I’d kind of promised myself that I’d have a rest from blogging about education and then along came a link provided by Autonomous Mind to this post.
Within a very interesting article he says he is not in favour of the state educating any child. This is a lightbulb moment is it not? All the more so as a further commenter here makes the point that education is not compulsory; as in it is not compulsory for children to be educated within the state system albeit with certain legal requirements.
It reminded me, that in my time working with schools and educators I’d come to the conclusion, that things had to change but in order to have them change significantly it would take three cycles of children going through their entire education. Why that length of time? Because following changes, the first batch would still be tainted by the present system, the second batch would be truly the first to go through an improved system and the third batch would go through a completely changed, improved and delivering system. A long time? Well yes, but, of course, not a long time in the great scheme of things.
The answer of course is simpler. Move away from state (and religion but that’s another story) based education. It’s a no brainer. And conveniently, here we are with our good friend, Mr. Michael Gove, trying to facilitate free schools, which are free from local authority control. Of course this policy does not form part of the education strategy for Scotland but let’s hope that it soon will be.
This approach however, has been visited before. You’ll all be familiar with Dunblane and the terrible tragedy, which took place at a primary school there. In fact there was, and still is, a second primary school in Dunblane, St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School. The school was one of only two schools, the other being Dornoch Academy, in Scotland, which opted out from local authority control enabled by a policy, introduced by the Conservative Government in 1988. The school was well run, supported by committed parents and had been recognised as a good school with good results.
Following the election of a Labour Government in London, the opt out choice was removed and a prolonged battle ensued to have the school returned to the “stewardship” of the local council. The parents, teachers and pupils put up a pretty good fight to keep the school independent and whilst it was subsumed the school still continues to perform well.
Bottom line? Three options.
Firstly set up a free (independent) school from scratch. Lots of money required, but if what is being offered is appealing to enough parents, has credibility and longevity then it’s worth a go. (But only if you are in England).
Secondly, educate at home which is the cheapest, controlled and most flexible option. Gain the necessary permissions etc. (using “home education Scotland” as a search phrase in Google etc. will bring up a wealth of information and organisations who can help). No need to stick to a recognised curriculum although you would have to meet the local authority and EU requirements, which shouldn’t be an issue.
Thirdly. Stick with state education but get involved. Either become a parent helper, get elected as a member of the Parent Council or add value in supporting the delivery of extra curricular activities.
When I worked with schools I started off thinking that if I helped just one pupil move closer to their full potential it would be worthwhile. By the time I stopped I felt I had to help all of the pupils involved to move closer to their full potential.