Merthyr School pupils win South Wales Engineering Competition

The Afon Taf High School Year 9 pupils competed in the Engineering Team Challenge against 22 other schools from across South Wales. The competition was held at several venues across South Wales late last year including the University of South Wales, Parc Y Scarlets, Swansea University and Cardiff University.

The Engineering Team Challenge is designed to inspire pupils to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) as well as give them an insight into how rewarding a career in engineering can be. This year the main activity was based around Coastal Engineering, to show an aspect of Civil Engineering which is a vital part of our infrastructure, as unfortunately recently demonstrated around the UK. Over 300 school pupils took part in the Challenge of producing an optimum Coastal Structure to defend a model village, town and energy suppliers from a tsunami wave.

The team from Afon Taf High School produced a design for the costal defence structure which very effectively defended the model town from the destructive tsunami wave. Combined with their great performance at the ‘cardscraper’ activity (making the tallest tower out of play cards), they gathered more points than any other team throughout the week to become the south Wales Engineering Team Challenge 2015 overall winner.

Julie James AM is the Deputy Minister for Technology and Skills at the Welsh Government.
IT GIRL: Julie James AM is the Deputy Minister for Technology and Skills at the Welsh Government. Courtesy: Obtained from YouTube.

Each pupil received individual cinema tickets as their prize and the school was presented with a trophy by the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James AM. “I’m delighted to award Afon Taf High School Year 9 pupils with their Engineering Team Challenge trophy and prizes,” she said. “I have to say I was extremely impressed with their design and their evident enthusiasm for the Challenge.
The Welsh Government is committed to increasing the number of young people that study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Competitions like the Engineering Team Challenge are a great way of encouraging young learners to develop an interest in these subjects which have the potential to lead on to highly skilled and well paid careers.

Cliff Smith is the Headteacher at Afon Taf High School. “I am extremely proud of the way our pupils performed in this competition,” he said. “Such opportunities can spark a pupil’s interest in having a career in engineering.
We are fortunate at Afon Taf High School to have an outstanding engineering and technology department with state of the art facilities and teachers who both inspire and motivate pupils to achieve their full potential.

Emma Davies is Head of Design and Technology and STEM Co-Ordinator at Afon Taf High School. “The event was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It really gave the pupils an insight into engineering and what a career in the sector would involve.
The coastal engineering activity was challenging, but also fun and the tour of the university raised their aspirations and lots of the pupils expressed an interest in studying engineering at degree level.
It is fantastic that an all-female team won the challenge as I have been actively promoting the subject as an option for the girls to take at GCSE level.
I feel that this has given them the confidence to do so.

Keith Jones is the Director of ICE Wales Cymru. “Civil engineering is a diverse, fascinating and exciting industry, where you can literally shape the world in which we live and make a real difference,” he said. “We – engineering institutions, industry and academia – must do more to show this crucial generation of schoolchildren, their parents and their teachers, the range of opportunities on offer.
Schools also have a duty to lead the drive in overcoming outdated perceptions about careers in engineering, and ensure they are accessible to all.
It is estimated that engineering companies will need nearly 200,000 people a year with engineering skills by 2022.
This means we need to double the number of apprentices and graduates entering the industry. This is the scale of the challenge we face, and this is why collaborative, inspirational competitions like Engineering Tea Challenge are so important.
Civil Engineering is a fascinating and rewarding career and it is a delight and pleasure to work with pupils at schools to show them how civil engineers help the infrastructure of Wales.

Campaigners rejoice as Texas introduce cameras in special needs classes

Campaigners are celebrating a victory in ensuring the protection of special needs students in Texas schools through the introduction of CCTV.

Since June, schools in Texas have been able to install cameras to protect students. Senate Bill 507 was created following the alleged rape of a student with autism, for which a prosecution was not able to be brought due to lack of evidence.

Dr Diana Otero is Executive Director of Special Education at YISD. “There have been concerns in the past from other districts, that probably prompted the need for this (law),” she said. “And I say we have great teachers, I don’t see a problem with any of that. I see it as another layer of safety that parents feel they need.”

Tara Heidinger runs the Cameras In Special Needs Classrooms campaign. “Texas families, advocates, and more stuck together, shared their testimonies, and let their voices be heard all the way to state house,” she said. “Texas families, advocates, and more have been fighting for cameras in special needs classrooms at least 4-5 years now.
With everyone sticking together and never giving up, they passed the Bill this session to have cameras in special needs classrooms in the State of Texas. Georgia state has a Bill currently and more states in the USA are fighting for Bills. Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and more are also getting involved for Cameras In Special Needs Classrooms.

