martes, 8 de enero de 2019


Fined parents for school absence




Fewer parents were fined last year for taking their children out of school without permission despite unauthorised absence rates in England reaching a record high, new Government figures show.

Around one in six (16.9 per cent) pupils missed at least half a day of lessons during the 2016-17 school year, up from 14.7 per cent, the Department for Education data shows.  However, the number of fines issued to parents for taking their children out of school without permission fell by 5.4 per cent. More than three-quarters of fines were for unauthorised holidays.

The figures cover the period after a father won a High Court case in May 2016 for taking her daughter on a trip to Disney, without permission. This suggests that more parents took the decision to take term-time holidays following the ruling as they believed they were less likely to face a fine. 

Today’s figures show the unauthorised absence rate is at its highest level since records began. “This increase in unauthorised absence is due to an increase in absence due to family holidays that were not agreed by the school,” the report said. 

Justine Roberts, chief executive of parenting forum Mumsnet, said: “It’s possible that some parents saw coverage of a High Court judgment and thought they had official permission to book term-time breaks.” But she added that “other parents will have spotted that the decision couldn’t be interpreted that broadly”.

”When the Supreme Court has to weigh in on what should be a straightforward matter of home/school communication, and when parents are poring over the judgment to assess its relevance to their situation, it feels like an indication that something isn’t working optimally,” Ms Roberts added. 

Government regulations amended in 2013 state that term-time leave may only be granted in exceptional circumstances, which was expected to lead to more penalty notices issued. 
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Children only get one chance at an education and evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs. Therefore, we believe that no child should be taken out of school without good reason and the Supreme Court agrees with us. The rules on term-time absences are clear and we have put schools back in control by supporting them to use their powers to deal with unauthorised absence.”

Adapted from The Independent March 2018
Question 1: Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.

a) The Department of Education fined fewer parents because less students were absent.
b) Most parents were fined because they took their children on vacation.
c) School unattendance redords had never been so high.
d) All parents think they are backed by the High Court decision.
e) The more you attend lessons, the better results you may get.
f) Schools do not have the help of the government in terms of nonattendance.

Question 3. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond to the words and definitions given.
  1. To penalise, to charge
  2. To deliver
  3. Numbers, statistics
  4. Probable
  5. Largely
  6. To add
  7. Direct
  8. To study cautiously
  9. To complete
  10. Manage, handle



KEY

a) FALSE
“Fewer parents were fined last year for taking their children out of school without permission despite unauthorised absence rates in England reaching a record high”
b) TRUE
“More than three-quarters of fines were for unauthorised holidays.”
c) TRUE
“Today’s figures show the unauthorised absence rate is at its highest level since records began”
d) FALSE
“other parents will have spotted that the decision couldn’t be interpreted that broadly”
e) TRUE
“ every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs”
f) FALSE
"we have put schools back in control by supporting them to use their powers to deal with unauthorised absence.”


  1. To fine, fine
  2. To issue, issued
  3. Figures
  4. Likely
  5. Broadly
  6. To weigh in
  7. Straightforward
  8. To pore over
  9. To achieve
  10. To deal with

Confusing words 2




Choose the correct word for each sentence
  1. The audience / spectators cheered when he scored the goal
  2. What happened had no affect / effect on the result.
  3. They live in a beautiful hose beside / besides the sea.
  4. I want to introduce the subject briefly / shortly now, and then discuss it in detail next week.
  5. I must know your answer by / until 5 o’clock.
  6. I did very little work because of the continual / continuous interruptions.
  7. They controlled / inspected the luggage with X-ray equipment to see if there was a bomb inside.
  8. The newspaper headline / title said “Famous writer killed”
  9. We haven’t seen him during / for 6 years.
  10. Did you notice / remark what she was wearing?


Key

1.spectators 2. Effect 3. Beside 4. Briefly 5. By
6. continual 7. Inspected 8. Headline 9. For 10. notice

SUFFIXES (adjectives)



Fill in the gaps with suitable adjectives
  1. You must be very (care) ………………………………………………………. when you drive in wet weather.
  2. It was so (fog) ……………………………………………………… this morning that I couldn’t see more than twenty metres in front of me.
  3. Everyone in my country has heard of her; she’s very (fame) ……………………………………………
  4. The people in the tourist information office were very (help) ………………………………………… and answered all our questions without any problems.
  5. This is a very (danger) ……………………………………………………… road; there were at least three serious accidents on it last year.
  6. It was very (pain) ……………………………………………………… when I hit my leg against the corner of the table.
  7. This bag is very (use) ……………………………………………………… because I can use it for work or when I go on holiday.
  8. The factory is in the middle of the (industry) ……………………………………………………… part of the city, surrounded by other factories.
  9. I made some coffee but it was horrible. In fact, my sister said it was not (drink) ……………………………………
  10. It seems terrible to me that there are so many (home) …………………………………………………… people living in a city with thousands of empty houses.

