Scott McTominay: Man Utd midfielder pledges international future to Scotland

Jose Mourinho says he advised Scotland to select Scott McTominay before England do

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has decided to pledge his international future to Scotland.

McTominay, 21, met Scotland boss Alex McLeish at United’s Carrington training ground on Thursday.

England boss Gareth Southgate was due to visit United on Friday but it is understood McTominay did not meet him.

McTominay, who has made 15 appearances for United this season, was born in Lancaster but qualifies for Scotland due to his Glaswegian father.

He is yet to play for either country at any level.

McTominay was selected by Jose Mourinho ahead of £89m record signing Paul Pogba for the Champions League last-16 draw with Sevilla last month.

He made his senior debut against Arsenal in May and has played 17 games, including starting the past three.

McTominay, who has been associated with United since he was five, signed a new contract in October that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2021.


Former Scotland striker James McFadden speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

His stature, how he goes about his game, he reminds me of Darren Fletcher, and if we can get someone who has been as good for Scotland as Darren Fletcher it’s a great acquisition.

I know you don’t really sign players for the international team but England were interested in him, and it’s fantastic he’s chosen to play for Scotland.

Not because he’s not good enough for England but because he wants to play for Scotland and that’s great to see. He’s a fantastic young player and it’s great for us as a country.

I’m sure he would have met with Alex [Mcleish] and straight away got to see what kind of guy he is. That’s what struck me when I met him as a young player. He’s a great guy, and he gets the best out of players.

It’s a huge notch for him to get someone with the huge talent of McTominay to come and play for us.

This content was originally published here.


F*ck You If You Think Gay People Are Too Controversial For Primary Education

Like many people, I witnessed instances of homophobia painfully early. Slurs copied from crap films, cruel playground speculations formed from ignorance and a dull-eyed fear of difference.

High school brought further viciousness, with the enthusiastic, obsessive hounding of those perceived to be gay left unchecked by our Catholic teachers.

In my first few days of year seven, I was point blank told not to make friends with one particular girl as she was a ‘lesbian’. This warning was repeated to me several times on my first day, sometimes with undisguised disgust, sometimes with a greedy, childish snigger.

At 11 years old, I had no clue whether this rumor held any truth. But it shouldn’t have mattered either way. This girl should have been free to attend school without being a communal entity for gleeful whispers, vile graffiti and relentless harassment.

When she finally switched schools in year nine, she decided against speaking to anyone from school again, not even friends. She was worn out from having her identity squeezed and warped by bullies. She wanted to be someone else.

These memories will no doubt spark similar recollections of your own school days, where brutal strands of reactionary thought can thrive in minds left locked away from views and experiences other than their own.

According to statistics from Stonewall, 45 per cent of young LGBT people have suffered homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying. Sadly, 45 per cent of these young people never tell anyone after being bullied in this way.

Putting my two cents in regarding Parkfield Community School’s controversy: having heteronormative/sexual sex education did not make me any less queer, it just caused a narrow mindedness that stopped any self acceptance for a long time.

— Kerry Leigh (@kerrytheenigma) March 6, 2019

I was reminded of this girl after learning of the recent controversy surrounding Parkfield Community School, in Birmingham.

Parkfield’s No Outsiders lessons – which teach children about topics such as race, religion, gender identity, age, disabilities and LGBT rights – have made headlines after a shocking backlash from a number of parents.

According to the Government Equalities Office (GEO), their 2017 LGBT survey discovered how a mere 21 per cent of LGBT respondents recalled any classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity whatsoever while at school.

Created by assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat, the No Outsiders programme signifies a notable step forward, encouraging vital conversations within a safe and supportive classroom setting.

As part of LGBT aspect of the No Outsiders programme, pupils read books which deal with LGBT themes in an accessible way, such as Mommy, Mama and Me and King & King.

If you signed the petition to ban LGBTQ lessons at Parkfield Community School you are a homophobe, there really are no two ways about it.

— Iain Ross (@IainRoss91) March 5, 2019

Although these texts may sound perfectly innocent, a number of furious parents took issue with the LGBT aspect of the No Outsiders programme, choosing to protest outside the school gates in a way which no doubt caused more distress than a simple book.

