I can't believe what makes the news nowadays.
Yes those whizz kids at University College London have been at it again and come up with some really insightful, powerful and compelling research that has found that lax bedtime routines and late nights can have a negative affect on a child's capacity to learn.
As if this wasn't obvious to any parent with half a brain cell. Please don't tell me there are parents out there who are genuinely scratching their heads at why their seven-year-olds can't add the price of a Twix and a Lion Bar together when they regularly fall asleep watching Jackpot247?
I'm beginning to think the University College of London is really just a pretty building with a fancy website. There aren't really any students there, there aren't any lecturers either – just a bearded man and a fax machine. In between switching lights on and off to maintain the illusion that serious work happens there, beardy will receive a fax with a number of mission statements to prettify – "Stop people smoking", "Get all mothers breastfeeding", "Don't let children stay awake to watch Jersey Shore" – and other thinly disguised government / NHS objectives.
There's certainly been enough staggeringly complementary 'research' to suggest the whole enterprise is just an extension of Cameron's office ego. UCL seems to exist purely to provide ammunition to support Gove's stern educational reforms, casual health advice to scale down on the number of avoidable hospital admissions, and the Conservative ideology of 'Benefit Britain'.
Having received his fax-of-the-week, bearded man will then set about drafting something with enough stats and quotes in it to look convincing to the masses. Soundbites are then released into the media where the BBC, Daily Mail, and the Guardian fall over themselves to get it to print and air on a slow news day.
Overall, children who had never had regular bedtimes tended to fare worse than their peers in terms of test scores for reading, maths and spatial awareness.
As if this isn't glaringly obvious! Kids that sit up on the XBoc until 1am are bound to be a little less alert during class time. Squinting and yawning your way through the school day is hardly likely to get you producing any kind of mental or physical agility.
The children with late and erratic bedtimes came from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds and were less likely to be read to each night and, generally, watched more TV – often on a set in their own bedroom.
Oh dear, yet more rhetoric to keep the class war alive. After all, every piece of scientific academia has to contain at least one attention-grabbing quote that can be rammed down the throats of the benefit scroungers. Of course the Government need to ensure that anyone seriously contemplating a life on welfare must be dissuaded, and benefit sympathisers must be handfed scraps of frighteningly generalised 'evidence' to prove that there is an alternative for the lazy and disaffected... "What's that? A Council Estate? I bet their 5 year olds have Playstations in their rooms"... it's exactly the low blow rubbish that Katie "media whore" Hopkin's will spout from the relative safety of her Twitter account.
If you weren't convinced enough, the author and spokesperson behind this groundbreaking research, Dr Robert Scott-Jupp of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, weighs in with this highly intelligent summary:
"While it's likely that social and biological brain development factors are inter-related in a complex way, in my opinion, for schoolchildren to perform their best, they should all, whatever their background, get a good night's sleep."
Thanks Rob. I think we've all got it. If we want our kids to get into UCL, they must have their eyes closed by 9pm.
GUARDIAN LINK (be warned, it's no more revelationary than the BBC's offering)
If you enjoyed this, here's my take on another absurd offering from the UCL.
I should be in parliament... but nope, I'm a SAHM.
Blogs at: My Mills Baby