Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Quibans 65: Primary school breakfast club

From Schools Week:

Conservatives’ free breakfast pledge ‘costed at just ??p per meal’

The Conservatives have set aside just under ??p per pupil for its manifesto pledge to give all primary school pupils free breakfasts, in what food experts have labelled a “black hole” in the government’s manifesto calculations.
The party’s manifesto, launched last Thursday, scraps universal infant free school meals (UIFSM), which cost an estimated £600 million a year, in favour of free breakfasts for all primary pupils, which a press release today said will cost just £60 million a year.
But critics have calculated that if the country’s ?? million primary state school pupils were fed a free breakfast on this budget for ?? school days each year, each meal would have to cost no more than ??p.
Aisling Kirwan, the founding director of the Grub Club, a school-based social enterprise that provides cooking lessons for pupils in poorer areas, said that a nutritious meal costs 25p per pupil on average – which even then would only amount to porridge with milk.
A more filling portion, which would include bacon, two sausages, one egg and bread, would cost 85p per portion.
“Clearly there’s a huge disparity between the realistic costing and that put forward by the Tories,” she said.



Questions:

Following on from the Quibans about Diane Abbott’s (Labour) issues with incorrect figures, the Conservative Party appear to have dropped the ball with some dodgy numbers of their own.

I suggest students read the story above and then try to determine what could be hiding behind the question marks.

How can they predict the number of children at primary schools? What about the number of days in the school year?

When they have made their predictions and calculations, you could give them the figures: 4.62 million pupils and 190 school days per year. Can they get a more accurate answer?

Here is the complete paragraph:

But critics have calculated that if the country’s 4.62 million primary state school pupils were fed a free breakfast on this budget for 190 school days each year, each meal would have to cost no more than 6.8p.

How much would it cost to provide porridge for everyone?

How much would it cost to provide a full-English breakfast for all?

If they do want to provide porridge for everyone, what fraction of children are they expecting to eat breakfast at school if it really will cost £60 million?



Source: http://schoolsweek.co.uk/conservatives-free-breakfast-pledge-costed-at-just-7p-per-meal/




Friday, 5 May 2017

Quibans 64: Diane Abbott

This Quibans is structured a little differently from usual.

You may have heard the radio interview that Diane Abbott (Labour Shadow Home Secretary) took part in on LBC radio. It starts with the journalist, Nick Ferrari, asking her about the plan she had just announced for a new Labour government to increase the number of police officers by 10,000 in the next parliament. I told the Core Maths class this and also said that when politicians announce new ideas they are always immediately asked how much it will cost and how they will pay for it.

I told the class that this interview didn’t go well. Here is the task:

Task: Write down all of the numbers that are used in the interview and afterwards write a report explaining why certain numbers are incorrect and which are plausible.

Here is the webpage: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2017/may/02/diane-abbotts-error-filled-lbc-interview-on-police-funding-video



Below are some of the things my class noted:

10,000 police officers cannot possible cost £300,000 because that would be £30 per police officer (per year!).

£80 million is also not enough because that is only £8000 per officer. There is the sound of papers being shuffled in the background, so she has obviously lost her pieces of paper and is searching for them while she speaks. If she was estimating how much it would be in the first year, for four-year roll-out of the plan then £80 million for 2,500 new police officers seems more possible.

Diane Abbott then said 25,000 new officers per year over four years (and Nick Ferrari didn’t pick up on it). That would be 100,000 new officers in total.

The 250,000 new police per year would end up being a million in total.

Finally, when she found her papers, Diane Abbott said the following:

  • Year 1 would be setting up and wouldn’t cost anything.
  • Year 2: £64.3 million (presumably for about 2,500 new police officers). This is £25,720 on average.
  • Year 3: £139.1 million (5,000 officers). £27,820 on average.
  • Year 4: £217 million (7,500 officers). £28,933 on average.
  • Year 5: £298 million (10,000 officers). £29,800 on average. [NB: I would prefer to round these numbers off.]

The students then Googled police salaries and decided that these were about £22,000 per year on average. The additional money in Year 2 might then be needed to pay for training, uniform, equipment, national insurance, etc. The new officers would get pay rises as they became more experienced, which could be why the numbers rise in subsequent years.

Finally, they noted that the final figure (£298 million) could be rounded to £300 million. At the start of the interview Diane Abbott said £300 thousand. Maybe she was distracted at the beginning because she was trying to hold a phone conversation while searching for her notes and said “thousand” instead of “million”.

Nick Ferrari seemed to be using some good Core Maths skills when he pointed out some of the problems while Diane Abbott was speaking!

Quibans 68: Human Chain

 from the Daily Telegraph: Beachgoers form incredible human chain to save drowning family   T his is the incredible moment st...