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At the chalkface The lost generation


DERVISH STAGGERS into the foyer, at least 17 seconds late. He is mugged by Mrs Zero Tolerance, who tells him he is late. He knows this. “It will go on your file!” Poor Dervish. “And on your UCAS form!” Dervish is in the 8th year. He shuffles off quietly cursing the old troll. He won’t need any UCAS form, what with being a pauper. There’s a lot of this bullying at moment. This fear of the future stuff. One step off the school treadmill and your future might be doomed. Miss my lesson on grocers’ plurals and you might well be down the soup kitchen. Dear me. Can’t they ever be a little late? Waste a little time? Like those 8th years


over there? Larking after school down Ladbroke Grove outside the Special Fried Rodent. They quaff on Tangos and gnaw on chips, which drip with ketchup, and choke on rubbish jokes. The boys sport trousers ludicrously long, shirts akimbo, ties yanked skew-whiff and those daft, tufty haircuts. Ditto the girls – with added lippy, much mascara and hoop earings. All lug those Nike rucksacks, full of targets and Planners for their Futures. The adult world passes


grimly by. The workforce – in monkey suits and yellow ties and near contempt. If you meet your targets and are never late, you could be just like us. Fat


chance. My PSHE Citizenship sermons about the benefits of broccoli and cabbages and pulses and the Protestant work ethic seem to have fallen on deaf ears. They seem keener on the sin of sloth – or is it the noble art of indolence? Shall I admonish them? Without your five C grades you’ll get nowhere. I got mine. “Why didn’t you


make something of yourself then?” observed the clot Crumlin. Ho! Ho! It was easier for me. There were jobs and


grants and kindness. No more. No future. Not for this lost generation. These


just might be the best days of their lives. They remind me of my 8th year days. We larked after school outside Wimpeys’ Dog Burgers in


High Wycombe. We quaffed on Tizers and chips, which dripped with ketchup and blizzards of


salt. Nothing has ever tasted better. We too were farcically attired – with Molesworth thatches, long shorts, yanked ties. Ditto the girls from Lady Verney High, who tried to look like the Shangri-Las and deemed us, correctly, pointless buffoons. We laughed like drains at rubbish jokes. What larks! We too were busy not realising our potentials – and it didn’t quite ruin our lives. And neither, hopefully, will it those of my tots in these much bleaker and more blighted times.


• Ian Whitwham is a former secondary school teacher.


News Young legal aces win in court by Pete Henshaw


An accusation of theft and a case of alleged assault taxed the finalists in the 20th annual Bar National Mock Trial challenge. The competition sees state


school students aged 15 to 18 take on court cases which they have to prepare and present to a panel of serving judges and senior members of the Bar. Sixteen schools from across the


UK travelled to Belfast’s Royal Courts of Justice earlier this month to take part in the finals of the competition, which is run by the Citizenship Foundation. The 16 had all won their respective regional heats and beaten competition from 230 schools nationwide. The climax of the competition


came at the end of the day, as the team from Chelmsford County High School for Girls in Essex overcame the group from Runshaw College in Lancashire in the final round. The challenge sees teams of


students use witness statements to prepare the prosecution and defence of specially written criminal cases. Students take on the roles of law- yers, witnesses, court staff and jurors and compete against other schools in a live format, with one team prosecuting and the other defending. For the finals, the students pre-


pared two cases. The first saw a defendant charged with the theft of a car after his wallet was found in the abandoned vehicle; the sec- ond saw a security guard charged


Hitting the Bar: The Chelmsford High School for Girls team celebrates its victory, while two of their budding legal minds look the part as they wait for their court case (inset)


with assault, but who claimed self- defence, after forcefully throwing a customer out of a bowling alley. Eloise, 15, a member of


Chelmsford’s winning team, told SecEd: “I’ve learnt things I would never have known had I not taken part in the competition. I’ve learnt how to construct and argument, how to articulate myself properly and it’s strengthened my knowledge of the court system.” Her deputy headteacher Julian


Dutnall added: “We are of the belief that we are developing the leaders of tomorrow, and one of our aims is that they become people who can contribute to the local and global community and this is a fantastic way for them to learn about how local and global communities work and how the justice system plays such a pivotal role in society.” The competition as a whole


involved 300 barristers and advo- cates and 90 judges from the UK. It


is supported by the Bar Council in England and Wales, the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, and the Bar Council of Northern Ireland. Andy Thornton, chief execu-


tive of the Citizenship Foundation, added: “The experience of work- ing with court clerks, barristers and judges not only raises aspirations, but also offers students a positive introduction to the law.” For details, visit www.citizen shipfoundation.org.uk/bmt


www.britishcouncil.org/etwinning


eTwinning An online community for schools in Europe Enabling teachers, pupils and students in 32 European countries to work together using ICT


 Free, easy and safe to use  Find Comenius partners and share project work using the online platform  Enhance key skills in ICT, communication and foreign languages  Raise standards and motivation in your classroom  Access professional development opportunities  Work towards an International School Award


eTwinning is the European Commission’s partner-finding and online collaboration tool for schools and is part of the Comenius programme. As a school or college you can create a profile, search for partners, engage in online partnerships and work on joint projects.


You and your students can form short or long term partnerships, collaborate on a range of curriculum-based projects and use an array of exciting and innovative ICT tools. There is no administration process or time restriction; you choose how and when you want to work. Free training workshops are available to help you get started.


Join over 128,000 active members today Coming Soon – Comenius Week 2 – 9 May 2011


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SecEd • March 24 2011


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