See what happens when you let part of the garden take care of itself….

I came across a news story about parents who had threatened to take their child’s school to court. The story may sound sadly too familiar. A really bright and popular autistic boy who did really well in his Primary (First) School. He struggled with reading but the teachers tried to support him. He found out that he was really good at maths. He loved music and started to play an instrument. The other subject he loved was languages, he was always trying to speak French. Because of his dyslexia the school had used alternative methods of tuition with him. Some didn’t work but importantly some things really worked. One was using a graphical and picture approach to languages.

Then he started Secondary School. He went from a really small school to a massive one with nearly 1000 pupils. Everything changed. Even though his previous school grades were good, he was placed in the bottom set. No attempt was made to evaluate his dyslexia or even help with it. Apparently ‘nothing could be done’. The school taught him in exactly the same way it teaches every pupil, even though it clearly wasn’t working for him. He really struggled in his best subjects as well. He lost interest in languages because he was falling behind with the way school taught the subject. He stopped playing an instrument because the music lessons were awful because of the disruptive behaviour in class. He became increasingly isolated and unhappy. School used the small extra funding he received to fund general teaching assistants who could never be dedicated to his need, they covered all the pupils in the class. Often they just focused on the pupils with the worst behaviour. The parents tried to work with the system. That failed so they tried to fight the system. Their lawyers eventually advised them that they had no chance of success. Apparently the school was following Government Policy, doing what was expected of them, following the set national curriculum. So they pulled their child from the school system and have started trying to homeschool.

It is sadly a far too familiar story. This is what happens when you try to force every child through the same educational production line. When teachers are not allowed to teach freely but are forced to teach in a set way. When school is all about the needs of the economy rather than the needs of the individual child.

It really shouldn’t be like this.

45 thoughts on “One way system

  1. Its not right at all and you could expend a massive amount of energy on trying to fight it…and you get nowhere. We decided to spend our energy on our kid instead. We took inspiration from all those mold-breakers who went on to forge their own success despite the institutional idiocy. Look for proof – there’s more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes.

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  2. I have ssid before, find families in the same straits as Hawklad, and form a grooup. Maybe what the gtoup could do is create schools, live or online, to help the studrnts who need help. Apply for government funding, and see where you can take it. I do not mesn to be crass, but the government might be happy to get these children “out of their dchools!”

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  3. There is so much that is wrong in the world today, but apathy rules, I’m afraid…
    We are on our own, and it’s up to us to help each other, as no one out there is going to…

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  4. This reminds me of one of my earlier quotes: There is no general solution for each individual, only individual solutions within the community.

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  5. There’s so much wrong with our education system… it is discouraging (at best) to be an educator in a broken system. Beautiful flowers, btw. Hugs to you both.

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  6. You’re right! It shouldn’t. After I pulled my son out of school I “unschooled” him for several months, letting him just be and do whatever he wanted. At that point his mental health had reached a crisis and he could barely get out of bed. He gradually came back. We ended up putting him on a medication to improve his seratonin levels, which helped too. Although I was able to finish my son’s education at home, I still feel he might have had a better education if we had a charter school designed for intelligent and highly functioning kids who have learning challenges, like they have in large cities like New York.

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  7. Sorry if I’ve already asked you this, but has Hawklad tried out different fonts on different coloured paper to see if it helps his dyslexia? Comic Sans font is ugly as hell but the best one for learning difficulties, and pale blue or pale pink paper are popular options.

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      1. Being dyslexic myself, I’m really determined to teach my kids to read before they make it to the system. I remember the confusion about how I was taught to read. It was 20 years ago, and I was given some accommodations then. You’d expect that things have changed for better.

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      2. The mistake I made was to assume school would invest time in teaching every child to read. They will but only using one method approved by the government that just doesn’t work for every child. Then instead of trying other routes they too often just say the child can’t read and they give up.

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