Monday Memories – Beginnings #5: Learning the Hard Way

Life at home continued to be more or less idyllic for my sister and I. There were exceptions. I remember, when I was about 6 and my sister a toddler, how I almost blinded her. Continue reading Monday Memories – Beginnings #5: Learning the Hard Way

Irish School Students Helping Their African Counterparts #WATWB

Portlaoise College is a dual purpose establishment, both a secondary school and a further education college. Back in 2007 I attended evening classes in painting there. At that time it was the newest of Portlaoise’s education campuses, having been constructed the previous year. More recently all of Portlaoise’s secondary schools have been housed in new buildings on a campus on the other side of town. This post is about the activities of a group of students and teachers from Portlaoise college’s secondary school facility and draws on a story from one of the town’s weekly newspapers. Secondary Education in Ireland … Continue reading Irish School Students Helping Their African Counterparts #WATWB

#WATWB The retirees who gave up their home to help kids with anxiety

I came across this story via a segment on the BBC’s ‘One Show‘ on Tuesday 23rd. January. Seeking more information I was surprised by an apparent lack of coverage in other UK media. I found this article, from 2015, in an Australian newspaper. That seems to be based around the couple’s ‘Pride of Britain’ award that year. Scroll down the linked page to find them under ‘Special Recognition’ (theirs is the third such award listed). So, what is it all about? Six years ago Vivienne Morgan read about a teenager who had committed suicide after having been bullied at school. … Continue reading #WATWB The retirees who gave up their home to help kids with anxiety

Malnutrition and Indolence – Lessons for Today

In my previous post I postulated that poor diet in expectant mothers and infants had, in the past, a role in preventing the poor in Ireland from improving their conditions. But can it also explain the lack of aspiration evident among the poor in modern developed economies? The British government during World War II was concerned to ensure that expectant and nursing mothers and infants received proper nutrition despite the food shortages and rationing that characterised the war years and those immediately following. They would have been ignorant of the relationship between diet and brain growth. But they were certainly … Continue reading Malnutrition and Indolence – Lessons for Today

The Trouble with Grammar Schools

Early in 1952 I took, and passed, an examination generally referred to as 11+. This was the method by which pupils were selected for a grammar school education. It supposedly indicated that I had a higher than average intelligence quotient. In the whole of Herefordshire there were only two grammar schools for boys, not counting the highly specialised Cathedral Choir School – Hereford High School and Kington Grammar (There were also grammar schools for girls). Both were geographically isolated from our home in the hills above the Golden Valley in the south west of the county. This presented my mother … Continue reading The Trouble with Grammar Schools

Blessings Abound

I saw a snippet in our local newspaper earlier this week that I’ve been mulling over ever since. It was in the community section, among the bridge club results and notices of forthcoming meetings. A brief announcement of such a bizarre nature that it took me completely by surprise. BLESSING OF BAGS Blessing of school bags will take place at 6.30pm Mass on Saturday, September 3. It is probable that I am missing something; that this is a perfectly ordinary event in the Church calendar. And yet … I can’t help wondering precisely what those seeking to have their school … Continue reading Blessings Abound