Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not the News of the World

The photo above, of the work of Developmental Dyscalculia specialist Trish Babtie, was taken earlier this week for what is likely to be the last issue of InstEd. If the magazine does close, it will be the second publication for which I have worked regularly to fold this year. The closures are a scandal, but not of the kind currently filling the front pages.

InstEd, in which my photos have featured since its first issue in 2007, is published termly by the Institute of Education and distributed to all London primary and secondary schools. Its remit is to relate the Institute’s academic research to the practice of teachers in the classroom. Its probable demise is a result of Higher Education funding cuts. Paddington People, a quarterly magazine produced by the Paddington Development Trust (PDT) since 2000, put out its last edition in January. Its pages provided information on local community initiatives to the residents of four of the most deprived wards in the capital. The cuts to PDT’s funding were particularly egregious: they followed a tour of the trust’s projects by the Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd. The Old Etonian, on one of his first trips into the real world after the 2010 election (below), lavished great praise on all he saw, spoke glowingly of the so-called ‘Big Society’ and, on returning to his office, cut the organisation’s funding with almost immediate effect.

Both magazines, in their different ways, delivered important information of direct relevance to their readers. Not something many would claim for the NOTW. They are just two closures that I happen to know of through my work. How many more local or specialist publications are going to the wall as a result of this government’s all-out assault on the public and voluntary sectors? Now that's a real scandal.

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