Monday, 2 April 2012

The Rumours of our Survival have been Greatly Exaggerated

Life works in mysterious ways. It is for this reason that I update the infamous juggernaut of truth known as 'Templar Truths' this day (though maybe I'm over-selling...).

Templar Truths, in the years 2007 & 2008, was a blog established by a cohort of pupils to expose some of the more shocking, ridiculous, and amusing events during our later years of attending Temple Moor High School.

It attracted a certain infamy, not least within the confines of the school's staff room. We had many regular readers from all year groups within the school. We received regular emails from interested readers.

In the years since the blog closed, we have even received numerous requests from younger pupils to inherit the blog and continue its name. All such requests have been denied.

Templar Truths lived longer than many of us initially imagined, and it will be remembered as one of the defining elements of our years at Temple Moor. But we didn't get everything right. We were young, we were inexperienced, we were frustrated, and we were venting in the most creative and productive way we could - by channelling our energies into Templar Truths. In the process, we offended certain people. For this, and with hindsight, we do sincerely apologise.

This is one of the fundamental reasons that we will not accept any request to "pass the baton". Unfortunately, much as we did ourselves back in the day, some people decide to take matters into their own hands.

An unknown individual has managed to access the blog e-mail; which in turn was still connected to the dis-used blog. This has allowed them both to post a thoroughly misleading blog update (we are definitely NOT back), and to e-mail various members of school staff stating that a new generation of pupils will be taking over this blog with the permission of myself and fellow administrator Thor.

I hate to disappoint, but this simply can't be allowed to happen. Having regained our account (kids these days, they just don't have a clue, do they?), an email has been dispatched to the school informing them of this deception; I'm sure certain members of staff (I'm not naming anybody, but you and I both know you're reading this, old friend) will be letting out an exasperated sigh of relief when they return to work after the Holidays.

Quite why anybody has bothered to do this is utterly beyond me; and beyond my fellow former contributors as well. This blog died four years ago, and as fond as my memories of it are, it's staying dead. It is by sheer chance that we even caught this affront when we did: I, for one, can't remember visiting this page in years.

I thank whoever is responsible for two things: for showing the same kind of gumption that it once took us to run such a controversial corner of the 'net, and for bringing back such fond memories.

But, if I haven't yet been perfectly clear, allow me to say this one more time.

The previous update was a fake and the e-mails were fraudulent.

Templar Truths is NOT coming back.

But thanks for the continued interest. I'm surprised anybody at all is still reading this thing, let alone trying to hack into it.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hello Again

We're back...........

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

One Year On

Our mass audience has left. So have some teachers, and a great many pupils. But the anti-establishment spirit never dies, and although we're not resurrecting the blog we loved so dearly, we want to present a tribute on the anniversary of its last official post. Self-congratulatory and a bit narcissistic? Quite probably.

But, in ten months, we clocked up about 50,000 words (the length of a novel, really - Templar Truths: The Book, now there's an idea! Publishers, feel free to send us an email.) exposing the idiocy behind Temple Moor High School Science College, diligently working to bring you a comprehensive overview of news - more than a school newsletter did! At times, it was thorough. At others, an ill-informed mess. There was sarcasm, irony, real news and, often, outright vitriol. We know you missed it, so for one last time join us, if you will, to look at a school increasingly beyond parody.

What The Teachers Thought
We tried to ask as many teachers as we could - which, actually, turned out to be not that many at all - their thoughts on Templar Truths.

One teacher - who will remain anonymous under the pseudonym Barry - told us "it's just one less thing to check on the Internet every day!" Clearly, Barry's a bit of a screen addict who would sooner be found booking a holiday or checking statuses on Facebook than showing off a PowerPoint.

Sadly, but somewhat predictably, only got two replies. One was "delighted to contribute" and would do so in seven days...but never did. The second "jotted down a few notes" but then decided not to encourage us to forego our usual revision and educating to write a blog post.

