Two news items caught my eye on Breakfast TV this morning. They were both inspirational and filled me full of hope for the human race.
The first was a story about homeless children who go to Quintin Kynaston School in north London. The Headteacher, Jo Shuter, is so concerned about them that she is fundraising to raise £2,000,000 to provide them with a proper home. She doesn't want it to be a hostel, but a place where they will have space and naturing care. She has 17 children who are officially homeless and another 20 who she says "sofa surf". And they are a few among many. It's estimated that there are 75,000 homeless children currently in education.
A boy and a girl in the "homeless" catagory were interviewed. They are both in 6th form, want to go on to further eduction, were articulate and are obviously intelligent. The boy was thrown out of his home by his mother in the middle of winter a couple of years ago. He lived rough for a while and now lives in hostels which he describes as filthy. The girl didn't explain her homelessness but said she was very sad that her friends could go home to their families whereas she is on her own and has no-one to look after her.
During all this trauma they both continued their schooling which was a stable constant in their chaotic lives. And their one bit of luck is that they go to a school that cares and wants to change things.
Good luck to you Jo Shuter, you are one of lifes unsung heros. In this world of cynicism and "what's in it for me" it's inspirational to think there are still people like you. We need more.
The second news item also focused on education. It was an interview with Prof. Brian Cox the eminent astro physicist who is currently working on the Large Hadron Collider in Cern. No slouch. He said that in a poll of 3000 parents science was seen only as an option for brighter students.
He claims that you don't have to be a genius to be a scientist. Science isn't only goggles and bunsen burners, it's curiosity about how life started and how will it end, wondering if we live on the only inhabited planet, etc. The why, who, when, questions. All it takes is enthusiasm, passion and practice. Like practicing the piano it takes repetition and dedication. Yeh, right! He then blew my mind away when he said that he only achieved a Grade D in maths in his A Levels! What!!!!
He recommends that students interested in science should visit the Big Bang Fair which is travelling around the country starting 10th March.
As a "taster" here he is talking about the end of the world. Note: remind me never to get in a car with him when he's in the driving seat. Mind you, it would be a different matter if he was in the back seat!
He is a complete nutter and an amazing man. I highly recommend that you watch more of his stuff on youtube, especially his story about being a rock god. Wonderful. What a great communicator.
The thing that I believe Jo Shuter and Brian Cox have in common is that neither have been constrained by conventional thinking. They don't accept that something is impossible, they just go on and do it anyway. God bless you both.
Edmund Wilson - "There is nothing more demoralizing than a small but adequate income."
11 hours ago