Back to school

Covid-19 discussion, bring your own statistics
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Little waster
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Re: Back to school

Post by Little waster » Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:45 am

OffTheRock wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:45 pm
Definitely worth going on Marr yesterday and saying schools were safe and must go back. Obviously important to get one day of virus spreading in those schools that didn’t have INSET today.
Yes that was well worth sending the Littlest Waster (chronic asthma) in for a day.

A quick playground head count showed half his class didn't turn up and according to him* the day's teaching consisted of 30 minutes exercise to a Joe Wicks Youtube video, a lunchtime jumping in puddles and an afternoon spent watching Zog and the Flying Doctors, all of which he can do at home.

Never should have happened :evil:





*not always reliable
It's meta, so it is allowed.

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mediocrity511
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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:43 pm

I think it will be interesting to see what school attendance actually is during this lockdown. I've heard that some schools are seeing above 50% of their pupils being claimed as keyworkers. Also a friend whose daughter attends a private school, who was rather surprised to hear her daughter classes as vulnerable and was offered a place as English isn't the mum's first language. Friend's first language isn't English, but she's lived in English speaking countries since she was 7.
Turns out the whole class is either keyworker or vulnerable...

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Woodchopper
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Re: Back to school

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:53 am

Covid rates among school staff in some areas are as much as four times the corresponding local authority average, Tes can reveal.

Figures for three councils obtained by the NASUWT teachers' union show that the staff coronavirus infections are far outstripping local rates, casting doubt on the government's repeated assertion that teachers are at no greater risk than other workers.

The data gives the average Covid prevalence rates (per 100,000 over seven days) for school staff compared with the local authority as a whole, for a period during the autumn term.

In Leeds, the rate for secondary school staff was more than four times that of the general population or 333 per cent higher.

The data shows that the prevalence rate was, on average, 1089.5 for primary staff and 1750.5 for secondary staff, compared with 404.3 for the local authority as a whole. This average was taken for a period spanning from the week ending 19 October to the week ending 20 November.

And in Birmingham, the rate among school staff was more than three times higher than the local average. The data shows that, across the same time period, the prevalence rate was, on average, 1146.1 for primary staff and 1027.2 for secondary staff, compared with 312.2 for the local authority as a whole. This excludes the half-term week.

In Greenwich, London, the prevalence rate was also significantly higher for school staff – at, on average, 264 for staff across primary and secondary schools, compared with 98 for the local authority as a whole. However, this average was taken for a longer period – spanning from early September to the end of November.

The three councils were the only ones to provide school staff Covid prevalence rates out of 28 approached by the union.

https://www.tes.com/news/exclusive-coro ... ve-average

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Re: Back to school

Post by jimbob » Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:33 pm

Johnathan Pie has a good turn of phrase

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zx3DFXqxa8

"like a low-rent Hamlet"
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Grumble
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Re: Back to school

Post by Grumble » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:23 am

I’d like to know where schools are closed? My kids school is about half-full. There’s a kind of vicious circle going on, there are several support staff with young kids (including my wife). If they are needed in school then their kids need to go to school, which bumps the numbers up which means the head needs to ask them to come in. But you have to tell the school before school starts for the term whether you need a place or not. But you don’t actually know if you need a place or not so you have to play it safe and say yes. My wife still doesn’t know if she needs to be in work next week, it’s an outsourced company she works for and the communication is shockingly bad.
You’ve got no chutzpah, your organisational skills are lacklustre and your timekeeping is abysmal.

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Re: Back to school

Post by bagpuss » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:25 am

Grumble wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:23 am
I’d like to know where schools are closed? My kids school is about half-full. There’s a kind of vicious circle going on, there are several support staff with young kids (including my wife). If they are needed in school then their kids need to go to school, which bumps the numbers up which means the head needs to ask them to come in. But you have to tell the school before school starts for the term whether you need a place or not. But you don’t actually know if you need a place or not so you have to play it safe and say yes. My wife still doesn’t know if she needs to be in work next week, it’s an outsourced company she works for and the communication is shockingly bad.
No idea how many kids are at the bagkitten's school. Nowhere near half though, going by stuff I've seen/heard. That said, parents who had their kids home during the first lockdown are now sending kids to school, or at least considering it. Of 3 parents I'm friends with who are all keyworkers, one has sent her SEN daughter in as she just couldn't face going through it again, one is considering sending her daughter in (parents both had COVID over Christmas so they're less worried this time as they're assuming immunity, plus they were struggling to cope yesterday) and the third has said no way, her kids are staying home - she's seen too much devastation as a result of COVID.

