Tuesday, 6 May 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Real Leaked Minutes from School Council April-May 2014

Again, with the coming of another term at school, comes another School Council meeting (why, I don't know) and another long weekend for me to sit down and pen an article like this. So, those here for the long-hall, strap in and be ready to be amazed, disgusted and irritated, all at the same time...

As you can see by the little factoid to the left, there has been a lot of talk (as per usual) over school dinners, and little room left to the extra-curricular, that was actually raised in the previous meeting by particularly outgoing Councillors. There was talk of a questionnaire about the general experience and, thanks to Julie LaSange again, we can reveal and EXCLUSIVE draft copy of said questionnaire, that will be released with the usual mockery in tomorrow's articles. Some of the main points raised (and I can't believe I am humouring them by talking about this) were over the "politeness of serving staff" and "menu variety", to name but a few. Firstly, who cares about how polite the serving staff are? Short of spitting on your food, I couldn't care what they are like, and surely telling someone that they are crap at customer service, and that they should be more polite would make them anything if not spiteful. And then the menu choice; as my colleague Heywood Jablome has already explained in a previous article, Caterlink work for a profit, and will do anything to make a bigger one.

With regards to extracurricular activities, the only point raised was that they were to be displayed in Year Rooms. That must be a very small piece of paper, partly because none of us have seen it in Year Rooms, and partly because the amount of extracurricular activities could be written on the back of a postage stamp, along with thoughts and feelings of any given Year 7. I implore any councillors reading this to raise the point at the next meeting that, despite the Achievement for All plans that the SLT tried to coax Kinnan out of defamation with, that were supposed to fund a whole range of new activities, a year on we still have only several extra-curricular activities.

Moving on, I had a good chuckle at the mention of a "1-mile walk" for Sport Relief, when the posters boasted a run, which goes to show how little faith our school has in us, which is actually quite fair as about 25% of people on the 'run' just buggered off to the local off-licence, only persuaded back to the school gates by the promise of a free chocolate egg. There was also a paragraph about advertising the work of the School Council. It was agreed that "representatives will do a 2 or 3 minute presentation at assemblies", which we are surprised at their optimism that their "work" will be able to fit even a 2 minute slot. Their "work" can be put across in three words: "Bins, Bureaucracy and Rejection."

Of course, their publicity was also to be extended by that little board in the Hall atrium, but we all know that you can get the minutes right here, months before they are officially published (the minutes still up are from November 2013), as we are the envy of BBC News 24. One of the actions mentioned was that "[A TEACHER] would liaise with Heads of Year". Word choice here made us laugh, as no one outside of the UN uses the word "liaise", unless that is Staffroom Code for 'Quick natter by the kettle' or 'sending an email'.

Then we come to Year Council Feedback, which is always as well-thought-through as an M. Night Shyamalan film. Year 8 complained that "Drop Everything and Read was not happening". Now, we here at the Trash understand the need for reading, and that by taking time to do it every month is broadening some rather narrow horizons, but there does come a point where this little thing called learning takes presidence. Now, that's not to say we can't learn from reading, we most definitely can but, unfortunately, Year 11's aren't going to pass a B1 exam by reading Brontë. However, on Year 9 raised a point, that students doing PE were coming to school in their kit. We're not sure if this is a malicious comment or a confirmatory one, but the school's response was "that this was not an option, students need to arrive at school in their full school uniform". I'm not entirely sure when logic went out the window in this tinpot dictatorship we call Hampstead School, but surely this is a very efficient solution on the part of the students, as they then get more 'precious learning time'. Also, last time I checked, and anyone can do the same if they have a planner, but the Hampstead PE Kit was marked under Compulsory School Uniform, making it part of the "full school uniform" that the school wants.

The minutes we received also had attached a three-page table of areas that the School Council had (allegedly) been working on. Now, I could 'defame' every single one, but this article would then go on longer that one of the Head's speeches, so I will focus on a few, and a few I will focus on in articles later this week. One of which caught our eye because it proves that the Trash is having an effect, however small, on the workings of the school. Readers will remember our berating of the school over many articles last year about the designation of a Girls' Only Area, and how it was whole dulux-colour-chart of shades of wrong. Now, quietly, a few months on, and, I quote: "Girls only area to be changed to quiet area. Sign will shortly be taken down and replaced with a new sign". Thank god. Or, thank us actually. If it weren't for our constant mockery, and, of course, the schools realisation that it was being both sexist and segregationist, that would never have passed muster. And how do we know this came from up-on-high? This little command has been slipped past without any mention in any previous School Council minutes, as they probably wouldn't want to be pulled up by us on how they went back on their cock-up, as well as wasting School Council funds on a redundant sign (yeah, that slip-it-through-the-net idea really worked out for them).

Another key point was about "Fountains switched off during lesson time". This was raised in the minutes as well, and it is a salient point. The Head's response to this was that "students were reminded that they need to ensure they rehydrated during break and lunch", but, as per the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, and as a basic principle in Britain as a developed nation, Article 24 states that "Every child has the right to the best possible health. Government must provide good quality health care, clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so that children can stay healthy" at all times. It is the Head's 'duty of care' to make sure we have access to clean water. Now, obviously this is within reason; we can't have people getting up and leaving class any time they feel thirsty, that is what bottles are for, but what about when you have just taken a break in PE and you need some water, or you have finished your water bottle, or its a particularly hot day because "windows could not be open" (that's their typo, not ours. Ironic that next to said typo is the word 'English' in brackets).

There were some more, light-hearted and generally stupid ones as well, such as the House System being given "consideration" by the SLT. Seriously, I thought we'd already laid this one to rest. This is not Eton, its a North London comprehensive; don't be under any delusions of grandeur. Unless you are a wizard that goes to school in a magic castle in Scotland, Houses are plain stupid and divisive. Also, and I quote, "We partly funded the recycle bins from the School Council budget". To see how this is funny, just cast your eyes to the Number Crunching (right), as well as remembering the School Council denying they had anything to do with the new bins. Equally, there were complaints of "damage in the toilets, no paper, no locks on the doors". I have a lack of sympathy for the person who raised this, as who do you think damaged the toilets? Teachers don't go into the toilets in their free periods to arse about and cause general destruction. It is the students. And finally, talk of a one-way system in the Languages Corridor, which was thankfully swatted down due to it being "tried before in the past without success".

That is all for today's article. To read the Leaked School Minutes you can click the link here, or go to Szemelileaks. Throughout the following week we will be reporting on more damning aspects of the document in greater detail that we have yet to mention, as well as the Catering Questionnaire. You can also get your hands on the sarcastic minutes, given to us by a completely miffed Councillor, the link here. I leave you with this quote, from the latest leaked minutes: "Students need to be reminded about washing their hands after using the toilet". Ah, Hampstead students, classy as ever, with their notoriously pissy hands.

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