Thursday, 22 March 2012

What have we done to our children?

You might imagine that I'd be opposed to selective education, particularly selective state education. And you'd be right. It infuriates me that schools can claim to be 'good' if they take rich, motivated, supported kids from stable, privileged backgrounds and manage to produce high exam passes. Good schools take deprived children and improve their lives, their opportunities and their achievements. Interestingly, privately educated children fare less well at university than state school kids: it's the small classes, brilliant resources and encouragement which buy them high A-levels. Left to themselves at university, they revert to the norm and even slip behind because they're not equipped for independent learning.

That's the rational stuff.

Emotionally, hearing a 10-year old of my acquaintance describe himself as 'a failure' because he didn't get into a notoriously ruthless school in the region has to rank as one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever heard.

It's a 'city technology college' paid for by us taxpayers but run by a couple of revolting corporations. It famously weeds out the poor, the difficult and the different, then specialises in finding dubious 'alternative qualifications' for the weaker students to sit so that its league table position looks good. Various methods are used to weed out any student who threatens its position at the top.

I'm sickened by an education system so vicious that a young child can label himself a failure. We've forgotten who and what education is for. To my mind, a good school is one open to all, and which does its best to give each child what he and she needs to thrive, and develops whatever potential they have - whether that shows up on a league table or not.


James said...

I agree with the sentiments expressed here, and thank you for expressing them.


There's a rogue apostrophe in "it's league table position".

It's a boob worthy of the most intolerable public-school pranny.

I'm sorry this comment isn't more valuable and insightful than mere self-indulgent sneering.

The Plashing Vole said...

I am ashamed.
And now Blogger's not working and I can't edit it.

James said...

Trying to expunge the record from history, eh?


Anonymous said...

I said it this morning and I will say it again. It is heartbreaking. What if the kid has talent to be an artist, a chef or a athlete? Those qualities are usually not recognised in schools. Maybe by one or two teachers who love their job and are able to look a little further than just grades. The kid now feels like a failure, he might not even use his talents, afraid he will feel like a failure again. No person, school or society should give a kid a sense of failure. He is not defined by grades. Neither is anyone else.

Alex said...

From your description I'm almost certain it's the school I went to. He's better off out of it. Years from now he'll be far lass damaged than he could have been.