UK is toast: Ranks poorly for press freedom; schools remove analogue clocks because teens can’t tell the time

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Our DCG often says “The UK is toast”. Here are two more signs that the UK indeed is toast.


EuroNews reports, April 25, 2018, that according to the NGO Reporters Without Borders, the UK ranks 40th out of 180 countries for press freedom, placing it among the worst countries in Western Europe. Incredibly, the UK ranks behind Chile, Trinidad, Tobago and Samoa in terms of restrictions on reporters.

Among the concerns about the UK, Reporters Without Borders cited a heavy-handed approach towards the press (often in the name of national security); the Investigatory Powers Act that gives insufficient protection to whistleblowers, journalists and their sources; threats to encryption tools; and plans to criminalize repeated viewing of extremist content.

Leading the EU for press freedom are Sweden (2nd overall), the Netherlands (3rd) and Finland (4th).


Camilla Turner reports for The Telegraph, April 24, 2018, that teachers are now installing digital devices after pupils sitting for their GCSE and A-level exams complained that they were struggling to read the correct time on an analogue clock.

Former headmaster Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said young people have become accustomed to using digital devices: “The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations. They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”

Trobe said that although it is assumed that by the time students reach secondary school they will be able to read a clock face, in reality this is often not the case. He said that schools are trying to make everything as “as easy and straightforward as possible” for pupils during their exams, but having a traditional clock in the exam room could be a cause of unnecessary stress: “You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left. Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”

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A number of teachers shared their experiences about the issue on social media. All said that their students cannot tell the time with an analogue clock.

Has it occurred to UK teachers that they can teach their students how to read time on an analogue clock? How difficult is that?

Meanwhile, Sally Payne, the head pediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust, warned that children are increasingly finding it hard to hold pens and pencils because of an excessive use of technology.  When they are given a pencil at school, they are increasingly unable to hold it.

Payne said: “To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills. It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and gold a pencil.”

H/t FOTM‘s Grif


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