New questions over the academy programme

So now we know. Fewer than half of academy chains are producing above average GCSE results. The government has insisted on an almost weekly basis that academies and Free Schools are superior to schools under local authority supervision. Only this week Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has dismissed calls for independent supervision of the curriculum. Schools are to be run as separate business, funded by the taxpayer and free of local democratic control and guess what, there is no evidence whatsoever that this flagship policy results in an improvement in the quality of children’s learning.


Round up



Desmond Clarke | Blog: The public side of public libraries




Leon’s Library Blog : 22nd March

Damned if we do…




Bristol Post : 23rd March

Letter | Take on young as trainees in libraries



Lincolnshire Echo : 23rd March

Internal Audit of the Libraries Project to be discussed by county council



Daily Echo : 23rd March

Council decision to spend £99,000 on heating system at Cobbett Road Library branded ‘shambolic’



Coventry Telegraph : 23rd March

Leaked private letter from Coventry council boss casts doubt on future of Finham Library

The Cambridge Student : 21st March

Controversy over future of Cambridge Central Library


Cambridge News : 21st March

Why there’s furore at Cambridge Central Library




London SE1 : 20th March

Lambeth | Waterloo Library: little enthusiasm for volunteer-run service : 20th March

Council libraries are using JobBridge for ‘free labour’, says Sinn Féin

Interns told “no chance of employment at the end of the program”



Harrow Times : 20th March

Harrow Council pledge to work with community over Bob Lawrence, North Harrow,

Rayners Lane and Hatch End library options



Kingsbridge Today : 20th March

Devonshire | Library shake-up

? …



Bristol Post : 20th March

Letter | Library consultation must be transparent

“evidence” demanded

Kelvin MacKenzie is beneath contempt

Just when you think vile former S*n editor Kelvin MacKenzie can’t crawl any lower into the grotesque swamp of his own self-serving mendacity, he manages to burrow even deeper. In this tissue of lies, he paints himself as if he was is as much a victim of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people died because of the catastrophic actions of the police. MacKenzie says he was given an incorrect story and is ready to go to court over it. In fact, fellow journalists have revealed that he ignored deep unease in his newsroom to provocatively label a highly controversial story, later proved to be a tissue of lies, The Truth. Not only that, while the Daily Star realised the story was a flimsy collection of unsubstantiated falsehoods and distanced itself, MacKenzie clung to it. It took years for him to apologise and, even then, he did it in the most wounded, snivelling manner.

MacKenzie finally tried to exonerate himself in 1993. Talking to a House of Commons Select Committee, he said: “I regret Hillsborough. It was a fundamental mistake. The mistake was I believed what an MP said. It was a Tory MP. If he had not said it and the Chief Superintendent (David Duckenfield) had not agreed with it, we would not have gone with it.”

MacKenzie withdrew the apology in November 2006, saying he had only apologised because the newspaper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, had ordered him to, stating: “I was not sorry then and I’m not sorry now”.[163] MacKenzie refused once more to apologise when appearing on the BBC’s topical Question Time on 11 January 2007.[164]

The man is beneath contempt.



It’s the final countdown

I am having a breather in my hotel room before my final talk of the Hong Kong Young Readers Festival at Po Leung Kuk Ho Yuk Ching College in the New Territories.
I ran a writing workshop this morning at the Chinese International School on Braemar Hill. See below:

Writing ghost stories at the Chinese International School.

Writing ghost stories at the Chinese International School.