Monday, 30 April 2012

10,000 pedal for action in biggest bike protest


10,000 pedal for action in biggest bike protest

The scene at Park Lane, London
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty
Cyclists take part in the Big Ride cycle campaign in Park Lane, London
Central London was overrun by 10,000 cyclists today, as the biggest bike protest ever seen in the capital took to the streets.
The mayoral candidates Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones, as well as Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, joined the ride from Hyde Park to Blackfriars, which called on the candidates in next week's local and mayoral elections to make concrete pledges to make the streets safer for cyclists.
Mr Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said: "I personally am too afraid to cycle on the roads and roundabouts in London and that isn't right. We need to review all junctions, especially those on the cycle superhighways."
Ms Jones, the Green candidate, told The Times: I am here to celebrate cycling and London has to understand that cycling is the future."
A parallel event took place in Edinburgh, where more than 3,000 cyclists – three times the turnout expected - rode down the Royal Mile.
In London, despite the steady rain, cyclists of all shapes and sizes - old and young, male and female, lycra-clad and fancy-dressed - took over Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and Victoria Embankment, chanting for safer streets.
Parmy Boual was out with her three children, Anil, 8, Markus, 12 and Mandeep 10 and said: "I want to see safer streets for us as a family. My kids have always ridden with us, in trailers when they were younger and then on their own bikes. All road-users need greater awareness."
Mr Hughes, cycling alongside reporters from The Times, said that more secondary school pupils need to cycle and called for all new social houses to include safe cycle storage and parking, to save people needing "to carry bikes up four flights of stairs". He said: "I have always supported events like this and this is really good to see."
Dr Ashok Sinha, chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), who organised the ride with support from The Times, said: "We got the mayoral candidates to sign up to the LCC safer cycling campaign, and thousands of people are here to witness that promise. we weill be going back to them the day after the elections to see how they will act on it."
Between them, The Times's 'Cities fit for cycling' campaign and the LCC's 'Love London, Go Dutch' campaign have received more than 70,000 signatures, with cycling expected to be a potentially decisive issue in the mayoral elections taking place this week in London, Liverpool and Salford.
Campaigners are calling on Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, who famously cycles regularly in London, to defend his pro-cycling reputation in the face of escalating casualties. One cyclist said: "At the moment, the cyclists' vote is with Jenny Jones as first choice, and Ken Livingstone as second preference."
The organisers of the Pedal on Parliament ride in Edinburgh today are expecting more than 1,000 protesters, after the deaths of two cyclists — Andrew McNicoll, 43, and Bryan Simons, 40 — in the Scottish capital so far this year. Sixteen cyclists have been killed in the Lothian area since 2000. Sunshine is forecast for Edinburgh this afternoon.
"We've done nothing like this before," said Dave Brennan, one of the organisers. "It sends a strong message to politicians that people want to get out on their bikes."
On Monday the five major candidates for the London mayoral election will take part in hustings hosted by The Times and the Sustrans charity. It will be the only time that all the main candidates will come together to debate cycling.
Although all the candidates have expressed their verbal support for The Times' Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, James Harding, the Editor, told the Government's cycle safety inquiry this week that more needed to be done to make sure that "warm words are translated into action".
In Edinburgh, because smaller numbers had been anticipated, no roads had been closed for the 'Pedal on Parliament', leading to a handful of arguments with irate motorists. One cyclist swore loudly at a car as it nearly knocked him off his bike on Canongate, and two taxis turning up onto the same road were also involved in a couple of close calls with the cyclists.
Dave Brennan, who organised the Pedal on Parliament, said: "We didn't expect these sorts of numbers. We didn't know how strong the feeling was, obviously we've struck a chord. People are coming form all over Scotland."
But they reached Holyrood, where they were met by representatives from the main political parties, each of whom said they supported the movement's agenda.
Before setting off, the campaigners held a minutes' silence in memory of cyclists who had been killed on Edinburgh's roads recently.
Paul and Jenny Wilson, who joined the protest with their son Christopher, said: "Coming from the north of the city to the south is quite tricky on a bike. The cycle routes don't join up."
Gareth Dennis, 21, who is a student at Edinburgh University, joined the protest after being involved in an accident on his bike. "I feel pretty angry about the state of cycling. The attitudes of the British are all wrong when it comes to cycling," he said.
Alice Ennals Sumner, his friend, agreed: "The main problem is the attitude of drivers. Part of being a driver is recognising cyclists."
Meanwhile a cycling campaign in Italy which is affiliated to The Times' Cities fit for Cycling mustered thousands of riders for a demonstration in Rome.
Riding towards the Colosseum under the banner Veni, Vidi, Bici, they aimed to bring attention to the city's lack of provision for cyclists and poor road safety record. To make their point the protesters dismounted and lay down as though dead in the Via dei Fori Imperiali. "Policy in this country is made for drivers," said Alberto Fiorillo, one of the organisers.
Protest organisers said that more than 2,500 cyclists had been killed on Italy's roads over the past ten years, the worst accident rates being in Rome and Milan.