I really do sympathise with those who are sending their kids to school if they have the chance, as the thought of juggling homeschooling and work for the next few weeks fills me with dread, but I do wonder how well this lockdown will work, as a result.

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Gfamily
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Re: Back to school

Post by Gfamily » Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:35 am

bagpuss wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:25 am
No idea how many kids are at the bagkitten's school. Nowhere near half though, going by stuff I've seen/heard. That said, parents who had their kids home during the first lockdown are now sending kids to school, or at least considering it. Of 3 parents I'm friends with who are all keyworkers, one has sent her SEN daughter in as she just couldn't face going through it again, one is considering sending her daughter in (parents both had COVID over Christmas so they're less worried this time as they're assuming immunity, plus they were struggling to cope yesterday) and the third has said no way, her kids are staying home - she's seen too much devastation as a result of COVID.

I really do sympathise with those who are sending their kids to school if they have the chance, as the thought of juggling homeschooling and work for the next few weeks fills me with dread, but I do wonder how well this lockdown will work, as a result.
MrsG is the governor of the primary school that our children went to, and they are struggling with the numbers of pupils in the school - which is currently at about 30%.

Realistically, to combine in-school teaching with the support they should be giving to those pupils who are learning at home they would aim to get the numbers in school down to the government guideline figure of 10% for 'closed' schools.

A letter has gone out to all parents, asking if those that are currently sending their children in can see whether they can rearrange things so they can teach at home - they have said that for the time being not to worry about how well they're doing "it’s better to be doing a mediocre job of home schooling than increasing the risk of transmission."

If the numbers in school can be reduced, then the teachers will be better able to support those at home - but at present they're not really able to do as much as they should be doing.
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Re: Back to school

Post by bagpuss » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:12 am

Gfamily wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:35 am
bagpuss wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:25 am
No idea how many kids are at the bagkitten's school. Nowhere near half though, going by stuff I've seen/heard. That said, parents who had their kids home during the first lockdown are now sending kids to school, or at least considering it. Of 3 parents I'm friends with who are all keyworkers, one has sent her SEN daughter in as she just couldn't face going through it again, one is considering sending her daughter in (parents both had COVID over Christmas so they're less worried this time as they're assuming immunity, plus they were struggling to cope yesterday) and the third has said no way, her kids are staying home - she's seen too much devastation as a result of COVID.

I really do sympathise with those who are sending their kids to school if they have the chance, as the thought of juggling homeschooling and work for the next few weeks fills me with dread, but I do wonder how well this lockdown will work, as a result.
MrsG is the governor of the primary school that our children went to, and they are struggling with the numbers of pupils in the school - which is currently at about 30%.

Realistically, to combine in-school teaching with the support they should be giving to those pupils who are learning at home they would aim to get the numbers in school down to the government guideline figure of 10% for 'closed' schools.

A letter has gone out to all parents, asking if those that are currently sending their children in can see whether they can rearrange things so they can teach at home - they have said that for the time being not to worry about how well they're doing "it’s better to be doing a mediocre job of home schooling than increasing the risk of transmission."

