Photograph from

Photograph from

The issue of politics and social media is a contentious one. I have had discussions with lifelong friends where they have made it very clear that, in their view, social media should be just that, social. For them there is no place for politics in online platforms such as Facebook but I have to disagree. Over the years that I have had a Facebook account I have accrued over 600 ‘friends.’ I know that just a handful of them are real friends (in the traditional sense of the word) but they are people that I have met through my various studies, jobs, homes and travels. Who hasn’t seen and liked endless selfies, travel photos, pictures of children, puppies, weddings etc, as well as pages for club nights, bands, even businesses? I know I have, and I also know I am guilty of sharing almost all of the above.

My question, then, is this – why is it acceptable to use Facebook (other social media platforms are available) to celebrate, discuss or bemoan every aspect of our lives other than politics? more...

There can be little doubt that because of the current economic conditions, a large part of society has undergone considerable strain. Whether discussing unemployment rates, downsizing, closed up businesses, or market trends, it seems that little has been left unaffected by these financial times. Of concern for this post is how schools, specifically secondary schools, have had to adapt to and deal with the economic state. Often making top news reports on major broadcasting stations or making the front-page of newspaper outlets, it is not uncommon to hear of another school having to face financial cutbacks and crisis. It is the budgetary tightening within schools that this post considers; more specifically, when facing budget cuts, what policies and programs are left in place and which are discarded.

A mentor and I are currently writing about the financial context of certain school practices and policies. When discussing school budgets, the primary concern is with which programs – on a continuum of being financed – receive budgeted funding given both the economic situation of the school and, more broadly, the larger economy? Stated another way, are there programs and policies that remain funded while others are cut, and if so, what is the reasoning or rational behind how budgeted funds are distributed? more...

hm_wandsworthThe BBC has today announced that the British government has decided to scrap plans for the creation of so-called “Titan” prisons. These prisons – first announced in December 2007 – were each expected to accommodate 2,500 prisoners at a cost of £350 million per institution. Although, the introduction of these prisons has been met with criticism, (partly because of their perceived similarity to American jails), it had seemed as if the government was totally committed to the project.

At present, HMP Wandsworth [pictured] is the largest institution in the prison estate (currently accommodating 1,461 prisoners), but the government plans a further five establishments with capacity for 1,500 in each. In spite of the current economic climate, government sources deny there is any link between the economy and their decision regarding the “Titan” jails. Instead, the Ministry of Justice has pointed out that prison places will still increase as originally planned, although the new prisons will be smaller.

Although, many groups and individuals may initially welcome the demise of the “Titan” prisons, it would seem that the problems of incarceration are still not being tackled. Arguably, by continuing to create more places, the prison crisis will continue unabated.

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