What is going on with our education system? is a question which many parents have been asking, catching up with teachers and, of course, students. The latter have been asking that question since schools were invented and they were told to sit down in silence and listen and learn.
The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous for education with the threat of forced academisation looming and then retreating, and Sats strikes taking place. I can only believe that the education secretaries that we have been saddled with over the past few years totally believe that what they are doing is for the best, because if that self-belief isn’t there, they are acting in a manner befitting Ming the Merciless.
The principles of education must stem from the kind of society in which we want to live. I want a society where difference is welcomed, where creativity is celebrated, where we can all see that there is more to life than cash (yikes, I said it. Money is important, but our endless slavery to big business beggars belief).
If we start with a society which knows what it wants from itself (and not one which is focused on international competition), we can start to understand what we need from ourselves. Engagement, self-motivation, explorative curious individuals ready to shape their world’s for each other.
The world has changed significantly in the past 30 years; we’re a technological and internet society. Why judge a person on two hours of their life in stuffy exam hall? Getting an A for memory isn’t going to rock anyone’s world if that person can’t exist as part of a flexible team.
And don’t get me started in the contents of the Sats. Like many other writers I’ve taken the grammar test online and come out with a measly 40 per cent. It surely sets children up for the excruciating pain of failure. And what’s worse, we’re told by pro-SATS politicians time after time that if children fail these, it means they’ll struggle at life. Imagine hearing that over your Frosties before school. Our education secretary may have self-belief, but surely it’s time she listened to the educators, parents and students and accepted that her beliefs need a radical rethink.