Jameel Jamal: Facebook.sch.uk – fantastic or flawed?

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Illustration by Jameel Jamal

There simply aren’t enough non-conformist, strong minded people in today’s society who could deny or tear down the growing might of Facebook. Not long ago, emails and letters were the most common form of communication and now it’s questionably developed into inboxing and posting on people’s walls, something we seem to have found more favourable. So why is it that when most school teachers are part of the Facebook hype, this social network is banned for use in schools, leading to frustrated students all over the country? Ever since this topic arose, scores of head teachers have hidden behind the bush of “it will distract the students and provoke cyber bullying”. Debatable.

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Martin Orton on: London Materialympics 2011

People were forced to leap from the upstairs windows of a burning building in Croydon last night as rioting spread across London and beyond. (Image: The Telegraph)

Everyone this morning is asking the same question, why? How can our young people do this to us? Where is the political agenda? Oh please…we’re focusing on mindless thuggish behaviour: the result, not the cause. It’s a tiresome perspective – as if we, the society that is responsible for raising them, are blameless.
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Aly Dewji on: Matchpoint

I looked my opponent in the eye as the sunlight glistened on the service line. I knew he was ranked top 20 in the country, but I also knew that I was going to beat him. A slice-serve out wide, and I charged in for the volley, a quick touch and it rolled over the net. He lobbed the shot and it soared high above my head. I ran back, keeping my eye on the ball. I was not going to miss. A flat forehand zoomed down the line – and chalk flew into the air. It was over.
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Bizhan Govindji on: e-Read all about it!

Amazon's Kindle 3. Picture: Amazon.com

When I was younger, new books would feature heavily on my Amazon wish list. I would read novels on the train, before I went to bed, or if I was simply bored. For me, (here come the clichés) a good book allowed me to immerse myself totally in the story, escape from this world and dive into new ones where Harvard professors run around the Vatican trying to stop terrorist explosions, schoolchildren are taught magic to defend themselves against dark wizards, and Afghani kite-fliers have their lives ripped apart by the Taliban.

Today however, the variety of entertainment that young people have access to has expanded beyond imagination. The evolution of television, gaming, and the Internet captured the interest of youth, and on the whole, books are forgotten, gathering dust in a spare room.

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Do you ‘fake it’?


The Evening Standard’s campaign on literacy states “One in four children leaves the capital’s state primaries unable to read properly. Why are they unable to read? Who is to blame? Teachers? Parents? Social demographics? What if a high percent of those who can’t read… just don’t know how? (more…)

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Oli Lowrie on: Demolition Shoreditch.

Walking through London is like walking through a canyon of sedimentary rock; you can see the different layers of cultural strata laid down over time. East London in particular, is a place flowing with culture. The beauty of Hackney is that these layers are from all over the world. Turkish, British, Jewish, Asian, Chinese, Industrial, Hippy, Rich, Poor, Grand and Scruffy all have their monuments on the pavements of the East End.

The anthropologist Marcel Mauss defined place as a “culture fossilized in time and space”. Hackney is a wonderful fossil to analyze. (more…)

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A new politics of extremism…

Are we entering a new politics of extremism?

In our guest blog for today, Uzair Choughtai writes about a recent discussion on radicalism in the UK.

The Young Foundation and UpRising recently held an interesting discussion on whether the UK was entering a new state of extremism. The Young Foundation is a social enterprise organisation that seeks to bring together insight, innovation and entrepreneurship to meet social needs, whilst UpRising is a programme that aims to open up pathways regarding leadership amongst young adults.

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Don’t believe the hype…

It’s hard not to like Jocelyn Bell Burnell. In fact, it’s hard not to love her. A devout Quaker devoted to social and spiritual issues as well as being bone fide genius, Bell Burnell missed out on winning a physics Nobel Prize for her discovery of pulsars (the Prize instead going to her supervisor), to which her response was: “I am not myself upset about it — after all, I am in good company, am I not!”

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In our courage to speak, we must also have the courage to listen

Hundreds of protesters  gathered in Times Square yesterday to protest against an upcoming hearing by New York’s Republican congressman Peter King on “the extent of radicalisation within the American Muslim community”. The protestors believe that the hearing will unfairly single out Muslims in general rather than focusing on extremists who constitute a small minority.

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“We have to go back to the child…”


“All children should enjoy the right to survival, to liberty and the right to education”, says writer Michael Morpurgo in this impassioned speech. But how can we achieve this in the age of the Big Society…?

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