With all the uproar in the news about the return to the ways of the grammar school, my thoughts turned to the how education is perceived. Having spent the majority of my teaching years in the private sector I am well aware that the school and its cohorts were considered for ‘posh’ people. Nothing was further from the truth. There are a few ‘top’ schools around, but the majority of private schools were full of everyday children from a variety of backgrounds. Parents who had planned ahead from their child’s birth to save for their education, grandparents who wanted to help out and of course, those who had their own business and were able to make some sacrifices in order to afford ,what they considered, an ‘investment in their child’s future.’
Whether you agree or not, society has this tiered system of education. One thing that my school did not do was to be selective. This school is still open to all. This made the breadth of children through its doors an interesting combination. The bright, the content, the wealthy, the aspirational and the strugglers. Ever more we witnessed an influx of those who were not ‘welcome academically’ at some of the higher-brow institutions. Pupils who had already been told they were not good enough at junior school age! It was these children who flourished in our care. Flourished when someone took the time to nurture and understand what made them tick and where they shone in the curriculum. It didn’t take a genius; it just took effort. With parental buy-in, that effort could dramatically change their mind-set and self-belief. The rest can follow…. Surely this is what education needs to have at its core?
So once again we are ready to divide and label children from the get go. This is not just about education and standards. The whole issue of how and what we teach and what is required in the modern era needs to be addressed, not giving children (who already learn their hierarchy status in early KS1) a complex about where they fall on the intelligence league ladder!
There is no quick fix here.
“Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I may remember.
Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY