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By David Vance On February 25th, 2012 at 9:44 am

You really should have a read of this profile on Professor Les Ebdon. Who he, you ask?  Les is the new “Access Czar” for British Universities tasked, I kid you not, with ensuring that more “poor” students get into tertiary education. The Professor is vehemently against the acknowledged excellence of top-level universities and his appointment in this position came about by Lib-Dem strong-arming. Perhaps most telling is this cursory examination of the examinations that Professor Ebdon’s University of Bedfordshire  offers;

The courses on offer at his institution do not include traditional degree courses such as maths, physics, chemistry, history or modern languages.  Of course not, how un-necessary in such an enlightened age as this. 

Instead, there is a less-than-scholastic two-year course in carnival arts — teaching undergraduates how to design costumes and allowing them ‘to take part in Europe’s  largest one-day carnival: the Luton International Carnival’.  Then there is the degree in advertising, and in beauty spa management. Work experience ‘is gained from working in the college’s own salon’.

There is a specialist make-up design course on which students will be taught the wide range of skills required of the contemporary make-up artist.  Alongside practical work, they will ‘engage with the cultural significance of make-up in a society and discover the historic power of beauty products’.

In case those courses don’t ring your bell, there are courses on “Breast Feeding” and “Football studies”.

This is the academic background of the man who now has real power over all English Universities. Stunning!



By David Vance On February 16th, 2012 at 9:25 am

I reckon that this is one of the biggest Ponzi scheme going. I refer, of course, to Student “Loans”.

The way these loans work is that Students going to University get a loan from Government  to pay their annual tuition fees. Over three years, this loan can reach around £30,000-£45,000. They then have to pay off the Loan during the next 30 years  but the repayments only start if they earn more than £15,000 per annum. Unless salary levels rocket, there is no way that 30 years will see repayment being made but the Government pretends otherwise.

All this begs the question where is the money going to come from to repay the massive debts that will remain unpaid in 30 years? Government remains silent on the issue. And yet, in a wonderful example of perversity, Government has made it clear that anyone who repays the loan EARLY will be punished!!!! Now, in a welcome but belated move, that silliness has been reversed.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, had intended to introduce an early repayment penalty which would have cost graduates thousands of pounds if they cleared their debts within 30 years of leaving university. 

The Prime Minister is understood to have dropped the scheme earlier this week amid warnings that it would be unfair on the hundreds of thousands of people expected to repay their loans early. The deal was agreed after Mr Cameron backed down and allowed Mr Cable to appoint the controversial Prof Les Ebdon as the Government’s new university admissions tsar.

The logic of Cable’s (and Ebdon’s) position is that successful high earning graduates must be punished whilst those who do not earn sufficient salary must be accommodated! Perhaps the most repulsive idea of all is that a young person going to University has to become a client of the State for 30 years in respect of their academic debt. In what way is this egalitarian? In what way is this fair? And yet it it Liberals pushing this ridiculous idea.


By David Vance On February 3rd, 2012 at 9:01 am

Should Universities be government controlled laboratories for social engineering? 

Universities should be hit with the “nuclear” option of huge financial penalties for failing to recruit enough students from poor backgrounds, the Government’s new fair access tsar has warned. In an outspoken attack, Prof Les Ebdon said he would use the toughest possible sanctions against institutions that consistently fall short of demanding admissions targets, including a ban on charging £9,000 tuition fees. The academic – named as the Coalition’s preferred choice as head of the Office for Fair Access – suggested that universities belonging to the elite Russell Group faced the biggest challenges because they had a “mixed” record on admitting deprived students.

My view is that this manipulation of the demographic intake of of our Universities is counter-productive. Trying to terrorise the Campus into taking in just the right amount of the “poor” is profoundly anti meritocratic and thus contemptible. But the leftist ideologues just love the idea of tampering, twisting, contorting.


By Pete Moore On January 25th, 2012 at 5:30 pm

It does explain a few things.


By David Vance On January 19th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

It’s remarkable.

NORTHERN Ireland’s teachers are to be offered almost two years’ salary to leave their jobs in a £167 million giveaway of public money which was last night branded “shocking”.

The vast majority of teachers will be offered about £70,000 – enough money to buy a house – in a scheme which offers teachers three times more than their contracts stipulate, at a time when school budgets are under increasing pressure.

In a scheme reminiscent of the Patten scheme for RUC officers, but without the political imperatives of compensating those on the frontline during the Troubles, Education Minister John O’Dowd hopes to entice teachers into the payoffs rather than make teachers who are surplus to demands redundant, as would happen in the private sector.

The Department of Education said “avoiding compulsory redundancies” – which would be politically embarrassing for Sinn Fein – was the main reason for the offer of up to 90 weeks’ salary in a lump sum to persuade teachers to leave voluntarily.

So, teachers get ££££MILLIONS thrown at them lest Sinn Fein be “embarrassed.” This is a scandal and yet it is presented as being the very personification of reason.


By David Vance On January 7th, 2012 at 11:54 am

Right across Northern Ireland, the number of children attending school is FALLING. So why is anyone surprised that we need fewer teachers?

Hundreds of teachers could be made redundant this year when cuts to school budgets are implemented, it has been warned. The SDLP believes more than 150 teaching posts will be chopped in the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) area alone — and, as a result, class sizes will climb. However, there are four other education and library boards who also employ teachers as well as the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS). The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has put the Northern Ireland-wide figure at 1,000 in the next academic year but rising to 3,000. It follows a |decision by the Department of Education to reduce the amount of funding available to schools from this September.

Now, let’s dispense with the shroud waving 3000 lost jobs figure. It will be nothing like that. But can someone explain WHY we should not expect to have fewer teachers when we have fewer pupils? Are teacher jobs to be sacrosanct, immune to economic reality? It’s not that I wish anyone to lose their job BUT nor do I think we should be asked to fund what we do not need nor cannot afford.


