Windows 8 and my new laptop

I received a Dell Ultrabook XPS12 for Christmas with Windows 8 Operating System installed. The Dell has a flip over touch screen so it may be used as a tablet.

I liked the Windows 7 OS for home use so I was keen to see how Windows 8 worked. I also use an iphone and ipad so it is interesting to compare them.

I like the look and feel of the OS. The new Metro page shown is a central point to start apps from and can be personalised by moving tiles around to suit your usage.

The touch screen on my Dell works well with Windows 8 and I can use the laptop in a similar way that I would use my iphone so it is very easy and usable. There is more depth to Windows 8 than my iphone, in other words there is more functionality. I am still learning the new functions and methods of use to get the best from my Ultrabook.

It is still early days but I would certainly recommend Windows 8 and the Dell XPS12.

 


Planning Website Posts

 I plan to post content relating to my expertise and interests onto my website more frequently. I expect the majority of posts to be about Technology, Education, Community, Politics and general  news items. You can also expect some twin related information which may be general or personal as I am the proud parent of twins, and family posts featuring the long suffering Mr Daniels.

As a Technology Professional I can’t help but bring my Project Managing experience into my planning so I’m applying the five (or six) W’s.

w's

  1. What – Looking at the type of information to exchange – I will be commenting on Education, Technology, Politics and Local Community regularly so I will re-design the page layout on my website to accommodate this.
  2. When – The Creation and Maintenance process – I will be creating posts and maintaining the website. I will post weekly on specific topics so for example Education every Monday, Technology every Wednesday, community every Thursday, politics every Friday and ad hoc items as and when.I will post according to a schedule so anyone watching will know what and when to expect content on my website.
  3. Why – The business case – There is no financial business case however I want to provide regular posts on areas of interest and establish myself as reliable and reputable.
  4. Who – With whom to communicate – I am targetting the technology connected community. I will be connecting through Twitter to advertise my website.
  5. Where – Communication channels – through the internet so locally, nationally and internationally.
  6. How – An information structure – After the babies have gone to bed with my new laptop post to the to MrsDaniels.co.uk using a new format as outlined.
Tomorrow’s task to change the website layout.

Happy New Year

I have made several New Year resolutions and one of them is to post more frequently onto my website so here goes. All views expressed are my own and I realise that people may not be interested in my views … but then again some might.

Someone told me that if you don’t post it looks as though you aren’t doing anything but in reality the opposite is true, but being busy is no longer an excuse that I’ll use.

I am no Liz Jones (Daily Mail journalist), and I won’t be making money out of this. I may however make enemies! People who know me will understand the intonation of my posts however those who don’t may think I am very up myself.

The majority of my posts will be on my areas of expertise and interest, so mainly Technology and Education. I look forward to planning my website and my next post will be on the six w’s; what, when, why, who, where and how of my website posts.

A Happy New Year to you all and may 2013 bring you much happiness. After reading to my babies I’ll be off on another New Year’s resolution and trying to get fit.

 

 


Southgate Village Hall

plaqueI have walked past this plaque many times in Southgate and not really noticed it. It remembers a community’s village hall that was knocked down. In its place stands an empty looking office block with a “To Let” sign on it. What a waste!

It should have remained a community hall or maybe an extension for the library or something that benefits the local community.

The reason I am blogging about the village hall is because Enfield Council appear determined to make a similar mistake with Southgate Town Hall. This is an old building in Palmers Green that Enfield Council used to provide Social Services and Housing services from. Enfield Council have left the building and are determined to turn this lovely old community building into housing.

Turning this building into flats will meet a community want, however the needs of the community is for education and this building would be ideally suited as a primary school. There are not enough primary school places in this area and Enfield Council have a Primary School Expansion Programme which affects 10 existing schools in the borough.

Make Southgate Town Hall into a primary school!


Reception with Ken Clarke

I was fortunate to be invited to an evening reception with Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP by my local MP David Burrowes.
The venue was lovely and our hostess welcomed us into her home.

