Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Puerile management and bullying beaurocrats

Since writing about H and S regulations and the too-frequent dumbo implementation of them, more stories have come to my attention.

The first of them concerns a farmer and his wife in Lincolnshire. Actually this isn’t H and S but so close I’ll include it. A farmer and his wife have an eldest daughter of seven; she likes to be independent. Outside their house they have a lane which sees ‘about 20 or 30 vehicles a day.’ The chid likes to go on her own to the bus stop for the school bus (one house away) and likes to come home on her own. When it’s dark or if the bus is late the mother ensures that she is there waiting for the daughter. No doubt, living on a farm, the little girl has learned a lot about life, safety and safe risk-taking.

Anyone listening to the mother can hear how sensible the mother is. Not the local authority, though. They wrote to the parents and told them they would make it a child protection issue if the parents continued this practice.

There’s been a furore about this; eventually the local authority have said they won’t take any action. But sadly, these pompous, purile-ocrats have won. There has been so much publicity that the parents no longer think it’s safe to let the girl wait for the bus. Worse than being puerile, the County Council officials are also faceless bullies.

Remember on Sunday I mentioned the FE college photography students? I am led to understand from a source I am not at liberty to disclose that the puerile-ocrat management have come up with another hurdle. Now the students (16 and over) can no longer be taken to art and photography galleries unless the gallery provides the college with a copy of their own H and S policies. So now not one, but two, policies needed to take these young people (many of whom at the weekends will go clubbing till two or three in the morning et al) out on valuable visits. (I’m saying nothing of the all the letters home and back.) I suppose, sadly, it’s too much to ask for the management to get real!

Another story. I have a friend who is one of the very best primary teachers I’ve ever met - and I’ve met a lot. She was studying the Victorians with a class and wanted to take the children to the local park (a couple of streets away) to further their understanding of the Victorians. The demands of form-filling and letter-writing were so burdensome that the teacher didn’t take the youngsters out.

Yes, yes, yes we must make every effort to keep our young people safe when they’re in our care. But we can’t take as our starting position that the world around us is evil, dangerous, out to get us, and filled with psychotic paedophiles. Or worse, that we live in a world where potty managers can shackle sensible people with policies as a means of justifying their own grey existences.

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