so female dominated you wonder why pupils are so poorly behaved. After all feminism blames men for everything and here are the results of female dominance... You were doing so well then 'under Ofsted's guidance', you perhaps don't realise that Ofsted is controlled and run by career educationists who agree with any latest trend advocated by an ambitious, not unlike the present incumbent, minister for education. Ofsted inspectors are composed largely of failed teachers who fled the classroom and have found a nice little earner writing up reports on those brave enough to soldier on. Teachers should have 7 years training with regular in service attaining at colleges of education staffed by academics, then given complete control, without political interference from heads, governors and most certainly ministers of education.Michael Gove's disastrous tenure as Secretary of State for Education has united the vast majority of Academics, Educationalists, Head Teachers and Teachers against hi...m like never before in the UK. 'At its May 2013 conference, Gove was criticised by the National Association of Head Teachers, whose members condemned the climate of bullying, fear and intimidation they claimed he had created during his time as Education Secretary. The conference passed a vote of no confidence in his policies.Votes of no confidence were also passed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers at conference in March 2013, the National Union of Teachers at its conference in April 2013 (unanimously), and the NASUWT.' What gives OFSTED the right, or indeed any Brits, to preach to minority groups about how they should live their lives. This is a cosmopolitan country, the Muslim community have the right to educate their children how they choose. What has being British got to do with your religious belief? In Britain there are Hindus Sikhs pagans Jewish Buddhists atheist Zoroastrians Rasta's and many more should they all change there religious beliefs because they are British? Studying the Qur'an will certainly help towards these children becoming fully integrated citizens of the UK. Ofsted should be an advisory body - full of experts who are able to support and guide schools into a better service for our young people. Instead, figures are massaged, teachers bullied, children get a raw deal and all because there are 'standards' to be reached or else the brown stuff hits the fan. The standards seem to me to be all wrong; my children's first school had a motto 'learning with love and loving to learn'. From what I have seen in primary schools throughout my 20 years (I have just thrown in the towel) is a continual drive to get children to higher standards quicker than ever which tends to overlook the fact that they are children and need time to explore and assimilate their learning. Child-centred learning should be top of the agenda with Ofsted helping to achieve the goals. We get what we pay for and currently we have a system which berates rather than supports.If 8 out of 10 schools are getting good or outstanding why is that not a headline? That would be positive & when the next Pisa comes out & shows no improvement the government would be made to look stupid because the 8 out of 10 schools are good or outstanding is buxxxhit just like much of what Ofsted say. Ofsted are a political tool used to show progress to the electorate & win votes. Their comments, inspections & judgements are utterly, utterly worthless. Wilshaw was just on radio 4 and he seemed to reject the proposal that parents have any responsibility for their children's attitude to learning and behaviour, preferring to point out that Head teachers 'have tremendous powers to set the culture'. This wilful blindness is what has hindered the progress of too many students in mainstream state schools for too long.One of the most remarkable things about this whole through-the-looking-glass "debate" is that the media still treat OFSTED as anything other than a bad joke. OFSTED are corrupt, incompetent, self-serving and redundant parasites. There are plenty of cases which demonstrate that an OFSTED "judgement" has slightly less value than wet toilet paper, and Michael Wilshaw is an oafish buffoon so lacking in intelligence that he finds it absolutely impossible to imagine that there might be any other way of teaching than the one he used himself thirty years ago.Twenty leading educationalists and Muslim leaders have questioned Ofsted's impartiality in the Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' affair, education consultant Robin Richardson reflects on the factors behind its controversial recent inspections.The Trojan Horse story in Birmingham is one in which carelessness, incompetence, coincidence, opportunism, self-interest and sheer wickedness all play significant parts. The dominant narrative began to be public when the security correspondent at the Sunday Times provided on 2 March 2014 some quotations from a document which he claimed had been written by a Muslim in Birmingham for sending to a Muslim in Bradford. It was obvious from the quotations to any reasonable person with time and inclination to think about it that the document was a forgery, a false flag operation. It was not, alas, obvious to journalists in the mainstream media, including to its shame the Guardian.Anti-Muslim hostility advances the electoral prospects of certain political parties and individual politicians, and in consequence narratives about the Trojan Horse affair were affected by campaigning for local and European elections on 22 May 2014, and for the general election in UK in 2015. For example, there are politicians who stress as part of their party's appeal to voters that Britain is a Christian country and that Muslims should accept this and they link this claim to the Trojan Horse affair.And then there are the ambitions of individual politicians. The current secretary of state for education, for example, stands to gain a great deal or to lose a great deal, depending on how the Trojan Horse affair plays out. He could become leader of his party, or alternatively could end up in the political wilderness.Further, there are tensions and disagreements about the role, independence and future of Ofsted, and in relation to the expectations which different interest groups have of Ofsted. These tensions exist within the coalition government, and between the Department for Education and Ofsted, and within Ofsted itself. In common with secretary of state for education, Ofsted stands to gain a great deal or to lose a great deal, depending on how the Trojan Horse affair plays out. Muslim parents and communities rightly want the education received by Muslim children and young people to be improved. In recent years there have been major improvements nationally in the achievement of Pakistani heritage and Bangladeshi heritage pupils, and nationally there is no longer a gap between the achievement of these pupils and the average for all pupils.The Trojan Horse affair must not be allowed to hinder improvements that are urgently needed in educational provision, and in the representation of Muslims in educational policy-making and decision-making.A Birmingham school at the centre of the Trojan Horse investigation spent £50,000 on a taxpayer-funded trip to Saudi Arabia for students and staff. The school had described the Saudi Arabia tours as ''modern foreign languages trips'' with the ''double benefit'' of allowing students to perform Umrah, a religious pilgrimage.Last May 40 students and eight staff travelled to Mecca and Medina. The ten-day visit involved stays at luxury five-star hotels.The 2013 trip to Saudi Arabia had initially won praise from Ofsted in a report last year. Talking about pupil feedback, the report stated: "For pupils who spoke to the inspectors, last year's trip had clearly been a life-changing experience.''But in the new damning Ofsted report, released on Monday, inspectors raised concerns. "Governors have used the academy's budget to subsidise a trip to Saudi Arabia for only Muslim staff and pupils,'' it saidIALondon School of Islamics Trust http://www.londonschoolofislamis.org.uk