The Facebook Page for Cameras In Special Needs Classrooms is: http://www.facebook.com/CamerasInSpecialNeedsClassrooms

Wales’s first revenge porn conviction

Wales has had its first successful prosecution for porn revenge since the introduction of a specific offence in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

Clayton Kennedy, 20, was convicted at Cardiff Magistrates Court for posting a picture of a former partner on Facebook for a total of 30 minutes. The image was seen by his friends.

Internet trolling and Cyberstalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, says that the Director of Public Prosecutions needs to update its social media guidance in light of the conviction. “Under the CPS’s social media guidance, Clayton Kennedy should not have been prosecuted,” he said. “Under CPS social media guidance, because the image was posted only for his friends and was taken down shortly after posting, then Clayton Kennedy should have been acquitted.
It is not fair for Clayton Kennedy to have been convicted of an offence CPS guidance said he should not have been and the Director of Public Prosecutions should as a matter of urgency reflect this judgement by updating the guidance so everyone knows where they stand.”

Cardiff magistrate Dr Chantal Nichols made Kennedy the subject of a restraining order and fined him £405. “This was a nasty offence with the potential to have a emotional impact on the victim,” Dr Chantal Nichols said as one of the first lay judges to use the new law. “This is a relatively new offence but we want to make sure that you understand that what you did is very serious,” Dr Chantal Nichols concluded.

Are young people being held hostage by smart devices?

A new report published by the Youth Sports Trust has revealed that nearly 25% of children consider playing video games as a form of exercise.

Nearly 75% of young people have access to games consoles, and daily screen time eclipses activity time with young people averaging close to 3 hours per day using technology.

Amongst 11 year olds, 70% say they watch YouTube, 15% log into Facebook and 11% post on Instagram.

Ali Oliver, chief exec of the YST, says that the digital revolution presents opportunities and challenges with young people “potentially held hostage” to their handheld devices.

The trust has called for more PE and technology integration in schools, and the government has provided £300m in funding earmarked to “prioritising PE” and improving school sport.

Some 75% of the five to 16 year olds surveyed say they enjoy PE at school and two-thirds feel better after taking part in sport.

Edward Timpson, the Children’s Minister, is encouraged that the research shows millions of young people are enjoying PE lessons. “[PE] remains a government priority,” he said.

But the report says that there is “no resisting” the march of technology and in order to get children active a more holistic approach to PE is needed. It recommends one which “integrates technology and the delivery of a seamless, intuitive and digitally enhanced form of physical activity.”

Some believe there is a block in teachers using technology in lessons due to a lack of training or software comprehension. A college worker has described that some lecturers “just don’t want to know” about using animations or apps.

Others note that technology has been historically blamed as leading to sedentary lifestyles: books, radio, TV, video games and now smart devices face criticism despite it being difficult to pin-point their attributions to overall physical wellbeing.

One parent notes that it would not be difficult to create parental controls to deactivate devices remotely. “[The report] clearly signals that action is needed now to modernise approaches,” says Oliver.

Anti-trolling judge ‘lets off pedo’

The judge who sentenced a young Cardiff men to jail for trolling during the 2011 UK riots has been severely criticised by a cyberstalking expert for her recent decision to cut the sentence of a child sex offender, who worked as a chaplain for the police, by 6 months.

Expert Jonathan Bishop, says the decision of Judge Eleri Rees and her colleagues at the Court of Appeal to cut the sentence of former police chaplain, Stephen Talbot, 63, to 9 months from 15 was disgraceful. “I am totally disgusted that Judge Eleri Rees sent Anthony Gristock to jail for a total of 3.5 years for setting up Facebook pages, yet lets off a copper chaplain turned pedo with just 9 months jail!
“What sort of justice system do we have where child abusers are out in under a year, but trolls face nearly five times more time in jail?”

Stella Creasy tries to ‘troll call’ out of justifying ‘jailing youths’

Steallay Creasy. Steally Creasy has been called a troll-caller by Dzon. Stella Creasy is the former MP for Walthamstow
TROLL-CALLER? Pluralist Party general election candidate, Dzon, has called Stella Creasy a troll-caller for blocking him when he asked her if she told Walthamstow residents she sent young people to jail for trolling. Courtesy: The Independent newspaper.

The Labour and Co-operative Party candidate in the general election for Walthamstow has tried to “troll call” her way out of being accountable for the jailing of young people for trolling, like John Nimmo, another general election candidate has said.

