A Driving Instructor's Blog


Channeling Positivity school closureThe local BBC newsfeed has done away with news other than to report page after page of school closures due to the snow. But this one made me laugh.

I think we can be fairly certain that the Irony Academy is still open.


Burntstump Seely emailThe local BBC newsfeed has a comment where a local school – Burntstump Seely – has set some “homework” for children, while the school is closed due to snow. It shows a photograph of the poster the school has put up (or possibly emailed) for the children (above).

Personally, I’d have set some spelling homework. The person who produced this can’t even spell the name of the school correctly (see bottom left).

Incidentally, the spelling is wrong on Google Maps, too, and anything related to that. The rest of Google shows it as “Burntstump”, and the road it is on is called “Burntstump Hill”. The letterhead in the image above shows it as “Burntstump”. There’s a nearby restaurant called “Burnt Stump”, and the school is right on the edge of the “Burntstump Country Park”



Neat handwritingAs I mentioned in that recent story about the idiot who had allowed an it’s-a-fair-cop-I-did-it-where-do-I-pay £30 parking fine escalate into a £600-and-counting-here-come-the-bailiffs-again melodrama, I sometimes despair at the direction society seems to be heading.

When I write out my address on a letterhead or envelope (or when I complete any online form), it takes the format:

Mr Firstname Lastname

22 My Street North

The Estate


XY12 2AB

You will note how each word is properly capitalised (and all of the post code). The advantage of such a clearly written address is that the blame for subsequently misdirected mail cannot lie with me, but rather with The Royal Mail, who seem to treat delivering letters and packages as something of a hindrance to all the other things they apparently do in their sorting offices. Indeed, they apparently have a failure rate of something like 1 in every 1,000 letters, and I firmly believe that most of these are mine, since I am losing an average of three or four letters or parcels every few months. And I also suspect that they aren’t making daily deliveries on my street, particularly where packages are involved (don’t even get me started on the speed with which they decide no one is home as you run down the stairs to answer the door and they’ve sprinted to the van and driven off, having left a poorly completed “while you were out” card on the door mat).

But back to addressing issues. In these modern times, it is very un-Teamworking to point out someone’s crap literacy, and as a result it has become common for people to use all capitals (ugly and messy), all lower case (ugly, messy, and stupid), random capitalisation (ugly, messy, lazy, and even more stupid), or any or all of the above with added txtspk (just stupid, full stop) when they post on forums, send emails, or – and this is where my point is heading – when they fill out online address forms.

Today, I printed out a postal label for someone after I sold an item on eBay. Their official eBay-registered postal address, if taken from the one I gave above, looks like this:

Firstname Lastname

22 my street north, The Estate




Xy12 2ab

If it wasn’t for the fact that the postage labels are created securely I would have corrected it, but I can’t help wonder why someone would complete their eBay profile so poorly. It might get there – but if it doesn’t, it’s been played directly into The Royal Mail’s hands.


The local BBC News site had a warning after some local troglodytes were seen waving bags at stags in Wollaton Park. Bear in mind that it is the rutting season, and the last thing any sane person needs is a pair of deer antlers up their backside.Stags fighting

But this bit is funny:

Kath George, museum assistant at Wollaton Hall, said…

“Our advice is always the same, no matter what the season, or whether the deer have children with them – DO NOT approach them!

“They are wild animals…”

I always thought a young deer was a fawn. But it seems that we’re now anthropomorphising them for some reason.


I was in Asda the other night doing my weekly shop. It was about 6.30pm, and I remember thinking to myself that I was a bit early and would have to put up with an elevated number of other customers (and all that that entails).Macaulay Culkon from Futurama

True to form, the entrance area (from 5m inside the store to the same distance outside) was performing its usual function as a place for people with trolleys to walk into and then stop dead, preventing anyone else from coming in or going out. The outer entrance area  (Asda’s smoking garden) was filled with oiley, obese, and generally disgusting people chain smoking something they must have picked up after their dog had done its business. Naturally, it being a Friday, the pick-up/drop-off areas and parent/toddler bays, were full of Audis and 4x4s – each containing a swarthy, acne-ridden individual barely visible in the front bucket seat, cycling through endless dance tracks in an attempt to find the one most likely (in his dreams) of making everyone go “oooh! Look how cool he is” (in reality, everyone thinks “prick”).

