What was the most inventive reason you gave for not wanting to do the weekly cross-country run at school? Admittedly, rather than endure the grueling trudge around the sodden heath under leaden skies, some would rather eat their own spleen. It seems that our current crop of dodgers won't need to be so inventive. As part of the funding crisis schools are announcing the proposition of selling off assets, such as playing fields, just to make ends meet. The claimed benefit of the time-honoured Wednesday afternoon run was that it was 'character-building'. It remains to be seen how much character will be built as the worst our youths will have to endure is a quick lap around the school car park.
When you were at school which six teachers would you have gladly never clapped eyes on again? There was that one that had the aim of a world series baseball player with the board rubber. Well, it seems that six is the number that, broadly speaking, schools will have to ditch as a result of the new calculation of funding. Education ministers will, of course, find obscure pedagogical research that claims increased class sizes will not have an adverse effect on student learning. Of all the schools in which I've worked none had enough novels for each student; sometimes we didn't even have enough for one between two. However, that was expected. No, it was when we had to share desks and chairs that we really struggled. Always a great 'starter' to the lesson, sending a couple of kids next door to get furniture. Number of students in a class; debatable. Not being able to fit the students in the classroom; unacceptable.
If 'The Lord of the Flies' teaches us anything (and it teaches us plenty) it is that in any social setting, nobody wants to be Piggy. Poor, downtrodden Piggy, victimised by the mob comes to a sad end. Piggy is isolated, excluded from the group and bullied mercilessly. Young people often spend their formative years in school desperately trying to fit in: don't be different from the rest; don't stand out for the wrong reasons; try to be one of the cool kids. Schools just don't seem to be able to provide the support that young people need. Crushed under the weight of targets, league tables, performance management and a plethora of other 'initiatives' teachers seem powerless to address basic needs. In an age of social media it is easy for youngsters to become one of the mob with the bravery of being out of range. 'As long as it's not me.' they tell themselves. For too many, it is them. With 70% of young people feeling negative feelings at school it is vital we as a society get a grip on this.
Has your child read this great classis? Here's our summary of this kids' favourite.....
The harsh realities of life on a farm come to Fern Arable all-too-quickly when she is told that the smallest of the litter of pigs will ‘probably die.’ Adopting him, calling him Wilbur, and, with the help of Charlotte the spider she begins the struggle to save him. Since its publication in the 1950s, this classic has delighted parents and children alike. Allow Charlotte to tempt you into her web.
For the first time, in what seems a long time, we had sunshine at the Kids Club today. So we worked hard for a while inside, and then played some very silly, but funny games outside. All in English!
Headteachers announced recently that some subjects might be dropped from their school's curriculum. When 'Careers advice' began in the state sector it was the beginning of the end. As soon as you begin to ask 14 year-olds what they might like to do in the future, they begin to rule out what they don't. It starts with the poor, down-trodden foreign languages department. 'I'm never going to live in France , so what do I need French for?' the students cry in unison. Now it is the Music department's turn for a battering. Before long the state sector will be offering a minimum subject range, truly narrowing young people's options. Contrary to this, you still get young people from the private sector going to Oxbridge and studying The Classics. Is the study of antiquity really going to help young people carve out a career in the modern world? Actually, yes. The private sector still has the notion of comprehensive education; the chance to give young people a breadth of study; a wide subject knowledge; and, most importantly, options.
Really? As if we've not suffered enough with our own exam stress, we have to share our children's too. Are you one of those parents that lie awake wondering how the kids will do; have they studied enough? Have you given them enough support? Bullied and bribed them to study when you needed to; hugged them and treated them when you thought you'd done the former a bit too much? Well, be assured that you are in good company. According to a BBC poll nearly a quarter of parents are suffering as much stress as those actually taking the exams. This was not in the job description all those years ago!
The UK Prime Minister is determined to storm ahead with her plans to see a return of Grammar schools in the UK. Many will see this as a backwards step as previous Conservative governments have pushed for Academies in a bid to drive up standards in comprehensive education. Many are also opposed to what is seen as selective education creating a 'two-tier' system. The truth is, there already is one; selection by house purchase. Wealthy families buy in areas where there are good state schools, drive up house prices, and prevent the less well-off from enjoying that basic right. So, as we begin to see more and more students enter the job market with a grammar school education how will the students who live abroad and leave school with a Eurocentric, such as the Baccalaureate qualification, compete in a global market?
As a qualified teacher, with many years of teaching English in secondary schools in the UK and the Middle East, David would like to offer English children living in France the opportunity to improve their English to an advanced level. Children who may want to study at university in Britain, or who would like to improve their exam results for the Bac, can rely on David's inspirational lessons to help them achieve better exam results. Send David an email by going to our 'Contact Us' page to request more information.