Worst Website of the Weekend (or perhaps ever)

Even allowing for the expected degree of incompetence and stupidity that masquerades as an education system…

Welcome to the functionality that has been provided by Student Finance England!

Functionality Drivel
Functionality Drivel

As if having one of the most convoluted log in procedures ever devised involving multiple emails, a customer reference number (I am not a customer), a password and a secret answer (which was SXMLAR38 so what was the secret question?) is not disturbing enough one is then dropped into the most ridiculous illogical exercise which actually amounted to nothing more than answering half a dozen questions.

Are we done already?

Who knows?

Tick what?

HInt: The question is “Do you have other sources of income?” The answer will be either “Yes” or “No”.
Note: Even if the answer is “No” you are not allowed to ignore boxes that do not apply you have to type £0.00.

And so it went on, too tedious to dwell upon, but apparently my experience was somewhat different to Martine‘s but not in a good way.

Perhaps they should shake out a few more slackers further down the ladder. They do provide a guide to error messages which includes:

This message is caused by a system error, and Student Finance England is working to fix it. Please ignore the message


No keyboard connected. Press any key to continue.


The Guardian’s [W:Ben Goldacre] piece today threw up some interesting links. The VoteMatch site is like an online dating service for you to be matched to your ideal local candidate. One particularly taxing question was the old tax breaks for educating children outside the school system….

I remain open minded about such things. While the BNP were in favour the Lib Dems (my ideal match apparently) were not…

It looks like a close call between Lib Dems and Greens but the local Green chappie, a teacher, has ruled himself out with a leaflet that promises to protect the education system; which is about as un-green a system as one could possibly devise.

Sophisticated Interactive Cheating Learning

Only in the bizarre (as in anachronistic, educationally limiting and often damaging, economically draining and environmentally indefensible) world of mass schooling in the 21st century would looking something up on the Internet be considered cheating. To quote Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive, Becta,

“Equipping our current and future generations with the necessary skills to compete in a digital world is crucial to our future. Through innovative programmes such as Home Access, Becta is driving this development.  We can see in schools and colleges across Britain how the use of technology breeds greater success for students and teachers alike.”


Or from a Microsoft Word document (No! Don’t laugh!) linked from the DCSF site, but without any indication what it is or who created it or when it was created (No! Don’t laugh!) ….

Gone are the days when young people spend endless school days poring over dusty textbooks. Learning is now interactive, sophisticated, and engaging.

Ho hum!

Aptitude and Ability

Last weekend threw up an interesting contrast. On Radio Three’s Private Passions available on iPlayer (until 6th December) Bill Bailey described his schooling (the independent King Edward’s School, Bath) where his talents were recognised and encouraged. On the other hand since her first audition for the X Factor:

one felt that Stacey Solomon had somewhere along the line been failed by the school system. Is the King Solomon High School (motto: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14) really meeting the requirements of Section 7 of the Education Act 1996? If you delegate the education of a child to the mass schooling system do you have any redress when that system fails the child. As Ms Solomon enters the X Factor semi-finals (and, one hopes, ultimate victory) one can only wonder at the countless other children who have been failed by such a piss poor system. If only there were some form of education otherwise than by schooling….

Governmental visitors

Whilst all are welcome to come and browse here, should tax payers be subsidising government browsing?

More worrying is the Windows/Internet Explorer 6 thing. Do these people know nothing about security?

Of course the [W:IP address] is generic and could be from anywhere within gov.uk. Let’s hope they enjoyed, and were educated by, the silliness.

See also:
FreeBorn John

Spy Blog (Watching Them, Watching Us)

The curious case of the missing "Badman" page


What do you get when you subtract….

This Google.co.uk search


an identical Google.com search?

The Dark Lord Badman’s Guide to Home Education – Arranging An Inspection


Missing page
Missing page

Update 28th July 2009:
This piece had a lot of visitors yesterday (but not a single comment ;-)) most of whom were from the UK. A couple of visitors from [W:Google] itself passed through – probably in response to this link.

Of course Google searches are dynamic things and this page itself is now appearing in the .com listing. So for the record here is a picture of the original listings.

Google search listings
Google search listings

Update 2nd August: Curiouser and curiouser.