If the numbers in school can be reduced, then the teachers will be better able to support those at home - but at present they're not really able to do as much as they should be doing.
The trouble is, at least in my experience, the issue isn't about how well they're managing home-schooling, it's about how they're managing to do their own job. For example, one friend work in social work, supporting adults with visual disabilities - a challenging enough thing to do remotely at the best of times, but when she's on video calls with clients most of the day, simply having her daughter in the house is proving difficult enough, regardless of how much she's being "taught". She's a good kid but only just 10 and even the best of kids needs some level of human interaction during the day, so while she's trying not to, she is interrupting some of those client calls. The dad is doing his best but he too is on video calls for a large part of the day. The school is doing absolutely nothing to support home-schooling either, other than loading a sh.t-tonne of worksheets onto eschools every day - and it's not because they're struggling to juggle in-school vs supporting those at home (although I'm sure they are) - it's because the head teacher doesn't want to because it disadvantages those who don't have access to the necessary technology. Never mind that the vast majority of other schools are managing to do it, so our entire school ends up being disadvantaged compared with everyone else in the area (important when we're in a grammar area and 11+ is looming for our Y5 kids), he just repeats this mantra every time he's challenged about it. And besides, we're in a relatively well-off area, few kids will be in that situation and I would honestly happily donate a laptop and pay for a year's broadband for a family in need (and I'm sure I'm not alone) if it would mean some proper live teaching for the bagkitten.

[/rant] Sorry, just needed to get that out.

badger
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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Fri Jan 08, 2021 1:37 pm

Interesting thread on the emerging picture in Schools re remote learning and attendance:

https://twitter.com/lewis_goodall/statu ... 058001413

Also Good Law Project/Observer saying they have something coming up on these issues.

OffTheRock
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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:04 pm

The widened the criteria for key worker last June and I think again in December. Add to that guidance this week that now says all the children who don’t have the technology at home can be in school and that schools shouldn’t put a cap on he number of children attending and a lot of schools might as well be open. Some seem to have very small numbers in while others have well over 50% in.

And the government now seem to be encouraging parents to complain directly to Ofsted if they don’t like their school’s provision.

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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:15 pm

I don’t think there are any easy answers to that problem bagpuss. Live teaching seems to get as many complaints as not live teaching. Mostly because it lacks flexibility so parents can’t arrange homeschooling around work. I don’t know if there’s an answer that pleases the greatest number of parents or whether that might vary from school to school depending on need.

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Sciolus
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Re: Back to school

Post by Sciolus » Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:16 pm

The priorities, as far as primary and secondary children under 14 are concerned should be:
1= Control spread of the virus
1= Keep children safe and well
3 (distant third) Educate

Forget education for a couple of months, it doesn't matter that much. If your eight-year-old can't do their worksheets, so what. Schools are mostly just child-care now, and parents should be able to do that themselves unless they are all out at work. If there's a parent at home, keep the children at home. If they just sit in front of the telly all day, it's not ideal but no-one will die. Parents who are WFH may need support for their day jobs, possibly a semi-furlough arrangement, so give them that. Focus on what's important and facilitate that.

OffTheRock
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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:49 pm

I’m inclined to agree. Particularly since IME children are far less likely to do things for parents at home than they are for a teacher in school.

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mediocrity511
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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:58 pm

I also think if we decided that education comes behind virus transmission and pupil safety, what we can do with schools changes as well. None of the pupils in school because they lack technology will be there. Most of the kids with WFH parents can stay home. Some parents who need to do lots of zoom calls etc. can maybe have their kids in school on much more part time basis.

It also potentially opens up some new possibilities with regard to pupil well-being, with maybe all children offered something like an outdoor play session in a small consistent group, perhaps prioritising only children.

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discovolante
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Re: Back to school

Post by discovolante » Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:20 pm

Honestly, being a kid at school at the moment sounds like permanently having a sh.t supply teacher who just hands out badly photocopied worksheets for you to work on all day every day/until you fall asleep with boredom, it would probably put me off education for life.

This is to criticize absolutely nobody by the way, it's just a sh.t situation. And of course i have no idea what is actually happening so I'm probably talking out of my arse.
socialism is when the government does stuff

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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:32 pm

There was a tier system for schools (separate from the other tiers systems) that involved being open on a rota system. The government scrapped it back in Oct/Nov I think and then started threatening schools that tried to use it. They might be able to work something around that. Keep the KW kids as one bubble, and then the rest in on rotas of small consistent groups.
I think the SAGE recommendation was that they’d need a 2 week break.

If anyone does want a bit more than school are offering, the WhiteRose maths videos are really good. And some of the Oak National Academy stuff isn’t bad. I think the BBC are offering quite a lot from Monday and PE with Joe is back too.