Ordinarily, I would simply have wondered for a few minutes if the specimens in the Audis were actually in the car park for any reason other than to “be seen” – were they waiting for someone, for example? If so, were they going to be the first Audi driver in the history of the universe to be seen opening up the trunk and loading a pile of groceries into it? I might also have wondered where the smokers were going – were they waiting for an ashtray on wheels, driven by another chain-smoker, to pick them up and take them and their salad and baguettes back to the bricks and mortar ashtrays they live in? And so on.

Once inside, I’d probably have scowled at a few people as they blocked aisles or pushed trolleys around with no application whatsoever of the Supermarket HIghway Code. I’d almost certainly have wondered at the mentality of those who shop in Asda, and who are responsible for the presence of raw chickens placed next to the biscuits, fresh pizza on top of cases of Budweiser, empty crisp and snack packets on various shelves, and the sundry fresh and frozen items secreted in locations hundreds of metres away from where they should be. Had it been a particularly bad day, I’d undoubtedly have fumed at the number of children wearing “heelies” and running up and down in front of me. In fact, it was a bad day, because I had to contend with some 3 year-old brat on a bicycle as I walked towards the dairy aisle, a slightly older one swinging a trolley around in a circle in another, one jumping up and down in the beer aisle in front of two obese men (one of which I assume was her father), and – in the background the whole time I was there – a repeated, piercing scream from the spawn of some Earth Mother who probably thought that her kids should be seen and heard by everyone.

Then I saw this story on the BBC website. Kim Christofi owns a small cafe in Felixstowe, and she posted on her store’s Facebook page that she would step in if parents were “too scared to discipline their children”. She actually said it much better than that. Here is the actual Facebook text:

Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming. We will give you five lenient minutes to ask the child to stop screaming and then we will ask the child ourselves. If that means you too having a tantrum about our having to speak to your child and hurling threats about not returning – that’s really okay with us. We have a duty of care to the rest of our customers.

Absolutely spot on. But, as you can probably imagine, all the Brexit voters out there (yes, I’m assuming – but I’m probably right) didn’t like it one bit. As a result, Ms Christofi’s Facebook account has been inundated with trolls accusing her of being against autistic people, against disabled people in general, and all the other bad things that come at you from Facebook when you’re in the news.

Someone who goes by the name “Emma Watson” is a prime example of all that’s wrong with Facebook:

So the South Kiosk at Martello Park have had to close their Facebook page and I’m not sure she will have much business today or this summer.

This may have been a very silly error of judgement on her part, she obviously hadn’t thought this though or realised how vital things can go on Facebook.

It’s a shame she couldn’t just admit she made a mistake and apologise. Instead she made excuses and dug a deeper hole.
I’m not excusing any vile responses but I can imagine their wa…s some extremely upset parents out there that responded in the heat of the moment, but I’m not sure you can blame them really. I don’t however think it was those comments that put her out of business. She really did that herself. It was her post that did the damage and even if people couldn’t comment and that post was shared far and wide the outcome would have been the same.

I hope she takes this time to reflect on this situation.

I don’t think they have closed their page. And I think their business has gone through the roof, because there are many more people out there who support what she has said than there are who disagree. What has happened is that – as usual – those who disagree have the biggest mouths and the lowest intelligence, and the South Kiosk’s Facebook page has been trolled almost to death by people like Miss (sorry, Ms) Watson. I also notice that some media outlets have representatives who are hounding Ms Christofi on Facebook, using very offensive language and Sun-style analytics of every word Ms Christofi says. Some idiots are even referring to physical assault having taken place – I can see no reference anywhere for that.

Let’s just clarify some things:

  • Ms Christofi wrote a comment about screaming kids in her café
  • she did not – at any time – identify them as autistic, disabled, or anything else
  • there is absolutely nothing else to add – that’s all she did/didn’t say

Unfortunately, some imbecile (and it’s hard to point the finger at one in particular) decided that an autistic kid screaming at the top of its lungs in a public area is somehow different to a normal one doing it, and is therefore totally acceptable.  People like Emma Watson have orgasms over things like this. Ms Christofi’s most recent comment on the subject is:

For the last time, If you are bringing your children up to the kiosk then YOU need to keep them under control. If YOUR child is damaging MY business then I will take action.

Again, she is absolutely spot on.

If I go to the cinema to watch a film, I don’t expect to have anyone sitting next to me (or even to be within earshot) who is going to be screaming and running around, be it a kid or an adult. And it would make no difference if I subsequently discovered that the screamer was autistic – because if they were, and if they can’t keep quiet and still, then they shouldn’t be there. Exactly the same applies if I go to a restaurant or a cafe, or most other public venues.

