Thursday, 25 November 2010

A new sort of field trip

Newspapers such as the Mail and the Telegraph have been delighted to discover the existence of a new threat to public order in Britain. Schoolgirls. And why not? It gives the Telegraph an excuse to adorn their cover with photos of teenage girls - without even any exam-results to celebrate - while the Mail can decry the "disturbing" emergence of a new breed of activist ladettes. Not to mention the "truanting schoolgirls who were there for the excitement rather than to cause mayhem then swarmed around the van and posed for photographs taken on friends’ cameras and iPhones."

But were they necessarily truanting anyway? Paul Sagar writes on LibCon about yesterday's demonstration against student fee increases in Cambridge:


At least a thousand people attended the march, and a considerable number of them were from local sixth form colleges protesting against the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance.

Most of the rest were students at Cambridge University. There were also a handful of lecturers in attendance. And best of all, school children in uniform with their teachers.


With their teachers? This is term-time. On what basis did teachers take children out of the classroom to attend a political rally - in the process, I might add, exposing them to possible police heavy-handedness? Were their parents consulted? Were the usually rigorous health-and-safety assessments gone through? Was this sanctioned by the schools? Or did some teachers just take it upon themselves to ask class if they'd like to skip double-maths and spend the afternoon shouting anarchist slogans?

And what happened to any children who didn't want to join the protest?

This is rather mysterious.