Parent protesters hand delivered a 350-name petition against No Outsiders to Parkfield staff on March 5. The petition came after hundreds of parents reportedly kept their children at home on school days in protest.

Fortunately, the staff at Parkfield Community School have shown commendable backbone, refusing to give in to the unreasonable demands of the protesters.

Although RE classes will temporarily replace No Outsiders until after the Easter holidays, the programme will return in the summer term. This decision was already made last summer according to Birmingham Live and does not reflect recent events.

I’m so disappointed in the parents who removed their children from Parkfield Community School over #LGBTQ+ lessons tackling discrimination, which have now been pulled. What kind of example are you setting when you let harmful views get in the way of a diverse education.

— Tom Knight (@TJ_Knight) March 4, 2019

Birmingham MP Shabana Mahmood denounced the homophobic banners and prejudices of the protesters.

However, she has still received some understandable criticism by relaying constituent concerns regarding the ‘age appropriateness’ of primary school relationships education.

Speaking before parliament on February 25, Mahmood said:

Most of my constituents have been contacting me about the specifics of mandatory relationships education at primary school.

None of my constituents is seeking particular or differential opt outs at secondary school level.

It is all about the age appropriateness of conversations with young children in the context of religious backgrounds.

But when exactly would be a good age to incorporate LGBT lessons into the curriculum? And is it really so sensible to wait until they are ego driven teenagers, already uncomfortable in their own skin and desperate to be considered ‘normal’?

Your suggestion that kids knowing gay people exist is not “age appropriate” is the oldest homophobic trope in the book – smearing gays as predatory and peadophiles. This speech is courting serious bigotry for the sake of pandering to a section of your core vote.

— Benjamin Butterworth (@benjaminbutter) March 4, 2019

Repealing Section 28 is part of Labour’s legacy of combating hatred and bigotry and we cannot allow people to try and roll back the clock.

Read our statement on a school coming under pressure to remove LGBT inclusive education and the damaging response from @ShabanaMahmood👇 pic.twitter.com/tuglwSCPV1

— LGBT Labour (@LGBTLabour) March 5, 2019

Assistant Director of Public Affairs from the LGBT Foundation, Emma Meehan, has given the following statement to UNILAD:

School should be a place where young people are able to grow and mature into happy, healthy adults, learning about themselves and others. Evidence shows that a growing number of young people identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans.

Therefore it is more vital than ever that all young people are taught about sex and relationships in an inclusive environment. There are many people of faith who are LGBT, and many faith schools teach sex and relationships education in an inclusive way.

Meehan continued:

Without this space young LGBT people may feel they aren’t able to come out, or feel confused or ashamed of who they are. Schools should be teaching children to be confident in themselves and know that who they are, or who they love is ok.

That is why we’re pleased that the government’s latest guidance on sex and relationships education states that teaching should be fully LGBT inclusive.

It’s vital that schools follow the guidance for teaching #RSE, with parental engagement and proper consideration for pupils’ religion and background. Yesterday, I made this clear to Education ministers in response to a petition signed by 1,763 #Birmingham #Ladywood constituents. pic.twitter.com/M3Whe4SgDs

— Shabana Mahmood (@ShabanaMahmood) February 26, 2019

The argument that lessons on LGBT rights are too ‘confusing’ for children – as was written on one particularly baffling banner – is by no means a reason to ban them altogether.

Of course adult relationships – whether heterosexual or otherwise – will prove complex for children, and it is the duty of responsible adults to gently teach them about the life awaiting them beyond the school gates.

The games of mummies and daddies in the playground, the Wendy House weddings with the plastic jewelled rings, are all quite rightly viewed as innocent, photo album worthy pastimes.

There is no suggestion that there is anything inappropriate about making Barbie and Ken go on a ‘date’ away from their Dreamhouse. Why then is the notion of a king marrying a king seen as something beyond what a child can comprehend?

There are gay young people at every school, whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or non-believers. Erasing them from existence – and not educating young people about LGBTQ people – is horrendously harmful, and must not be allowed to happen.

— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) March 5, 2019

Furthermore, to expect children to be confused about loving, supportive LGBT relationships – and not about fairy tales where girls fall in love with beasts and frogs – is making a sweeping presumption about their home lives which just doesn’t reflect reality.