By David Vance On December 8th, 2011 at 10:27 am

It has been my contention for years that the UK Education system has been degraded through deliberate and sustained grade inflation as the educational establishment colludes to make each year a record year for top grades. Reality tells a different story when one interviews these alleged top students and now further evidence of the con emerges;

‘We’re cheating… we’ll probably get told off’: Extraordinary admission by examiners who tip off teachers in £200 coaching sessions.  Examiners are advising teachers on how to boost GCSE and A-level results, it was claimed today. Chief examiners were filmed giving teachers advice on the topics pupils should study ahead of their exams. Education Secretary Michael Gove last night ordered an inquiry into the claims, and said that the footage ‘confirms that the current system is discredited’.

Of course it is discredited but plenty of teachers and Examiners make good money out of it and it suits them to keep the farce running. The truth is that examinations are plainly not as rigorous as they once were, that the style of coaching for exams has also changed, and the people MOST cheated are the students. They come out of Education waving their brace of A star grades and half them have poor English and less Maths, to paraphrase Ben Johnson. (The16th century  poet,  not the drug fueled Canadian sprinter..)


By David Vance On November 25th, 2011 at 10:19 am

Have to say that I rather agree with Education Minister Michael Gove  when he says;

Michael Gove promised an ‘unashamedly elitist’ approach in state schools last night as he vowed to give today’s children the same opportunities as those previously enjoyed by grammar school pupils. In an extraordinary speech, the Education Secretary vowed to allow the next generation to ‘transcend the circumstances of their birth’ by turning free schools and academies into the latter-day equivalent of grammars. He said parents were yearning for their children to learn ‘rigorous’ intellectual subjects, for ordered classrooms with strict discipline, and for teachers who are ‘guardians of knowledge and figures of authority’. Mr Gove insisted that the Government would end Labour’s ‘crude equation’ of traditional subjects with ‘so-called equivalent qualifications’. ‘Countries which award soft qualifications to students, which are not comparable to those in the most rigorous jurisdictions, will suffer just as surely as a country which issues money too promiscuously to pay its debts,’ he warned

This is the right approach – we need more meritocracy and much less dumbed down equality. Education should be about rigour, about challenge. Grammar schools provided that route which is why Labour got rid of them and now Gove seems to be at least trying to fight back. Meanwhile here in Northern Ireland, where we still have Grammar Schools, the politicians are moving to a system to demolish them and turn them into “all abilities” hostels. You couldn’t make it up.

Hat-tip to The Mail


By David Vance On November 17th, 2011 at 9:01 am

We face a major dilemma in the UK.

Around 500 foreigners landed a job in Britain every day over the past year while the number of UK-born workers plunged. Official figures yesterday painted a shockingly bleak picture of a jobs market in crisis as unemployment hit a 17-year high. The Office for National Statistics said the number of British-born workers has crashed by 311,000 in a year, equal to more than 850 a day. But in the same period, the number of foreign-born employees jumped by 181,000 – or 495 a day. Ministers admitted the situation was ‘unacceptable’, although bosses warned that many young British workers were too lazy and too bad at basics such as punctuality to be worth hiring. But experts said the latest figures highlight the urgency of tackling the immigration problem.

I can see both sides of this story.

On the one hand, the continual inflow of foreign workers means that there ARE less jobs for UK born workers. This seems a crazy policy but it is the one that Labour put in place and which the Coalition seems unable or unwilling to do that much about. Our economy and our society cannot flourish without engaging with our OWN British born potential workers.

But there IS the other perspective and as an EMPLOYER I fully recognise the comments by business leaders that some young UK workerts are lazy and badly educated with no sense of purpose or drive. I find this poor education to be the real killer and wonder HOW this can be when each year our Education boasts about how brighter students are becoming, getting better qualifications every year?

Of course Government should pursue a policy of maximising UK born employment. But those seeking such must obtain the basic skills to make them worthy of employment. Over the years I have interviewed dozens of graduates, most of whom struggled with basic maths and English grammar. The scam in Education gets exposed in the interview room and I feel sorry for those clutching their brace of qualifications without realising that they are essentially unemployable.

Now what did I say?

By Mike Cunningham On November 7th, 2011 at 1:14 pm


My un-favourite Politically correct term, or noun, or whatever is……Diversity.

That single slogan brings out, to my own mind, the worst of what those who govern us represent. The belief that, if a Parish Council or even a Government is able to point proudly to a set of statistics  that they are ‘serving’ so many gypsies, Irish ‘travellers’, black  or white crippled lesbians, or indeed any of the other seventy-odd varieties listed in one of those truly revolting ‘Diversity’ listings so beloved of the great Socialist State in which we live, and pronounce themselves satisfied is truly revolting.

The great ‘Diversity’ debate has reached across the Atlantic, and the awful truth is exposed when the subject of ‘True Diversity’ is raised within an Educational system.

Washington D.C. has a Black population of 305,125, or just over 50.7% of the total. The majority of the State schools have majority Black students, but here is the wrinkle which is creasing the minds of the Educators; the population of the District’s ‘gifted’ programmes is biased heavily in favour of the White kids. Not biased of course by keeping them out; its just that the pesky White kids, who form 61% of the total numbers in the ‘Gifted Schooling’ programme, keep winning against their numerically superior Black counterparts.

So these ‘Educators’ are trying to find ways to skew the entry criteria so that more Black kids get into the ‘gifted’ category; so fulfilling the ‘Diversity’ criteria.

But I bet there is one question which hasn’t been asked, and one category of kids who haven’t been asked either. The Question is ‘Do you wish to enter the ‘Gifted’ schooling programme? And the Category of kids? Black!