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2129d2 Comments ● 2121d

Extremism

Subject: Extremism Islamic extremism and Washington’s extremism is not really that different in their goals of domination. I am more concerned about being shot by a cop in my own house than being shot or blown up by a Muslim also. None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism  with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals. The West has never been at ease with Islam since the Crusades. It is unfortunate that huge oil supplies lie under the Arabian Deserts. It is the West that stirred the trouble that led to 9/11. That attack was a desperate act of by men prepared to lose their life. We need to get to grips on who is the terrorist? On 24 November 1963, Lyndon Johnson said, “the battle against communism… must be joined… with strength and determination. Some three million lives were lost in the consequential battles. The US had to pull out due to Public Opinion. Communism lived on. So who was the terrorist? Peoples all over the world are condemning the two attacks by Muslims and fail to condemn tens of attacks on Muslim areas by American forces using drones, etc. Tens of Muslims are being killed in Palestine and other places. Muslims' right to exist has been negated. It needs to be restored to it's original position.Right now the war is on. If you cannot fight at least do not condemn those who are fighting for the cause of Allah. Remember that your words are recorded in your books of account and you might have to read it with fright in your heart on the day of Judgement. In a war mistakes can happen - like a bomb exploded in public where women and children are also present, etc. But the enemy is doing the same. The British establishment is wrong in thinking that Imams are to blame for extremism. Imams are not solution to the problem for extremism. Extremism is nothing to do with Imams. Extremism is not created from abroad, it is coming from within. Britain fails to help Muslim communities feel part of British society. Race trouble is being predicted by the Daily Express, because of an ethnic boom in UK major cities. Muslim communities need imams for the solutions of their needs and demands in their own native languages. Muslim parents would like to see their children well versed in Standard English and to go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. The fact is that majority of Muslim children leave schools with low grades because monolingual teachers are not capable to teach Standard English to bilingual Muslim children. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage, literature and poetry. They suffer from identity crises and I blame British schooling.Only less than 10% of Muslim children go to Muslim schools and over 90% go to state schools to be mis-educated AND DE-EDUCATED BY STATE SCHOOLS WITH NON-Muslim TEACHERS. All those Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq, are the product of state schools where they could not develop their linguistic, cultural Identities. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. It is an educational issue. It is nothing to do with integration or segregation. The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of "extremism", criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think its time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right. Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This means the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islamic teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that 'education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.' The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.IALondon School of Islamics Trust

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2150d10 Comments ● 2135d

FGM Vs Chastity Belts

Subject: FGM Vs Chastity Belts Chastity belts were very common during the middle ages in the UK. The key of the belt was always in the pocket of the fathers. At the time of marriage, the key was given the husband. It is just possible that FGM has the same purpose of chastity. FGM has no connection with any religion, it is as prevalent in African Christian communities as those practicing other faiths including tradition African religions. It is primarily a tribal/cultural element, much like ritual scarring etc. FGM is an ancient practice that originates across a plurality of cultures, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian peninsula, whether these are Christian, Islamic or animist. It in fact affects only a tiny  minority of British Muslims. FGM is nothing to do with Islamic teaching. 'FGM is violence against women and girls. Over 99.9% of British Muslims are not concerned with it. British Establishment should concentrate on the education of Muslim children who have been mis-educated and de-educated by the state schools with non-Muslim teachers. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Muslim children attending state secular schools were subjected to an educational environment that pressured them to adopt values that contradicted Islamic values, such as evolution theory, sexual relations outside marriage and drinking alcohol.' " According to UNICEF, the top rates are in Somalia (with 98 percent of women affected), Guinea (96 percent), Djibouti (93 percent), Egypt (91 percent), Eritrea (89 percent), Mali (89 percent), Sierra Leone (88 percent), Sudan (88 percent), Gambia (76 percent), Burkina Faso (76 percent), Ethiopia (74 percent), Mauritania (69 percent), Liberia (66 percent), and Guinea-Bissau (50 percent). Outside Africa FGM  occurs in Yemen (23 percent prevalence), among the Kurds in Iraq (giving the country an overall prevalence rate of eight percent), Indonesia and Malaysia. These are the facts and we shouldn't ignore them. For that reason there is probably not too much point in warning all the children in Truro about it, but attack it at the likely sources, which is where there are immigrants from the listed countries.The white man complex is a term that is not discussed much but can be seen nearly in all cultural discussions. This term basically describes the superiority complex that many in this community possess which has deluded them to believe that their culture is superior or that their OPINIONS matter which is far from the truth. Instead of looking at problems within in their own community; Mass exploitation of the poor, mass corruption, paedophilia that is prevalent in schools and churches, entertainment business and even politics they instead focus on other communities and cultures. I suggest seeing as this practice of female circumcision is not so prevalent in the UK that you focus on you own issues and stop talking down on others. I can guarantee that the communities in question care not for your words and for you to stop dictating to everyone how they should live and what they should do.Yeah like your people ever followed the rules of the country which you entered illegally in the past. To this day you still do not follow the rules and customs of nations which you migrate to (Emirates,Qatar, India etc). How about you learn the languages of the nations which you migrate to, follows their rules and customs and then complain when the same is not done in the UK. Like i said before, this talk of female circumcisions has been going on for a very long time, but nothing has changed because the communities which practice it do not listen to a bunch of bigoted people who talk down on Also, as it seems it needs to be pointed out, from a few comments here, I'd like to add that it's quite wrong to see FGM and the circumcision of boys as equivalent. A circumcised boy can, as an adult, enjoy a normal (or even not so normal) sex life. A girl or woman who has been exposed to FGM cannot do that, in the sense that she can never have an orgasm. There is a tremendous difference, and it's a pity that the term "circumcision" is often used where both sexes are concerned -- it's highly misleading.every other culture and custom. Once you realise this you can do more worthwhile things such as stopping your priests from molesting your children.I suggest seeing as this practice of female circumcision is not so prevalent in the UK that you focus on you own issues and stop talking down on others. I can guarantee that the communities in question care not for your words and for you to stop dictating to everyone how they should live and what they should do. Yeah like your people ever followed the rules of the country which you entered illegally in the past. To this day you still do not follow the rules and customs of nations which you migrate to (Emirates,Qatar, India etc). How about you learn the languages of the nations which you migrate to, follows their rules and customs and then complain when the same is not done in the UK. IALondon School of Islamics Trust

