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Author: Ali

FPR Comment: What was left unsaid about Dyspraxia

Posted in FPR Comment


Teacher sent to work at top secondary school despite being unable to READ or write


Teacher at Catholic London secondary school is suspended after it’s discovered he ‘CAN’T READ or write’

Above: Two good articles in The Sun and The Daily Mail Respectively – but here’s what was left out of the discussion

Here at FrontPageRage, our raison d’etre is making fun of poor or wasteful journalism that does nothing to improve the informed opinions of the general public. But sometimes, like now, we like to give credit where credit is due – particularly when we think we have something to add. A teacher that can’t read or write? Let’s face it: that’s a story. Both papers covered it well; explaining what happened and why. The Daily Mail acknowledged that they got the story from The Sun, and only missed one detail – that the subject that this wannabe teacher was “teaching” was business studies. Subject is, of course, important – the offence is far more serious had he got a job as an English teacher as opposed to, say, a PE teacher (the subject of choice for those who can’t teach, as the axiom goes). That notwithstanding, both papers confined themselves to the facts of the case really well. They spoke about how the “teacher” in question, Faisal Ahmed, defended himself by saying that he had dyspraxia. They correctly reported that Mr Ahmed had unsuccessfully sued for constructive dismissal and subsequently unsuccessfully appealed. Jolly good. That’s all I can expect of them for a fact-based article. But I want to take a closer look and zero in on the problems I have with Mr Ahmed’s pathetic and frankly insulting defence – a matter the papers were not at liberty to get involved in, but I am.

Dyspraxia is a genetic condition that affects hand-eye coordination. That’s the nutshell version – it manifests in slightly different ways to each individual sufferer. Two dyspraxic people can have two completely different life experiences. Unsurprisingly therefore, it is not a particularly well-understood condition and it does have knock-on effects, such as on organisational skills. It is an invisible illness – my favourite example of this being a former girlfriend claiming she had never seen any evidence I was dyspraxic while my hand was bleeding from sustaining a dyspraxic injury. Indeed, one of the problems of having dyspraxia is that you’re prone to forget you have it until you are painfully reminded. Only now is it beginning to get proper representation in media, and like most disability representation, it’s not particularly good at first – the portrayal of Ryan Sinclair in Doctor Who was certainly not offensive, but neither was it accurate. Mr Ahmed will not have helped in this regard. Sure, it’s plausible that one result of his dyspraxia is experiencing pain when writing. But practically impossible to read? Pull the other one. That’s dyslexia – dyspraxic people have enough problems with non-sufferers not knowing the difference without having to worry about people who ought to know better. Dyspraxia is a rare, non-fatal and usually non-serious condition – it does affect day-to-day life, but please don’t use it as an excuse for getting sacked from a job you were incapable of doing. Mr Ahmed’s sacking was not because of his dyspraxia, but because of his dishonesty, and indeed Teach First’s inability to see the potential problems of sending someone basically illiterate to teach at a Secondary School. By trying to put dyspraxia front and centre of a defence he shouldn’t have even been mounting, Mr Ahmed has insulted and potentially damaged dyspraxic people everywhere. How are employers who have read this story likely to react when a dyspraxic person applies for a job at their company? Do you think it is possible, perhaps, that some of them might, as a result of this case, think that dyspraxia equates with illiteracy? Teach First, of course, will endeavour to NOT make the same mistake again and make sure they tell everyone from now on that the candidate they are putting forward is dyspraxic. Net result: dyspraxic people have it that bit harder to find work than they already do. A dyspraxic person wrote this article. The same dyspraxic person has a Master of Arts Degree from The Scottish University of the Year 2019, and considered a career in teaching but is now hoping to make it as an author. He is the humble editor of this entire website. None of these are things I could do if dyspraxia were as much a burden as Mr Ahmed asserts. Even if – IF – all of his problems are rooted in dyspraxia, that still does not excuse his actions here. He had to know that his condition was so serious he couldn’t possibly teach Business Studies, and not accept the job in the first place. But he didn’t do that. He took a job he couldn’t do, then wasted taxpayer’s money by suing the school when it took the only sensible course of action it had available. Not only did he put his own self-interest ahead of everyone and everything else, but he also did it in such a way that there may be damaging consequences for honest dyspraxic people who may yet find themselves unwillingly linked to something that should have nothing to do with them.

Posted in Article

Andrea Leadsom: no-deal Brexit next week would not be so grim


News agencies are still giving oxygen to rhetoric that should have been debunked two years ago, the Guardian reveals. Andrea Leadsom appeared on one of the British Biased Corporation’s flagship political TV shows to insist that Brexit had to go ahead. Despite repeated statements that a no-deal Brexit was not her preferred option, and despite spouting several lines of nonsense that would be easy to attack, The Guardian opted for a headline that misrepresented her position. While Leadsom did indeed say that a no-deal Brexit would “not be so grim as people think”, using it as a headline does give a misleading implication of support. I don’t think a zombie apocalypse would be as grim as people might think, but I would still actively try to avoid it happening.

Leadsom, whose most impressive achievement to date is being the last person to make anyone feel sorry for Theresa May, has clearly conducted the same amount of research on Brexit as she did to her opponent for PM when she inadvertently insulted May’s inability to have children. It’s probably unfair to criticise her for not understanding the difference between a customs union and formal agreements that incorporate customs. It’s less unfair to criticise her for referring to the idea of having a vote on something “undemocratic”, but let’s not open that can of worms. Her main argument for a No-Deal Brexit not being as bad as we think is that the Civil Service has made detailed plans to mitigate the situation. Any well-functioning Government has plans to deal with anything from a hurricane to a German invasion, but that doesn’t mean we should declare war, or continue to ignore scientists. When asked about the possibility of running for party leadership again, Leadsom admitted that she had not been prepared last time – albeit accusing her colleagues of being as unready as her. Let’s face it: she probably had a point there. Even the host – whose line of questioning was at least fair and a passable attempt at firm – could not suggest a better reason for running again other than that she possessed a pair of ovaries. Why the Conservative party need a woman to run on this occasion when they are still the only party to have produced any female Prime Ministers is unclear. Perhaps the women in the party simply prefer to wait and maximise their chance of being the first female Prime Minister to actually be popular.

Posted in Headlines


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