AN ENTIRELY NEW APPROACH
What’s good for some pupils can be awful for others
The answer – As well as the National Curriculum designed for Academia introduce an alternative National Curriculum for Life. The aim not parity of esteem for some, just a colourless label, but self-esteem for all, a technicolour badge to wear with pride. Read my blog on Ashleigh Ritchie’s Wedding to understand the long-term benefit of a good special school and give thought to all those who do not go to Uni.
Also, when the State can’t afford free University education for all, restore State Scholarships to promote excellence in much-needed subjects like Medicine, Science and Technology – unequal but fair and sensible. Student debts rising to £50k lead to social immobility if you can’t buy your own home and put money into a pension. Encourage ambition.
In my play Death of a Nightingale the head teacher of a special school says “What our kids need is not equality of opportunity. Just opportunity”
I helped a retail company to grow. It is now a national company. I saw that in the big wide world street-wisdom could be more important than book-cleverness. And being focussed is always better than lacking direction. There’s a good life out there for many to enjoy without a University degree.
Think. Equality of Opportunity for everyone to go to a University with exams based on a National Curriculum, driven by League Tables, OFSTED, and the well remunerated educational establishment, £bn on student loans funding it, parity of esteem between academic and technical for half a school. But what about the other half? Times Ed never asks.|It just blames Austerity and cuts.
Half the school cohorts every year don’t get to Uni. Don’t want to. Or are unable to. They are being educated to be labelled in their own eyes “failures.”
The terrible price. Half the school untrained in life skills and the country has to import them. They probably vote Brexit! Teaching them the wrong subjects bores them to tears and to tantrums. Ritalin, when attention deficit may be due to the teaching not to the pupils. Mental health problems and depression. Drug addiction. Exclusions. And kids with special needs force-fed into mainstream by the closure of 100 special schools bullied; now compounded by cyber-bullying, denied specialist teaching and often excluded in an inclusive environment.
This is the price for making selection a dirty word and denying them real choice. Kids serving the system not the other way around. Dogma triumphant. The diversity of a multiplicity of different individual needs from gifted and talented to PMLD ignored. If you don’t know what PMLD stands for don’t meddle.
And the cost, thousands and thousands of Non-Teaching Assistans to try to help teachers cope.
A National Curriculum for Life would include a conversational foreign language to help travel, IT, food & diet (start the war on obesity here), practical skills, handling money, music, art appreciation and sport. Caring skills. Ethics and world faiths. Street-wisdom not book-cleverness.
Forget Equality. Show kids how to add value to their lives. Promote inequality, diversity and the mutuality of respect.
Fair play not Equality. Recognise the huge difference
HIGH TIME FOR SOME SECOND THOUGHTS WITH THE STATE A FAIRY GODMOTHER NOT THE WICKED FAIRY. NEXT TIME THE NHS.