Some morons are saying that tantrums are part of a child’s development, and ignoring them is one way of dealing with it. Actually, any decent parent would have done their job well enough by “ignoring” tantrums at home, so that public displays were rare. I didn’t do it when I was a kid because I knew I’d get a clip round the ear. Instead, public tantrums like these are the norm – the culmination of a me-me-me scenario being played out, where the kid has been spoiled again and again, but still wants more.

And far too many rubbish parents seem willing to label it as “autism”.

But let’s just close by saying again that Ms Christofi never mentioned autism. She only commented on badly-behaved children.

Note: Autism exists. The problem is that the symptoms of true autism overlap significantly with simple bad behaviour and poor upbringing. That ineffectual parents should latch on to autism as an excuse for their failings is perhaps understandable.


I was casually browsing the BBC website and came across this story. It states that “Ofsted is warning that pupils are being taught in ‘squalid’ schools that are unregistered and unsupervised”.

If you read the entire article at no point can you find out anything other than what the relatively vague Ofsted wording says. The first thing I wanted to know was what type of schools these were and even that information is missing. They mention schools, “some [of which] are believed to be in Birmingham and London”, but only include one name – Bordesley Independent School in Birmingham – but suggest that that one “has closed”.

The closest they get to what must be fairly obvious to the casual reader is:

…inspectors had been delayed from entering, but once inside had found “squalid conditions, including three single mattresses covered in filthy sheets in one room and no running water in the toilet areas”.

There was also “clear evidence of segregation, with separate classrooms for boys and girls” and “no evidence of appropriate vetting checks being carried out on staff”.

Inspectors also warned of “pupils being taught a narrow curriculum that was failing to prepare them for life in modern Britain”.

Going with the only piece of concrete information – Bordesley Independent School – a check on various UK business sites, such as Endole, reveals nothing about accounts. However, it does indicate that the director resigned on 28 September 2015. That director’s name was Naveed Naveed Hussain, and although he apparently “resigned” he is also listed as “current”. Other business sites still report the company as “active” and Mr Hussain as “current”.

You will note that I am following the BBC’s lead on this and skirting around the issue in case some dimwit (like that crazy woman from Manchester who wrote to me a few years ago) decides to play society’s favourite card.


I caught this story on the BBC website earlier today. It concerns a mathematics exam which was taken yesterday, and which has apparently turned half of the teenage population suicidal as a result of one of the questions. Here’s the question which has caused all the fuss:Maths exam question from 2015 which caught everyone out

The BBC quotes a pupil:

There was one person in the exam hall who was crying their eyes out during the exam.

Naturally, being 2015, the whole affair warranted numerous tweets and Facebook posts. These showed fairly conclusively that modern pupils’ sense of humour is as bad as their maths skills.

The Beeb quotes another one:

I found the exam bearable at the beginning but then it took a sharp turn to maths that was way too hard.

I can’t remember the numbers, but the one about Hannah’s sweets in particular made me want to cry.

And Georgina (another pupil) is quoted:

The question involving Hannah’s sweets was the most annoying question I have ever seen in a GCSE paper.

I think Edexcel want us to be like Einstein. It’s crazy, and I hope the exam board lower the grade boundaries because most of the people who took that exam did not know what that question meant.

I think it’s fairly obvious that someone somewhere has screwed up if pupils hadn’t effectively been given the answers before they went in. That’s how it works these days, isn’t it? The exam people reckon it was deliberate, but with so many unhappy boys and girls crying to mummy and daddy… well, let’s see who backs down first.

Georgina and her friends might want to consider the kind of questions we used to have to answer when O Levels were still around. Here’s the first one from a maths paper (syllabus 1) from way back (the first question on any paper was always the easiest):First question from a 1968 O Level maths paper (syllabus 1)

Or this one from syllabus 2:Fiest question from a 1968 maths O Level paper (syllabus 2)

I passed my maths O Level with questions like this. As I’ve said before, modern kids don’t know they are born.

The question about Hannah and her sweets is funny, because it’s all typically baby-like (as you’d expect of a 21st century exam paper), then you are smacked in the face by a proper equation and asked something in terms modern pupils have most likely never had to deal with (i.e. “show that… etc.”). But what’s even more surprising is the depth of knowledge of probability theory needed to answer it – the key is that you have to multiply probabilities to solve it. I ought to add that if this sort of thing really is being taught to school kids these days, I’ll happily take back some of what I’ve said about exams getting easier.

Like I say, someone somewhere – and we’re talking about Edexcel here – has cocked up. If not now, they will have once enough complaints have been made.


Originally published in 2011. Updated for 2015.