Labour’s Walthamstow incumbent seeking re-election, Stella Creasy, has been accused of being a troll-caller by the Pluralist Party candidate for Liverpool Walton, Dzon, who is known professionally as Jonathan Bishop, after she blocked him for questioning the jailing of young people who trolled her.

When asked whether the people of Walthamstow knew she sent young people who trolled her to jail, Stella Creasy refused to answer. “[I] think I have asked you previously not to contact me but now saying again- and blocking you if you ignore request,” she said to trolling campaigner Dzon, known professionally as Jonathan Bishop. “well telling lies isn’t standing up for young people and neither is ignoring requests to desist so #blocked,” she then tweeted.

Sealla Creasy was the MP for Walthamstow. Stealla Creasy had Ji=ohn Nimmo sent to jail for trolling her.
TROLL-CALLER?: Pluralist Party candidate, Dzon, says troll-calling is an “easy get out” for Stella Creasy. Courtesy: Twitter

Dzon asked whether it was right for those seeking to be an MP to act in such a way. “Is Stella Creasy really the sort of person the people of Walthamstow want as their MP if she blocks people who disagree with her and has them convicted because she can’t stand the heat of being a politician in the digital age?,” he asked. “It is totally wrong that those in politicians public office are able to troll-call members of the public to the police and have them sent to jail simply because those politicians cannot meet the essential requirements of the job, which even in anti-trolling MP, Steve Rotheram’s words, should be ‘pachyderms with little or no feeling’ who should no let trolling ‘bother’ them.”

Justice demanded for North West ‘trolls’

DIGITAL EQUALITY: Internet trolling expert, Dzon, thinks youth rights should be at the heart of the proposed Digital Rights Bill. Courtesy: Steve Powerhill Photography.
DIGITAL EQUALITY: Internet trolling expert, Dzon, thinks youth rights should be at the heart of the proposed Digital Rights Bill. Courtesy: Steve Powerhill Photography.

An Internet trolling expert and general election candidate has demanded justice for two young people affected by trolling.

Dzon, known professionally as Jonathan Bishop, says that Matthew Woods and Georgia Varley deserve justice and that the incidents of trolling relating them were wrongly handled.

20-year-old Matthew Woods of Eaves Lane, Chorley, was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail in 2012 for reposting offensive jokes from Sickipedia about Madeline McCann and April Jones. Dzon says his treatment was unfair. “Had the current CPS guidance been applied in Matthew Woods’s case then he would not have been convicted,” he said. “Matthew Woods only intended for his friends to see those offensive jokes and not the families, so under new rules he would not be prosecuted.
In reality the law these rules are based on were thrown out the window in Matthew Woods’s case, with his conviction being down to media and public pressure and not the facts of the case.

Georgia Varley, from Wallasey, was 16 when her memorial website was ransacked by trolls, following her death at Liverpool James Street station in 2011. Her local MP, Steve Rotheram, said that the law could not deal with social media crimes as it was made prior to Twitter and Facebook. Dzon disagrees. “The Malicious Communications Act 1988 was used to prosecute Sean Duffy when he trolled the memorial page of Natasha MacBryde who died at 15, following death at a railway station also,” he said. “It is pure political opportunism to deny Georgia Varley’s family the rights Natasha MacBryde’s had, and Steve Rotheram should be ashamed to put his career ahead of justice for young people and their families.

When Georgia Varley died Steve Rotheram said: “It is difficult to prosecute because trolling is a new phenomenon and does not fall under any offence which already exists.” Since that time the Malicious Communications Act 1988, Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and Communications Act 2003 have all been used to deal with trolling. Dzon said Steve Rotheram is out of touch. “Trolling is just the current term for the posting of Internet abuse, which was call flaming in the 1990s and cyber-bullying in the 2002, and was first outlawed with the Telecommunications Act 1984,” he said. “In fact trolling should refer to the posting of provocative messages, but it is only by use, or misuse, by the media that the term has changed.

Youth Rights ‘should be at heart’ of digital bill

DIGITAL EQUALITY: Internet trolling expert, Dzon, thinks youth rights should be at the heart of the proposed Digital Rights Bill. Courtesy: Steve Powerhill Photography.
DIGITAL EQUALITY: Internet trolling expert, Dzon, thinks youth rights should be at the heart of the proposed Digital Rights Bill. Courtesy: Steve Powerhill Photography.

An Internet trolling expert and general election candidate has thrown his weight behind the Lib Dems’ plans for a Digital Rights Bill, but says youth rights should be a core feature.

