Friday, 8 June 2018

Test Match Specials

After a fruitless winter tour to the other side of the world – South London – the Hampstead cricket team had their first home games of the season against a touring side from Pakistan. The first of the two test matches were played at (Gay)Lord’s, home of the highly influential MCC (Mandem Cricket Club). This ended in a comprehensive loss for Hampstead, as the captain Abdi Root won the toss, but making a mess of it prematurely after hearing the word head called by the opposing captain. The umpire believed Root called for Hampstead to bat, but he clarified in post-match press conferences that he was just calling the opposing captain a battyman. Regardless, Hampstead had to bat, where Abdi Cook, Abdi Root, Abdi Bairstow and Abdi Stokes all disappointed. The touring side did very well, with this attributed to the extra time they had spent getting used to North London conditions, eating plenty of Sam’s and drinking solely KA or Boost in the lead up to the games.

After this, they headed up north, to Redpitch, where there were works ongoing on the new stand between the red pitch and the brawl fighting pitch. Here, Hampstead were much improved, after much press criticism, with ex-captain Abdi Vaughan submitting some mad writings and fruity language in his role as a columnist for famous broadsheet The Sunday ETC, calling for Hampstead star bowler Abdi Broad to be dropped, who in turn responded by taking plenty of wickets in the match. Famed cricket commentator Abdi Boyd-cott said that Hampstead had underperformed by not beating the Pakistani touring side in both games, as many of them were fasting for Ramadan and would therefore be weaker with less energy. When another member of the media suggested this might be racist, he shook his head before walking away muttering about political correctness going mad.

After this, Hampstead play the team from down under-the-river, in some one-day games, because the cricketing public in the school no longer have the attention span for Test cricket after developing addictions to Boost.

DISCLAIMER: Only one Trash writer actually cares about cricket and insisted upon writing this spoof. Apologies from all the rest of us at the Trash for subjecting you to this.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

School Council Minister Resigns Over Immigration Scandal

Last week Hampstead School was rocked as Cllr. Abdina Rudd resigned after having "inadvertently misled the [Chicken] Select Committee [...] on the issue of illegal immigration".

The scandal originally came to light when it emerged that the Sent Home Office had shredded documents that gave legal scholarship to 500 students from the West Quad who were shipped over to the East decades ago in order to rebuild infrastructure in the East after the Second Whitefield War.

West Quad immigrants arrived up to 70 years ago aboard the SS New Block as welcomed guests to their 'Motherland'. Due to the nature and necessity of their arrival, official documentation was not required and many were later given special passports. However, since 2009, many of the so-called New Block generation have been denied access back into the East Quad due to the Border Force System declaring they have no right to stay. This extends to many citizens in the East Quad who have been dismissed from their cookie selling jobs and denied access to the services like the New Humanities Section (NHS).

When questioned by the Chicken Select Committee, Cllr. Rudd was asked if her office had targets for the removal of illegal students in general, but the councillor denied this. It later emerged that the councillor had in fact sent letters to the Head, Jaques Szaintkittsandtheneviskowski, detailing plans to increase the forced removal of illegal students (which wrongly included those New Block citizens) by 10% in an extension of her predecessor's policy of creating a "hostile environment" for illegal KS3 students in the East Quad.

Such controversy and cover-up had led to Cllr. Rudd being ostracised by colleagues and the Head. Following mounting pressure from the Opposition Leader Cllr. Abdi Corbyn and Shadow Minister for Exclusions Cllr. Abdi Abbot, the East Quad government official resigned.

Pressure over the scandal now falls on the Headteacher, who started the process of the "hostile environment" policy 8 years ago as predecessor to Cllr. Rudd. In the meantime, a new Secretary has been appointed in the form of Cllr. Abdi Javid, pictured below:

Cllr. Abdi Javid pictured on his first day (probably by his mum. Aren't Y7s cute?).
Note the special blue tie to show how important he is in comparison to us peasant red tie wearers...

DISCLAIMER: Calling Cllr. Javid 'Abdi' is not a racialist thing; we call everyone Abdi, as do their mothers.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

What do you Mean "A Uni that isn't UEA"?

The Hampstead School Sixth Form, like any other Sixth Form in the country, is supposed to get the best out of each and every student whilst also preparing them for life at University or wherever they choose to go afterwards.

Looking at the Sixth Form Alumni mugshots along the staircases of the English Block (I believe they now call it the West Block but that's probably a bourgeois conspiracy), you can see that of the 70-odd ex-students, only two went to Oxbridge. Many students didn't even go to Russell Group institutions, let alone leave London.

There are many reasons why many ex-students haven't left London, but a significant one has to be the fact that the school doesn't provide such an opportunity to view other Universities. In the course of the last 12 months, two opportunities have been provided - if that - to allow all Sixth Form students to explore the option of higher education: A trip to the University of East Anglia (UEA), and a UCAS conference. To be quite honest, there is no point in going into how much of a shambolic waste of time both trips usually are, so I won't do that. Instead, it would be more useful to think about what the school could do.

This begins with a really horrible idea: asking students which of their subjects interest them the most. Tailoring specific guidance for students allows a clearer idea of what students can do at University, or even give them an idea of where to go to study. I'm not stuck under a rock and know that you can't take each student to a specific University; that would just be ridiculous. However, asking students where they'd like to look at or what they'd like to study and then providing a range of different types of experiences may prove more helpful.

Higher education is not a "one size fits all" decision. Taking an entire year group to a 2-hour tour of a university that many will not apply to, or a convention where not enough time is allocated to allow students to ask the questions to the universities they would like, helps nobody. Equally, the school's university-centred experiences of higher education completely alienate those students who would be better suited on a vocational course or apprenticeship.