Mr Fleetwood failed to even acknowledge our request for a comment. We offered free reign of commentary on Templar Truths but we never even got an email back. Why? We don't know. Perhaps he feared that commenting would lend us some legitimacy, and he'd prefer that we languish as rebellious teenage outcasts to be brushed aside and ignored. Sorry if that's the way you feel, Sir. Maybe he wanted to, but the responsibility of his role forbade him to tell us anything. We hope it's the latter, we really do.

What We Missed
The '08-'09 year went as you'd expect - only without any moderately witty, rage-filled commentary from Templar Truths. But here's what we would have blogged:
  • BSF: Mayhem, delays, fire alarms. You heard it all the year before, but we had quite the encore.
  • We're Not Racist, But...: Desperate to prove itself and flash some credentials, Temple Moor embarked on its plan to win the Stephen Lawrence Award - which was somewhat ruined by two major mistakes. We would have had a field day when one teacher - who shall remain anonymous - decided that "fancy dress" should involve blackfacing themselves to look like a football player, complete with rolled-up paper as dreadlocks. And then there's this screenshot from the school website (click to embiggen):

    This catastrophic error was swiftly rewritten as "discourage" - but they left all the other horrible grammar intact! And, of course, underneath this text were Microsoft Word documents - only they'd been embedded as images.
  • Fire Alarms: As mentioned in with BSF. At one point, there were five fire alarms in two weeks - four of them spread out over just two days. It wasn't all the builders' fault, there were also some gremlin children to blame.
  • The Newsletters: The school's monthly despatch suddenly got very decorative. Lots of fancy fonts and groovy text boxes. Simultaneously, there seemed to be a dramatic drop in the amount of writing. Now, we wouldn't dare be cynical enough to suggest that perhaps the two were related...although teachers seem to do the very same thing when you apply that method to homework. Next year, we'd love it if the powers that be actually produced letters with - and here's a ground-shaking idea - actual news. You know, things people might want to know about. Like, well, anything we've put on here.
  • Temple Moor Radio: Besieged by technical difficulties - well, what would you expect? - the school-based, web-accessed "radio station" and accompanying podcasts were developed throughout the school year. It wasn't a breakthrough success - because of the annoying technical problems - but bravo for Mr Booth pioneering a student-led radio effort.
  • Tap Revenge: Art rooms need taps, that's a given. What they don't need is taps where lots of water builds up, causing lots of pressure which is released in an explosion of H2O. Particularly when it goes on to ruin some students' work.
  • Pig Ignorant: Colour-blind* as always, the school insisted that their pig stamps were indeed pink and not red - as our readership agreed in a poll. This, of course, means that the farcically stupid "PD shop" scheme continued for its second year.
    *We say "colour-blind", but admittedly, the school is still favouring its red-amber-green ("RAG") system.
  • 1984: A disturbing trend has emerged in the English block: posters with the three slogans of "The Party" from George Orwell's 1984. They are: "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Surely this is a bit strange, to be encouraging this sort of thing? The book posits a future world where civilians are strictly monitored, lied to, and controlled by the powers that be. You're supposed to accept two contradictory statements as both being being true, and freedom of speech is non-existent. Which mad person thought that that would fit in at Temple Moor...?
  • Time Warp: New school day trial systems were introduced in the final half term. Break was extended by ten minutes - hurrah! - and lunch was cut short by ten minutes - boo! - in an effort to cut costs. If a break goes on for longer than half an hour, staff have to be paid for it and so it's optional. But two thirty-minute breaks? Teachers can be forced into it, and paid nothing. Depending on your viewpoint, it's either despicable or economical. But instead of feeding 600 people in 40 minutes twice a day, the new task is to feed 1200 people in 30 minutes. But don't worry! Both half-hour breaks are supposed to be equal times to eat your balanced, nutritious food. Temple Moor: if it ain't broke, break it.
  • Biometrics: Presumably because BSF have spare money to throw around, the building project will now give us "biometric registration and library". This is probably meaning that we all scan our fingers as we go into school. It's not going to be used for crimes and misdemeanours around school, of course. Not yet, anyway.
  • Dinner Money: Bullies, you're going to have to come up with a new strategy (extortion rackets, illegal drugs, legal drugs - or none, if the school cracks down). The new grand plan is a "cashless canteen" - tied to the budget surplus for biometrics, above - which will probably involve this: adding monetary credit to a swipe card (or, more biometric data) and then using that to pay for your meals. The future is truly now.
  • Cut!: They must have failed the Stephen Lawrence award, so the school needed something to put on its credentials. Step forward the latest scheme: TMAK. That's "Temple Moor Against Knives" (there's even some snazzy T-shirts, naturally). Happily, though, they've got a good chance of beating inanimate objects.

