This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Making maths subject to parental consent

It is clear that many children find maths a very difficult subject. Moreover their parents find it difficult to broach matters such as differential calculus and Venn diagrams. In a recent survey, some parents even admitted to buying calculators for their offspring in the hope they would magically just 'get' what maths is all about without the need to converse with their parents about such issues. Unsurprisingly, after the recent law change to make the whole national curriculum subject to parental choice, many children have been withdrawn from regular maths lessons. "I just don't feel that Pythagoras is ready for maths yet... when he is older, perhaps" said a young parent at the school gate yesterday... 

OK, I will stop ladling in dollops of sarcastic irony here as you have probably gathered where I am coming from on this: why do parents have an opt out for all forms of personal / sexual / health / relationship education? I think that not only is this policy anachronistic in the extreme but it is also endangering the health and well being of girls and boys throughout the UK.

Last month a coalition of sexual health charities called for compulsory sex education lessons. But equally the House of Lords rejected any such idea as recently as January this year. I just don't get it! Why would we step away from the possibility of teaching all school students about healthy relationships, how to avoid domestic violence, the hazards of sexting & the internet, what abuse is and how to react if it happens, building honesty and respect into all relationships etc etc etc...?

Genuinely, if someone can tell me, I am up for the debate.

Meanwhile, as highlighted this morning by Yvette Cooper, there are big questions about how the police are handling incidents of domestic violence and whether the methods in use are effective and proportionate. I need to think some more about whether introducing a new law to make domestic violence a specific offence will help, but it is worth considering.

Meanwhile we know that 2 women a week are killed by current or ex partners. And my research into domestic homicide suggests that most of the perpetrators of such crimes were not on the police radar beforehand. This means that police action in these cases is limited.

But what my research also points towards is the need to educate young women and men into being more aware of the warning signs that their relationship is possibly heading into a very dangerous place. Why would we make education as critical as this optional?!?!

UPDATE 290714 | 1544: Just had this video posted on my Facebook timeline. I thought I was joking about maths being made optional... Now see how several Miss USA contestants answered the question "Should Math be taught in schools". The answers may worry you, a little! (Thank the Lord for Ms Vermont!)

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