Since 1996, there has been an steady increase in the number of same sex parents in the UK according to a report from the Office for National Statistics, meaning a growing number of children will be going home to two mothers or two fathers.

Gay adoption has been legal in the UK since 2002, with one out of eight adopted children being adopted by gay parents. Further progress was made in 2008, when barriers to fertility treatment for lesbians were reduced.

In 2010, there were 4,000 same-sex parents in the UK, a figure which had doubled by 2011. By 2013, this number had risen to 12,000.

Why should the hum-drum, everyday realities of such children be erased? Why should they be forced to see the grown ups who read them bedtime stories and pack their lunchboxes treated as too controversial and inappropriate for the classroom?

Today in the U.K.
Trans women being hounded out of sport
Trans women being segregated in prisons
Policy for allowing trans women on female hospital wards to be reviewed
LGBT education being cancelled in schools
How do I raise my daughter safely here???

— trans mum 🧜🏻‍♀️ (@transmum1) March 4, 2019

Director of Education at Stonewall, Mo Wiltshire, has given the following statement on the Stonewall website:

It’s vital children learn about and celebrate diversity at all ages, and we work closely with schools, providing training and support to help them do this.

Schools that strive to create inclusive environments do so because they know the benefits this has for the whole school community.

Not only do children feel able to talk about who they are and who their families are, this approach also teaches children the invaluable lesson of acceptance, reducing the likelihood of bullying in the long run.

Parkfield school’s No Outsiders programme simply makes young people aware of different families. People who are angered that their kids are learning the fact that LGBT people exist should not be appeased and it is a disgrace that a Labour MP should show any such sympathy

— Adrian Tippetts #FBPE (@AdrianTippetts) March 4, 2019

Adults who spout this same sort of damaging nonsense as the Parkfield parents are condemning yet more children, like the girl I knew in high school, to an education shaped by shame and humiliation.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, Or email [email protected]

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

This content was originally published here.


100 Things to Do in Scotland Before You Die – Wild about Scotland

I came across a list of the 100 Things to do in Scotland before you die, originally published in the Sunday Herald but available in full on the University of St Andrews website.  There’s also a pictorial version on .  This list seems to be a mix of suggestions by famous Scottish celebrities as well as journalists.

I think it’s really a pretty good list.  I guess the point of this is to provide inspiration rather than a definitive ‘tick list’.  No doubt everyone will mentally ‘add up’ their experiences; I’m at 38, has anyone got more than 50 ?

It’s pretty easy to take issue with it – everyone will be able to add their own ideas and discount those they have no intention of ever doing !  But what about going guising, walking the Lairig Ghru or eating seafood at The Old Forge, Britain’s remotest pub ?  I used to live up the road from one of the Proclaimers twins when I was a student in Edinburgh so I’ve seen them live … does this count ?

So, each to their own I reckon.  What else would you have put on this list ?

1. See a band in the Barrowlands

2. Visit the Standing Stones at Callanish

3. Take the West Highland line to Mallaig

4. Go to a shinty match

5. Drive over the Bealach na Ba to Applecross

6. Visit the Turner Watercolours at the National Gallery of Scotland

7. Eat a real Arbroath Smokie

8. Enjoy a Dorothy’s-eye view of Edinburgh Castle

9. Eat a Fisher and Donaldson custard slice in St Andrews

10. Play the world’s oldest golf course at St Andrews

11. Spit on the Heart of Midlothian (near St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh)

12. Go to a Highland Games

13. See the dolphins at Moray Firth

14. Surf in Thurso

15. Go to a traditional music festival on an island

16. Go to the races

17. Follow in the footsteps of St Columba at Iona Abbey

18. Walk the West Highland Way

19. Go curling on a frozen pond

20. Ride the Falkirk Wheel

21. Go to a ceilidh at the Riverside Club in Glasgow

22. Buy Ian Rankin a pint in Edinburgh’s Oxford Bar

23. Make the shortest scheduled flight in the world (from Westray to Papa Westray, two of Orkney’s smaller islands)

24. Go to King Tut’s (Glasgow) and listen to a band before they make the big time

25. Windsurf on Tiree

26. Feed a Highland cow

27. Visit the Necropolis in Glasgow before you have no option

28. Experience a really good traditional music session (such as Sandy Bell’s and the Central Bar in Edinburgh, or Glasgow’s Ben Nevis and the Lismore)