Even as self-proclaimed guardians of truth (see our title), we're not always correct. In fact, we made some massive errors during our blogging days. But we're not massively keen on censorship and denying there's any problems - we'll leave that with the school itself - so we've collated some of the biggest mistakes we made.

The school production of 2009 wasn't Blues Brothers, as we'd hoped. Perhaps if we'd delivered on our promise of a campaign, it would have been. "The rumour that High School Musical will soon be staining our eyes and ears" turned out to be completely unfounded. Writer Flosh - who has since changed his blogging alias a dozen or so times - also assured us "it's 99% certain we're featuring Queen's 'We Will Rock You'". It's easy to get We Will Rock You mixed up with The Commitments, though.

"A buddy contact system has been recently set up" we told you in January 2008. Except it probably didn't. We were half-right with our revelation that "IT will be wireless". Well, some bits of the school system are wireless - there's even a guest wireless network that you can log on to - and they don't use WEP. Which just leads us onto the question of: what is the point of laptops with wireless capability, if they're chained to desks? That's Temple Moor's W2 room for you.

You'd think toughened cynics who don't believe a word of the official newsletters would be immune to shocking naivety. When we said "pupils are going to be given a chance to have a say in part of the school", we must have been on drugs (which we quickly dispensed of before the drugs raid came about, because we're sensible). The only time pupils were ever given a say in the running of any school was...never.

"The new cafeteria will take the same spot occupied by the current cafeteria" was our insider knowledge in February 2008. Were the builders too useless to figure this out? Or did plans arbitrarily change? We have no idea - but the new cafeteria is certainly not in the same place as the old one. The old one is now, of course, a two-for-one job - both the school's (considerably smaller) library and staff room are now there.

Luckily, we never suggested a BSF deadline. We would have been proved so very wrong choosing any date, thanks to their delays. Unluckily for Temple Moor, frequent estimations of completion dates were thrown around - and none of them have been correct yet. We must also apologise profusely for our failure to realise that Temple Newsam Halton Primary School can obviously be a stand-in for a Common Room - we clearly weren't thinking hard enough.

The Future
It's unlikely that Templar Truths will ever return. You could probably make a decent case that it shouldn't. This blog has run its course, exhausted its message and is now done. Of course, as long as those in power make the ridiculous decisions that they do, they will always be ridiculed. We at Templar Truths have done this enough now; we hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, 18 August 2008

So long and thanks for all the fail

Well the 2007-2008 year was quite interesting, don't you think? We had nothing to match the chlorine gas leak - but they wouldn't dare pull a similar stunt so soon, then it's obvious they're trying to kill us all. However, BSF, general incompetence and modifications to the PD system made almost regular contributions to the overall epic fail of Temple Moor. All I'm here to say is - don't bother coming back (unless for laughs at "the good ol' days) and you can unsubscribe your RSS feeds.

When all's said and done - and it is - we had a pretty good run. For one thing, we didn't get shut down! We unveiled numerous obvious flaws with Temple Moor and these had very little effect, if any. We do like to think that some of our bitter rants got taken into consideration, but we are after all only a bunch of students, and the actual bunch of students with "power" (the School Council) never seem to get anything done, so we're on a par with official means, at least.

