Thursday, April 09, 2009

British teachers targeted in their own homes by pupils, say union delegates

More results from the destruction of discipline by Britain's Left

Teachers are being intimidated in their own homes by unruly pupils, a union has claimed. One teacher returned from work to find the word “bitch” painted across her garden wall. Another found that his car had been scratched with a key. A third had 17 windows smashed at her home, while a fourth received a series of late-night obscene calls.

These events are just a snapshot of a much bigger picture of intimidation and damage to property endured by teachers daily, members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers heard at their annual conference in Liverpool.

Even when they are on school premises, teachers cannot be sure that their property is safe. In the past year the union has received 146 claims about malicious damage to property and 69 claims of damage to vehicles.

Maxine Bradshaw, a teacher from North Wales, told the conference that pupils felt that they could get away with anything. “Parents and teachers feel powerless to discipline children for fear of repercussions or, worse still, prosecution,” she said.

Even when police did get involved with cases of vandalism, it was often a waste of time, she said.

When her car was damaged by pupils from another school she was offered restorative justice — in which perpetrators meet the victims to make amends. But the youngsters “appeared to feel no remorse” and offered an insincere apology, she said.

Ian Martin, from Bristol, said that he was aware of staff facing knife threats. On one occasion the knife had been made from copper in a workshop. In another incident a former student drove to a college and fired an airgun at pupils and staff, he said.

“A member of staff teaching 16 and 17-year-olds who had recently returned to work following a triple heart bypass was subjected to a student threatening to shoot him and students,” Mr Martin said.

Ms Bradshaw said that schools should follow the policy of many other public buildings with display notices indicating that they will operate a “zero tolerance” policy towards anyone who is violent or abusive to staff.

Although violence and abusive behaviour among pupils are commonplace in many schools, teachers are given very little training in how to respond.

Wendy Hardy, a teacher in Derby who works with excluded pupils and those at risk of exclusion, said that trainee teachers were offered just one hour and fifteen minutes’ training, during three or four years of study, on how to handle challenging behaviour.

A recent survey by the union found that challenging behaviour was one of the main reasons why one in five teachers leave the profession in the first five years of their careers.

But Irene Baker, a delegate from Sefton, Merseyside, said that schools were partly to blame. Pupils knew that they could get away with bad behaviour because the worst thing that they face is a talking-to. This would leave pupils little able to cope with the world once they left school and were forced to accept the consequences of their actions, she said.

Delegates warned of creeping state censorship over a clause in the guidance to the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill that would give ministers the legal power to control the content of exams. Teresa Dawes, an English teacher from Berkshire, said that the move was “chilling and frightening”. Last year a group of MPs put pressure on Britain’s biggest exam board to remove a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, Education for Leisure, from the GCSE syllabus because it refers to knife crime.


Bacon sandwich really does cure a hangover

A bacon sandwich really does cure a hangover - by boosting the level of amines which clear the head, scientists have found

Researchers claim food also speeds up the metabolism helping the body get rid of the booze more quickly. Elin Roberts, of Newcastle University's Centre for Life said: "Food doesn't soak up the alcohol but it does increase your metabolism helping you deal with the after-effects of over indulgence. So food will often help you feel better.

"Bread is high in carbohydrates and bacon is full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids. Your body needs these amino acids, so eating them will make you feel good."

Ms Roberts told The Mirror: "Bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters too, but bacon contains a high level of aminos which tops these up, giving you a clearer head."

Researchers also found a complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible. The reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat is what provides the sandwich with its appeal.

Ms Roberts said: "The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There's something deeper going on inside. It's not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on. "Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it's made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who's been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn't taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavour."

She explained that the reaction released hundreds of smells and flavours but it is the smell which reels in the eater. "Smell and taste are really closely linked," she said. "If we couldn't smell then taste wouldn't be the same."


Institute of Cancer Research finds melanoma gene trigger

Not those wicked genes again! The Left would surely tell us that it is all due to "poverty"

MOST melanoma skin cancers may be triggered by a gene mutation that causes cells to become cancerous after excessive exposure to the sun. The discovery could lead to better treatments for the most deadly form of skin cancer after scientists at Britain's Institute of Cancer Research established the BRAF gene mutation is often the first event in the cascade of genetic changes leading to melanoma.

Scientists already knew the BRAF gene was frequently damaged in patients with melanoma, but it was unclear if this was a cause or effect of the cancer.

The British institute published its findings in the journal Cancer Cell. "Our study shows that the genetic damage of BRAF is the first step in skin cancer development," said lead author Richard Marais. "Understanding this process will help us develop more effective treatments for the disease."

The hope is that knowing the genetics behind skin cancer will lead to the development of targeted drugs that can fix the faulty genetic machinery.

While melanoma accounts for only a small percentage of skin cancers, it is responsible for most skin cancer deaths. The disease is characterised by the uncontrolled proliferation of pigment-producing skin cells called melanocytes. Over-exposure to sunlight is to blame for at least two-thirds of cases as DNA in sunburnt skin cells becomes damaged, leading to the genetic mutations.


Don't laugh: "The Prime Minister hopes to make Britain "a world leader" in producing and exporting electric cars and hybrid petrol-electric vehicles. Trials for electric cars in two or three cities could be up and running as soon as next year, he said. As part of the plan, the Government will also open talks with power companies to ensure vehicles can have their batteries recharged at power points at the roadside." [If all their conventional cars fell apart all the time and sent their makers bust ...]

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