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mediocrity511
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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:15 pm

OffTheRock wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 7:32 pm
There was a tier system for schools (separate from the other tiers systems) that involved being open on a rota system. The government scrapped it back in Oct/Nov I think and then started threatening schools that tried to use it. They might be able to work something around that. Keep the KW kids as one bubble, and then the rest in on rotas of small consistent groups.
I think the SAGE recommendation was that they’d need a 2 week break.

If anyone does want a bit more than school are offering, the WhiteRose maths videos are really good. And some of the Oak National Academy stuff isn’t bad. I think the BBC are offering quite a lot from Monday and PE with Joe is back too.
The problem with the rota system now is that with some schools with up to 70% of pupils in as needing key worker care, the school will be as good as fully open if the remaining children are in on a week on, week off rota. They'd need to restrict full time key worker places to only the most critical jobs that cannot be done from home with 2 key workers or a single parent, or they'd need to provide some kind of alternative key worker childcare system.

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Re: Back to school

Post by raven » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:32 pm

Sciolus wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:16 pm
The priorities, as far as primary and secondary children under 14 are concerned should be:
1= Control spread of the virus
1= Keep children safe and well
3 (distant third) Educate

Forget education for a couple of months, it doesn't matter that much.
I agree. I keep thinking, every time some politician says missing school will damage children's life chances, that losing a parent to Covid would be far far worse. This is a national emergency, normal rules do not apply, but I think we - government included - haven't quite grasped that and we're still expecting things like school to carry on like usual when it's not feasible.

Keeping kids in small bubbles would be great though. I forget whether it was Holland or Denmark who reopened schools quite early first time around, and had primary kids in bubbles of 4 on the playground which I thought was sensible, but perhaps not workable here. (My sister (LSA) covers lunchtime with 30 reception kids, in an area that other classes walk through which makes distancing tricky enough without trying to keep them in smaller groups. Her school is being pretty strict though, all the staff visored, and masked when they have to get close. But they've had about a third of kids turn up this week, so all staff are in. Teachers juggling onsite teaching with online support, which means LSAs covering classes. Worst of all worlds.

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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:35 pm

Yes. KW definition needs to be narrowed again in order for that to work. No point if the school has 70%/75% of the pupils in school full time.


Things still going well for Gav

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/ofsted-deluge ... b-schools/

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Re: Back to school

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:23 am

raven wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:32 pm
I agree. I keep thinking, every time some politician says missing school will damage children's life chances, that losing a parent to Covid would be far far worse. This is a national emergency, normal rules do not apply, but I think we - government included - haven't quite grasped that and we're still expecting things like school to carry on like usual when it's not feasible.
I think the value of school is vastly overestimated. Somehow people seem to think that unless you do well in school and get a degree you'll be a failure. That seems quite unlikely.
Keeping kids in small bubbles would be great though.
If it really is so vitally important to have children at school, the solution is boarding schools. Let the children who really must be there bring in (or be provided with) sleeping bags, mattresses, etc and let them have a sort of indoor camp at the school.
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

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Re: Back to school

Post by bagpuss » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:52 am

OffTheRock wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:15 pm
I don’t think there are any easy answers to that problem bagpuss. Live teaching seems to get as many complaints as not live teaching. Mostly because it lacks flexibility so parents can’t arrange homeschooling around work. I don’t know if there’s an answer that pleases the greatest number of parents or whether that might vary from school to school depending on need.
Yes, for FS up to Y2, definitely, live teaching is a problem for parents and probably Y3 as well, at least to start with. By Y4, most kids are well able to crack on with it by themselves with little to zero assistance from parents. The bagkitten is in Y5 and has been perfectly able to do zoom stuff by herself since lockdown v1 (when in Y4) - for a drama club she goes to. The only input I have to that is to get the link up for her because it comes to my email address. If a link was put in eschools, she'd be able to do it all entirely by herself. My Y3 nephew had video lessons before Christmas when their bubble had to self isolate and my sister in law said she did need to be close by and keep an eye as he would otherwise not pay attention. So yes, I totally agree that video lessons aren't always easy either, especially for younger ones. But for Y4 up, I think they're hugely valuable and very viable. Even for younger ones, they could record video lessons that the kids could then watch when it can be fitted in.