There will be no more posts on Templar Truths, not even when a major disaster strikes (as it inevitably will). However, all the posts currently on the site and in their current form will remain for as long as can host them. They shall be an archive of days gone by, for all to relive the pain and anguish of the blind leading the blindfolded. And of course, a record of the process of "building" a new school. Along with no new posts, there will also be no new comments - only members of the blog can do that, and we don't want to.

We hope you (pupils and teachers alike) enjoyed reading the 150-odd posts; we certainly enjoyed writing them, even if going through the school system felt like torture at times (literally, in the case of the infamous chlorine event).

Finally, remember this above all else: those in charge are rarely right about anything - and don't be afraid to tell them!

Templar Truths, perennial pain to the establishment, and immortal in its stance against stupidity, has been brought to you by The Three Rs.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Spice of Life

Templar Truths has acquired this (exclusive) "e-flyer" for the upcoming variety show:
Classy stuff.

This year, the variety show is split up into three events: one for drama, one for dance and one for music. This, it must be said, is a great idea. Now you don't have to sit through amateur Shakespeares if all you want is a bit of Electric Umbrella. Similarly, if you don't like music, settle for an evening of energetic younglings leaping around the room.

It's running on consecutive nights (17th - 19th June) and tickets cost £3. Not a bad deal, really. Just think about it: TMHS Variety show has students trying to entertain and impress for £3, and then there's the recent Eurovision Song Contest which featured a bunch of pawns being used for international politics. Honestly, I know which I'd prefer.

We hope to offer reviews of the nights, but we can't guarantee it. If, on the other hand, you're definitely going to one of them, send us a review to No, please. All that inbox usually gets is offers from nice Nigerians.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Monthly Roundup

Not a great deal happened in May. Just an anniversary and the Year 11s leaving, only to return to do some tedious - yet vital - exams. Here's some stuff:
  • We have a forum! Or, more correctly, our affiliates/partners The 3 Rs have a forum. Because of Templar Truths content, it'll be strictly moderated. Especially when the teachers sign up! Very big link.
  • We've got a forum, don't you know? At - check it out!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Newsletter V Us

The "April 2008" newsletter is clearly not. Not only was it distributed in May, but it even details events than happened in May (in the past tense) - so it was clearly not from April. Anyway, you know the drill of examining these things by now.

Summer Term
"talents of Temple Moor students once again take centre stage", "Variety Shows", "a pleasure to be a part of the Year 11 Prom", "I wish all students who are undertaking exams in Years 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 the best of luck"
The theme here is a quite a simple one: TMHS kids done good. And, despite the many disasters thrown at them, they have. Well done! You may notice in the news there's controversy over whether kids sit too many exams. Note the complete disregard in wishing six years of pupils good luck in their upcoming exams!

Key Dates
"an extra staff development day..."
Now that's good news. Unless you're in Year 11, because you'll be gone by that time.

Sixth Form Study Leave
"Year 12 study leave will commence at the end of school on Wednesday 14th May", "all Year 12 students will continue their studies until the examination results"
Does this make any sense?

RAG Analysis
"the successful implementation across the whole school", "up and running in every year group", "relatively few number of Red or Amber students", "a really positive impact", "here to stay"
Our dislike of the system is well known, but perhaps it does have some advantages. The real question is: does it have more advantages than previous systems? And another question I want answers to: why is the current trend to use the word "cohort"? "Red cohorts" sound like communists, "amber cohorts" are possibly those miners in Jurassic Park and "green cohorts" sound like environmentalists.

Study Leave
"following on from...RAG", "only be granted for those students on GREEN", "booster sessions and revision classes"
Amazingly, they haven't resorted to their favourite line: "it's a privilege, not a right". But that's compensated for by the random capitalisation of colours. It's just odd. Many students (well, those on Red and Amber) feel this approach is silly and while it might be useful, some people do just work better at home.

