I used to be one of these ‘trust the system’ people believing that all the people entrusted to provide things like care, support and education had the experience, knowledge and desire to do the right thing. As I came to need the system I realised that it is all a façade- there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
I had an enjoyable school experience (for most of it anyway) and I would love for my children to have a wonderful school experience but the system needs a tune-up.
There are children being bullied until they are suicidal and teachers pretending it isn’t happening (‘boys will be boys’ ‘they’re just playing’ ‘we told them to stop’ ‘they said they wouldn’t do that again’ ‘what can we do’).
The first step to any solution is admitting there is a problem.
Ofsted will downgrade a school if there is a high level of bullying and this leads to schools wanting little to no bullying recorded. Isn’t that counter-productive? Shouldn’t Ofsted be looking at how the bullying was resolved and ensuring that the schools are actually dealing with the problems? But what do I know…
I do know that the education experts of our time are all in agreement that the current system is ineffective and the system needs an overhaul.
More grammar schools are not the answer.
Policymakers need to ask What is the main purpose of the education system?
At present there is a large focus on providing childcare [so that more people can go out to work without having to worry about the cost of private childcare and therefore not be dependent on the state for income benefits, etc].
If the primary function is to provide an environment of stimulation, growth and learning so that today’s children learn/grow/are inspired/are nurtured then we need to make the changes that will facilitate this:
-allow teachers to have smaller classes so that they can focus on the individual child;
-get rid of the nonsensical testing that serves no real purpose and creates a ‘teaching to the test’ culture;
-create a curriculum that is relevant to the 21st century;
-follow the examples of places like Finland where they are clear leaders in education.
If you want a national childcare system then own it- admit what you want and call it what it is. Don’t dress it up as education while encouraging parents to put their 3-year-olds into nurseries just so they can get back into the workforce.
If you are truly interested in a world-class education system then look at the evidence the industry experts have presented. Don’t sit back and hide behind the way it has always been done- consider the recommendations, look at the evidence and implement the changes that are needed.