Bone tool Flash with Year 8

Year 8 always love using Flash at this time of year.  Basic skills class taught advanced skills picked up of You Tube and shared via pupil Blogs

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Common Sense - Digital Passport

Here is a link to the Common Sense website who have made an online program called Digital Passport.
We are thinking it would be quite good to use as part of our Key Stage 3 E-Safety scheme of work.
Espically after final levels are in for Year 8.
What do you think?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Where are they going? New Yorkers' daily movements mapped

Where are they going? New Yorkers' daily movements mapped
Jeff Clark, of Neoformix, has used data from geolocated tweets to map the movements of New York's Twitter users over a typical day

I love this would have linked it to my university dissertation back in the day if the tech had been around in 1999!  Also had a similiar idea for our activities week a couple of years back but drawing pictures via geo-tagging walking the streets of New York.

Jeff Clark's visualisation maps the daily movements of New Yorkers. CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE Illustration: Jeff Clark, Neoformix

Drawing inspiration from Hint's wind map of America, Neoformix's Jeff Clark has created a similarly intricate map of New Yorkers' daily journeys.

The map was produced using data from geolocated tweets, where journeys are based on any two or more updates posted within a four hour window of one another by the same user.
The starting point of each trip is coloured blue, and the colour gradually changes through purple to red, where the journey ended.

Very short journeys are denoted by a blue dot or short line, while a longer red segment corresponds to a trip where travel was at high speed.

The image below shows journeys made between 6 and 11am. Two particular flows stand out; a large number of people can be seen exiting Central Park at its south-eastern corner, while crowds are congregating in Times Square.

New York movements AM
Here, journeys taken between 6 and 11 am are illustrated. CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE Illustration: Jeff Clark, Neoformix
This next image shows trips taking place between midday and 5pm. Lots of people have made their way to Union Square, and several high-speed trips end at Grand Central Station, possibly showing commuters jumping into cabs as they hurry to catch trains.

New York movements PM
Travel between midday and 5 pm is shown here. CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE Illustration: Jeff Clark, Neoformix
The final panel shows flows between 6 and 11pm. The busiest area is around the junction between 54th Street and 6th Avenue, and several trips end at The Pond in Central Park's south-eastern corner.

New York movements EVE 
In this panel journeys between 6 and 11 pm are mapped. CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE Illustration: Jeff Clark, Neoformix

Exciting Apple training at Wildern

During June & July we are running 3 Apple training events at school as part of our work as a Regional Training Centre. 

The first 2 workshops will better suit staff with macbooks or iPads, or if you currently book them from the genius bar.

The 3rd session on July 11th is suited to all staff.  If you have an iPhone, iPod or iPad or just book them out occasionally from the Genius Bar to use in lessons this is the event for you!  The only requirement to attend this training is you need to come with one app in mind that you love (educational or not!) and be willing to tell everyone what it is.   The idea is that you will leave the workshop with a whole load of apps useful to your subject area as well as everyday life. (Anyone for angry birds space?!)

If you wish to attend any of these sessions, please let me know

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Insafe competition - winners

'InSafe who are who are a European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people.

Each year they run a European Safer Internet Day and as part of the event they run a competition promoting online safety. This years competition was for young people to create a video or poster to promote online safety aimed at a different generation.

There were 296 entries from across Europe and we
are delighted to inform you that Wildern have two winners from the competition:

N,Fisher (year 10) has been awarded first place in the Poster Competition for children aged 10-14 years old.

F.Betts (year 9) has been awarded second place in the Poster Competition for children aged 10-14 years old.'

The steep climb to university starts with GCSEs

The steep climb to university starts with GCSEs

As children face a summer of exams, former headmaster Tommy Cookson outlines why getting top grades is more important than ever.

The long haul: your GCSEs will affect your UCAS application
The long haul: your GCSEs will affect your UCAS application  Photo: ALAMY
2:41PM BST 23 Apr 2012

Only a month to go before GCSEs and (so the myth suggests) boys will be starting to revise while girls will have been working flat out for months. For both, however, the results will have a critical bearing on whether they decide to go to university, which university they choose and what course they apply for.
Never before have GCSE results been so important. They are the only hard-and-fast evidence that a university admissions tutor has of an applicant's performance in a public examination. Not all schools offer AS exams and many offer a variety of different sixth-form courses; whereas GCSEs and IGCSEs are common currency for UK and international applicants.

Taking and doing well in GCSE is only the start of a difficult process. Choosing which university to apply to and what subject to read when and if you get there are as tricky as choosing a profession – or who to marry. Unfortunately the university choices have to be made a lot younger and, unlike marriage, the courtship is often indecently short.

Further, some universities are popular and hard to woo. The very best will be looking for as many as eight A*s in a range of GCSE subjects from students at top-of-the-league-tables independent schools; but any university in the top 10 will want at least some in subjects related to the pupil's choice of degree course. All universities require at least a grade C in English and mathematics and all will need evidence of sufficient ability to make a success of a three-year degree course. Dropout rates are still high enough (in excess of eight per cent) to warrant caution in the assessment of applications. 