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2149d4 Comments ● 2149d

A Future for Muslim Schools

Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles. It is a common saying that British schooling is upholding British values of integration, respect, tolerance and equality. But all minority groups find British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist. This is one of the many reason why they would like to see their children attending their own schools with their own teachers. Muslim community started setting up school in the 80s and I set up the first Muslim school in 1981 and now there are 180 Muslim schools and only 12 are state funded. Sikh and Hindu communities have set up their own schools. Now Black community is thinking of setting up schools with their own teachers.Western media and politicians have been trying their best to propagate against Muslim schools. Muslim schools are even called Osama bin Laden Academies by a Teaching Union. Only less than 5% of Muslim children attend Muslim schools while more than 95% are in state schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers. The demand for state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim community is not asking for any favour. Muslim community pays all sorts of taxes and is less burden on social services. Church leaders say it is no longer "appropriate" for them to run Sacred Heart RC Primary School which has just six Christian pupils. The school in Blackburn, Lancs, could be handed to the nearby Masjid-e-Tauheedul mosque.The Muslim community has been passing through a phase of fourth Crusades. The battleground is the field of education, where the young generation will be educated properly with the Holly Quran in one hand and Sciences in other hand to serve the British society and the world at large. A true Muslim is a citizen of the world, which has become a small global village. We are going to prepare our youth to achieve that objective in the long run. A true Muslim believes in Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus and without them one cannot be a Muslim. My suggestion is that in all state, independent and Christian based school special attention should be given to the teaching of Comparative Religion and Islam should be taught by qualified Muslim Teachers to make the children aware the closeness of Islam to Christianity and Judaism which will help them to think about Islam, as “A Pragmatic and Modern Way of Life,” during their life time.Muslim schooling is on the rise in the West. Anti-Muslim attitudes in state schools contribute to its growth. there are 240 to 250 private Islamic schools in the U.S and 188 Muslim schools in the United Kingdom and out of that 12 are state funded. The increasing enrolment in these schools reflects the religion’s growing number of Muslims and the desire of parents to shelter young Muslims from discrimination and discomfort they might encounter at state schools. But Islamic schools, like mosques and other Islamic institutions, can be viewed with distrust and even hostility. Jewish Schools in Israel teach Children about Evolution. They have a curious way of teaching it. They said the Jews were made by god and the Palestinians evolved from apes. On the other hand, Muslim schools teach children that human beings are from Adam and Eve(peace be upon them)The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parents that the British schooling does not adequately address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response. State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored. “A good grasp of one’s mother tongue is an essential base for a child who then has to get to grips with the language of their host country,” reckons Amelia Lambelet of the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism. Therese Salzmann, an expert in multilingualism at the Swiss Institute of Youth and Media, agrees. “The teaching of mother tongues reinforces self-confidence and gives the child a feeling of security.” She adds that “taking account of a child’s double cultures is a determining factor in their social integration and professional success.”It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.British society must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. God has created diverse human beings to live in this tiny global village of one family. Creation by its very nature is diverse with different species, different communities, different cultures and languages. These differences represent the beauty and wonder but diversity is sometimes not fully appreciated, resulting in all sorts of clashes. The British society and Establishment must learn to respect and accommodate others, as if in a family. A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism. A study by Bristol University reveals that a high level of racial segregation in Oldham schools and tension between communities resulted in recent riots in 2001. The solution is that those schools where Muslim children are majority, may be designated as Muslim community schools. The native parents do not want their children to be educated along with migrant children. As soon as they find that the number of other children are on the increase, they remove their children to those schools where native children are in majority.During colonial days, British did not follow local customs or culture. They didn't exactly "go native". They even forced the native Americans and native Australian to adopt all the evils of their culture and customs. They are still the underdogs of American and Australian societies. At least Australian Prime Minister apologised to the natives for their evil deeds. Brits living in Spain and France don't even bother learning the language of the new adopted country. Frankly suggesting that people don't want to become "British" they should move elsewhere is extremely irritating. Immigrants are in UK because they are needed, it was never an act of charity. Without migration, British economy and society will bleed to death. British culture and customs will undoubtedly change as it has for millennium due to immigration. I am not quite sure why Brits would be worried about that. You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be "sink schools"? In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a "school hijacker" by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying. There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.IALondon School of Islamics Trust

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2212d6 Comments ● 2184d

Is Your Child Moving into Key Stage Stage 2?

