Categories
COVID-19 Education

Our students are trapped in a psychological experiment

Freshers across the country are being subjected to a psychological experiment that would never have been imagined, let alone sanctioned, before Covid-19 plunged the world into restrictive measures. Whether they will do any more than flatten curves or delay peaks is still not known but, either way, we are risking a mental health catastrophe among our young people.

Categories
COVID-19 Education

The Covid-secure classroom is taking a big toll on pupils

‘My water bottle has leaked in my bag!’ The 11-year-old girl was distraught. It was her first week at secondary school. Her neatly titled exercise books – hitherto in pristine condition – were dripping wet; was she in trouble? What would become of her?

That happened in my wife’s class. She is also a teacher and has seen most things in her career. Flooded bags are a regular mishap. Usually, upset children are easily calmed when their teacher takes charge to put things right. But September 2020 has been a very different experience in schools. Socially distanced from the class, Stephanie was unable to offer any more than verbal instructions to her young pupil. Twenty minutes later the poor girl was still wiping out her bag.

Categories
COVID-19 Education

Boris’s mask debacle is doing a disservice to teachers

The latest U-turn – this time on face masks in schools – comes less than a week before hundreds of thousands of teachers, including myself, return to the classroom. But is the announcement that secondary school pupils may have to wear masks as they make their way around schools really a smart idea? I’m not convinced.

Categories
COVID-19 GRA Reform Legal Personal Testimony

Freddy McConnell and the mother of fights

Coronavirus has closed schools, grounded planes and even delayed the start of the cricket county championship, but it has not shut down the transgender debate. This often toxic and divisive issue has proved to be one of the hardiest items in the news agenda in recent years. And even a pandemic has done little to limit the exposure.

Birth certificates are the latest topic to provoke fury. But now there is a difference. While the discussion up to now has broadly surrounded the documents of transgender people, the Court of Appeal has just upheld a ruling about the documents of their children.

Categories
COVID-19 GRA Reform Personal Testimony

Bringing Trans People Together

As Covid-19 spread across every continent, the world changed in ways that we could not have anticipated as recently as Christmas. “Self-isolation” and “social distancing” have entered the lexicon and taken root in my mind to such an extent that video clips of people breaking the two-metre rule seem to belong to another age, like old silent movies. These are – to use an overworked expression – unprecedented times.

But trans people have been living in unprecedented times that go back further than Christmas. While previously we were largely ignored by politicians and the media – apart from occasional salacious and often unwelcome feature articles – trans issues have been high in the news agenda for the past three years. That has not always been a blessing.

Categories
COVID-19 GRA Reform

It’s time to pause the transgender debate

As the United Kingdom plunges into an unprecedented crisis, the time has surely come to halt the reforms to self-identification of gender. Schools are closing; London could be locked down; even The Archers has an uncertain future – this really is a crisis. At such times, we can no longer afford the luxury of devoting time and resources to the foolish idea that biology matters less than feelings, when we divide humanity into male and female.