Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking back the school yard

This is a touch “Hard Hat”.

I saw a discussion between two British “educators” (Headmasters) on TV the other day.

They were arguing about a new sort of free school.

They are free in that they can be run by any group, say parents not happy with the quality of schools in their area, and they are free from Local Authority control, just subject to school inspectors.

One of the “Educators” clearly hated the idea and hated school “league tables”. He was absolute that the new schools would take money from underprivileged children in failing schools. He felt the schools should not have to be compared as that made “pushy” parents want to avoid sending their kids to those schools. That it was elitist and took resources out of “underprivileged” schools.. He didn’t approve of completion either.

The other guy was trying to argue that the money for those free schools came from the government based on the number of pupils they had and the money the government gave to Local Authorities was based on pupil numbers also, so the Local Authority would get just the same amount per pupil as they were getting before.

He was also arguing that it was not a case of taking away from kids, or pushing them down, or elitism, but helping to raise the standards for all and that there was really no excuse for Local Authority schools failing long term.

The TV showed a new free school in an “Underprivileged” area where all the kids were all in uniform and behaving .

The second guy was arguing it was as much down to teaching methods and proper rules and such. The other Guy just thought it was turning back the clock and entrenching “Privilege”

I thought to myself that he was only just about keeping connected to the real world. Was he kidding, even without “League Tables” parents compare notes and have a pretty good idea of what schools in the area they would really want their kids to go to and what ones to avoid if you possibly can.

The first guy didn't seem to like the idea of privilidge or uniforms.

Call me naive, but I can’t see why all schools can’t be at a much higher level. Goodness knows they need to be. I know that some kids are not as bright as others. I know some are less motivated and have less support at home. But to me school should expect and encourage the best a person can manage.

It should provide an environment that helps them to achieve that.
Surely it does not have to be that some schools are useless and some good.

It is not a Malthusian closed system equation, and that first guy was trying to make it one.

I know what one of them I would want in charge of a school my kides went to if I had a choice and it would not be the first guy.


James Higham said...

Call me naive, but I can’t see why all schools can’t be at a much higher level.

I and quite a few others have written extensively as to why. It's quite simple really and yet it took decades to get those people in place.

Now they're done, the result is there for all to see.

jmb said...

Sad to say, the lowering of standards in education is taking place in all parts of the world. not only in the UK.

My daughter says it is very noticeable in the NY state where she has been teaching for many years, especially since the no child left behind act came into effect and pressure is put upon teachers to improve their grades, regardless of the quality of students' work.

The type of school you are talking about has been established on this continent for some time, publicly funded separate schools, known as charter schools.

No easy answers unfortunately and standards continue to slide while everyone bemoans the situation.

Moggsy said...

James.. So in fact there is no reason (apart from wrongheadeness and dogma) that all schools can't be at a much higher level.

maybe I should have said "whay all schools shouldn't be"

It is the triumph of bogus theory over what actually works.

JMB, The act you mention sounds ok but I guess like much good intention does more harm than good.. and as we know paves the way to...