One leaf in the corner of the garden. It definitely has a story to tell.

I was looking at a Social Media exchange about a secondary school in another part of the country. Parents were discussing how good the place was or wasn’t. Clearly it was quite a heated exchange. On one side you had comments like

It’s a great school…

Look at the grades the kids get…

It gets fantastic OFSTED ratings…

My daughter is likely to get straight A’s thanks to the teaching…

I love the school. It has discipline and look at the results it gets…

My daughter won an award for Drama because the school pushed her…

Fantastic teachers,

You always get a minority who are never happy…

Well if your not happy take your child to another school

Well homeschool then, miss out on the special treatment you son gets then…

And on the other hand you got comments like…

My child has just been dumped in the bottom class,

The teachers don’t care,

My daughter is getting no help, just left to fall behind,

My son keeps quiet and doesn’t cause any trouble in class. Wish he did as the teacher might start spending some time with him,

I’m not sure the teachers even want to know that he has ADHD,

School is not bothered that my son is scheduled to get no grades,

It is useless at helping kids out who have special needs.

That last line gives the basis of the argument away. The English School System provides one model of teaching for all pupils. It works for some kids but unfortunately a few too many are left behind. Increasingly special education is seen as a distraction to the main school function. An unnecessary drain on resources. You see articles in the Press basically talking about those children getting funding to cover additional needs as a gravy train for parents. That approach mirrors government thinking. Yes schools are given some targets for educational need but a school that fail in this area can still be seen as Excellent. The key is hitting the limited exam, performance management, how well they stick to the curriculum and the financial targets set for them.

I bet you can guess what side of the argument I would have been on. But I would add one important thing. All schools have good, dedicated teachers. Teachers who care. But they can’t provide for those children with additional educational needs when they are hamstrung by government. Where they are undervalued and trying to teach classes with up to 30 children crammed into them. With a set and unwieldy curriculum which must be strictly followed. I remember a conversation with school about computing. The teachers shared my frustration at having to teach Hawklad so much coding. Coding is a nightmare for dyslexics and some on the spectrum to learn. But they had to teach him that because it was a key part of the national curriculum set by government. Surely we can find a way of teaching all kids which offers the change to offer different learning routes depending on the individual.

A school can be excellent and at the same time fail to many of the next generation.

52 thoughts on “Argument

  1. I think that’s a problem across the board here in Canada as well. Not enough wiggle room for teachers to respond to individual needs. I think you’ve placed the argument into a good perspective. (But then, you usually do.:) )

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a frustrating system! Our school district has about six elementary schools (ages 5 to 11). We live 1/4 mile from one of the small, outlying schools, where my son went. The school has a great reputation and has won awards for excellence. But there is no screening for dyslexia, and the “extra help” kids get who are behind in reading is not tailored to the help a dyslexic needs. The special education help my son got was quite inadequate. And having 3 different special ed teachers in 3 years with a child who also has anxiety, was not helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sadly, in so many areas of life Gary, there is a model that you have to fit into. If you don’t, you are sunk. That isbthe sad state of our country now. We all have to be like robots. It is so very very sad. I an sad for Gawklad. This should not be happening, yetwhat can we do? And this damned pabdemic is not helping. Sending much love Gary xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Government rules do make things hard for teachers who really care. We went through (I can never remember) 4 or 5 schools before Ben was moved to his current school… which is basically a private school that only accepts public school students. The school district pays his tuition.
    These government bozos don’t understand that they are hurting themselves by not making education available to every child. When kids are left behind, they’re more likely to need more help as adults which means government funding for housing and food.
    The pandemic is exposing how broken our systems are. Now we need to fix them, find a new, better way!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally agree with you on this. Education should be purposeful and relevant. Some SEN children need basic skills such as communication or self care but your hands are tied spending time teaching stuff that is just irrelevant to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eduction system, like the NHS and likely the other public sector systems in this country, are totally focused on meaningless targets and managed/led by individuals who don’t understand or want to understand the views of those who actually deliver the services. It’s frustrating, devaluing and ineffective.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was a teacher and now I drive a concrete mixer…by choice.

    I can say indefinitely across the board it’s a convoluted mess and here is why. Government lays out a national focus to get kids into an industry out of high school based on lobbying, in the U.S. during WW2 they wanted kids to graduate and go to the war effort already in shape for boot camp so they invented Physical Education. It’s originally was agility, running, calisthenics. Then the war effort faded Korean War turned into the Vietnam “skirmish” suddenly war class wasn’t PC anymore and it became kickball and assholes. Then Microprocessors took off. Suddenly typing, accounting business class enter the scene. Internet bubble crashes, factory’s get moved and Shazam you see anatomy, and nursing related classes big pharma decided they are gonna work at a hospital…wait wait wait hold the phone !!AMAZON!!, electric cars, Drones And bazinga we have “coding now”. Curriculum focus is garbage because it’s just billionaires lobbying local economy to train kids for them. Because at the end of the day TRAINING IS THE BIGGEST BUSINESS COST.

    Then we have the next nightmare parents(me) I have 2 kids and they are the smartest ever, and you feel the same way about your boy. We all do it’s what makes us great parents. The problem is the noisy parents “What do you mean Johnny got a C!!! He’s brilliant when he was a baby he memorized the periodic table. He just hadn’t learned to talk yet so he couldn’t tell me…but I could tell he new it”. He deserves an A give it to him or I’ll make your life hell.
    The reality is most kids should get a C the real bright ones should get a B and the ones smart enough to create industry’s that derail entire global school systems through political lobbying at national levels get A’s.

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH A C IN A SYSTEM THAT IS MATHEMATICALLY AND STATISTICALLY VALID. It means your get kid is in there with his peers being normal.

    So what matters where should parents focus is the question. And it’s pretty simple
    Can your child read a newspaper and talk about it,
    can your kid Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide,
    Can your child use the scientific method to build and modify theories,
    lastly does your child have the ability and morale/ethical standards to say to themselves “Shit, I am being an asshole I need to stop apologize and get my shit back on track.

    Or to put it all in a simple package when my kid graduates can they set down with a group of complete strangers design and build a functional birdhouse out of materials they decide on. Then when the birdhouse is built go get coffee and toast with those people because they don’t hate the kid we raised.

    That’s all you need a Bird house and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true. I remember at school talking to the career advisor and saying that I wanted to go to Uni. I was told by the advisor that kids like me from this school don’t do that. You go to work in the local chemical or steel works. They need you….

      I ignored him. In the end I was the only kid who went to uni from our year. I wasn’t the brightest but the other kids listened to the advisor. Now I look at that town with the steel world closed and the chemical plant scaled back. The kids were needed then discarded. Just not right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I 100% agree unfortunately it will never get better, if you’ve read your history all school are funded by corrupt political systems. So it rolls down hill if you want money you will do this. And if you go privately funded schools it costs so much to keep the doors open it only takes 1 students from the upper 3% who’s parents believe the rules don’t apply to them either. “I donated x,y,z last year the rules don’t apply to my child. I can take them somewhere else.”

        I’ve worked private and public school. It’s all bad


      2. And their in lies the problem home schooling is typically the worst option. Kids learn from other kids and they don’t get proper socializing cues in home settings.

        Liked by 1 person

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