I watched a debate on a forum descend into a slanging match a while back after someone brought up the “4 Es” concept.All the Es

It’s funny watching people trying to put each other down, especially when none of them know what they’re talking about. One sarcastic comment that caught my eye was that “even Google doesn’t know about the 4 Es”. In actual fact, if you know how to use Google you can find quite a lot of information if you look past the first hit.

America is on to the 4 Es, and so are the Australians. Wikipedia – hack! spit! – has a definition of it. In fact, their definition uses the word “psychology”, and that alone would make you think that plenty of ADIs would be on to this like starving Chihuahuas on a pork chop, because they usually like to compare themselves to the medical profession whenever they get a chance. Some companies are even based on supplying the 4 Es.

To be honest, you’ve got to be fairly computer illiterate not to find this information, and in the original forum discussion someone claimed that ADIs “should be teaching the 4 Es” to their pupils. They implied that anyone who doesn’t is somehow inferior. But what are the 4 Es?

In the UK, the Grampian Police has just adopted the 4 Es approach as part of a road safety initiative. They are given as:

  • engineering
  • encouragement
  • enforcement
  • education

Indeed, here is an example of their use of the 4 Es. And the Wikipedia entry explains:

Accident prevention and improvement of traffic safety

This comprises education and information, above all following the “4 Es”: enforcement, education, engineering, encouragement/economy. The main goal is promoting safety by influencing and modifying behavior using legal, educational, vehicle- and road-specific measures; driver training, driving-instructor education, information on traffic issues, campaign design and marketing, effective enforcement.

The problem is that some things – and common sense is a prime example – remain the same whatever name you give to them. The GDE Matrix is a good example: it’s just common sense dressed up in order to become a marketable product.  The 4 Es is exactly the same, and it can be applied to virtually any aspect of industry or activity. It isn’t just a road safety thing, or even a driving instructor thing. It’s just the usual over-complication of something which is really very simple.

The whole debate smacks of flipcharts and Powerpoint presentations by besuited executives (I had my fill of that working for a large manufacturer/retailer when I was still in the rat race). But the bottom line is that it is just common sense.

Unless an instructor is deliberately teaching their pupils to behave like complete prats, he or she will already be doing their bit on at least two of the Es. They don’t need to buy anything to be able to carry on doing it.


Regular readers will know that I periodically cover topics that are associated with the dumbing down the education system in this country, and the annual hullabaloo come exam results time which seeks to pretend everything is really OK. So this latest story fits in rather well.Lego Hitler scene - NOT INTENDED TO ENDORSE HITLER OR FASCISM, BUT USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES

It seems that a teacher, David West, from Rossett School in Harrogate – came up with the “brilliant” idea of using Lego figurines to cover the history of Hitler in the 2nd World War. And this was to A-level students – not kiddies. West published the “lesson” on his blog – the viewing of which I ought to point out is by invitation only, so it’s more of a private notice board – as an example of what others should do. This led to a storm (on closed student and teacher forums).

Just as a reminder, Hitler and his regime was directly responsible for the deaths of around 6,000,000 Jews and around 5,000,000 non-Jews. When you factor in the manner in which many of these deaths occurred, the entire story is off the scale. And certainly well beyond Legoland.

The exercise involved pupils being asked questions such as ‘why is Hitler wearing a witch’s hat?’, which prompted the response ‘to show the spell that Hitler put on Germany’.

The man is obviously a genius, and his claims to be “world renowned on Twitter” and “a sensation on YouTube” (according to his page on Edmodo) must be well founded. West insisted:

…[the lesson] was ‘creative’ and ‘memorable’ while not compromising on ‘depth and detail’.

Yes. I’m sure that it WAS memorable. But perhaps West needs some re-training so that he can learn to distinguish between “memorable” and “useful”. Oh. And “embarrassing”. Because I remember that when I was at school, extrovert or childish activities like this would have been hugely embarrassing to me and many others. Sometimes – and for a great many people – the best way of learning is to be provided with the facts and then to talk about them sensibly. Not to end up in some sort of pantomime dreamed up by someone who considers himself to be a “world renowned sensation” in spite of providing no back up evidence for the claim.

If you’re still not convinced, here are some of other questions posed:

Why is Hitler waving to a cat? He is giving up his personal happiness to devote himself to the nation.

Why is the spider laid like that? He is giving the Nazis salute showing how devoted all his people were.

