Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Social and Emotional Skills to be tested

"The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published details of its new Study on Social and Emotional Skills (SSES). While the OECD has been administering international large-scale assessments on ‘cognitive skills’ and ‘competencies’ with both children and adults for many years, the new SSES survey represents a significant shift in focus to ‘non-cognitive’ aspects of learning and skills. While details of the science behind its cognitive skills and competencies tests are relatively well known, it is now becoming clear that the OECD’s social-emotional skills programme will emphasize the psychometric science of ‘personality’ measurement..."

"The OECD first began signalling its interest in measuring and assessing social and emotional skills in 2014... "

"Organisations including the global education business Pearson and the Nudge Unit have produced research summaries and guidance on developing SELS. The core idea behind many social-emotional learning and skills approaches is that the ‘non-cognitive’ aspects of learning are fundamentally linked to academic progress and to a range of social and economic outcomes, such as productivity, labour market behaviours and overall well-being..."

"Moreover, many advocates maintain, SELS are malleable and can be improved through direct teaching intervention... "

"Major lobbying groups based in the US have produced scientific justifications for focusing on SE learning and skills. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has produced its own meta-analyses on social-emotional learning research and evidence..."

"Terms used for SELS including ‘character,’ ‘growth mindset,’ ‘grit,’ ‘resilience,’ and other ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘non-academic’ ‘personal qualities’ are often used interchangeably and gain traction with different academic, practitioner and policymaking communities. ‘Character’ has become the policy focus for the Department for Education in the UK following the 2014 publication of a cross-party Character and Resilience Manifesto, while ‘grit’ has been favoured by the US Department of Education, as in its 2013 report Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and PerseveranceCritical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. Emerging education policies in the European Union appear to emphasize ‘soft skills’ as a category that encompasses SELS..."

"In the US, SELS are a lucrative investment opportunity under the banner of ‘impact investing.’ These ‘pay for success’ schemes allow investment banks and wealthy philanthropies to invest in educational services and programs and then collect public money with additional interest as profits if they meet agreed outcomes metrics."

In Scotland SELS is promoted in Health and Wellbeing which teachers from every subject area are instructed to engage with as important for pupils in all aspects of Curriculum for Excellence.

At the same time academic standards in Scotland continue to fall.

Police will watch `resilience documentary`

Ayrshire Police Division are being encouraged to see all social problems as a consequence of the `early years.`

"Today, 20 February 2018, Ayrshire’s Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Paul Main, has announced that Ayrshire Police Division will soon become a ‘Trauma Informed Division’ aiming to improve awareness, among all police officers and staff in the division, of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)."

"ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who abuse alcohol or drugs. Each ACE increases a child’s likelihood of being a victim of violence, committing violence or being incarcerated at any point in their lifetime."

"The first stage of becoming 'Trauma Informed' will be to provide all 840 officers and staff time to watch the Resilience Documentary, which provides an overview of ACEs. Over 50 officers and staff from Ayrshire Division have already seen the documentary as part of a roadshow during the latter half of 2017."

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Global Agenda

Brian Gerrish asks the rhetorical question: "What does DAVOS and the G8 and the global leaders get up to?"

"Well actually it`s doing things like this. So here we`ve got a Guardian article: London Community School Teacher in last 10 for $1m global prize."

"So here she is, Andria Zafirakou and she`s been shortlisted from more than 30,000 people for a teaching award. So the article, when you get into it, looks fairly innocuous. But what you need to look for is this; where this award came from."

"And here we`ve got the Varkey Foundation and Sunny Varkey, founder and Executive Chairman of GEMS education group. He`s a passionate education entrepreneur. He`s also tightly connected to World Economic Forum but that would bring us roughly back into George Soros`s field, Microsoft, UNESCO and the Clinton Global Initiative."

"So we`ve got a schoolteacher in Britain who`s very happy because the Clintons and others have said `We like you.` And we`ll come on to why they like her in a minute.  But dig in and have a look at some of the people."
"Sir Michael [Lockett] has a portfolio of businesses that operate across the communications spectrum, centred around corporate, political and institutional leadership. In essence, everything which is needed to build, protect and sustain reputation." 
"During the 1992 General Election campaign, he assumed leadership of the Conservative Party’s presentation unit for Prime Minister John Major. After 15 years, his role concluded with the successful leadership campaign for Prime Minister David Cameron."

"So you think it`s a little award by an independent organisation. No no no. This is the British government with its finger in the pie so to speak."

"So they liked the teacher because she said that basically she`s got to welcome parents in 35 different languages to make them feel comfortable bringing their children into her school. So this is not about rewarding a teacher. This is about promoting global citizenship."  