29. Visit Maeshowe (Orkney) during the winter solstice

30. Go ‘doon the watter’ on the Waverley, Scotland’s iconic paddle steamer

31. Marvel at the northern lights

32. See killer whales

33. Bag all the munros

34. Dive at St Abbs Head, Berwickshire

35. Buy a kite in Largs and fly it on Millport

36. Visit The Barras market in Glasgow

37. Dive the wrecks in Scapa Flow, Orkney

38. Sugar-rushing at The Brookyln Cafe, Glasgow

39. Climb the Whaligoe steps, Wick

40. Spend the night in a haunted room (such as Carbisdale Castle, a youth hostel)

41. Practise paganism

42. Eat at The Three Chimneys, Skye

43. Visit the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

44. Climb Ben Nevis

45. Go Loch Ness Monster hunting

46. Visit Glasgow School of Art and the Willow Tea Rooms, both designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

47. Throw a stone from the North Sea into the Atlantic (at Mavis Grind, a narrow neck on the Shetland mainland)

48. Ski/snowboard the ‘Flypaper’ at Glencoe, the steepest run in Scotland

49. Sail to St Kilda

50. Have a night out in Glasgow

51. Visit a malt whisky distillery

52. Eat an Ashvale Whale (a 1lb cod fillet from the famous Ashvale chip shops in Aberdeen, Brechin, Dundee, Elgin, Ellon and Inverurie)

53. Do the ‘Loony Dook’, the traditional New Year’s Day swim at South Queensferry beside the Forth Bridges

54. Play The Ba’ Game on New Year’s Day in Kirwall, Orkney

55. Attend a Burns Supper in Alloway (the Ayrshire village in which Robert Burns was born in 1759)

56. Spot a mermaid at Sandwood Bay, Sutherland

57. Stay in the Eisenhower Apartment at Culzean Castle

58. Climb the Forth Rail Bridge

59. Catch a salmon in the Tweed

60. See Skara Brae, Orkney’s perfectly preserved Neolithic village

61. Have an ice-cream at Luca’s in Musselburgh

62. Make a call from the ‘Local Hero’ phone box (in the village of Pennan near Fraserburgh)

63. Have a curry from the Wee Curry Shop in Glasgow

64. Buy coffee and olive oil at Valvona and Crolla, Edinburgh

65. Climb Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

66. See The Proclaimers live

67. Cocktails at Rogano, Glasgow’s oldest restaurant

68. Find inspiration at Fingal’s Cave on the island of Staffa

69. Spend midsummer at the northern tip of Unst, Shetland

70. Sing Flower Of Scotland at the top of your lungs at the Calcutta Cup

71. Read Kidnapped in South Queensferry

72. Read Lanark anywhere (Alasdair Gray’s 1981 debut novel)

73. Loop the loop on the ‘Clockwork Orange’ (ie Glasgow’s underground railway)

74. Have a large Laphroaig

75. Boo and hiss at a Pavilion panto in Glasgow

76. See the Really Terrible Orchestra perform

77. Pop into Plockton

78. Tour the Highlands

79. Read the Oor Wullie or The Broons annuals

80. Float in the Hebridean Sea at Ardnamurchan

81. Swing a fireball at Stonehaven’s Hogmanay festival

82. Read The Thirty-Nine Steps and try and recreate Richard Hannay’s journey

83. Try stand-up comedy

84. Make and eat tablet

85. Experience the exhilaration of isolation (eg spending a week alone in a hut/tent/house by the edge of the sea)

86. See the Gulf of Corryvreckan, the second largest whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere in the narrow channel between Jura and Scarba

87. Burn a Viking longboat at Shetland’s Up Helly Aa fire festival in late January

88. See Whisky Galore! on Barra

89. Eat haggis and clapshot

90. Walk from Torridon to Inveralligin

91. Rock out at the T in the Park music festival

92. Visit The Hill House, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece in Helensburgh

93. See Billy Connolly in concert in his home city

94. Land on Barra beach in a plan (Traigh Mhor, Barra,’s runway)

95. Visit Hopetoun House, South Queenferry

96. Dance the Strip the Willow

97. Eat a deep-fried Mars Bar

98. Travel on The Royal Scotsman

99. Visit Joseph Beuys’ Scotland, who painted famous scenes of Scotland in the 20th Century

100. Discover the Holy Grail at Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh.

This content was originally published here.