Is this really for real? It’s like a Santa Claus myth you’d teach to pre-schoolers, not A-level students who are almost classed as adults. And to make matters even worse, Rossett School is apparently rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, so is it any wonder we have the annual festival of trying to pretend that the 100% crop of A* grades actually means something?

West is talking up the “support” he has received from inside the school, arguing that simply because students have said that they got a lot out of the lesson then he must have done a good job. Of course, he fails to see that it is a case of the tail wagging the dog – because how the hell can a student tell you if they have learnt anything? It is down to exams to do that. Oh, wait. Guaranteed A*s… a sad downward spiral. However, West dismisses the near-universal negative comments outside of his little enclave.

Face facts, Mr West. It IS dumbing down. It IS childish and inappropriate for A-level students. It IS shallow. And let’s not even get started on how it trivialises the issues of Hitler, Nazism, and anti-Semitism among young minds which may not yet have grappled with the topics.


This time of year sees a lot of new pupils who are in their first year at university. On more than one occasion I have driven to various halls of residence to pick up a pupil, and been struck by the groups of (mainly) males sitting outside in hoodies smoking and spitting. The only thing missing is their BMX bikes.Nottingham sudents off on pub crawl

I have repeatedly reminded myself that only a few days previously they would have been doing this outside the local chip shop or on benches in shopping precincts of whichever towns they came from. So it comes as little surprise to read this story on the BBC website.

This year’s freshers gathered outside the Capital FM Arena and filmed themselves chanting:

Now she’s dead, but not forgotten, dig her up and **** her rotten. You wish, you wish, you wish you were in Cavendish [one of the Halls]…

God knows what the hell it is supposed to mean. For one thing, the little prats haven’t been associated with “Cavendish” for anywhere near long enough to have formed any sort of serious attachment to it, and certainly not one that warrants this display of childish behaviour. But then some twat then had to go and post it on YouTube.

Quite frankly, society would be much better off if necrophilia was all they got up to – that way we could be sure they wouldn’t breed. As it is, all we can do is hope vainly that Nottingham University actually finds those “culpable” and sends them back where they came from so that they can grow up and maybe try further education again in a few years. But I certainly won’t hold my breath – the video has been around for over a week and they’ve done nothing.

Still no action as of 13 October, but it would appear that the proto-politicians who comprise the students union have found a new word to keep repeating. See if you can work out how many times the word “misogyny” is used in this latest article. More significantly, look how pissed off D&G Taxis and Domino’s Pizza are at having been dragged into this puerile episode.

A third-year student, who did not want to be named, told the BBC… during her first year she was part of a group taken to a secluded spot and taught a song about sex with women, which they were warned not to repeat.

How pathetic.

As of 25 October it appears that some of the students involved have been fined, though the University refuses to confirm or deny this. If it’s true, the “fine” consists of a paltry £150 – which will no doubt be considered a badge of honour among the retards involved.

The incident also appears to be only to do with misogyny now. No one seems to be the least bit concerned about how a large group of alleged adults was standing around in a public place swearing at the tops of their voices. They appear still less concerned that such behaviour is both sanctioned and encouraged by the University and the Students Union.

Worse still is the fact that a number of Student Union reps were also involved.This has apparently given the Union the opportunity it needs to have a lot of meetings before it, too, dishes out whatever it laughably considers as “punishment”.

I was talking to one of my pupils about this, and she told me some of the things that “freshers” are expected to do. It was a real eye-opener, and clearly shows “freshers week” to be a far more insidious group of events than the posters would have you believe. It’s a form of indoctrination for minds that are still only weeks out of childhood (and, as this story shows, in many cases still years away from leaving it).

Well, the union reps have been “removed from their posts”, but they’re still at the university.

As I said above, there is more to this than meets the eye. Freshers are specifically taught these immature chants (and many other rites), and no matter how much is made of it being against some sort of “union code” if reps do it, they’re still apparently appointed specifically to encourage the freshers to behave this way.

I love tis quote by the union president (Harry Copson):

We also recognise that this issue is culturally ingrained and one that comes to light not through malice but through a lack of awareness.

It’s no wonder it is “culturally ingrained” when this sort of behaviour (in various forms) is encouraged at every university throughout the country during freshers’ events. It mainly comes about as a result of gross immaturity, but there is an underlying malice that cannot be glossed over. The person who filmed the event in the first place was obviously upset by it because of the person she is. The morons who engaged in it – and those who taught it, not to mention those who go under the guise of political officialdom who know damned well it happens – do so because of the kind of people they are.

What makes it really frightening is that these same people will gain degrees, some will run the country or large companies, and most will probably breed. God help their children having parents like that.