Tuesday, July 03, 2007

British school admission policies severely handicap younger children

Babies born in the summer are at least 20 per cent less likely than those born in winter to go to university, research suggests. An analysis of university admission by month of birth indicates that 10,000 young people each year fail to go to university because they were born late in the school year. Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that although it had long been known that summer babies, who were the youngest in their class, tended to perform less well at school than winter babies it had long been assumed that the summer babies “caught up” with their peers by their teens.

Figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for England suggest that this is not the case. Boys born in August are 25 per cent less likely to go to university than those born in September. Girls born in August are 20 per cent less likely to attend than those born in September. Mr Bekhradnia said: “There can be a 20 per cent age difference between a five-year-old and a six-year-old in the same class at school. The younger child may be far behind in developmental terms and may simply not know what is going on. This can have the effect of turning them off.”

When the disadvantages of birth month are combined with the performance of students by gender, the results are more startling. Girls born in September are 50 per cent more likely to attend university than boys born in August.

Mr Bekhradnia said that disadvantage caused by birth month was easily avoidable because it was the direct result of the “administrative convenience” demanded by local authorities and schools when admitting children into reception classes at age 5. The solution, he suggested, would be to make it easier for summer-born children to be held back a year if they were struggling to keep up with older children in their class — a practice used successfully in other countries.

Chris Saleh, of the Institute for Education, said that whereas summer babies of high ability tended to catch up with their peers, less able children often failed to gain parity. “Summer babies who are less able are often less mature and, as the years go by, they do less of the curriculum than other, older children in their class. That makes it harder and harder for them to catch up,” Ms Saleh said. But she rejected the suggestion of allowing children to repeat a year of school. A better solution, she suggested, may be to give schools, families and local authorities more flexibility over when to admit children.


Smoking bans

On July 1, bans on public smoking came into force in Britain, Australia and, I believe, in various other places. Prof. Brignell has some comments on the dubious science behind the bans. That smoking has some benefits -- such as protecting from Alzheimers -- is routinely overlooked. A few excerpts:

In February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published a national health survey taken in 1989-90. To much surprise, it revealed that, generally, the health of smokers is better than that of many former or non-smokers. Unsurprisingly, the worst sufferers from hypertension caused by stress were the ex-smokers (16.1 per cent) and the "never smoked" (13.4 per cent); the steady smokers registered 7.4 per cent.

It is well known that smoking , particularly at work, relieves stress, and to outlaw it increases demands on hospital beds. Even the US Surgeon General, in 1964, recognised that Parkinson's disease (a degenerative disorder of the nervous system) occurred at around half the rate among smokers. In the International Journal of Epidemiology , in 1991, a review of 11 studies showed that non-smokers suffered 50 per cent more Alzheimer's disease than smokers. And researchers at Erasmus University Medical School , Rotterdam , found that more non-smokers had early-onset dementia than smokers.

In Daily Telegraph, Dr. James Le Fanu wrote: "Smokers have a 50 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's and the more smoked, the greater the protection." The New England Journal of Medicine. in 1985, reported that endometrial cancer of the womb occurs at around 50 per cent the rate among smokers as non-smokers. Colon cancer and ulcerative colitis also seem to be about 30 and 50 per cent respectively less frequent among smokers according to articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1981 and 1983. The American government's first Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has found that osteo-arthritis is five times less likely to occur among heavy smokers than non-smokers.

I do not claim that smoking by those with unhealthy diets cannot activate illness (that passive smoking may be dangerous is a preposterous joke). But we urgently need a serious, objective, unbiased study of the causes of ill health, including the advantages and disadvantages of smoking, the impact of faulty diet and of inherited genes. It requires open minds, not the blinkered political correctness of the Department of Health. Telling the truth would unmask the futility of the many millions of pounds of public money wasted on ill thought-out and unscientifically based attacks on smoking. The campaign against smoking has certainly caused more crippling illness and premature death than if it had never begun.

Why has this assault on freedom happened in Britain today?

This is the culmination of one of the most ruthlessly dishonest campaigns in modern times. When the forces of political correctness broke out of their fastness in California , the storm troopers in the van were the anti-tobacco zealots. Tobacco was the symbolic evil and its defeat would be the demonstration of their power. In America they relied mainly on statistical fraud, but in more secretive Britain they were able simply to invent numbers and increase them steadily.

