Is Love Island harming the moral fabric of Britain?

If you haven’t stumbled upon the ITV2 TV series Love Island then I will leave it to the Independent to explain:

It’s essentially Big Brother – with contestants being slowly voted out of a house (in this case, a Mallorcan villa) by the public and the last pair standing winning £50,000 – only the road to victory is paved with Machiavellian gossiping and condom wrappers. Ostensibly, the ITV2 show is about finding love, but going far in it seems to require successfully walking the tightrope of being honourable without being boring. I should also note it’s quite meta in the sense that the rules literally don’t matter and are changed at the producers’ whim.

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This year’s Love Island has proved hugely popular. The show has become must-see viewing amongst mainly female (67.4%) viewers and under 35s (63.6%). It’s already appeared on the wordpress this year for its discussion on feminism. Last week the a contestant from the show, Chris, was praised for openly showing his emotions and breaking the stereotype that men shouldn’t cry. Chris had been involved with fellow contestant Olivia Attwood whilst in the villa, and was left in tears when she decided to cool things off. In one scene Olivia told Chris not to cry again; which led many viewers to accuse her of being “cold-hearted” and “harsh”. In fact some people went so far as saying that if it had been the other way round she would have been seen as a victim of bullying.

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On this Wednesday’s show the couples all became immediate parents with the show’s producers providing each couple with baby dolls. After just a short while Chris said,  “I think this morning he has already brought out an emotional side in me. With Olivia, we have stopped the mishaps we’ve had together and we’ve got to focus on the baby now, because ultimately he is our main responsibility.” I tell you this programme can be an interesting way to learn about life skills!

Laura Hamzic who works for Brook, a sexual health charity for young people, would agree with me, saying that shows like Love Island can provide young people with an entry point for discussion by reconciling sex with relationships.

“I think we’re still quite quick to judge young people as being sexually irresponsible and promiscuous and that’s something we would challenge,” she says. “They are starved of places to discuss sex and relationships in controlled environments like school, because sex education is very poor. Love Island isn’t exactly the best place to learn about sex and relationships, but it’s better than porn.”

Love Island’s commissioning editor Amanda Stavri agrees, pointing out that the key to the show’s success is relationships rather than sex. “Our feeling is if you’re inviting 12 singletons to live together in the sun, things are gonna get heated under the covers,” she says. “But it’s not salacious, it’s not grubby, it’s not explicit. We’re more interested in the story of the couple who have chosen to take their relationship to the next level.”

If you’re not down with the kids and their lingo then BBC Three have even provided a useful dictionary according Love Island so you can better understand the conversations.

If all this has whetted your appetite for Love Island you can catch up on episodes via the ITV Hub.

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Spontaneous Pop Star Heroics

Liam Payne pulling his friend from a burning balcony; Pink comforting a young girl mid-concert and stopping a fight that had broken out in the audience; and Justin Timberlake administering the Heimlich manoeuvre on his friend choking on a peanut. These are all stories of pop starts who might be some people’s heroes for their musical abilities, but have proven themselves to be heroes in emergency situations too.

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Pool float looks like a Giant Sanitary Pad

huge_maxi_pad_pool_float__by_paulrokicki-d53mh4eThe Pasadena Pool Float looks very similar to a sanitary pad…

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There has been plenty of discussion on social media about the pool float’s unintentional resemblance to a feminine hygiene product. People are questioning why the company that makes the float didn’t test their new product with a focus group as surely someone should have spotted the similarity!

If you have any questions about menstruation (periods), tampons and sanitary towels then the bright and vibrant Betty website might have the answers. There is also a Betty Collective YouTube channel with not only facts about periods but also advice on people, food and shopping.

Canada on track to decriminalise cannabis to protect children

Canada will be the first G7 country to completely legalise marijuana use if the plans which are starting to go through parliament are successful.

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The prime minister Justin Trudeau made the promise to legalise it stating that by legalising it the drug could be better regulated, kept away from children and profits would be kept out of criminal hands. At the earliest the new laws will be passed by probably 2019. Until then, Trudeau has stressed that in the absence of legislation, recreational marijuana remains illegal across Canada. “Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply,” he told reporters.

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Here in England cannabis is a Class B drug.  Other Class B drugs are: Amphetamines, barbiturates, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones (eg mephedrone, methoxetamine). Being caught in possession of a Class B drug can bring up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Whereas being caught dealing or producing can mean up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

The Oxford Comma Proves SPaG is important

The ‘Oxford comma’ is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list:

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It’s known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by editors at Oxford University Press.  Not all writers and publishers use it, but it can clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single words:

These items are available in black and white, red and yellow, and blue and green.

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The Oxford comma is also known as the ‘serial comma’. Well in recent days the Oxford comma has come to the rescue of dairy workers in Maine USA who’ve argued that due to a lack of an Oxford comma they should receive overtime pay. Who knew that punctuation could play a major role in industrial action?

When you start playing around with the Oxford comma you realise that without it so much meaning gets altered:

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Perhaps we should all take our punctuation far more seriously…

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Exciting film awaits about Syrian Swimmer

Stephen Daldry, a famous director, has announced he’s working on a film about Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini.

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Mardini who was already a promising swimmer before she left the civil war in Syria travelled with her sister to Lebanon, then on to the Turkish port of Izmir, before  getting onto an overcrowded dinghy bound for the Greek island of Lesbos. But less than half an hour into their journey the motor stopped and the boat threatened to capsize: out of the 20 people aboard, only three knew how to swim: Yusra being one of them. For more than three hours, they did what had to be done, swimming alongside the dinghy, pushing, pulling and cajoling it until they reached land.

“I thought it would be a real shame if I drowned in the sea, because I am a swimmer,” Yusra recalls

She eventually settled in Germany, joined a swim team in Berlin and within months she was in Brazil, one of the 43 stateless athletes competing in Rio as the first ever refugee team. The film of her life is going to be both interesting in how it shows the escape from a war torn country as well as the determination of a young athlete aiming for swimming glory.

In class this week when discussing with Year 8 students what their human rights are we’ve mentioned Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

migrant or refugee

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Natural Family Planning

Contraception is the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation. It makes sense. Contra meaning against, and the end of the word showing conception. I am sometimes surprised when students can’t work that out in class. But maybe that’s because students don’t use the word contraception very often, instead just referring to a method of contraception: condoms. Well today in the news they are debating the accuracy of fertility apps being used by women to avoid getting pregnant, so as a method of natural family planning and contraception. It is based on the rhythm method (calendar method).

To use the rhythm method, you track your menstrual history to predict when you’ll ovulate. This helps you determine when you’re most likely to conceive. If you’re hoping to get pregnant, you can use the rhythm method to determine the best days to have sex. Similarly, if you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, you can use the rhythm method to determine which days to avoid unprotected sex.

In PSHCE lessons we will be learning about relationships and sex education, and in Religious Studies GCSE students investigate topics like Infertility and Fertility treatment on the old AQA course and topic like Love, Marriage and Contraception on the new AQA course. So understanding the biology of conception and the menstrual cycle, as well as the facts about contraception are repeatedly useful to our learning.

Recently students in Year 10 have been learning about what religions say about methods of contraception:

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