The government pay a lot of people we will never know the names of to devise plots and schemes to solve the nation’s educational problems.
The role of these people appears to be to come up with new stuff. Not to thoroughly research which practices are currently in place to discern what currently works and what should be discarded; oh, no. This would be far too time-consuming, and by the time the next election comes round, this might actually aid the next government, which would be just unacceptable.
Yet these intrepid pioneers begin at the wrong end. They think giving GCSE students harder exams will help improve our education system. The educationists (a term even Stalin would have winced at) have moved all the goalposts, yet they are shocked that targets are not hit.
For example, despite the fact thousands of children leave primary school without a basic grasp of reading, writing and mathematics, the educationists have decreed that we should add many more items to the list of things they should know each year. It’s as if we should simply produce these little Stakhanovite children that teachers magically drag up to these impossible targets, overseen by Ofsted commissars.
These targets are made up without any knowledge of the children involved, whether you are from the landed gentry or an estate where crime and violence are rife. Ofsted would have us believe that they want us to have a holistic approach to learning, where we look after all the needs of each child, that we recognise them as individuals and cater to their unique needs; yet the whole system teachers work under well and truly piddles all over that particular rose garden.
We minions are simply told “all children of this age should be at this level.” Clearly, those who make these decisions do not understand the notion of ‘average’. Someone has to be below it. A child can be working at their full capacity yet still be below the average standard for their age. You can be the finest teacher in the world, yet if a child reaches your class aged 11 unable to use capitals and full stops, it’s fair to say you are not going to get them up to speed in your five hours a week of English lessons.
Most parents do an amazing job, their kids are a credit to them and those incredible kids are the sole reason I go to work each day. Yet for a hundred different reasons, many children are beginning school aged four so much further back in their development than they were twenty years ago. If you want a job for life, become a speech therapist. Many children aren’t toilet trained, have limited speech and a knife and fork are a mystery to them. This is where the educationists should start to look to intervene.
Until then many children will be told for 11 years they are ‘below age-related expectations’. For which, parents and children, I am truly sorry.