Parent Information Event:‘Managing the Transition into Key Stage 2’Tuesday 20 May, 19:00 – 20:00In September 2014, Wandsworth Prep will enter an exciting phase of continued expansion as we open the doors to our first Year 3 Class.  Children experience a number of transitions during their educational career and as a school we recognise the importance of ensuring a smooth transition from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2, both socially and academically. We will be hosting an information evening for any interested parents within our local community whose children are currently in Year 2 either in the maintained or independent sectors. The event will take place at Wandsworth Preparatory School on Tuesday 20 May from 19:00 – 20:00.The information evening will provide parents with an opportunity to:• Learn how WPS will support the transition into Key Stage 2 at Year 3• Learn how WPS will prepare pupils for 11+ and future schools• Meet our Year 3 teacher• See the Year 3 classroom and examples of what our curriculum looks like in practiceTo register your attendance, please contact Fiona Heath on 0208 870 4133 or office@wandsworthprep.com.This event is open to the parents of children who will be joining us in Year 3 in September 2014 as well as other interested parties. If you have any friends who would be interested in attending our information event, please feel welcome to register and bring them along with you.For more information about Year 3 at Wandsworth Prep, please visit:http://www.wandsworthprep.com/school-life/year-3-september-2014/

Amy Hebditch ● 2213d0 Comments ● 2213d

Is Wandsworth Council Efficient or Profligate?

Recently the ONS has published data making it possible to compare the profile of Wandsworth with the UK.  A profile shows how many are in each band and a comparison shows which bands are most and least representative.  For example the largest age band in Wandsworth is 28 containing 3.25% of the total population.  The peak age of the UK is 47 containing 1.47% of the Total.  28 is also the age at which Wandsworth is most overrepresented at 2.42 times the UK and both 68 and 83 are the least represented at 49% of the UK.This data can be visually seen on population pyramids but the principal points are:Age:            Wandsworth:UK Ratio0            1.34Between 3 & 4    117            0.60 (minimum)Between 22 & 23    128            2.42 (maximum)Between 42 & 43    168            0.49 (minimum)Over 90            0.55This table leads to my main question on whether Wandsworth Council is efficient as it claims or whether it is profligate based on the demographics, plus the ability, taken to full advantage, to exploit parking.  The ages when most people are subsidised from the public purse are when they are being educated, say 4 to 21, and requiring additional health and social care in old age.  The intervening years are when we work and subsidise.Clearly Wandsworth having more subsidisers and fewer subsidised has been dealt a good financial hand.  Most funding comes from Central Government.  If government ignores how good a hand Wandsworth has been dealt and provides funds on say a simple per capita basis then our council is profligate.  If on the other hand funding takes full account of demographics and the ability to exploit parking then our council is a paragon of virtue.  For those of us that have no idea how government funding works it would be useful to know.  Can anyone reading this provide enlightenment please?

Peter Hird ● 2454d3 Comments ● 2241d

20s Plenty for Wandsworth

Afternoon folks,I've set up a new petition on this, which you can see & support via the link below:http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/safer-people-friendly-streets-for-wandsworth-20mph-is-plenty/For ease, below is the ask, and more background information:We, the undersigned, call on Wandsworth Council to consult residents borough-wide about introducing 20mph as the speed limit on all our residential and local shopping streets.Why is this important?This petition is supported by the following local voluntary groups in Wandsworth: Battersea Society; Putney Society; Wandsworth Cycling Campaign; Wandsworth Society; Wandsworth Environment Forum; Wandsworth Living Streets; Wandsworth Friends of the Earth.The council has been moving on this matter, albeit very slowly. Recent trials in West Putney and the Dover House Estate were strongly supported, and have had positive outcomes in line with the experience across Britain of other local authorities improving their streets in this way. We would like the council to respond more pro-actively in light of the positive local outcome of the initial trials, and the growing demand from people to have safer, more inclusive, quieter and more forgiving streets. Fewer collisions occur when the top speed is 20mph, and those that do are have significantly lower chances of resulting in fatal or serious outcomes. Further details in terms of the evidence gathered to date, and briefing sheets can be seen via the national 20s Plenty for Us website - http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/