"So here`s GEMS. You can have a look at that. I loved this image Mike of the little blue eyed blonde haired girl but only one eye showing ....And if we just add in a bit more here. What are they doing ? "
"From an international curriculum, to contact with our overseas schools all over the world. GEMS offer a truly global education, helping young people become well-informed world citizens." 

"So they liked the teacher because she said that basically she`s got to welcome parents in 35 different languages to make them feel comfortable bringing their children into her school. So this is not about rewarding a teacher. This is about promoting global citizenship and of course this man is at the back of it, Bill Gates."

"And this is what he says: `When you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch - one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies`..."

"And of course what he really meant was this: `one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals like me and our society`. So we`re not to know who these illustrious, immensely wealthy leaders are pushing this policy through, but they`re going to do it by giving our schoolteachers awards to make them feel good."


Mike Robinson: "Right today we have Agenda 2030 for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit. in Stockholm. Penny Mordant was there, of course. Well what`s this all about ? This is the global partnership to end violence against children. It`s where all major stakeholder groups come together to focus their words, actions and resources on ending violence against children, a unique public private partnership for all actors to hold themselves to account and work together to prevent and respond to violence against children. Does that make sense?"

"Yes," says Brian Gerrish.

"OK. It includes governments, UN agencies, international organisations, civil society, faith groups, the private sector, philanthropic organisations, foundations - like Soros for example - research practitioners, academics and children themselves. So they`re meeting in Stockholm today.[14 Feb] They`re saying we`re issuing an urgent call to action bringing together governments, UN, civil society and so on ... and responding to violence against boys and girls during the first `End Violence Solutions` summit. It will be a crucial meeting in our common responsibility to combat violence against children."

"And they say that in 2015 world leaders acknowledged the severity of epidemic levels of violence against children and committed to end all forms of violence and exploitation of children by 2030 as part of the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030 and this summit is a major milestone towards achieving that."

"As I said, Penny Mordant was there today giving a speech. She`s pledging £5 million of government funding - international development funding, - to help protect vulnerable children across the globe following allegations of sexual abuse by Oxfam in Haiti. Now of course £5 million that is a huge proportion of the billions of pounds that are made in profits by the people who do exploit children every year. So of course that`s going to have a major impact Brian. "

"No. Didn`t think so."

"The International Development secretary is going to announce that funding at this meeting. She`s also commenting on Oxfam and other charities saying:"
"Unless you [charities] create a culture that prioritises safety of vulnerable people and ensures victims and whistleblowers can come forward without fear... we will not work with you."

"So, hold on, this is Penny Mordant who works for Theresa May who`s the person who has made sure people are in prison for whistleblowing or are being hounded out of their jobs for whistleblowing and so on.  Anything to do with child sexual abuse, you`re going to end up in prison in solitary confinement or you`re going to be harassed and lose your job ...."

Brian Gerrish: "Well this is absolutely correct Mike and I can say that we know... accurately and for certain that Theresa May had a personal briefing about the despicable treatment of MET police whistleblower John Wedger - about a fifteen minute conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May - to say that a policeman, who`d blown the whistle on the grooming, abuse and deaths of children in London, and the cover up by politicians, local authorities and charities - Theresa May personally briefed on it. It`s nothing."

Mike Robinson resumes: "Well, Penny Mordant then said that she`s going to deal with Oxfam by referring them to the National Crime Agency. She said that while investigations have to be completed and any potential criminal prosecuted accordingly what is clear is the culture that allows this to happen needs to change and it needs to change now."

"We will just remind Penny Mordant, and others of course, that - well what did the Chief Executive of Oxfam say? Basically, well, if you think we`re bad lots of the other organisations are much worse."

"So, this has got to be dealt with and we`ll keep an eye on that conference and report on it in due course."


Brian Gerrish then reports on a letter from child abuse survivor and whistleblower Melanie Shaw who remains in prison. The account begins about 33.45 minutes into the programme.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Children removed to safety from isolated orphanage

"The British founder of a Cambodian orphanage is facing prosecution for sexually assaulting a boy in his care."

"Nicholas Griffin, 52, was held when police raided his isolated base in countryside near Siem Reap, in the north-west of the country."

"Up to 100 children were moved to a safe house in an operation that involved British and local investigators."

"Mr Griffin, originally from Wales, left Britain in 2006 before founding the Cambodia Orphan Fund, one year later."

"He faces a potential 10-year jail sentence over a claim he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy."

"He was originally held on suspicion of breaking child labour laws and his orphanage licence."

"The orphanage manager, a Cambodian man, has been charged with the illegal removal of a child to the orphanage."