Year 11 Examination Information for Parents
If we're honest, there's nothing here we haven't heard before.

Stress Buster for Sixth Formers
"learn a smattering of conversational Italian in preparation for their holidays"
Italian lessons are "stress-busting"? I prefer relaxing things, but whatever...

"Attendance is a high priority at Temple Moor. Research suggests that students below 92% attendance, which is 17 missed days of schooling a year, will drop one full GCSE grade as a result of the number of lessons missed."
That's the entire article and it's absolutely pointless. It seems to only have been written so they could shoehorn in one of Temple Moor's favourite statistics.

Higher Education Entry 2009
"held on June 25th", "all year 12 students who intend to apply for university"
This - shock of shocks - is a sensible plan. Information that's useful for future life. Now, perhaps if this idea was spread school-wide...

Year 12 Induction Day
"July 1st", "all students progressing to sixth form in September are expected to attend"

A huh.

Lower School Rugby
"the [continued] development of an excellent standard of rugby league", "next season should be even bigger and better"

Well done to those in lower school who do brilliantly at rugby. Keep up the good work - someone's got to uphold the school's reputation.

Young Gifted and Talented (NAGTY) Day
"ten of our Young Gifted and Talented student cohort", "tremendously successful", "competed against 160 students"
The school does support its gifted and talented students...even if it does insist on "cohort"! Good luck to them all in their future involvement in this project.

Games Club
"why don't you join us on Monday's and Wednesday's [?]", "we play board games such as monopoly, scrabble and snakes and ladders"
Well it sounds like fun...even though you'll be stuck playing Monopoly till the next day comes. And what's going on with those random apostrophes for pluralising?

Year 11 Prom
"a memorable night", "girls' dresses were outstanding", "boys were very smart", "one of the best year 11 proms yet"

Indeed, we can report that the Year 11 Prom was a success and just about everyone enjoyed the night. Especially the tipsy teachers...

Super Learning Week
"focus for this year's Super Learning Week is 'Every Child Matters' ", "activities will be based on business and enterprise, citizenship, media and ICT"
How do those activities relate to the loose theme? What happened to weeks themed after lessons like Science and even PE? Where's "History Week" and "Geography Week"?

"more cricket teams than ever", "increasing popularity", "home matches at Whitkirk Cricket Club", "let's hope for the sun to shine"
Is cricket becoming more popular? If so, will it become a bigger part of PE? And have these plans been accommodated by BSF? It's doubtful, which is a shame - walking to Whitkirk Cricket Club wastes much time that could be spent cricketing.

The G O Bell Award
"prestigious event running once a year", "professional coaching workshops"
It seems Temple Moor was ahead of its time, predicting cricket's popularity fifty years back. And well done to this year's winner, Michael O'Brien.

Multi Skills Camp
"some people may think that the Easter holidays were for relaxing", "30 Gifted and Talented pupils from...feeder primary schools", "designed to develop psychomotor excellence", "all pupils enjoyed the experience"
Well that is what the Easter holidays are for! Doesn't "psychomotor" sound a bit like telekinesis? Newsflash: Temple Moor creating secret army of telekinetic students.

'Electric Umbrella' Claim Top Prize In Music Competition
"congratulations to Alex Walker, Matthew Walker and Jamie Stringer", "rock band 'Electric Umbrella' ", "a stunning performance demonstrating proficiency and musicianship", "walked away with the title", "small but faithful band of supporters"
I believe we've already covered the excellence of the Umbrella.

Summer Week of Performance
"after the success of the Summer Variety Show last year", "three on shows on successive nights", "tickets will be £3 for each performance"
Three separate shows for music, drama and dance is a brilliant idea - and it gets better if Electric Umbrella are performing. Three quid's not a bad price; so expect reviews.

A Level Art Exhibition
"to celebrate the outstanding work", "entry is free"
A-Level art pieces in an exhibition? How very cultured and possibly very good. So long as it's not an unmade bed or half a cow.