Jon Irwin ● 2396d3 Comments ● 2242d

Halal Meat

Muslims say a prayer before they kill an animal. Christians say a prayer before they eat it. I'm not sure why either of these practices should be thought particularly offensive. How on earth does eating a piece of meat or poultry that has been slaughtered with a prayer equate to accepting or supporting a religious practice? Why are you so threatened if a person has said a couple of words in Arabic beforehand? With so much crap going on in the world it's ridiculous (and frankly embarrassing) that this is something of major concern to the extent that it is creating so many headlines. Granted, people should be told if they are eating halal meat, but the vitriolic responses are becoming increasingly disturbing. This is not about food standards, it is not about 'defending' a secular society, it is not about labelling or consumer rights or animal welfare. This is about the fact that some people just don't like Muslims.Slaughterhouses are businesses, they also have "the right to choose" to conduct and practice their business in whichever way they wish in order to maximise their customer base. Pizza Express and other restaurants also have "the right to choose" what their menu consists of, again in order to maximise their customer base. Both halal-compliant slaughterhouses and Pizza Express are doing just that, nothing sinister or malicious or untoward. You have the right as the consumer to choose what you buy/eat, sure, which is why it's important that products are labelled well and that, say, places which use halal meat say that they do. Which Pizza Express was doing anyway. This wasn't a secret, the company are pretty clear about it on their website and if this matters so much to you then surely in order to exercise your "right to choose" as a consumer and decide whether/not to eat there you have to actually go and do some research? If you want to be an engaged consumer you have to actually be an engaged consumer, you can't expect everybody to do it for you, you have to ask. When you buy a chocolate bar, do you expect somebody to rush up to you and say 'BY THE WAY THAT CONTAINS NUTS~!' or do you read the packaging?This is a story about lazy people who couldn't be bothered to act like engaged consumers and are horrified to find out that they were 'unwittingly' being given something they never asked not to be given in the first place. That is all it is. My only concern is mislabeling food. If it is halal - it should be labelled as such. For example, the branches of subway which sell halal meat clearly show it. So, you have a choice - go in and buy halal food or not. In the case of supermarkets selling meat which is actually halal but not clearly labelled, this should change. Just like for a muslim it is important they eat halal eat meat it is important for some people (e.g. Sikhs) that their meat not be ritually slaughtered. In regards to animal welfare its a load of bullcrap. Ask the animal how it feels when it's life is taken. Calling it 'humane' is just nonsense. These type of news articles are purely about inciting hatred - the only ones who don't see it are the ones who truly believe that they have a right to hate on another group of people purely by what they believe. As my son asked "All our tongues are the same colour so why do they hate us daddy?" You guys can eat anything even pigs that roll in their own filth but you wont eat HALAL which is clean meat.  You know, the bible also says you shouldn't eat pork as it is 'unclean'.....just saying for all of you stating this is a christian country. Bit of course it's nothing to do with the meat, it's just another excuse to have a pop at Muslims isn't it. I for one am proud to live in a multicultural society and am glad that my child is growing up in one. I would hate for her to grow up as a little Englander with a hateful, narrow view of the world and frightened of anything even remotely different to her. Pork is banned in the christian religion. Read the bible and find out. Stop this vendetta against Halal meat......how many will get an Asian / Indian halal curry after a night Boozing! And as usual I bet the Muslim parents wouldn't have an issue with pork etc as long it was served n cooked separately to the Halal food which would also apply if catering for vegetarians and non vegetarians!! British Muslims have every right to be catered for. They are as British as the rest. I think people are worried in case the ritual prayers are in fact spells which will turn them all into Muslims. This week's row has got nothing all to do with animal welfare. The fuss is about people's fears over the covert Islamification of society. You may or may not agree that concerns are realistic or even legitimate, but food suppliers and others concerned ought not to deny that it is an issue or answer criticisms honestly. I don't think eating halal meat actually turns you into a Muslim. This time it is aimed at Muslims. However assaults on ritual slaughter have a long history in terms of European anti-Semitism. This is just more of the same, prejudice dressed up as concern for animal welfare. Taking lives, foods and shelters of others are cruelty, so, don't take meat, fish and vegetables  for food because they have lives. Don't milk animals because they are their babies food. Don't take drinks because they are the abodes of so many living creatures. Don't let mothers do breast-feeding because it harms their beauty.....Just be the champion of saints of mankind! "  - Do this words sounds funny? Hope, don't for those champions who are the modern advocates of "RIGHTS". Stunning is unethical. Stunning causes the animal SO much pain. Halal is HUMANE and CARING to the animal. Denmark is a country that SUPPORTS animal cruelty. Science has shown the Halal is peaceful. Science has shown that stunning causes animals PAIN and SUFFERING. Centuries ago people were more natural. Stop perverted GMO and perverted food practices. Islam is the best way of life.Birmingham school says sorry for serving non-Halal meat to Muslim pupils. Council catering staff had wrongly dished up the non-Halal food to Muslim pupils on December 12, but details have only just come to light. On Monday parents received a letter from Craig Jansen, head of the 1,400-pupil secondary school and sixth form, in which he apologised unreservedly for the incident. There are hundreds  of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies so that non-Muslim children could enjoy their own meals in their own schools. IA London School of Islamics Trust