The results are in by late August. It's tough for some, but in my experience, generally candidates get what they deserve and their teachers expect. Occasionally a disappointing grade in the sciences or maths may act as a useful warning to pupils who have had a romantic attraction, say, to medicine that the subject is not for them. Other exams such as English literature can produce odd grades that need not put off a candidate. Remember, time passes quickly: applications for top universities such as Oxford or Cambridge and medical schools have to be in by October 15 of the next year and it's best to apply for competitive courses as early as possible.

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The lower sixth year is therefore a time for purposeful research. Pupils should arm themselves with a university handbook such as Brian Heap's Choosing Your University Degree Course or The UCAS Guide to Getting into University and College. Each university also publishes its own handbook, copies of which are sent free to schools and which should be consulted when you have narrowed down your choices.

Universities hold open days in the summer that offer the opportunity to get a feel for the place and the people and decide whether it's too far from home… or not far enough. 

When you have a clear picture of the type of course and university you want to aim for, it is time to ask the help of professional advisers. The school's or the local authority's careers department can tell you, for instance, which universities have good law schools, how you qualify to become a barrister, even whether reading law is the best preparation for law. They can also tell you where to find useful work experience to help you discover what you might (and just as importantly what you might not) enjoy. 

Experience suggests that those heading down the science route make up their minds more quickly about what to do at university than those aiming for arts courses. Some schools buy in psychometric tests for their pupils. These indicate where their strengths lie but not necessarily which profession would best suit them. The advice of parents and teachers at this stage is critical. The role of both is a bit like that of the monarch: to advise and to warn but not to make decisions. Your child is most probably nervous of independence but determined to secure it none the less. Wise teachers and parents recognise this and do not force the issue. Nevertheless you should be ready to listen and comment whenever the subject of university arises and tactfully nudge communication along if it lapses. 

Courting a university (or five universities at once, as candidates are required to do on the UCAS application form) is frustrating. There is the one you really want but know that everyone else is after as well. There are those that do not cause the earth to move but perhaps would suit you best in the long run; and a couple you'd rather have than be left on the shelf. You should avoid applying to the last: they are called insurance choices. Unless you want to go to a university, don't put it down on your UCAS form. 

When making your final choices, it is good to be ambitious but silly to be unrealistic. Most candidates, it has to be said, lack realism, aim impossibly high and should heed the advice of their teachers. But very occasionally teachers (perhaps themselves disappointed in the past) can scotch ambition and counsel pupils to play it safe. This is unhelpful and a source of deep frustration to top universities. 

Choosing a university, like choosing a partner, depends on compatibility. Once you are sure of your course, it's worth finding out which university has the best department, although competition to get into it will drive up the required entry grades. If you are doubtful about making the grade a slight alteration of course may do the trick. There is competition for English, for instance, but the choice of English and classical literature might produce a lower offer – and there are some really excellent classics departments around.

This advice sometimes brings the response: what future does classics prepare you for? And this raises the question: what's university for?

A number of university disciplines are vocational. Medicine, law engineering and many others lead on to a profession, though not directly to a professional qualification. But many aren't "useful". Their purpose is to deepen understanding of life, to improve the way we think and communicate and to show us that human existence is complex and the truth murky. Study of classics may prepare one for a career in the BBC as well as media studies. It may also prepare one for a career in law. The recent science editor of a national newspaper read history.

Things to consider
Cambridge and Oxford, Imperial College, UCL and Warwick feature in all lists of the top 10 universities; the other five places tend to be filled by different institutions each year.
Imperial is strong in engineering, Bath and Warwick in business and economics, and LSE in economics or law-related degrees.
The number of GCSE A* grades required by universities vary depending on the applying pupil's school's average. For example, a school in an affluent area and in the private sector might be averaging six A*s per pupil, so an offer to a candidate from a top university and popular faculty would be made on a very high number of A*s. Universities expect less from pupils at schools with lower average grades.
Popular subjects that need a very good hand of GCSEs include economics (applications rising rapidly), English, history, medicine, geography, business studies/administration (especially at Bath and Warwick), law and psychology.
High grades would also be expected in joint courses in politics, philosophy and economics, and English and history. These subjects have very high ratios of applicants to places (as many as 20:1) so admissions tutors have no choice but to be very selective.

Tommy Cookson is former headmaster of Winchester College, Sevenoaks School and King Edward VI, Southampton

Brian Heap's HEAP 2013: University Degree Course Offers is available to preorder from Telegraph Books at £35 + £1.25 p&p. Call 0844 871 1515 or visit
The UCAS Guide to Getting Into University and College is available to pre-order from Telegraph Books at £11.99 + £1.25 p&p (as above)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Childnet Film Competition 2012

As we are on a winning streak we are thinking we should organise this competition by childnet.

Might be quite good to do once the yr 11s have gone, the closing date is the 15th June.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Pizza time

My kind of meeting, just what's needed by year 11 after another practice English exam!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Mac keyboards suitable for schools?

Three Mac Suites here two shared between departments and one used only by media and one teacher. No damaged keyboards in the media room look at these from the shared room!