If students are to get onto the right course at the right institution, the school must be aware that there is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to higher education, nor do many have the means or foresight to have these experiences of their own accord.

DISCLAIMER: This is a critical article and so is comprised of the opinions of the author.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Local Education

With local council elections on the horizon, major party groups in Camden have released their manifestos for the next four years. As the local education policies put forward with have a noticeable effect on Camden pupils, we thought we would look at what the main parties in the area are pledging.

Under the heading "Camden Labour's record" in their manifesto they state: "We have invested £86 million into 48 schools and children's centres so our young people have state-of-the-art buildings to learn in. We set up Camden Learning to protect what makes Camden education special - local authority comprehensive schools, connected to our communities."

Where exactly this £86m has come from or gone is unbeknownst to us; the Council's budget sheet only tells us that the council has contributed ~£6.9m towards the borough's schools, out of a budget of ~£198m this year. Perhaps they are referring to the new building in Hampstead they were mandated and paid for by the government, although "state-of-the-art buildings" are only as good as their second-hand contents. Or perhaps they are referring to the money they get anyway from the government through Pupil Premiums. What they certainly haven't been spending is local parent's council taxes on making their kids' lives easier; the C11 bus route that ferries children to and from Hampstead has been cut in service with nothing being done by the council.

Despite claiming that local comprehensives are "what makes Camden education special", a comprehensive school hasn't been set up in Camden in quite a while, despite the apparent need for one "south of Euston road". In fact, whilst Labour have been in office, the only new secondary has been UCL Academy, an - you guessed it - academy. And as for schools like Hampstead being "connected to our communities", we would first need our Head to be at least connected to reality.

Labour's pledges for the next term seem to be pretty much to keep up what they are doing, rather than anything new, which may disappoint many young voters who would like some Corbyn-esque policies coming to the local area. By contrast, the Conservative manifesto pledges that they will "raise school standards by encouraging leadership by Camden School for Girls and UCL Academy and help top-performing pupils apply to Russell Group universities", will "ensure computing and coding are taught in all schools throughout Camden and "will increase employability by encouraging apprenticeships, organising more work fairs, and encouraging continuing professional development in the borough." Quite why CSG and UCLA are the local standard bearers for the Tories, especially since neither are run by the council and lowly comps are capable of sending students off to top unis, albeit fewer in number, is beyond us. Equally, whilst "encouraging apprenticeships" is all well and good, finding more for students to apply for it is better.

The Tories also pledge that they "will review how our schools serve our worst-off, including raising the take-up of free school meals and improving cooperation between independent and state schools." Obviously, pooling resources between local schools of any kind can be force for good, however it is a short and slippery slope to private schools giving handouts for comprehensives.

The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, have pledged to "Provide better advice and information to 16-25 years olds who do not wish to go to university about training and employment opportunities, including apprenticeships", "Provide free sanitary towels in schools so that girls can continue their education uninterrupted and with dignity, to end ‘period poverty’" and "Work with voluntary organisations and businesses across the borough to develop a coherent offer for young people, which promotes well-being, motivation, skills development, exercise and opportunities", whatever that actually means. They have also said they would push TfL to reverse cuts to the C11 service, work with Brent Council to improve Kilburn High Road, provide better support for the mental health of pupils and extend youth services. One policy that is interesting is that they pledge to "Work with schools to develop inclusive, non-proscriptive, gender neutral school uniform policies", which is something which has posed a problem at Hampstead in the past (see School Denies Boys 'Cultural Dress'). Actually getting Jacques Szhakeshakeshakeyourbootykowski to budge one inch in the direction of liberality on the uniform policy at Hampstead would be a messianic act, and one that we doubt we will live to see.

However, given central government is constantly squeezing local budgets, especially funds for education, how it is exactly that they will pay for all these policies remains to be seen. Whilst there may be room for cuts to local government white elephants, some of these policies may be more aspirational than achievable.

Friday, 20 April 2018

The Canteen: Revisited

After visiting the failing eatery 'The Canteen', run by Sam Anella on behalf of investors CaterLink and trying to fix the ailing business, Ramsay revisits the restaurant a month on.

Gordon: (overdubbed) Since I was last here, and the owners of The Canteen failed to take my advice to heart and refused to change their ways. They were intent on selling sweetcorn in small cups, they were adamant that pizzas should be long and thin and many customers were disgruntled when their jelly desserts kept getting smaller and smaller. I had no option but to walk away. Without changing their ways, business has hit an all time low.

[Gordon walks up to closed shutters and knocks on them.]

Gordon: No answer. Last week my team, as well as all those that had depended on The Canteen for lunch, received news that the leaseholders of The Canteen, Hampstead Inc., were removing CaterLink from the plot and closing the place down. Hampstead hopes to reopen the doors to The Canteen after Easter, but who will run it remains unknown.

I have nineteen restaurants open at this moment and sixteen Michelin stars to my name, but I wouldn't open a twentieth here, and I don't know anyone that would. This place has all the ambience of a ****ing mortuary.

[Shot of sad dinnerladies throwing old pizza husks out in large black bin liners, followed by a tiny bag filled with all their jellies, as sad music plays in the background.]

Gordon: The school has promised new furniture, a new menu and a new, healthier outlook in the eatery, but is it all too late?

[Gordon ducks to avoid a passing flurry of bats that come out of a ceiling panel, sidesteps a tuna pasta bake on the floor and storms out.]