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2261d0 Comments ● 2261d

Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse Tahir Alam is allegedly the man behind a blueprint for the ‘Trojan Horse’ plot for the radical ‘Islamisation’ of secular state schools. An alleged plot to takeover some of Britain’s schools by Islamist extremists has been reportedly masterminded by a ringleader who had drafted a guide document on the process, a media report has said. Tahir Alam, chairman of governors at Park View school in Birmingham, is allegedly the man behind a blueprint for the so-called “Trojan Horse” plot for the radical “Islamisation” of secular state schools. He called for “girls [to] be covered except for their hands and faces”, advocated gender segregation in some school activities, and attacked a “multicultural approach” to collective worship, the Sunday Telegraph' reported. In his 72-page document, published by the Muslim Council of Britain in 2007, Tahir Alam and co-author Muhammad Abdul Bari categorically attacked many state schools for not being “receptive of legitimate and reasonable requests made by some Muslim parents and pupils in relation to their faith-based aspirations and concerns”. They described how Muslim governors could be activated to press the “views and aspirations of Muslim parents and the local community” on reluctant schools. Birmingham has a large Muslim population, nearly 22 per cent, according to the 2011 census. The “Trojan Horse” plot had come to light recently and involves the alleged takeover of secular state schools and the removal of secular head teachers in Birmingham by radical Muslim staff and governors. There are more Methodist schools than Muslim schools in England and 33% of English state schools are Christian. There’s been a big kerfuffle over a supposed Muslim influence on six schools in Birmingham, with outlets like the BBC and Telegraph alleging a “Trojan horse” takeover by Muslim parents. But whether you agree with religion in schools or not, the faith that is most clearly represented in Britain’s education system is Christianity. There are more Methodist schools (26 or 0.13%) than Muslim schools in England. Out of the total number of state-funded schools (primary and secondary) in England this is what percentage were Muslim in 2012. Some 0.06% or 12 schools are Muslim faith schools.  Out of all UK state-funded schools, 33.61% or 6751 schools are Christian. School segregation: 12% of state schools are split into boys and girls. Charges against the six schools in Birmingham include not teaching the curriculum, inviting radical speakers to talk to the children and gender segregating classrooms – to the detriment of girls. A small, but significant number of traditional British schools are split by gender too. The man accused of being at the centre of the plot, Faisal Khan, has denied the allegations, saying his sole motive was to improve the standards at schools and that he had no wish to “Islamize” British schools. British authorities are now investigating the alleged plot. UK Education Secretary Michael Gove appointed Peter Clarke, former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, to lead the probe. The appointment of Clarke has faced criticism, with critics saying the move has resulted in rising fears over a possible government crackdown on Muslim communities in the UK. There are concerns that the plan could prevent ordinary Muslims from getting involved in their children’s schooling affairs for fear of being branded extremist. “The idea that MCB document was a Communist or Trotskyite-type plot to takeover all Birmingham/UK schools is laughable. This feeds into a wider 'counter-jihadist' (Breivik, EDL, etc) narrative that Muslims want to "take over". To describe the handbook as 'a document on manipulating teachers and curriculum' or 'a detailed blueprint for the radical "Islamisation" of secular state schools', as Sunday Telegraph says, is an insult to the many thousands of professionals and lay people who have been involved over the last ten years in the massive improvements in the educational achievement of young Muslim people. There is a level of hysteria building which is not justified, we need to take the temperature down and politicians must not play with these issues or else face a potential backlash, possibly in community cohesion." Abdul BariThe whole saga is outrageous, beyond belief and frankly if it was not so serious, it would be comical. The documents on which this whole action is perused is false and as there is no proof of extremism in schools, Mr Gove has made it illegal for Muslims to have conservative views (coming from a minister of conservative government, its comical really). Feel like we are back in the fifties in the USA again. Michael Gove is an avowed Zionist which is not the best way to approach issues like this! Because it can lead greater attacks on Islam. It amazes me that on the basis of an anonymous letter the whole country has been lead to believe that there is an organised plot to somehow take over schools, now allegedly across the length and breadth of Britain! Furthermore the amount of coverage that this has received from the media as being a credible story, to me, suggests the level of Islamophobia in our society has reached alarming and dangerous heights. I would suggest that for the sake of fairness, equality and justice all schools are subject to the same level of scrutiny. For example Christian, C-of-E, Jewish and Hindu, Sikh schools. I believe that this not only a witch hunt but a move to tarnish and undermine the credibility of Muslims in general and the noble teachings of a widely practiced and rapidly growing religion which a people devotedly choose to follow. Islamophobia should be stopped - especially when the racist is a government minister or department. you must share this island with many people, why does it belong to one people? Grammar schools regularly carry out gender segregation, shall we remove those Head teachers too.  The horse in question, it is alleged, contained Muslim extremism – brought to state schools by stealth, by governor bodies launching subtle pincer movements, to remove the kind of pesky teachers who might object to the segregation of pupils by sex, or a refusal to stick to the syllabus. How incredibly extremist. Schools where segregation of pupils by sex occur. How different from boy's only Grammar schools and High schools for Girls that exist in predominately Conservative areas. And that exist predominately in the private school sector. It does though surely produce better exam results, as pupils are less influenced by the idea of 'girl's subjects' and 'boy's subjects', and are less likely to be distracted by sex. Allegations of an Islamic takeover plot of Birmingham schools are just the latest in a string of slurs against Muslims. It is not clear what is meant by an "Islamic plot takeover", and whether that is the same thing as saying or hinting that some Muslims might want to get some schools to adopt their particular version of Islamic religious values, behaviours and life-styles. If it is the latter, that would not necessarily be an indication of "terrorism", so I struggle to see the need for 'counter-terrorism' input. It is not terrorism in any way shape or form. It is important to remember this is not about Islam as such but yet another chance to bash people perceived as foreigners. To many Muslim is another word for immigrant and coloured person, two terrible bugbears. Why should an unnamed, undated, unspecific source has effected students, teachers, governors, parents in one swoop. It has serious implications on unfounded accusations for hundreds of people. In no way shape or form is this right, nor should have it EVER happened. Just by a anonymous letter how can you judge the schools and it is bringing such bad vibe to Birmingham schools and local Muslim community we feel like we're targets no matter how hard we try we will never please and move forward from the terrorist labelling. I am disgusted at the way these particular schools and governors were targeted for no reason other than being Muslim. No solid evidence wa available to substantiate these accusations which arose and yet such great weight and focus was attached to them. Morally unjust and utterly unacceptable. The Trojan Horse document was clearly written by someone who knows little about Birmingham and even less about Islam. It has chimed, however, with widespread Islamophobic fantasies and fears amongst non-Muslims, and as a result of unethical reporting in the media has done much damage. On the one hand we get told we are not integrating enough and we should engage more in civic society. On the other, when we do, we get accused of having sinister agendas. Since when do concerns by religiously conservative parents about teaching on homosexuality, girls and boys mixing, and the reciting of prayers, require anti-terrorist experts to get involved? Allegations of an Islamic takeover plot in Birmingham schools aren't justified by the evidence – and the government response is way out of proportion. Perhaps its best to let the Muslim community sort these issues out. These are in effect Muslim schools now. It is up to the Muslim community to see off hard liners (if there are any) otherwise it is their own children's' education that will suffer. I think it would be very difficult for non Muslims to get involved either as governors or management so perhaps that it is one of the reasons for the conflicts that have arisen. It may be best for the Government to but out providing the record of the school is O.K. from an exam point of view. I am so disgusted that even after it was proved there is no factual evidence or basis for that racist and hate filled document, schools in Birmingham are being subjected to this horrific ordeal and the name of many good reputable teachers is being tarnished... Why? Clearly viewable that this accusation has been purposely placed on these schools which surprisingly consists of majority Muslim children. Clearly the school policies are being contradicted by Mr Gove as they clearly state that it is the schools priority and job to meet the needs of the local community and of the students within the school. So if a school is doing that then what is the issue? What is happening feels like the persecution of a religious group. This is important because the wit hunt feeds Islamophobia. As we can see from the bombings and arson attacks on mosques in the UK, Islamophobia is a very dangerous and divisive form of racism. I'm sick of this hatred of Islam and Muslims. Haters, ignorant scum, look for any means to target Muslims, now even in our schools. It's a joke and this has to stop. How hypocritical does a country have to be to illegally invade Muslim countries and then accuse Muslims of terrorism? I am a Muslim. I am an anti-terrorist.   