Another gloriously chilly day here. The perfect weather to play.

It’s official, school play time is getting shorter. A deliberate government policy. A recent report from the UCL Institute of Education confirmed that is the case in the UK. They found weekly break times had reduced since 1995 by 45 minutes for the younger children and by 65 minutes for secondary pupils. It also found a growing percentage of schools offered lunch breaks of less than 35 minutes.

Since that report was published the situation has got markedly worse.

I unfortunately listened to one of the government numpties in charge of our schools. He talked about the need to improvise discipline. Talked about children suffering during the pandemic as their grades might go down. It was apparently time to increase the school day, cut holidays. Allow the pupils to catch up with government targets.

Not once did I hear the numpty say the words health, wellbeing and happiness.

That’s no surprise. Schools are now strictly controlled. Teaching programmes, timetables, how pupils learn are set by the government. It’s all about grades. Grades in subjects that the government thinks appropriate. We here constant talk of a return to good old Victorian Values. But it goes further. As the end of school bell rings children are increasingly channeled into structured out of hours school clubs. Forced into completing hour after hour of set homework.

This eats into that precious free time. Time to socialise, to play, to free think, to dream. Time which is the child’s. Maybe that’s why child mental health issues and depression are becoming an epidemic. An epidemic without a vaccine.

Before the COVID pandemic kicked in I remember one particular school year. Hawklad has two really good friends in classes next to his. When I was at school I would get plenty of time to play each day with my friends, friends in different classes. Well that’s all change now. In that entire school year Hawklad never once spent time with his friends in school. Even at weekends organised school sport events made meet-ups problematic. The only time he met up with them was during the holidays. That’s a minimum gap of 7 weeks. 7 week blocks without seeing friends.

Remember the phrase. ‘Childhood should be your happiest time’. Is that still the case? Sadly not for too many.

44 thoughts on “Play

  1. We have standardized tests by state here and my kid practically melts down the day before and the day of. Because the government dictates that these mandated tests score a certain percentage so the school is awarded state funds and federal funds based on higher scores. No child wants to feel like their math struggle low score resulted in less money for library or sports or whatever.
    There simply is no childhood left,sadly.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Victorian Values? What the Hello Kitty is THAT?
    Sounds like the just want everyone beat down so they won’t fight back. Resistance is futile.🙄🤦🏼‍♀️

    Beautiful photo! We had complete overcast again☹


    Liked by 3 people

  3. This makes me so sad. I do not envy parents today, no matter where in the world they live. There are more challenges for parents and children alike. “Victorian Values”? Next they’ll be extolling the merits of child labour as well. Perhaps they need to revisit some of Dicken’s tales. “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

    similar on this side of the pond. mental health takess a distant back seat to governmental and international corporation re-education and damning off potential dissenters—! This is power brokering by the “SSCDEW YOU” PRINCIPAL I an so glad Hawk Lad has you for a Dad!


  5. Couldn’t agree more!
    Some of my best memories are cycling to and from school with a gang of friends every lunch time. We had an hour off so it was quite possible to cycle the 6 mile round trip. That was every bit as ‘educational’, if not way more so, as the class that could have been squashed in. Also, did wonders for our fitness!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I was at school, dinner was half an hour if memories serve me right. I couldn’t imagine dinner being less than that, to be able to have a proper dinner. So wrong if they do.
    There was a mid-morning break, but that got to have been 10,or 15 mins. It wasn’t anymore than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kids don’t seem to play outside these days, probably because of the ever-present risk of perverts, so instead they have supervised after school activities. It’s not quite the same as the total freedom I had as a child, but it will have to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems as if they are trying to program the upcoming generations, but how arrogant to think they should impose their views on the futures of today’s children. I don’t like the sound of it at all. Too much like China.

    Liked by 1 person

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