The Pluralist Party candidate for Liverpool Walton, Dzon, known professionally as Jonathan Bishop, says he fully supports Liberal Democrat proposals for a Digital Rights Bill. “Whilst as a trolling expert I know that current laws are good enough to protect rights to free speech and from Internet abuse, a new law to set out case law and CPS best practice in black and white will stop the misuse and lack of use of current legislation,” he said. “It is essential that at the heart of this bill that youth rights are protected, as all too often it is young people that are prosecuted and convicted for trolling, even though if case law like DPP v Chambers were applied they would be found innocent.
A new Digital Rights Bill should insert into existing trolling law like the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and Malicious Communications Act 1988 prescribed defences against prosecution based on what is set out in DPP v Chambers, DPP v Collins, DPP v Connolly and the DPP’s guidance on offences arising out of social media, so that only those incidents of trolling that are illegal are prosecute whereas those that are free speech are not.

Nick Clegg is leader of the Liberal Democrats who has proposed the Digital Rights Bill. “The way in which we work, socialise, buy products and use services has changed at lightning speed since the digital revolution,” he said. “However government and politicians have responded at snail’s pace, and failed to ensure the rights of consumers, businesses, journalists and children are protected in the online world.
Our Digital Rights Bill will finally enshrine into law our rights as citizens of this country to privacy, to stop information about us being abused online, and to protect our right to freedom of speech.

Lib Dem proposals include a Code of Practice for online services who would by law have to correct information about members of the public where it is inaccurate or defamatory and enshrine in law the responsibility of government to defend the free press, including the rights of journalists and citizen journalists to express their views freely online.

Jonathan Bishop speaks at E-Society Conference 2015

INVITED SPEAKER: Jonathan Bishop is pictured here with Piet Kommers following his invited speech. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.
INVITED SPEAKER: Jonathan Bishop is pictured here with Piet Kommers following his invited speech. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.

The invited talk of Internet trolling and cyber-stalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, has been welcomed by attendees at the E-Society conference in Madeira.

Jonathan Bishop’s invited speech, ‘The Misrepresentation of Digital Teens as Trolls: Considering Political, News and Feminist Agendas,’ broke down the myths that lead to young people, especially young males, being blamed for trolling when the reality tells a different story.

Piet Kommers is one of the conference organisers. “One of the challenging presentations during the late e-society conference was the invited lecture by Jonathan Bishop who brought attention to the aspect of negative side effects of web-based networks and social media like blogging and Twitter,” he said. “In fact the research finds trolls are as likely to be men or women, and they will change the way they troll based on their target, meaning feminists deemed misandrist will face sexist posts including from women, but the same trolls, regardless of their sex, would have used racist remarks if the feminists calling for more rights for women were Black and calling for more rights for Black people.
“It is my impression that his work opens a new paradigm on how to moderate web-based communication further.”

‘Send trolls to jail and give them turkey’ – Steve Rotheram

VOTING FOR TURKEYS? Steve Rotheram, pictured here with Ed Miliband, wants to send more trolls to jail and ensure they have Christmas lunch at the same time. Courtesy: Obtained from Steve Rotheram's website.
VOTING FOR TURKEYS? Steve Rotheram, pictured here with Ed Miliband, wants to send more trolls to jail and ensure they have Christmas lunch at the same time. Courtesy: Obtained from Steve Rotheram’s website.

Steve Rotheram, the UK Member of Parliament for Liverpool Walton, has been criticized by a prospective opponent ahead of the 2015 General Election.

Steve Rotheram recently confirmed that he felt it appropriate that prisoners at HMP Liverpool should be entitled to a Christmas lunch. “The fact that there are so many people in Liverpool having to access food banks because they can’t afford to put something on the table is an indictment of the government, and is no fault of prisoners,” he said. “Those who are incarcerated in prison need to be treated with dignity at Christmas as well.

But Internet campaigner Dzon, who is a prospective parliamentary candidate for Liverpool’s People’s Party, says Steve Rotheram’s views are inconsistent. “Steve Rotheram wants the introduction of tougher jail terms for Internet trolls,” he said. “Many of people convicted of trolling are young men in their 20s, often from impoverished backgrounds.
Would it not be better to allow these 20-year-olds to go to food-banks rather than waste taxpayers money incarcerating them for what in most cases could be seen as free speech?

Dzon has done research under his professional name of Jonathan Bishop, which has found that those who are actually likely to be doing trolling are people from wealthy areas who are bored, as the figures show that areas with the highest number of young people not in education, employment or training actually have the lowest levels of trolling. Dzon’s research is published in volume 5, issue 3 of the International Journal of E-Politics.