There are daily news reports about education – mostly negative and increasingly a reflection of the anger, frustration and bewilderment concerning this government’s policies. Well, Mr Gove in particular.
This blog is in no way a criticism of individual teachers or schools just a reflection of the pressures on staff - and real sadness about the negative impact on everyone caught in a system that is driven by spurious and dangerous ideology.
It made me think about what children might really need to know about school - in a future that should scare us all:
- Smile and agree with everything. The adults in charge have all the answers and will give you the knowledge you need as and when it fits in with the new curriculum. Don’t bother learning anything for yourself: Pointless.
- Wear your very expensive uniform with pride – it defines which academy owns you and will determine which corporate brain washing programme you will follow.
- Don’t ask difficult questions – those same adults might get upset. Learn everything by rote and get ready for the next test. It won’t be long before the next one comes along.
- Following the rules will label you as the brightest and best in the school. Any hint of insubordination (see numbers 1, 2 & 3) will result in a severe loss of dignity. If you really want to upset a teacher threaten to impact on his/her test results. Performance related pay is where it really hurts.
- Anything you might learn outside of school (how to make a den, light a fire, bake a cake or how to work out the odds at the bookies for your dad) will not be considered relevant or worthwhile.
- Hurdling is a useful skill. There is a clear path to ‘success’ – just learn to jump over and through all the many and meaningless assessments along your school journey.
- Behaving yourself is as important as good marks. Any deviation from conformity, such as whistle blowing, exposing flaws in the system or demonstrating your own moral integrity is frowned upon. Get back into the corporate line and blend into the academy’s identity.
- Free Schools aren’t. Everything has a price and a consequence. And you’re someone’s expensive experiment.
- It is likely you will be taught to be a good worker – you will be told your standardized test scores are the most important things to getting a job and being successful.
- Unfortunately there probably won’t be a job.
There is still time - in the present - to produce Thinking Children.
Let's get on with it......