Do you feel that your child is inspired and enthused at their school? Do they come bounding out at the end of the day telling you all the wonderful exciting things they have learnt?
Sadly in my experience the opposite is often the case. I started to feel quite upset about this and felt that even if I wished it was different what could I do. The education system is so rigid, schools often feel handcuffed to the latest curriculum. I am not a politician and have no influence, or do I?
I wrote an email to the school asking some questions about how they taught and prioritised different subjects. How national testing fitted into their planning.
I received an email back from the Head Teacher who said my questions were about the ethos of the school and would I like to come in and discuss it?
So I arranged the meeting and asked that the Chair of Governors also be present.
Here are the main questions I asked.
Does the school believe that all children should strive for and be supported to fulfil their potential?
How does the school do this?
Irrespective of how the school is required to follow the curriculum is the quality and high standard of teaching important when delivering all subjects and activities within the school?
I felt these questions were important because it gets to the heart of what education is and how the school delivers it. Governments change as do curriculums. Head Teachers change too but a school that knows what its ethos really is should be able to adapt putting the pupils first.
I received the response I expected. The politically correct every child matters, the pupils come first, all pupils are supported to fulfil their potential, the subjects are taught to the highest standards even thought the focus maybe curriculum led.
This is great because it confirms what the school says it is doing. It does however highlight discrepancies in fact.
For example if sport is taught to the same level as English how can a team representing the school be taken to an inter school competition with a member of staff who does not know the rules of the game. Would it be OK for the same member of staff to teach English without knowing anything about spelling or punctuation?
How can the politically correct response from the Head be true if this situation took place?
Surely it shows that sport on this occasion was not given the same level of teaching that would be required in a SATS examined subject. The children taking part could not be inspired and supported to fulfil their potential. If this event was to be the day that caught the imagination of a pupil who thrives from being active rather than just being in a classroom it was missed.
So my 5 ways to help my child.
1. Find out what is the ethos of the school.
2. Look at all aspects of your and your child’s experience and see if it is being fulfilled.
3. If it is not being fulfilled go to the school and ask why?
4. See if it changes and how. It might just be the spotlight the school requires to look at itself.
5. If you are not happy look for a new school.
If everyone asked these simple questions of their school do you think education would have a very different look?