"Jim Gamble, of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), said Cambodian police are now examining claims of `institutional abuse` within the orphanage, which occupies an unusual fortress-like building."

A post left on TripAdvisor says it all.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The difficult issue of mental health

"Family member Barbara Kumbatovich told the Herald, `she believed Nikolas Cruz was on medication to deal with his emotional fragility.` She was a sister-in-law of Lynda Cruz, the suspect’s mother, and she also told the Sun-Sentinel that she believes Nikolas has been on medications for several months..."

"While it is not clear how many medications Cruz was taking, the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and emotional issues are packed with a number of side effects that can lead to violent behavior..."

"There have been 150 studies in 17 countries on antidepressant-induced side effects. There have been 134 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries and the EU warning about the dangerous side effects of antidepressants."

"Despite this deadly laundry list of potential reactions to these medications, their use has skyrocketed by 400% since 1988. "

Listen to  The Dr. Peter Breggin Hour 02.14.18

Friday, 16 February 2018

Fire safety sprinklers must wait for a review

"Government promises to help local authorities with essential fire safety works lie in shatters after it refused to pay for sprinklers in tower blocks."

"Communities secretary Sajid Javid has refused to commit funding to retro-fit sprinklers to tower blocks, saying that the government will instead await the outcome of a review of fire safety in housing before deciding whether sprinklers should be required by law and paid for by the Government."

"But according to Labour MP Dan Carden now is not the time for another review - `we need commitments` to ensure a tragedy such as Grenfell doesn`t repeat itself."

Disappearing words

"A book created to celebrate the disappearing words of everyday nature, from acorn and wren to conker and dandelion, is fast becoming a cultural phenomenon with help from a crowdfunding campaign by a school bus driver."

"Four months after publication The Lost Words, a collection of poems by Robert Macfarlane and paintings by Jackie Morris, has already shipped 75,000 copies and won two literary prizes. Now the book, aimed at reviving once-common `natural` words excised from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, will be discovered by a generation of children after a crowdfunding drive to place a copy in every school in Scotland."

"Jane Beaton, a school bus driver and travel consultant from Strathyre, Stirling, was moved to raise £25,000 to give the book to all 2,681 schools in Scotland after “a spur of the moment” commitment on Twitter."

Thursday, 15 February 2018

More allegations against charities come to light

"Oxfam has been accused of covering up the use of prostitutes by staff in Haiti in the wake of the deadly earthquake in 2010. Allegations that prostitutes were used by staff in Chad in 2006 have also emerged." 
"It has denied a cover-up, but the charity's chief executive has said nine members of staff `behaved in a way that was totally unacceptable`."


Mike Robinson spoke on UK Column News about some of these matters: "I just caught this headline on Sky News. Oxfam: Former development secretary Greening `absolutely shocked` by claims against Oxfam. "

"She was speaking to Sky News. She said she was absolutely shocked. She said: `I don`t recall being aware of those allegations` [while she was in post] `but I certainly know that when I had any instances raised with me, they always would have been followed up. I`m not the kind of person who would have ignored anything like that. Why would anyone?` "

Mike Robinson found this statement interesting given the involvement of the Charity Commission into allegations against Oxfam.

"Well the Charity Commission for England and Wales has announced that they are opening a statutory inquiry today into Oxfam and they are going to improve safeguarding in the charity sector as a whole, they claim. They say that this has come after the allegations made against Oxfam regarding misconduct by staff involved in the humanitarian response in Haiti. They said that they have concerns that Oxfam may not have fully and frankly disclosed material details about the allegations at the time in 2011; about its handling of the incident since; and the impact that these have had on public trust and confidence."

"But this is quite interesting because actually the Charity Commission had already been investigating Oxfam during the course of 2011 and they had produced a report which came out in December."

"It said in 2017 `We engaged... with Oxfam over a number of concerning allegations about recent and non-recent safeguarding incidents involving senior programme staff including allegations of sexual harassment of other staff... `"

What the Charity Commission found:
"Oxfam cooperated fully with us. We established that the charity has a strong policy framework around protecting staff and beneficiaries from sexual exploitation and abuse, which is underpinned by the activities of a dedicated safeguarding unit. We also saw evidence of several examples of best practice including the publishing of data and trends about allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation against Oxfam staff and partners."  

"Many of the allegations reported against senior country staff relating to sexual abuse and exploitation were not substantiated, and the Commission has seen no indication to suggest that the risks to staff at Oxfam are any greater than those facing staff in other similar organisations. However, there clearly have been incidents of behaviour that did not meet the organisation’s culture and values and which have brought into question how confident trustees could be in the charity’s wider people management systems." 
"We also identified some weaknesses in how trends in safeguarding allegations were picked up, reported to trustees and management follow up properly agreed."

