Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Buzz Bashing Spring 2017

You know the drill. Something something Hampstead Buzz, something something [insert witty and nuanced comment about the Buzz being either a propaganda tool or generally disorganised here].

The Head's message began with the usual drivel about revision, which is only fair since students do actually have to sit exams between being told to find their blazer. He reported, once again, that the school "had record numbers of applications for places in our Sixth Form from within Year 11 and from external students", most likely because, as has been the case for many years, the school insist all students fill out their sixth form application even if they don't want to attend. Another pointless statistic from the man made entirely of PR initiatives? No, never...

He went on to say that, after a series of successful interviews, "once we’ve seen everyone, we will look to see if any tweaks to our options blocks are needed", which is pretty language for 'we're cutting subjects'. How do we know this? Because none other than the Head said this in last week's Camden New Journal. To be fair, its not entirely the school's fault - national cuts and a new funding foirmula introduced by once-friend-now-bitter-enemy Justine Greening are the reason inner-city budgets are being squeezed. But rather than sugar-coat it for the parents, just come out and say it.

The Head also outlined some of the school's new targets, now they can check bureaucracy and incompetence off the list, the first being "Improving student attendance and achieving our school target of 99%". It cost the school a budget of £55,000 a few years back to 'achieve' 95% attendance; I have no idea how much 99% will cost. I wonder how many extra classes people could attend it would be. He also urged parents to download the 'My App' app, which allows parents to implant a tracker chip right into the base of their child's skull, because what's better than one pointless app? This new attempt to be down wiv da kidz probably cost the school a not inconsiderable sum of money (see our article on Show My Homework, Trash passim) and the grand irony is that they ask later on that parents "do not unsubscribe to the school’s e-mail service", making the app (or the email system, which is also expensive) also obsolete.

Moving on to the other pieces, most of it was the same stuff you expect from a school newsletter. There was a bizarre bit in a piece about a ballet project in which a teacher at the school was quoted in italics at the base of the article, which is a bit like me quoting me in this article. "This is a good article."

Another piece was about a new extra-curricular club (at Hampstead??) working on illustrating literature - that well-known life skill. Whilst this sounds like a genuinely interesting project, the article stated that the club was "aimed at Key Stage 3 boys with a particular interest in writing or illustration". Why not girls? Can girls not draw? The Trash wants to know why it is that a school is aiming an extra-curricular club at one specific gender. If the Girls Aloud Area (see Trash passim ad nauseum) was anything to go by, this may be a completely ill-thought-through attempt at inclusion and gender equality.

There seems to be a case of editorial extremes in the Buzz. In some places there isn't enough editing, in some the editing seems to be done with a hacksaw. In a piece about Holocaust Memorial Day, one student wrote about being taken along to the ceremony in City Hall, it doesn't hurt to say that someone may have wanted to read over the article, as one of the sentences read: "It was able to get the point across of making sure that history does not repeat itself". Eh? In a piece about the school debating team doing well in two Model United Nations this year - despite the Head's purported vendetta against clubs in the school - the school couldn't even congratulate those involved without cocking it up: the final sentence read "A special mention also goes out to ___, ___, ___ and ___ for helping to organise and prepare the students for helping to organise and prepare the students." Yet, in another article, one teacher "just wanted to share a few pictures from the International Women’s Day event". There was one picture.

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