I never realised how racist and anti-Islamic this country is until I moved here. These people are here legally and have the right to live how they want to. Just because there are terrorists who use Islam as a doctrine to justify their hateful acts, does NOT mean that every Islam wants to change Britain to Sharia Law, kill the gays and put all women in burkas! These people are being judged and punished for the actions of others that have nothing to do with them, simply because they are of the same religion. Do you judge Germans in the same way because their country committed genocide? Or the Irish if they are from an area where religious conflict was particularly violent? No. Seems like thinly veiled racism to me, not the 'staunch upholding of British rights against religious extremists' as you all seem to espouse. What do people mean when they talk about 'multiculturalism'? If a lot of people come from a foreign country and settle in a particular area they will bring the culture of that country with them. Of course they will want their schools to promote their values. Gender segregation is everywhere in the Muslim world including in EU applicant, Turkey, so either we believe in Britain as multicultural or we don't. You don't get to pick and choose the bits you want. Why not sit down with parents and listen to their concerns, instead of ordering an investigation? Shocked at this terrifying witch hunt against Muslims who are simply trying to raise standards. Its totally unacceptable to create a furore in the country over anonymous accusations with no proof. Because it is a divisive move and will affect community relations. This is the very reason why society does not function properly, this is a deliberate attempt to spread fear amongst communities, as the best way to control a nation is through fear itself. because this is NOT ,,I repeat is NOT an Islamic plot to take over Birmingham, so DO NOT put false information in the media to put Muslims down!!!!! What next.....Muslims taking over hospitals, banks, pubs....come on... Tomorrow, a Pakistani MP would become the PM of GB and this does not mean that the country has become a colony of Pakistan.  What's taking place is an absolute disgrace. This whole witch hunt is putting Muslims off from becoming governors at a time when it is need the most. Why should Muslim parents be targeted when all they want at the end of the day is a good all round education for their children. Before Muslims governors came on to the scene all the inner city schools were doing poorly and failing all the children of the school. Muslim parents were criticised for their lack of involvement in their children's schools. Now they are being vilified. It is an absolute disgrace that an ex anti terrorist police office has been brought in to investigate the situation. It stinks of racism and the desire to label all Muslims into the category of extremist and jihadist. What a disgrace by the national and the local government. It's wrong for Gove to be deliberately politicising our Education system. All our children deserve respect and not to be scapegoated. What a total waste of tax payers money and tactical manoeuvre by Michael Gove to divert attention away from the real issues. Gove’s war is designed to destabilise governing bodies where Muslims form a majority. Don't want us to be part of 'big society'?  We totally reject the idea that there is Muslim plot to take over Birmingham schools. We abhor the scapegoating of the Muslim community being whipped up by the media. We call for the removal of Peter Clarke as we believe this is a provocative appointment, designed to divide our community. I don't believe that there is an Islamic Plot to take over Birmingham schools. It's a set-up. Anonymous complaints have been used in the past to hound good head teachers of community schools out of their jobs in order to facilitate the creation of academies. This whole story smells of falsification and corruption. I suspect that the people wishing to take over schools are not Islamic extremists, but Academy Chains with business interests. A shamefully irresponsible and sensationalised inquiry whose adverse impact on community relations locally and nationally will sadly be lingering long and far. If British authorities are so concerned about their education institutions being infiltrated by ``extremists'' then I suggest they stop Tony Blair, architect in chief of the illegal and violent 2003 Iraq invasion from speaking at colleges and universities across the UK and the world. His lies and fabrications caused the deaths, directly and indirectly, of thousands of Iraqis, British and Americans. While the survivors of his wars suffer in silence, this former British Prime Minister makes millions through his speaking engagements at educational institutions across the world with little or no sign of remorse for the suffering he caused. Nothing I see in the above articles suggests the British Muslim educators in question did anything illegal, let alone anywhere as remotely destructive as the twice elected British Prime Minister. Britain's interests would be served better if they questioned their own domestic and overseas policies instead of perennially whining on about ``extremist'' from their (mostly) law abiding immigrant communities. There are a total of 21300 Primary and 3900 Secondary schools in the UK. Finding that 6 out of these 25200 had board members who wanted to push their extremist views over the governance of those school is not a Islamic Plot or Trojan Horse to Islamises UK. This is a massive overreaction and the Islamophobia on display in the comments is more terrifying than the actual case itself. Stop the racist witch hunt in Birmingham schools. We Muslims have a right to our religion. I decry everything which denigrates Muslims in this country. The media and governmental attitudes and actions, inflame prejudice and ignorance. We want the best for our children and such baseless witch hunt of school governors does not help the cause of better education. Stop this hate against Muslims. It is not them who are terrorists , but all those who imply they are with the help of media you try bringing others to your side giving false details - twin towers wasn't Muslim either - that was the Americans - you will not win as Islam Will forever grow and prove it is peaceful through the will of God (Allah SWT)... amen. This is undermining confidence in the Muslim community and increasing Islamophobia. This is another example of the media whipping up hysteria against the UK Muslim community.  The way our Govt treating British Muslims is as if all Muslims are terrorists unless they prove otherwise. Govt should focus on its job. Governors of this school worked hard to help a failing school achieve outstanding rating from Ofsted. Please fix Ofsted and stop demonising Muslims. Nick Clegg on LBC radio indicated that the DFE is full of right wing ideologues and extremist loons. Islamic schools protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Euro centrism, homosexuality, racism, and secular traditions. All education systems appear to be indoctrination systems. I went to a good private school. Guess how we were 'encouraged' to think about politics! Having a Muslim name in UK is a crime. All UK job application forms have sections ask your race and religions. Most UK employers simply reject your applications just by looking at this section. Native Brits must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. The needs and demands of the Muslim community are different from those of natives. Muslims are in Britain not to give up their cultural heritage. They must integrate in their new home country, learn new languages and apply for political representation -- without forgetting their cultural heritage. It is important to learn Standard English, but their  languages should not be neglected. They need Masajid and grave yards. Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit. The whole world belongs to Muslims. He/she must learn and be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time, he/she must learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. For a Muslim English is an economic language and Arabic is a religious while Urdu and other community languages are their social and emotional languages.Muslim children not only need halal meat or Eid Holidays but they need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their development period also. There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This means the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islamic teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Legally, the state has an obligation to respect the rights of parents to ensure that 'education and teaching(of their children) is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.' The schools must satisfy the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural needs of Muslim pupils. State schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers are not in a position to satisfy their needs. A good school is not just a knowledge factory or a conveyor belt for churning out exam passes - it is a community, a family. A community is held together by common values and principles.IALondon School of Islamics Trust