The bagkitten's school only did anything at all on video towards the end of lockdown 1 after pretty much every parent in the school had begged them to do something, anything, for the love of every deity, plllllleeeeeeaaaaase. And then it was just one recorded video each week with a bit of a chat and a brief intro to the week's work. Even that made a huge difference, though.

And now here we are again with zero video input, although we are being promised a once a week video chat with the teacher. No info yet on what that means exactly or how long it will be, whether it's 1-1, small group, whole class. For 5 mins to say hi or an hour to actually have some teaching.

I'm cutting the teachers a huge amount of slack - they're in a sh.tty position and I have massive empathy for them. I actually think they're doing a great job of what they're doing, and have said so. But I am furious at the inflexible, unhelpful, and unimaginative attitude of the head, as is every other parent I have spoken to about this (which is a fair few, and each has confirmed that everyone they have spoken to feels the same). I meant to spend the weekend composing an email but I needed to switch off and did manage to do so. I'm now waiting to hear more about what this live chat with the teacher is actually going to be before I write and send it.

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bolo
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Re: Back to school

Post by bolo » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:47 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:52 am
By Y4, most kids are well able to crack on with it by themselves with little to zero assistance from parents.
While this is true, the education that kids get remotely is pretty clearly not as good as the education they would be getting in person. In my county, school has been remote-only since March. BoloJr (age 17) can indeed crack on without parental assistance. But his classes are having to leave out topics for lack of time, some kids are struggling to understand things, there are no labs, there's no real group discussion. Most kids refuse to turn their cameras on, so the teachers aren't even always sure who's there and who's not. In the county as a whole, the number of F grades is way up from a normal year, especially among students for whom English is a second language, and the increased isolation (according to the schools themselves) is contributing to higher rates of mental health issues including suicide.

bagpuss
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Re: Back to school

Post by bagpuss » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:02 pm

bolo wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:47 pm
bagpuss wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:52 am
By Y4, most kids are well able to crack on with it by themselves with little to zero assistance from parents.
While this is true, the education that kids get remotely is pretty clearly not as good as the education they would be getting in person. In my county, school has been remote-only since March. BoloJr (age 17) can indeed crack on without parental assistance. But his classes are having to leave out topics for lack of time, some kids are struggling to understand things, there are no labs, there's no real group discussion. Most kids refuse to turn their cameras on, so the teachers aren't even always sure who's there and who's not. In the county as a whole, the number of F grades is way up from a normal year, especially among students for whom English is a second language, and the increased isolation (according to the schools themselves) is contributing to higher rates of mental health issues including suicide.
Oh, totally agree. I was comparing a video lesson vs a child stuck at home with printed worksheets and harried and stressed parent(s) who are trying to actually work and quite possibly don't know how to help their child even if they have time.


Anyway, I am now taking back some of my ire against our school head, as they've come up with a solution which, if it works, could be a reasonable compromise. Still no live video teaching but a weekly live chat on Thurs/Fri (still don't know if this is 1-1/small group/whole class, how long it is, and whether it's teaching or just a catch up chat) and daily "live" messaging with teacher during specific slots for English and Maths - available for those who can make those slots. For those who can't manage the slots, things are no different from now, for those who can, on the days they can, then the kids can message a teacher for any issues with the work they're doing, getting responses there and then, rather than waiting several hours for any answers to questions. If it works as it should, this could make a huge difference to my life and the bagkitten's.

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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:19 pm

Glad you have a solution that will work for you. I think in a lot of schools it’s taken the last week to work out what they will offer. 24hrs isn’t really a huge amount of notice for the government to have given schools. The government saying schools should have provision ready to go and actually having provision that is ready to go are not quite the same thing.

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Re: Back to school

Post by OffTheRock » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:00 pm

FFS. Because we’re determined to lurch from one cock up to the next it appears the food boxes that replaced the vouchers for children on FSM don’t contain £30 of food to last a fortnight. Or anywhere near it. I’m guessing a company run by a friend of someone in the cabinet are creaming off the extra money rather than providing food for children.

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