Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum

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Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum
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News roundup from the UK

GBP 200 billion of previously misreported public spending under public private partnerships is set to appear on the public books. The timing is designed to make it appear as if it's related to the credit crunch which New Labour helped create by its regulatory failures.

US legislators are set to blacklist libel rulings handed down by English courts as London has become a favourite haunt of libel tourists such as Saudi banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz, who has been linked to Bin Laden.

UK govt overseas aid agency - the Comonwealth Development Corporation - has responded to the global food crisis by withdrawing almost entirely from food-related projects ... as they don't provide a good financial return. Fund management of CDC is provided by Actis (i.e. the former management of CDC but paid more). Vilain of the peace in all this is Hilary Benn, left-wing son of the left-wing Anthony Wedgewood Benn.

Police in the UK have responded to an increase in knife-related crime by reclassifying knifings as "chest injuries", and boosting spending on the invaluable PR agencies.

Boris Johnson, London mayor, is committed to providing "affordable homes" but mysteriously failed to apply the "H4" policy when dealing with a Target Living application in Bayswater. Perhaps this has nothing to do with the fact Target Living is part-owned by James Archer, son of the old Tory ex-con Lord Archer. Also muddying the waters is the fact that BJ's planning adviser, Sir Simon Milton, is the civil partner of Tory councillor Robert Davis, chairman of the planning cttee.

The Department for the Elimination of Farming has put planning regulations in place which ban small wind turbines even in remote rural areas.

The Royal National College for the Blind has sold off most of its pianos and closed its much valued piano-tuning course, which enabled many visually-impaired people to find employment, in order to re-invest money and space in sports.

Newly-appointed Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs is Mike Clasper. Unfortunately, he is (was?) the "operational managing director" of a private equity company called Terra Firma - which is at best guilty of aggressive tax avoidance and is being investigated by HMRC's Special Civil Investigations section.

Closer to home now. Nord Anglia, owner of the "British School" in Warsaw has been bought by Baring Private Equity Asia of Hong Kong. Was it the rush for profit that got in the way of actually providing decent text books and not relying endlessly on photocopies. On a completely unrelated topic, the British School in Warsaw charges parents more than typical schools charge in the UK.

More news later, perhaps.

Re: News roundup from the UK

Moving on to Sainsbury's, which was fined for mouse infestation

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has been fined a total of £35,000 after a serious mouse infestation was found at its store in Camberley, Surrey, UK. The problem was first brought to the attention of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) when a customer complained about mice. Officers visited the premises and found mouse droppings under bakery shelves, on baking trays and on the floor of the delicatessen counter. A dead mouse was also on the floor of a stock holding area. As the council was preparing to prosecute the company for the original offences a further complaint was made by a customer, and EHOs again found widespread evidence of a mouse infestation near to food.

Re: News roundup from the UK

"On a completely unrelated topic, the British School in Warsaw charges parents more than typical schools charge in the UK."

A private school in Warsaw charges more than a private school in England?

What sort of money are we talking about?

Re: News roundup from the UK


the above is the link to the school fees and it does indeed seem pretty steep. Some private schools in the Uk charge more per term but at £14k a year for years 12-13 (at a current exch rate of 4.07pln) I'd say it is very expensive by English standards. Latymer charges £4.4k a term and that is a top day school in London. Roedean has a max fee of £5250 for senior school attenders. Eton is £9360 a term (well they call a term a half so I'm not quite clear if they have different terms from normal schools) but also I assume that's a fee for a boarder.

So I'd agree that the Warsaw school is exhorbitant considering you are just getting the crappy national curriculum abroad (no offence to teachers of the national curriculum but....!)

Re: News roundup from the UK


The most common news story in the UK recently goes a bit like this (well this and gordy being unpopular) :

"Knife crime among young people is a growing problem in the UK according to a special BBC programme on Sunday.

In the last year more than 20 teenagers have died as a result of knife attacks in the UK - that's almost one teenager every two weeks.

In 2003, 14-year-old Luke Walmsley died after he was stabbed by another pupil at Birkbeck School in Lincolnshire.

It's illegal to have knives at school and it's important to remember that deaths like Luke's are very rare.

But according to police more and more of you are carrying knives - sometimes with terrible consequences.

Kirsty, 14, from Scotland was involved in a fight with a friend and ended up being slashed with a knife.

She told the BBC's Panorama programme she was cut on the cheek and forehead and needed to have 93 stitches.

Kirsty is one of a growing number of children who are victims of knife crime - often for the most trivial reasons.

It's a problem affecting the whole country, in cities and in the countryside, and many feel it's getting worse. "

Re: News roundup from the UK

- A private school in Warsaw charges more than a private school in England?

Hans, are you not spending any time in Poland at the moment?! Many things are currently more expensive here than anywhere else in Europe.

In my opinion it is scandalous considering the fact that the zloty is so strong and that so many products are imported.

Many people have asked for pay rises at the company I work for in the last 6 months. To my knowledge all of these have been denied. I really think the inflation problem in Poland (which is not being reported as such) has the potential to royally screw up the local economy.

Re: News roundup from the UK

"Hans, are you not spending any time in Poland at the moment?! Many things are currently more expensive here than anywhere else in Europe."

Sorry, yes, I agree about the high prices in Poland. I was just surprised by a Polish private school charging more than a private school in England. My guess is that standards do not compare and most of the teachers are probably Polish, so see no reason for such high prices. I certainly wouldn't pay this sort of money for a Polish teacher to teach my child.

As for prices generally, our place in Poland is close to the German border, and therefore do most of our shopping in Germany.

In Germany: service is better; quality higher; and prices for many things lower than in Poland.

Re: News roundup from the UK

Thank you, Ania, for the school comparison information.