"They said that many of the allegations reported against country staff - senior country staff - relating to sexual exploitation and abuse were not substantiated. Well, they`ve been substantiated now. So I`m questioning here how good is this statutory investigation going to be... when they ran an investigation last year and they found nothing."

"It goes on, though. But we concluded there`s further work for the charity to do in respect of its HR culture and overall governance and management of safeguarding. The Commission considers that the charity needs to be more mindful of the allocation of resources which enables an appropriate balance between proactive preventive activity in the investigation of individual allegations."

"So basically they said nothing of any use. They apparently found nothing particularly wrong with the charity but then we have these revelations over here and apparently today more revelations about alleged sexual abuse taking place involving children in Oxfam charity shops."

Brian Gerrish concurs: "It`s amazing isn`t it Mike? And of course when UK Column was pointing a finger at the UK charity Common Purpose... what was discovered?  Matthew Byrne, one of the Merseyside Common Purpose advisory board members. Horrific crimes. I will leave people to look him up for themselves. Was there an investigation by Common Purpose?  Nothing that was made public. Was there any police investigation into him and his links with Common Purpose? No investigation at all. Was there any follow up of the fact that Common Purpose had been providing training in many schools across the country particularly in the Sheffield area with no CRB checks. Nothing was followed up on that at all."

"So what we consistently see is that when allegations come to the surface, or evidence comes to the surface, overwhelmingly there`s a close down."

"But it`s beginning to grow, so people might have missed this from a couple of days ago. It`s focusing in on Brendon Cox. This is the Daily Mail and the article is that it`s alleged that Mr Cox grabbed here hips, pulled her hair and forced his thumb into a lady`s mouth in America, in a sexual way. This was a lady working in a US government job. She reported the incident to the police as a sex assault claim...And what comes to light again in this article ... So it included a text which he sent to her later."

"He left Save the Children after there had been numerous other complaints about him. So quite remarkable. Of course here we`ve got people tied in with the mainstream political parties. These are all allegations at the moment. They seem to be building up. But is any action taken against these major charities?"

"And of course one of the things we have consistently said in our UK Column report is that child abuse survivors simply laugh when you say `Well didn`t you get any help from NSPCC or Barnardos or any of the other major charities? Those survivors have simply laughed and said `Well of course the abusers are embedded within those charities as well`. Maybe we`re beginning to see it."

"And just to bring things full circle. We`ll bring in the Open Government Partnership. Now we mentioned them a couple of days ago. This is bringing us back towards George Soros. But I was intrigued to see that we`ve got Helle Thorning Schmidt as one of the Open Government Partnership ambassadors but she`s also there as Chief Executive of Save the Children International. So remarkable isn`t it? All these people clustered around the mainstream parties. Of course this lady married to ... Stephen Kinnock. Here she is working with a major children`s charity. That charity now coming under the spotlight alongside Oxfam."

Police whistleblower

"Well, we`ll contrast that with what? The testimony of a very brave Metropolitan policeman, John Wedger.  This man speaking out to UK Column on audio... and video, clearly saying that the British government, MPs, charities, local authorities covered up child abuse in London, including the deaths of children.  He was villified, hounded at work."

"He`s doing a walk from London to Manchester. This is his JustGiving page. He was after just £5,000 and I`m delighted to say that today I can report that that JustGiving target is up to £6,255. Now the additional money over his target of £5,000 is going to go to a charity. And if you go to the JustGiving site you can actually have a look at that. So some good news there Mike, but it`s taken John Wedger to suffer so much in order to get that story out.  Mainstream press, the BBC in particular, simply will not follow through on the evidence."  [13 February 2018]

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Lawyer accused of trolling victims

"A top human rights lawyer is facing an investigation after claims that she trolled victims of child sex abuse online."

"Barrister Barbara Hewson, 56, is alleged to have posted on social media referring to victims as 'lunatics', 'nutwings' and 'cowardly'. "

"It is also claimed that she told people speaking out about abuse they had suffered as a child to 'shut the f*** up'."

"The Bar Standards Board is launching a probe against Miss Hewson, according to the Sunday Mirror. "

"MailOnline has contacted the BSB for comment."

"The barrister, who has called for the age of consent to fall to as low as 13, is facing calls to be struck off."

"One woman, who says she has faced trolling by Miss Hewson on Twitter for two years, said it would discourage people from speaking up about abuse."

Read more:

Child abuse survivor still languishes in prison