KEY
  1. careful
  2. foggy
  3. famous
  4. helpful
  5. dangerous
  6. painful
  7. useful
  8. industrial
  9. undrinkable
  10. homeless

Student at the centre of the landmark US civil rights case



      The US supreme court’s 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education proved a landmark in the struggle for civil rights in America, and Linda Brown, who has died aged 75, was at its centre. It began in September 1950, when seven-year-old Linda walked with her father Oliver to enroll for third grade at Sumner elementary school, a few blocks from their house in an integrated neighbourhood in Topeka, Kansas.


Linda had been attending Monroe elementary in a black neighbourhood a bus ride away. She wanted to go to school close by with her friends and, as her mother Leola recalled, “her daddy told her he was going to try to do his best to do something about it”. But Topeka’s primary schools were segregated.
Oliver Brown, a welder for the Atchison Topeka and Sante Fe railroad, was also a pastor at their local African Methodist Episcopal Zion church, and he was one of 13 black parents who were encouraged by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) to try to enroll their children from Topeka’s four black schools in some of the 18 all-white schools. He was, of course, turned away, and Linda recalled as they walked briskly home “how I could just feel the tension in him”.
The NAACP filed a suit, with Brown, first alphabetically, the named plaintiff in Oliver Brown et al v Board of Education of Topeka.
Similar suits in Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia were added, and three years later, the supreme court, including one repentant former member of the Ku Klux Klan, ruled unanimously in favour of the Browns. They overturned 1896’s Plessy v Ferguson, which had endorsed “separate but equal” facilities for the races, on the grounds such provisions were inherently unequal and violated the protections guaranteed by the 14th amendment.
The following year, Rosa Parks would challenge the segregated seating on buses in Montgomery, Alabama. And in the wake of Brown, which was supposed to be implemented with “all deliberate speed”, came a series of dramatic school integration confrontations: the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas in 1957; Ruby Bridges in New Orleans, 1960, as immortalised in Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With; James Meredith in 1962 at the University of Mississippi.
By the time of the supreme court decision, Linda was already attending an integrated middle school in Topeka; shy and quiet, she was the focus of unwanted press attention. She did find it funny that her school classmates “didn’t believe it was me” who had been so influential. But it was not until 1959, when she was in high school in Springfield, Missouri, to which her family had moved, that she realised that “gee, someday I might be in the history books!”.

     In 1961 her father died of heatstroke while welding, and her mother returned to Topeka. Linda studied early education at Washburn College, Topeka, and Kansas State University, married and raised two children.
In 1979, on behalf of her children, she joined the American Civil Liberties Union in re-opening Brown v Board of Education, arguing the desegregation of Topeka’s schools remained incomplete. It was not decided until 1989, when the supreme court let a lower court ruling in the ACLU’s favour stand; a new plan for integration was not implemented until 1993. In 1994, on the 40th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, Linda told an interviewer: “We feel disheartened that 40 years later we’re still talking about desegregation. But the struggle has to continue.”
She taught young children and gave piano lessons, and played for the choir at St Mark’s, the church where her father had been a pastor. Her sister, Cheryl, started the Brown Foundation, for which Linda worked as an educational consultant and taught in Head Start programmes for underprivileged families. Despite her reluctance to take the spotlight, she was an accomplished public speaker on civil rights and educational issues.
Her first marriage, to Charles Smith, ended in divorce. Her second husband, Leonard Buckner, and third, William Thompson, predeceased her. She is survived by her mother, two sisters, Cheryl and Terry, and a son, Charles, and daughter, Kimberly, from her first marriage.



The Guardian 28th March 2018



Question 1: Indicate whether the following statements are True or False and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
  1. Linda Brown lived in a block of flats far from Sumner school.
  2. Topeka’s schools accepted both white and black children.
  3. Linda’s father preferred her to continue at the school for black children.
  4. One of the members of the supreme court used to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
  5. Linda started middle school after the favourable court decision.
  6. Although Linda didn’t like the attention her case had at first, she saw a positive side later.
  7. By 1979 there were not segregated schools left in the USA.
  8. Linda was reluctant to speak in favour of civil rights in public.
  9. She died after her last husband but before her mother.


KEY

Question 1

a) False. Seven-year-old Linda walked with her father Oliver to enroll for third grade at Sumner elementary school, a few blocks from their house in an integrated neighborhood in Topeka, Kansas.

b) False. But Topeka’s primary schools were segregated.
c) False.  She wanted to go to school close by with her friends and, as her mother Leola recalled, “her daddy told her he was going to try to do his best to do something about it”.
d) True. The supreme court, including one repentant former member of the Ku Klux Klan.
e) False. By the time of the supreme court decision, Linda was already attending an integrated middle school in Topeka.
f) True. Shy and quiet, she was the focus of press unwanted attention. But it was not until 1959, when she was in high school in Springfield, Missouri, to which her family had moved, that she realised that “gee, someday I might be in the history books!”
g) False. In 1979, on behalf of her children, she joined the American Civil Liberties Union in re-opening Brown v Board of Education, arguing the desegregation of Topeka’s schools remained incomplete.
h) False. Despite her reluctance to take the spotlight, she was an accomplished public speaker on civil rights and educational issues.
i) True. Her second husband, Leonard Buckner, and third, William Thompson, predeceased her. She is survived by her mother.