The virus which causes still births and ghastly deformities in calves and lambs, has proved costly and traumatic to farmers across the country. The speed which this disease has spread nationwide has been remarkable and has shocked the veterinary world.
The cost of the vaccine which will be met by farmers could influence many as to whether they vaccinate or not. Farms which have been badly hit by the disease may well consider the additional cost a step too far. The farmer may also decide that as their herd or flock has been subjected to the virus they will have developed their own immunity. No doubt intense discussions with vets will result in the best action on individual farms.
The UK is so far the only EU country which will trial the vaccine, it will be interesting to see how long it will be before others follow suit. We can only hope that with the help of the scientists this disease will soon be under control.
Some years ago in the days of Ian Smith a retiring Rhodesian Minister voiced his concerns that it was an old Soviet Policy of the KGB to infiltrate higher education in this Country to undermine the establishment with left wing propaganda. Especially influencing future Lecturers and teachers and so on down the generations.
He predicted that over the years the standard of education would be steadily and dogmatically reduced to the lowest common denominator which would ensure there were no outstanding academics, scientists, mathematicians, historians, sportsmen or entrepreneurs.
At the time this view was considered to be extreme and indeed fairly batty, so he kept his head down and retired to his garden in the country and his thoughts to himself.
Bearing this prediction in mind and looking at the standard of education in the state sector one has to wonder if his concerns and predictions were justified. Of course there are notable exceptions, but it would seem there are too many state schools failing students as hundreds of thousands of young people reach the end of their education having learnt very little. They have few life skills, no work ethics, have no understanding of self-discipline, no respect for their elders and on the whole are unmotivated and unemployable.
If this situation was indeed planned to undermine the Country and our society, it would seem they could not have done a much better job. If however it has happened by chance then decades of politicians and teachers have badly let down generations of students.
Although less than ten per cent of our children are educated in the private sector, it is from this pool that the majority of those running major industries, Banks, work in the City, or become scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and doctors. They also are amongst the majority of officers in the armed forces, diplomats and politicians.
To receive the type of education experienced in the private sector has been restricted to those who can afford it or parents who have been prepared to sacrifice their standard of living in the hope that their children gain what they consider is the best education. How encouraging it is to see the drive to widen the opportunity to children of all backgrounds to experience a similar high standard of education.
Plans are well on the way to open state-funded schools attached to high achieving elite centres of learning such as Eton, which next year opens a school at Holyport. Wellington College already sponsors a part time boarding academy, and there are now 34 established state boarding schools, offering a rounded education in an environment which encourages learning and offers a wide range of experiences.
Plans to build a state boarding school in Stedham should surely be welcomed as it will give underprivileged city children a wonderful chance to experience a superb education. It will also no doubt will bring with it varied job opportunities for the people of West Sussex.
Michael Gove is also encouraging such free schools and academies to use former service-men in the belief that they will encourage and instil ‘confidence, self-discipline and self-esteem’ in pupils. He believes that introducing Cadet Force units into these schools will help to prevent the endemic violence in classes and playgrounds.
Too many teachers struggle to control pupils and maintain discipline in the classroom. Many are leaving the profession or seeking early retirement. They are concerned for the children many of whom are out of control and lack the will to learn. Teachers are no longer allowed to instil discipline due to political correctness and a fear at the top that parents will complain, become violent themselves or sue the school for trying to teach their unruly children manners.
Let us hope that Michael Gove manages to turn the ship around and progressive heads of independent schools which offer an exceptional and excellent education will embrace the challenge. Their schools are recognised and admired around the world and they can help to buck the trend and ensure that the British education system turns out some of the best educated young people in the world.
Carola Godman Irvine