Re: News roundup from the UK

"My guess is that standards do not compare and most of the teachers are probably Polish,"

On the contrary, although there are some Polish born teachers, the majority seem to be either english born, New zealanders, south africans, one from canada, one from mexico. Many have degrees from UK universities (not necessarily a good thing).

Hans do you think nationality has anything to do with the ability to teach or do you think (as I do) that poor teaching stems from a poor central (state) strategy, a culture of failure and a lack of discipline and focus on the part of schools?

I was talking about this very subject with a teacher friend last night. Children are appallingly behaved in British schools and constantly challenge teachers. If a teacher goes near a child the child starts shouting assault accusations. Yet the children seem to be allowed to touch the teacher with no fear of similar accusations. Children seem to get away with swearing at teachers with only the threat of being excluded from school for a few days hanging over them. I was told it was considered unprofessional for a teacher to tell them to "mind their f*cking language"....!

Re: News roundup from the UK

Most of the teachers' qualifications look pretty impressive. The majority of the British teachers even appear to be better qualified than most teachers here in the UK.

I wouldn't want to be taught English by a Polish teacher though, as some of the Polish teachers seem to do there. Definitely not when paying so much money

Re: News roundup from the UK

""Children are appallingly behaved in British schools and constantly challenge teachers""

It depends on the school and where you are in the country.

Re: News roundup from the UK

I'm talking about state schools in general. I'm sure there are plenty of crappy schools in dorset or devon too. I went to some young gifted and talented thing for my Goddaughter in West Sussex recently and we were in the most amazing looking school, lovely modern building with great facilities and lovely well kept gardens. The grounds were immaculate. I said to my friend (her mum & also a teaching assistant) that I'd love to have gone to a school like this and the first thing she said was that it is a very rough school and considered very poor in achievement. I'm going to dorset next weekend by the way

But, I'm sure every school is different. My teacher friend's school is a girls only school in an affluent area in West London and has a very high level of A-C gcse attainment (highest in its LEA). I dread to think what lower performing schools are like. I work near a very high performing church comprehensive. Again a girls school. I cannot understand how girls who are apparently so intelligent can come across as such delinquents when they are let out for their lunchbreaks. These girls who must be about 15-16. I work in a very nice area (haunted by many celebs) so affluence is not a measure. I went to a girls school and great emphasis was put on acting like "young ladies" and such. Uniform was strictly policed and nail varnish was removed by a teacher with acetone in the science lab (these days it would be considered abuse). I remember a teacher checking us all for over the knee socks when the school imposed a ban on them. These days kids seem to all talk like "dis" or "dat" and you get them into work and they haven't a clue how to string a sentence together....not quite sure what has happened.

Re: News roundup from the UK

""I'm sure there are plenty of crappy schools in dorset or devon too.""

I'm sure wherever there are council estates or immigrants in the area there will be a crappy school.

My area is thankfully largely free of both.

Re: News roundup from the UK

""not quite sure what has happened. ""

Black Americanisation of youth, benefit culture among under and working class, and large scale immigration of undesirables.

Re: News roundup from the UK

Added to all that is the anti-boy bias of the educational establishment. The degree of sexism is incredible - oh, not to mention the degree of anti-working class bias in the curriculum.
Several years ago - and I was probably a little slow - I came to the blinding realisation that the aims of the educational revolutions of the last 20 years are:
(i) to give an illusion of success to girls
(ii) to destroy boys' self-esteem and work ethic
(iii) to ensure the elite's privileged status in society by making the other kids concentrate on (the very low level) GCSE exams at age 16 so they wouldn't have time to make up for it later.

Results of the reforms:
(i) girls are now massively outperforming boys (and this is seen as a GOOD thing!!)
(ii) white working class boys are branded as failures (and this too is seen as a GOOD thing!!)
(iii) A levels (age 18) and some university courses have been dumbed down - even the dumber members of the elite are sailing through now!

Oh - and boys are no longer trained as plumbers and electricians, so the good tradesmen are ageing fast. Girls are generally uninterested.

Re: News roundup from the UK

I think you're both wrong. Although there is a strong correlation between deprived areas and poor schooling, I think the decline in education standards is more down to faddy teaching methods and a lack of boundary setting by parents. In our instant gratification society kids don't want to have to do any hard work at all. Teachers have made it easier for them to do as little as possible, computers mean they don't even have to read a book or write their own essays. Because of the volume of coursework it's never been easier to cheat. Kids spend half their time in class texting.

Re: News roundup from the UK

Clever analysis - blame the teacher for making it too easy.
When I was a schoolteacher (I taught French) I got into a lot of bother simply because I tried to set standards. My results were excellent but my methods were unacceptable in the state sector.
I concentrated on enabling childrent to formulate sentences on their own intead of trying to learn endless phrases parrot fashion - the amazingly backward so-called 'immersion' technique, which tries to ape the real life first-language acquisition process.
I had no such problem in a private school.
Do you think teachers don't see what's going on? The problem is you simply have to bend to the will of government and Establishment specialists. You have no choice. To put it bluntly, would you go up to your boss and tell him repeatedly he was doing it all wrong and no person with half a brain would run a business like that? If you did, you'd be out of a job. Same thing goes for teachers in the weird, weird world of publicly-funded education.

Re: News roundup from the UK

Another Ania - you're going to Dorset too!
A friend of mine originally from Catford, now married to a Polish man and living in Warsaw, is down there just now - Swanage. I'm going to the area on Aug. 16th.
Apparently, it's a bumper year for tourism there.

Re: News roundup from the UK

"blame the teacher for making it too easy."

Of course I meant it is down to state policies. I know many teachers are working very hard to implement the badly thought out crappy national curriculum. I am full of admiration for anyone who can get up in front of a class of unruly teens in this day and age.