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Discussion in 'Education news' started by hammie, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Only ever seen these false widows at Marwell zoo. They have a pack of antivenom immediately next to the display case. Not liking this story at all!
  2. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I wouldn't mind the extra time off work
  3. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    I take you are talking about some schools that have discovered them and closed for a few days.
    I’ve just seen the biggest spider I’ve ever seen before. In my living room. The cat ran away looking very trepidatious! Oh, as did I. It’s under the sofa, usually I would hunt down a piece of card and a glass. But...........
  4. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    With the way some previous colleagues have reacted to the sight of the tiniest spider... they'd have been legging it and leaving the kids to their doom.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Unfortunately this story is being used as yet another stick to bash schools with:


    The noble false-widow spider is, as the professional entomologists of the charity Buglife put it, a ponderous, solitary and non-aggressive spider. It has lived among us, in our homes, schools, and no doubt, hospitals, for decades. According to Buglife, across the whole of Europe there are just two definitive cases of it ever biting someone. Both are described as a mild sting, about as bad as a wasp or a nettle. Have either of these dangerous species recently shut down a school? If we are rationally assessing risks, a bee would be more hazardous, a domestic dog far more dangerous – and let’s not terrify ourselves by properly considering those lethal metal beasts that prowl outside every school gate and emit toxic fumes every single day.

    This would be comic if it wasn’t so tragic. When politicians declare that people are fed up of experts, it spells trouble. When schools fail to consult experts, and pass ludicrous prejudices on to children, it is more than troubling.

    The headteachers ultimately decided to close their schools, but they took advice from somewhere. I’ve put a series of questions to Newham council, hoping to shed light on this advice. They haven’t responded so I can only surmise the teachers listened to someone on the council’s “environmental team” who knows nothing about spiders, Googled a bit, and panicked. Are these headteachers really so credulous that they didn’t think to contact a professional entomologist to properly evaluate the risk posed by this species?

    “The safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff is always our number one priority,” drones one school letter home (the three school letters I’ve seen are so similar they could’ve been drafted by the same person).
    ridleyrumpus and EmanuelShadrack like this.
  6. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Did you catch it in the end? A picture would be most appreciated.
  7. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    No. I went to bed. And am just trying to forget it must be in the house somewhere. It looked about 2/3 the size of a tarantula. Still shuddering.

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