Scotland mulls law change after American hunter causes outrage posing with dead goat

  1. ITV Report

Scotland mulls law change after American hunter causes outrage posing with dead goat

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The Scottish government is to review the law around animal culling after an American hunter angered thousands of people by shooting and posing with animals on the island of Islay.

Larysa Switlyk, who describes herself as a “professional huntress” and the host of a TV show, posted a picture of herself smiling behind a wild goat.

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Twitter users condemned the images as “sickening” and “truly abhorrent” but the Scottish Government said responsible and appropriate culling of some wild animals, including deer and goats, is not illegal.

However the law is to be reviewed and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Totally understandable why the images from Islay of dead animals being held up as trophies is so upsetting and offensive to people.

She said the Scottish government will consider whether the laws need to be changed.

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Celebrities and members of the public took to social media to vent their fury at the images.

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Sarah Moyes, campaigner for OneKind which campaigns against animal cruelty, said: “It’s utterly shocking to see these images of Larysa Switlyk and other hunters posing for photos with the wild animals they killed on a recent trip to Scotland.

“Yet again, instead of celebrating Scotland’s magnificent wildlife, we are seeing these beautiful animals exploited in the name of sport.

“This is not the kind of tourism we should be encouraging in Scotland, let alone allowing to happen in the 21st century.”

This content was originally published here.

Schools to teach about same-sex relationships and gender identity under new sex and relationships education plan · PinkNews

The government’s new guidance for Relationships and Sex Education in England directs schools to teach about LGBT issues.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds on Thursday published a draft of revised guidance for the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), which will become compulsory in all schools across the country from September 2020.

The guidance, which was last updated in 2000, has been significantly re-written to include teaching about same-sex relationships and gender identity, as well as issues relating to consent and staying safe online.

A classroom (Stock image via Pexels)

Under the proposals, Relationships Education in primary schools would provide children with the basic understanding of diverse structure of families and the types of relationships they are likely to encounter.

The draft guidance states: “By the end of primary school, pupils should know that others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care for them.”

The guidance for secondary schools adds: “Pupils should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way.

“All pupils should feel that the content is relevant to them and their developing sexuality.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity should be explored at a timely point and in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner.

“When teaching about these topics, it must be recognised that young people may be discovering or coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity. There should be an equal opportunity to explore the features of stable and healthy same-sex relationships.

“This should be integrated appropriately into the RSE programme, rather than addressed separately or in only one lesson.”

The document adds: “Schools are free to determine how they address LGBT specific content, but the Department recommends that it is integral throughout the programmes of study.

“As with all RSE teaching, schools should ensure that their teaching is sensitive, age-appropriate and delivered with reference to the law.”

The guidelines only apply in England. The Welsh government recently announced that it would make LGBT-inclusive relationships and sexuality education compulsory in all schools – whereas Hinds has suggested faith schools may  keep the right to exempt themselves from aspects.

The Scottish government has also backed LGBT-inclusive SRE following the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds (Jack Taylor/Getty)

Hinds said: “I want to make sure that our children are able to grow up to become happy and well-rounded individuals who know how to deal with the challenges of the modern world. Part of this is making sure they are informed about how to keep themselves safe and healthy and have good relationships with others.

“Many of today’s problems did not exist when we last gave schools guidance on how to teach Relationships and Sex Education 18 years ago. The action we’re taking is important to help support teachers and schools design a curriculum that will enrich their pupils in an age appropriate way.

“Good physical and mental health is also at the heart of ensuring young people are ready for the adult world. By making health education compulsory we are giving young people the tools they need to be ready to thrive when they leave school.”

He added: “A guiding principle here is that children and young people at age-appropriate points need to know about the laws relating to relationships and sex that govern our society, so that they can act appropriately and can be safe.

“This includes LGBT relationships, which is a strong feature of the new subject at age-appropriate points.”

Although the subject is mandatory, Hinds said that the guidance “leaves flexibility for schools” to change teachings “bearing in mind their age and religious backgrounds… by reflecting on the teachings of their faith.”