Ken Clarke was very generous in answering all of the questions put to him, even my cheeky question about whether he influenced the 1966 World Cup result.
Ken Clarke was famously in the crowd next to the linesman who couldn’t see whether Geoff Hurst’s ball crossed the goal line.
Apparently Ken and the crowd may have convinced the linesman that it did.
A very nice evening where I met a great politician.


Enfield Primary School Expansion

The London Borough of Enfield has been consulting on how to provide more primary school places in the borough. The Council proposes to expand 10 existing schools to increase the number of children that can be taken into Reception classes and in some cases into Year 1.

In my area of Southgate and Palmers Green there are expansion proposals for Walker School and Broomfield School but there are no proposals for a new school. A new primary school could be situated in the old Southgate Town Hall which is empty.

I support the proposal for the expansion of Walker School which is rated a 1 by Ofsted and offers outstanding education. I attended the consultation meeting at Walker which was the forum to have my say. I live ½ mile from Walker School but will be unable to get my twins admitted due to over subscription. There are other issues with admissions to Walker where parents rent properties next to the school for a short period and then once their children are admitted move further away thus taking places that should rightfully belong to people who really reside in the immediate area, but that’s another story!

I do not support the proposal to expand Broomfield School. Broomfield School is rated a 4 by Ofsted and therefore has issues regarding the quality of education provided. It would mean changing the age of admission from 11-18 to 4-18. I would not want to send my child to a failing school so I cannot understand the thinking behind expanding this school. The effect of an expansion would be to force poor education onto more children in the community. Surely a new school in the area would be a better proposition. There is a separate consultation for Broomfield School.

The consultation period is over but if you wanted to comment or get involved then I think the Programme Director of the Primary School Expansion Programme, Bridget Evans could be a good starting point.


Summer of Sport

What a summer! So many wonderful moments that it is difficult to list.

I started my London Ambassador volunteering and that gave me a golden ticket to visit the Olympic Park and watch the Technical Rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony. I feel so proud to be British and to have been a part of the Olympics as a volunteer, spectator and supporter; London put on an amazing show.

The summer of sport got off to a fantastic start for Britain with Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France and then without time for him to celebrate he was straight on to the Olympics.

The Olympics being held here in London was a dream come true as I got to participate through my volunteer work and I was fortunate enough to get tickets to events. How can I forget seeing Usain Bolt run!

Team GB did an amazing job and what stood out for me was what excellent role models the sportsmen and women are. After the Olympics were over I watched the Athletes Parade along with the tens of thousands of others. We all came onto the streets to recognise Team GB’s achievements through their dedication and hard work, the athletes held up placards thanking the supporters and volunteers when we were thanking them for the wonderful Olympics they gave us.

Bradley Wiggins and Andy Murray couldn’t be at the Athletes Parade because they were already onto their next job which led to another British victory and Andy Murray winning his first grand slam and the first British winner for 76 years. How on earth will they decide on who will win the Sports Personality of the Year for 2012?

One sport we’re not talking about is football, apart from the disappointment of the England Ukraine match this week. This summer of sport has shown what great ambassadors and role models sportsmen and women can be and that is what we should expect from footballers.

To clean up football and get better behaviour from footballers FIFA should ntroduce the type of instant replay rules that are used in Rugby Union where decisions can be verified by using technology. If the referees could be given microphones also as in Rugby Union then maybe it would force better language and behaviour.

I took videos of lots of Olympic events that I was fortunate enough to be at which can be viewed on my husband’s YouTube channel here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/JonathanMDaniels/videos?query=olympics


Primary School Admissions 2012

Congratulations to the London Borough of Enfield Education Authority on fulfilling its statutory duty in providing the necessary number of Primary School places for the borough.

I made a Freedom of Information request to the borough (The details of the questions and answers are below) which proves that they have made adequate Primary School provision. Does this mean that all Primary School parents whose children will start school in this coming school year are happy? The answer is a definite No.

