When I hear a government minister say he would like all schools to be like Eton, I despair. Educated no doubt in the rarefied atmosphere of a private school, ministers seem to have no idea what some state schools are like.

I retired from teaching many years ago, but I used to have year eleven pupils who couldn’t read. Why let them progress up the school without the ability to read and count? Pupils who couldn’t read exam papers had no hope of doing well.

This lack of basic skills led to bad behaviour in an attempt to cover up their inability to cope with the work.

If pupils were told they could leave school only when they mastered basic skills, some of them would make the effort!


Do we really need them?

It has been announced that Cambridge no longer intends to use apostrophes on road signs. Is this a good idea or not? George Bernard Shaw suggested doing away with apostrophes altogether and I am inclined to agree. I think there are more mistakes using them than there are omitting them.

When I was teaching only about the top six pupils in the class got the hang of them, especially when it came to using them for possession and those for omission often weren’t put in the place where the letter had been missed out. In fact I used to tell pupils who put them in every word ending with an S to stop using them. That way they made far fewer mistakes.

Inadequate Instructions!

I bought a new heater and the instructions for fitting the feet to it were so useless. All it said was fit screws into holes, but those on feet did not tally with those on heater. A good diagram would have helped. Eventually I had to get a male neighbour to help. He did manage after puzzling for a long time. Most things now are made abroad, but surely adequate instructions could be given by illustration.

Someone To Have a Go at!

An article in today’s Guardian could be described as trying to defend pensioners, but some of the comments about it are very harsh as if all pensioners were living in the lap of luxury. Some of us had a tough time when we were younger. I am glad that now I can get ends to meet financially which was not the case sometimes when I was younger.

Yes, I agree some pensioners are wealthy, but some young people are wealthy in their own right and some have wealthy parents who help them out. The state pension is not a king’s ransom by any means.

What I object to is some of the people criticising the old are wealthy themselves e.g. Chris Huhne.

It always amuses me when the bus pass is cited as one allowance that pensioners receive no matter what their income is. I’m sure not many millionaires us the bus!

It appears society must use some group as a punch bag and this time it is pensioners.

Standing Room Only

Years ago ladies’ clothes departments used to have somewhere for customers to sit, but not now. Retailers feel they have to keep us on our feet. looking at the merchandise so that we’ll continue buying or so they think. I’ve discussed this with friends of a similar age to me and we all agree that if we could rest for a few minutes we are far more likely to go on shopping. If we go off to cafe or restaurant the only place we can sit down we are unlikely to go back to the department. Why has no one worked this out?
The grey community is supposed to be powerful, so how about letting us rest our weary souls! You may find it pays dividends.