Iftikhar Ahmad ● 2266d0 Comments ● 2266d

Save 90% on your lighting bills just by switching your bulbs/fittings to LED’s

LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs have been around for quite a few years now, but it has only been recently that this technology has been used to create regular household light bulbs. The technology behind LED lights is developing at a rapid rate and this means that they are cheaper than they used to be and can now be found for as little as £4.There are three types of energy-saving light bulb: compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs - the most common type of light bulb), halogens and LEDs.LEDs tend to be the most expensive, but they do have benefits over the other types.  The main benefits to using LED bulbs are: • LEDs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last for up to 25years (dependent on use) which is a much greater life span than your traditional household bulb.• LEDs give out their light quickly at start-up which means that you no longer have to put up with a few moments of dim light when you flick the light switch.• LED lights don't contain the harmful chemical mercury making them far safer than other more traditional forms of lighting.• Some LED bulbs use only 5 watts compared to the 50 watts that incandescent bulbs use, and it would take 50 incandescent light bulbs to equal the life span of 1 LED bulb.• LED lights emit 90% less heat than a conventional light bulb, this means that they produce more light than heat which is why they are able to provide maximum energy efficiency.LED lights are now designed to mimic traditional bulbs and LED bulbs that are described as “soft white” or “warm white” now produce a light that is very similar to incandescent bulbs and are perfectly suitable for household lighting.Switching your bulbs to LED’s does not just ease the demands on your wallet, it also benefits Mother Nature.  You may be sick of hearing about environmental benefits, but reducing your energy consumption has beneficial repercussions for the environment.  Because LED’s use much less energy than standard household bulbs, you are able to reduce your carbon footprint as well as saving yourself money in the long run.

Will McKinlay ● 2284d0 Comments ● 2284d