And the (education) lottery results are in

Cartoon of a rubberstamp over a page

Image by Erik Mallinson (flickr)

As a follow-up to my last post – “Education, Education, Education” – we recieved the results of our school lottery draw recently. As it happens, our son and, to my amazement, most of his friends all got their first choice school. This is great, because it means my son will be going to school with his friends, and the school is relatively small which I feel is advantageous.

However, the system still sucks. Yes, we got our first choice, but as I stated in my previous post, our first choice in the lottery was not our preferred school – we made our lottery choices based on a compromise between school quality and probability of a place.

Regardless, the result is that we are in a happy place, where we are encouraged that the boy will have a good education. I wish I could say the same for all the parents and children in the same position today.

Education, education, education

King Henry VIII school in Coventry viewed from...

Image via Wikipedia

I spent a considerable number of hours last night determining the future prospects of my 3-year-old. If you think that that sounds like an over-reaction, then I would respectfully suggest that you are wrong. My son’s education is going to define him and his path through life in a most decisive and important way. It’s simply not something you can leave to guesswork or happenstance.

I was very fortunate in that I had a very good primary school just up the road from where I lived as a child – Allesley Primary School, if you are interested – which gave me a good enough grounding that I was able to gain a bursary to a local grammar school (King Henry VIII School, Coventry). My parents were not well off, so the bursary helped, but even so, if it had not been for my Grandmother basically handing over her pension to pay for my fees, I wouldn’t have been able to go.

Anyway, back to the present. I’ve seen children’s futures ruined by poor education. And I feel that the education system we now have is making matters worse, rather than better than it was in my day (1970’s and 80’s. I am fearful for my son’s future. If I had the means,  I would pay good money to get him out of the system and into private education. So my only hope is to get him into a good primary school where his potential (assuming he has some – he’s only 3 and a half, after all) can be nurtured. Here, perhaps, I am over-reacting a little, as I think that secondary education will be more influential on his future than primary education. Nevertheless, the grounding he receives over the coming few years will determine the type of secondary education he can get, and so it is not insignificant.

The ‘lottery’ system that Brighton and Hove City Council employs to determine where a child is placed has received criticism (one example). I am not a fan, but I can’t think of a better way to do this either, and there’s no doubt that it has been mis-represented in the press. I’m unfortunate in that, where I live, there’s not a great choice of primary education and so my preferred choices for school are not necessarily my nearest. All I can do now is wait until April 27, when the Council’s ‘decision’ as to my son’s  future will be emailed to me.

Help me become Agile

Hi everybody,

I’m looking to find a software company in the Sussex area (or London) that is using Agile development methodologies, and which wouldn’t mind accommodating me for perhaps a day to look at their processes in action. I’m particularly interested in:

  • Scrum-based development
  • A company that is not Rails/Grails based
  • Is managing, to some extent one or more of the following:
    • Automated testing,
    • Automated deployment,
    • Database migrations,
    • Development management software (such as Pivotal Tracker, but not necessarily)
  • Brighton area, but anywhere in Sussex or London would be great

I’m hoping that there are altruistic, sharing companies out there that will take me in and show off their practices. I’m keen to move our development further up the ladder to full ‘agility’ and would appreciate the time and others’ experiences in making the right choices.

Many thanks in advance.

Please contact me directly through any of the contact points on my about page.

Also, if this is not for you, but you know of someone who may be able to help, please send them a link to this post.


Doing my bit

Happy New Year!

This is not a new year’s resolution, but the turn of the month sees me looking to do something ‘useful’ with my not-at-work time and, in particular, I want to get involved in my local community (East Kemptown, Brighton). As I’m not particularly fit, active or handy, I think the best way I can contribute is by creating an online, hyperlocal community. I would think this would cover Eaton Place as its west-most boundary all the way East to the edge of the city (Roedean School) and incorporating the Whitehawk estate. (Perhaps this is a too large an area for ‘Hyperlocal’?)

However, I don’t want to set up a site that competes with others in the area. So if you know of any then please contact me. There’s nothing listed on Openly Local’s hyperlocal directory.

Please let me know if you can help, are interested in being listed or interviewed. I’m particularly keen to get involvement from local service deliverers, community projects / centres and our local councillors: Gill Mitchell, Warren Morgan and Craig Turton.

I’m publishing this in the newly created ‘Community’ category, which I’ll use for all posts related to this effort. I’ll keep you notified and look forward to your comments and contributions.