Wednesday, 2 February 2011


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.


Jay said...

Hahahahaha! Brian Cox - I love him! LOL! But yes, much safer in the back seat, I think.

As to Jo Shuter, well, what can you say? She is indeed one of our unsung heroes and one can only wish there were more like her.

Maggie May said...

That first story about the homeless children, touched my heart.
It is a great pity that there are not more like her. I was dismayed to see that homelessness in children was such a great problem.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Eva Gallant said...

Interesting! And the homeless cheildren story was a tear jerker. So sad.

Retiredandcrazy said...

When I saw Jo Shuter I wanted to take in a couple of kids locally but then I thought what if they were violent or disruptive, how would I cope? Been there, done that, I'm too old to cope with that now.

Retiredandcrazy said...

It always has been a problem Maggie and ever shall be.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Yes, Eva, so sad.

slommler said...

Brian is wonderful and Jo is amazing. We need more of both and I am sure they are out there...silently changing the world one thought and one child at a time.

RNSANE said...

There are more and more homeless children and, indeed, homeless families. Our San Francisco has one of the highest homeless rates in the country and it isn't the down and out alcoholic or drug addict, it is displaced middle income families, where the bread winner has lost his job, and cannot find work. The city has very few shelter that take in families. At least, our temperatures are mild year long but it is really sad to see children on the streets.

DogLover said...

Yes, R & C, if you and Brian Cox were on the back seat, I'm sure you'd be drawn together.

By gravity.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I might be safer in the back seat Jay, but I'm not sure if Brian would be safe with me!

Retiredandcrazy said...

Magie, when I saw Jo Shuter on TV it made me want to take in a couple of homeless children myself. I nearly made enquiries before thinking "wait a minute, you're 70, behave yourself". With the best will in the world I know that I would not be up to the job.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Your comment "silently changing the world one thought and one child at a time" is so profound SueAnn. It reduced me to tears.

Retiredandcrazy said...

One phrase comes to mind Carmen, let it begin here.

Retiredandcrazy said...

DogLover, I've said this before, you know me so well.

Out of My Mind said...

Would you believe that this is the second post today that has talked about the Large Hadron Collider in Cern!

Nick ( wrote a piece back in November about it (and I just read it today).

Wierd, Huh? kt

Retiredandcrazy said...

Really weird Karen.