There are 148 children who have not been offered a place. There are no new schools in my area and new schools in the east of the borough will not help our problems. There is a possibility of a bulge class at Walker but that sounds reactive and unreliable for the long term.

I think a change in law is required so that those resident within a certain radius of a school must be admitted which in turn would mean that class sizes could not be maintained at their legal maximum of 30 children. Smaller class sizes make for a better education.

FOI request and answers
Your FOI Request

1. How many primary school applications were received at Enfield for reception aged children on or before January 15th 2012?

2. How many late applications were received at Enfield after January 15th 2012 for reception aged children?

3. How many Enfield resident reception aged children have not been offered any school place for 2012, irrespective of when the application was received?

4. Will all Enfield Primary School reception classes be at their capacity and to the maximum number of children legally permitted ie. 30? If not identify which schools and the reasoning behind the class size.

5. How many places are available to reception aged children in Enfield schools for 2012? I have added up the places in the Primary School admissions booklet and have calculated a total of 4363 reception aged places. Please can you confirm whether that is correct and if not please provide the correct figure?

6. What was the GLA projection for reception aged pupils on roll for the academic year 2012/13 in Enfield? I understand that this figure would change on a yearly basis so if you could provide the figures for the previous 5 years I would be grateful? If resources do not permit this then the projection prior to October 2011 when this years admission process started.

Your FOI Request

1. 4498 applications were received from Enfield residents by 15th January 2012.

2. 108 late applications were received after the closing date of 15th January 2012 and allocation date of 18th April 2012. The total number of applications received after the closing date of 15th January to date (8th June12) is 340.

3. As at today, 148 children have not received an offer of a school place, irrespective of when the application was made.

4. Currently, all schools in Enfield with the exception of Eldon Infant school will be operating reception class sizes that meet the requirements of the infant class size legislation of 30 children. Eldon Infant School will be admitting 140 to their reception year group in September because of the physical size of their classrooms. In addition to Eldon, Enfield Heights Academy, a new free school opening in the east of the Borough, have published an admission number of 25 and have advised that they will be admitting this number in September.

5. 4,749 Reception places are being made available for 2012/13. This figure includes places at new free schools due to open in September and academies and in those one-off additional classes being provided to meet demand for the coming year. The level of demand for September 2012 is monitored very regularly and additional places will be opened if needed to ensure that there is a place for every child.

6. The latest GLA projection for 2012/13 made this year, i.e. 2011/12 is 4,563. For the previous 5 years, the projections were as follows

2010/11 – 4,467
2009/10 – 4,595
2008/09 – 4,247
2007/08 – 4,077
2006/07 – 4,105


Primary School Admissions 2012

Every year the local paper reports on distress that is experienced by parents living in Enfield when they cannot get their child into their school of preference. A petition has been started to try and address the problem in Southgate. The petition highlights a problem that happens every year in Enfield and I’m sure all over London. As parents we are led to believe that we have a preference of school but that is not in fact the case. I live 1/2 mile from Walker School but that distance will be too great for my twins Harry and Poppy to gain admission in 2015.

The petition will raise awareness and I am hopeful that changes will be made to address the shortfall in school places for Primary School children in Enfield. Some parents that I know have not been offered a place at any school for their child! I am in contact with a mother who has moved back into the area after being away for some months and neither of her children, who are Reception and Year 2 aged for 2012, have been offered a place.

The Education Authority receives projection figures from the Greater London Authority which provides them with the knowledge to plan for upto 10 years in advance. So why do we still have this shortfall in Primary School places?

It is obvious that the Education Authority’s long term strategy is not effective else they would be able to provide every Enfield child with a Primary School place. The problem may lay with maintaining classroom sizes at their legal limit of 30 students per 1 teacher. If the classroom sizes were smaller there would be more room for managing children moving into different school areas and we know that smaller class sizes provide children with a better education.

There needs to be a method to make the Education Authority’s duty achievable by ensuring they have a strategy which provides children with the school places we as parents demand. This will require financial support and therefore either Government or legal support to make it happen.