Yesterday, was Oldest’s first day back at school after the Easter holidays. When I asked her if she had enjoyed her first day back she replied, “so, so”. When further questioned it emerged that she had spent the day doing rather a lot of reading and writing. Normally, this would be her idea of a perfect school day. To put this into context my daughter is six years old and at home she loves both reading and writing. She spent most of the holidays writing stories and poems. She also finished two books in quick succession.
However, on her first day back she seemed rather disinterested in what she had learnt. When pressed it emerged that she had been learning about “inference skills”. Although my six-year-old struggled to say the word and became increasingly frustrated when trying to explain. In the end realising what she was trying to say I asked her what she had learnt about inference,
“I don’t know, it was boring”
It broke my heart to see and hear my daughter feeling so dejected about a subject that she loves. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, Oldest is really good at reading and writing. This isn’t anything to do with what the school has done and it is nothing to do with what I have done, it is all down to Oldest and what she has done. What Oldest doesn’t realise is that she can already use inference and deduction. She uses these skills every time she reads her books, she just didn’t recognise the label being used. Terms or labels that teachers have to use with our children, so that they can tick another box.
I have already written several times about my worry for my daughters and how they will fare in this education system. An education system that is being suffocated by the Tory government. My daughters are incredible but they are not unique because every single child is incredible in their own way. The problem is that the government doesn’t recognise this. The government sees our children as robots. Robots that can be programmed to tick the right boxes at the right time. The government doesn’t appreciate that our children are all individuals and that they all have different talents. If we let the government win then they will extinguish our children’s unique talents and they will snuff their enthusiasm for learning.
Why will this happen?
This will happen because the government is taking all of the creativity out of the classrooms. Children are now being forced to follow overly ambitious curriculums and to reach unrealistic targets. They are being forced into the same holes. The problem is that they are not pegs, they are children. Children need to be inspired to learn. It is common sense that children aren’t going to learn in a classroom that is boring but that is what the government is making our classrooms. Our children are expected to learn parrot fashion, expected to repeat back terminology and apply it rigorously to their work. There is no time for creativity, instead it is all about the mechanics. Children are born risk takers. From birth they are unafraid to make mistakes and that is how they learn. The government is stopping this natural instinct. It is being drilled into our children that they are not allowed to make mistakes.
I worry that my bright daughter will put her pencil down and that she won’t want to write stories anymore. I don’t want her to feel under pressure to produce a perfect piece of writing that neatly ticks the boxes. I want her to continue to write because she loves to write,
I want her to let her imagination run wild.
I worry that her school life means that she will fall out of love with learning. What is the purpose behind this dull and very dry education system? The government would have you believe that it is to raise standards. But what does this really mean?
Education system for all?
The government has created an elitist monster. Education should be accessible and open to all but this is no longer the case. They have created a hierarchy of what are considered important subjects with Mathematics and English being at the top. But who says that they are the most important? They are not the most important subjects to the boy who loves drama or the girl who loves art. Why are these art based subjects considered ‘lesser’ subjects? In today’s society we live in a world that is driven by technology. Isn’t placing Maths and English at the top of the hierarchy a reflection of how out of touch our government is with modern society. Isn’t it about time that the government started to realise the importance of creativity too.
There have been whispers of what will happen if the government gets its way and forces every school to become an academy. Schools will be under even more pressure to achieve results and hit targets. Therefore the pupils that look like they won’t achieve those targets will be shown the door. The government is creating an education system that is no longer inclusive, an education system that will make some pupils, possibly our children, feel like second class citizens. What will happen to those children that don’t fit into the government’s criteria of 5 A* to C?
The government is standing on the edge of an educational abyss, one that will see children stigmatised because they don’t fit in with what the government classes as intelligence. Who is it that says my six-year olds needs to be able to use the terms inference and deduction? What happened to her reading for enjoyment? I worry for the future of our society because the government is determined to destroy creativity and curiosity. Skills that helped our forefathers survive and skills that ensured our society flourished.
It is now our children and their creativity that represent our hopes for a better future.
As parents we have to nurture this hope.
Does your child enjoy school?