Friday, 20 March 2009

The Great School Intake Swindle

OK. Here's a post that has lots of potential for controversy. Religion, children you name it.

Up & down the country today is the day thousands will find out whether their little darling has been accepted in to their chosen primary school. I am amongst those parents this year.

However there is one massive loophole or shortcut to getting in to some of the best schools in the country, it is called 'going to church'.

The admission process in this country for most state schools works based largely on proximity to the school except for church schools whose main criteria is church attendance. I have been gobsmacked over the last few years to hear the number of parents discussing whether or not they should start going to church just to con, sorry pray, their way into convincing the local church school that they are 'devotees' so they can get in to one of the better local schools. On my relatively small sample of schools I have looked in to, those schools affiliated to one denomination or another generally seem to have higher Ofsted scores but this may not be universal.

The number of times I have heard the words "we don't really believe in it but we want to get in to XXX school" is just farcical

So maybe the church should be outraged as the infidels infiltrate the congregation? Well no. This is because what this actually means is packed churches full of devout 2 & 3 year olds with holier than though parents in tow.

I don't have issue with the intake system per se. Amongst the hoodwinkers there are many true believers who have been churchgoers all their lives who absolutely should have the right to go to the school associated with their church.

Its just that whilst everybody (church, government, local authority etc) pretends we have this 'fair' system for admissions, the whole thing actually is just one big con.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

What were they thinking

OK here's a mundane one for you. I have to pass through an underpass to get to the opposite platform each day at Carshalton Station. Standard brick, damp sort of thing.

So which genius thought it would be money well spent to paint it white to presumably cheer the place up? Within a mere 1 day it had attracted it's first graffiti so already looks 10 times worse than it did before. Oh & this is presumably the same people who wont be giving us a refund for there being no public transport on Monday on the basis it will cost too much money.

I'll try to update this with a pic soon.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Targetting the Influencers

Interesting article from the US on targeting the influencers on their social networks & buying "Personal CPMs". Makes me wonder how long before we start running campaigns that follow (or stalk!) the likes of Martin Lewis like via any instances they appear on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc

Google Slows?

Further to Nicks comment on Barack ads for Ebay appearing on Youtube. Does the below image suggest Google is finally beginning to feel the heat in the current climate & having to resort to 'advertising' (albeit in China where Google has a serious competitor in Baidu unlike most other countries)

A man rides a pedicab decorated with a Google advertiseme... (Greg Baker / AP)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Mind The Gap

Now this is a post I've thought long and hard about so has been a long time in the making. Probably about 2 years in truth.

You see being some what taller than average, clothes can be a bit of a nightmare as most standard stuff doesn't really fit as a rule. At least not in the trouser department. So my choice of shop is pretty limited. In fact so far limited to about 3 brands.

Now one of these has become my stock 'go to' when it comes to trousers and in fact quite a few other items so despite what you read below I am actually a big fan.

The shop in question (and please excuse the crap headline) is Gap.

Now Gap has been reputed to be in a spot of bother the last few years as their clothing has become less de-rigeur and as we plunge headlong into recession or whatever you want to call it I don't suppose life is getting any easier. The one ray of hope for all retailers has been online sales which for many retailers (including those who struggled over Christmas) have shown at minimum static sales year on year and in the main healthy increases (think M&S)

So why oh why does Gap in its infinite wisdom fail to provide any kind of e-shopping opportunity in the UK (the US seems to do very nicely thank you with a dot com version)? Surely in the current climate this is simply commercial suicide both on and offline as not only do they lose out to the growing numbers of online shoppers (I for one must nearly own shares in Amazon after this Christmas) but they will get by the double whammy of losing those who will research online buy offline.

In this day and age providing an e-commerce front end is child's play so the main challenges will be logistics & supply chain but surely & retail giant like Gap could cope with this?

Anyway Gap, please get your act together & sort out an e-commerce site & then I wont have to go traipsing round your stores trying to find a 36" leg pair of trousers which by the way never seems to be in stock so maybe logistics isn't your forte after all?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

"The time has come....." said the walrus. Not sure where this will go as being a man of numbers not words this should be interesting.......