Saturday, 14 May 2016
Down with Skool!
Since MP Michael Gove, MP Nicky Morgan and whoever is the Gauliter in charge currently took over the Department of Education, the downhill spiral of all aspects of the curriculum, and the morale of the teaching profession has been steep and marked. If you have children or grandchildren in school today, you should be alarmed. Very alarmed.
From pre-primary level, our children are being exposed to unrealistic targets - don't forget, we are not dealing with Lego figures here, but small human beings, each developing at a different rate and with their own personalities. And it starts from the moment they enter the system. I have blogged about Little G and the nursery targets HERE.
Make no mistake, I believe basic grammar teaching, spelling practice and punctuation are vital - it empowers children to write and read creatively and helps them learn other languages. But box-ticking arbitrary constructs merely puts them off the written word for life. And I couldn't spot half of them when I checked out the new test (the leaked one).
Anecdotally, primary age children are no longer reading for enjoyment, but approaching books with caution ... can they find all the necessary things they need to pass some future exam? Given that I didn't read 'properly' until age 6, though I was unofficially reading from age 4, that'd be me failed.
Also anecdotally, primary school children are getting so stressed by the importance placed on these futile testing that they are bursting into tears, suffering anxiety attacks and their eyelashes are falling out. And before anybody starts on the 'kids today have no backbone', my A level girls are also suffering from stress, and at 17, it's no fun for them or me. Life should be about more than exams at any age!
Oh, and my personal journey of failure would goes on and on. I suffer from discalculia, so I failed O Level Maths. Twice. Similarly Science. In those unenlightened days, it didn't stop me accessing higher education. I entered 6th Form with 5 O levels, and then went to University. Fast forward to 2016 and the doors would be firmly closed to this stupid blogger. No Maths/Science = no sixth form. No sixth form = no university.
Please note: both these students have already PASSED, they just haven't passed high enough. And the re-sitting Maths student is contemplating dropping out of Sixth Form as she is struggling so hard and against such odds to master a subject that is completely alien to her.
Something has gone badly wrong with education. Instead of recognising the individuality of children, and celebrating it, a pattern had been imposed by people who do not work with students and only desire to leave a 'legacy' behind them. Woe betide any child who does not 'fit'. This educational eugenics will destroy or crush any latent talent they have, and then spit them out to languish in some unemployable social hinterland. And we as a society will be the poorer.
''Where have all the playwrights, artists, musicians and novelists gone? Gone to the scrap heap every one.''