Labour’s Angela Rayner called on Hinds to ensure that LGBT issues were “integrated into the curriculum and not an optional extra”.

Hinds also said parents will keep the right to withdraw their children from sex education – but children will be able to opt themselves back in to lessons ahead of turning 16.

The Conservative minister said: “I propose to give parents the right to request that their child be withdrawn from sex education delivered as part of RSE. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the request should be granted until three terms before the pupil reaches 16.

“At that point, if the child wishes to receive sex education, the headteacher should ensure they receive it in one of those three terms. This preserves the parents’ right but balances it with the child’s right to opt in once they are competent to do so.”

Responding to concerns, he clarified: “The only part it’s possible to withdraw from is the sex part of relationships and sex education.”

Labour MP Sarah Champion welcomed the government’s announcement, but warned: “Guidance alone is not enough. The Government needs to provide Teachers with training and resources to enable relationship education to be as engaging as possible.

“It is vital that all children feel that the new relationship and sex education guidance is relevant to them. Some pupil will have LGBT parents or be LGBT themselves.

“In The Terrance Higgins Trust’s research report ‘Shhh… No Talking’ published in 2016, 95% of the young people surveyed had not learned about LGBT sex and relationships.

Stars You Didn’t Know Were Gay Or Bisexual The Stars You Didn’t Know Have An LGBT Sibling The Straight Stars Who Went Gay For Pay

“The new guidance addresses this past failure and will go a long way to creating a more inclusive and supportive society.”.

Chairs in a classroom

Hatti Smart of National Student Pride, said: ‘This is wonderful news for the LGBT+ young people who have been feeling marginalized and left out of the current curriculum. We welcome the Education secretary’s words.

“But we now need to know if LGBT content will be part of the compulsory guidance and during the 12-week consultation. We hope as many LGBT+ voices as possible take part to ensure this happens with no-opt outs for any schools on LGBT inclusive RSE, including faith schools.

“We see the power of talking about your identity from a young age every year at our event. So introducing positive conversations about your sex and gender identity it at an age where teen angst is at its highest is so valuable.

“In the years after section 28 which banned ‘promoting homosexuality,’ this will finally make a significant step into making young LGBT+ people feel part of the conversation at school and help them shape their identity safely.”

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: “We can’t praise the Government enough for this progressive advance. Children are not the possessions of their parents but human beings with their own rights. Government is right to recognise this and bring us one step closer to making sure every young person is healthy, happy, and safe.

“We hope the Government now follows up this announcement by making similar moves for young people under the age of 16 with respect to religious education and collective worship, where the law now lags behind and that Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish politicians take heed and make similar moves with respect to their own curriculums.”

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said: “We welcome the proposed guidance, and its focus on the issues Barnardo’s has campaigned for such as consent, healthy relationships and staying safe online. We are pleased to see emotional, reproductive and mental health included as requested by our young service users.

“It’s vital teachers have quality resources and proper training so they can deliver sensitive subjects that are age-appropriate and answer any questions children have confidently. Schools must communicate regularly with parents to help them feel comfortable about what their children are being taught.”

Read This: The Celebrities That You Didn’t Realise Are Gay

This content was originally published here.


Fifth of teachers plan to leave profession within two years | Education | The Guardian