Political power now resides in Brussels , among an unelected elite who have no regard for truth or science. They produce and propagate the really big lies. As Booker reports, for example, they claim 20,000 passive smoking deaths for the UK, which pro rata for population is over thirty times higher than the demonstrably fraudulent EPA claim for the USA . There is no actual evidence that anyone, anywhere has ever died of passive smoking.



I have alluded on a number of occasions to the extensive exposition of Warmism as a Religion by Prof. Brignell. One true believer -- from the BBC! -- has however shown his ignorance of the history of the matter. I reproduce below Prof. Brignell's reply. In consideration of his age, Prof. Brignell refers to himself as a "poor old thing". See Prof. Brignell's original post for links:

Thanks are due to BBC sayer of sooth, Alex Kirby, for providing a fine illustration of how the priesthood deals with infidels. This appeared in CCNet today:


Alex Kirby [alexkirby_uk@yahoo.co.uk]

Dear Benny

Poor John Brignell really does need to go and lie down in a darkened room, I think. In his highly entertaining piece "GLOBAL WARMING AS RELIGION AND NOT SCIENCE" he rehearses the hoary old myth that climate change is something cooked up years ago by Sir Crispin Tickell and Margaret Thatcher. Then, again without offering a shred of evidence, he accuses the media of peddling untruths and faking the coverage. Why does he have to spoil such a rattling good laugh-a-minute read with elementary errors of this sort? Possibly, of course, he thinks they're not errors, in which case I'd be glad to see his evidence for either assertion.

Yours ever


At least his first word was correct. Of course, this poor old thing wrote nothing of the sort. What he wrote was "The father of the new religion was Sir Crispin Tickell". The global warming thing has been around since the time of Arrhenius. What Thatcher did was to bring it into the world political arena. Tickell's book on the subject was published in 1977, when the new ice age scare had hardly been decently interred (the funerall bak't meates did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables). You need look no further than Tickell's protege, George Monbiot, that the Thatcher speech of 1989 was inspired by Tickell himself. Kirby, of course, has been Tickell's representative on Earth for some time.

For further information, this poor old thing:

* was Chairman of a branch of the Conservative Party and member of a constituency committee during the 1980s, but is now ex.

* sat in the front row at a speech in which Margaret Thatcher made a point of mentioning the importance of Global Warming.

* raised his concern with his MP David Mitchell, who was Industry Minister at the time, but did not think this an important issue. Unfortunately, this was only orally, since we did not know that a quarter of a century later accusations of lying would be flying.

* has been offering shreds of evidence for the past seven years, as have others, such as the late, great John Daly. What does he want - the whole of Number Watch and its two associated books in brackets?

It is, of course not new that the lefties feel the need to rewrite history. Their near monopoly of the media makes it easy for them and their Winston Smiths. It is a bit inconvenient, however, that not only is there so much documentation in existence, but also that some of us whose were there at the time are persistently still around. We tend to get a bit stroppy when they shout that there is no evidence that something happened, when we were eye witnesses.

It is not the fact that Tickell is their founding father that they need to so desperately suppress, but that it was one of their all-time monsters of the right who was associated with him in launching the faith into the political world. This is not the only case in which Thatcher manufactured the tools for the left to do their work. The whole process of central control, for example, particularly of education under the ghastly Kenneth Baker, was put into place during the Thatcher years for the later convenience of New Labour.

Footnote: The pertinent question was asked by Michael Ronayne, when pointing out one of the more egregious cases of fakery - "If the evidence for global warming is that compelling, why is it necessary for those who believe in global warming to misrepresent data in this manner to support their cause?"


Note that Prof. Brignell's essay on the Warmist religion did get him interviewed on Canadian radio. You can hear the interview (in two parts) here and here

The tired old Leftist explanation of "poverty" for all misdeeds won't work this time either: "A suspected terror gang, at least two of whom are doctors, were being questioned today after being trapped by their mobile phones. Anti-terrorist detectives swooped on five members of the gang across Britain after gathering crucial clues from phones found in the two London car bombs. The phones were meant to trigger a blast when they were called. The bombers twice called the car outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket, and the one in Cockspur Street four times, but the bombs failed to detonate for technical reasons. Traces on the mobile phones' calls led police to addresses in Liverpool, Staffordshire and Glasgow."

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