Two-fifths of teachers, school leaders and support staff plan to quit education in the next five years due to “out of control” workload pressures and “excessive” accountability, according to a poll by the country’s biggest teaching union.
Despite recent government attempts to address teachers’ concerns , 40% who took part in the survey predict they will no longer be working in education by 2024 and just under one in five (18%) expect to leave the classroom in less than two years.
Ministers will be particularly worried about a potential exodus among recently trained teachers after the poll by the National Education Union (NEU) found that more than a quarter (26%) of those with less than five years’ experience plan to quit by 2024.
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Of those with less than two years’ experience, whose careers have barely begun, the figure was still 15%. When asked the reasons why they planned to leave, respondents blamed workload (62%) and the accountability regime (40%), amid complaints about the pressures of Ofsted inspections and school performance tables.
“My job is no longer about children,” one respondent said. “It’s just a 60-hour week with pressure to push children’s achievement data through.”
Many of those who took part in the survey, which was self-selecting, provided vivid accounts of the impact their work has on their everyday lives. “Working 70 hours a week for many years has meant my health and family life have suffered. I am getting out before the job kills me,” said one.
“ My personal life doesn’t exist anymore,” said another.
“With a young family, and despite working part-time, I have come to realise that a job in education is not conducive to family life,” another NEU member contributed.
The education secretary, Damian Hinds, announced plans in January to try to ease workload and help more teachers to job share, in an attempt to prevent experienced staff from leaving the profession.
The NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney accused the government of doing little more than “fiddling at the edges” in its attempts to address teacher workload. “So long as the main drivers of a performance-based system are still in place, schools will continue to be in the grip of a culture of fear, over-regulation, and a lack of trust,” he said.
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“We need drastic action and a major rethink from government if we are to stop the haemorrhaging of good teachers from the profession.”
The NEU, which is holding its annual conference in Liverpool, is due to discuss workload, excessive working hours and bullying on Tuesday, with calls for the union to set aside a budget to take cases of workload breaches to tribunal and a national day of action to publicise the effect on children’s education.
One of the conference delegates, Henry Emoni, a maths teacher from Canvey Island in Essex who has been teaching for six years, said pressures had grown with class sizes up by around 10 pupils, fewer support staff, pressure to do holiday classes and fewer experienced colleagues to offer support.
Of the 30 colleagues he trained with, only four are still teaching in the UK. He said some had quit education, but others were teaching abroad in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. “I think about leaving on a daily basis. I would like to learn from more experienced teachers, but there’s no one around.
The poll of 8,600 teachers, school leaders and support staff found that 56% felt their work-life balance had got worse or much worse in the past year, compared with 31% who said it was unchanged and 12% who saw improvements. Worst affected were senior leaders, heads of department and middle leaders, 66% of whom complained their work-life balance had deteriorated.
Responding to the survey, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have worked with school leaders and teachers to create a workload reduction toolkit, which provides practical advice and resources that schools can use rather than creating new ones from scratch.
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“We are also tackling excessive data burdens in schools, simplifying the accountability system to target the associated burdens and working with Ofsted to ensure staff workload is considered as part of a school’s inspection judgement.”
When contributors to the survey were asked “what would be the one thing that would make your job better in the next 12 months?” responses were dominated by calls for a reduction in workload, with widespread complaints about heavy marking and over-assessment.
One respondent said: “Less assessment for pupils; it creates too much pressure on pupils and creates too much marking for teaching, which is taking away from valuable lesson planning, which would be much more beneficial for pupils.”
“Trust being given back to the teachers,” said another. “Less paper pushing and more focus on the children. Less emphasis on SATs results.”

This content was originally published here.


Scottish Government gives go ahead for bridge linking Northern Ireland and Scotland

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has said that it is ready to begin talks with Belfast and Dublin about the feasibility of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government told BBC Northern Ireland’s The View programme that it will “initiate discussions to explore improving connectivity between our two islands”.

The construction of a bridge or a tunnel has often been discussed and a proposal was also contained in the 2015 DUP manifesto.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson told the BBC: “We have got the most expensive stretch of water for ships and ferries to cross and sometimes it is disrupted by bad weather, etc.

“One of the suggestions we made was if you are going to go for blue sky thinking, huge infrastructure projects, why not look at the 22 miles between Northern Ireland and Scotland and build a bridge which would make travel less expensive and probably more certain.”

A bridge stretching from Larne in County Antrim to Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway has been suggested.

Scotland’s Brexit Minister Mike Russell has backed the idea of a bridge and said that a fixed link could only be a good thing.

The one major stumbling block in negotiations could be the large cost of such a project.

Many in the business community in Northern Ireland have serious reservations.

Seamus Leheny from the Northern Ireland Freight Transport Association believes road projects in the country should be prioritised over a bridge.

“We have flagship projects where we are struggling to get the capital money to build those and also our roads and maintenance budget.

“We simply don’t have the money to retain what we already have. So to build a bridge at this cost would be seen as a vanity project by some.”

The original idea of connecting Scotland and Ireland has been around for over a hundred and thirty years.

Plans from the 1890s show tunnels stretching from counties Down and Antrim to the west of Scotland to carry trains.

Ultimately, despite much consideration, the tunnels were never built.

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