You can’t travel any time-distance to 2017 without being aware you have lived/are living in revolutionary times. Consider education – who could have seen its current shape and concerns 20 years ago? Which is amazing, given it’s still – presumably – trying to do much the same thing. Or not. How disheartening recently to ask a primary school teacher if she thought all her Year 6 pupils would leave in the summer, ready for secondary education, competent readers. She said, “No.” The answer was slightly longer than that, and involved references to home, parents, the joys of reading and the difficulty of conveying these when children were more interested in their phones, and of course, the innate ability of the children at the point of admission. But it was still a no. And there was me, thinking that teaching children to read was the most important thing a primary school could do. I must be behind the curve. There has been another revolution, putting well-being before literacy. I’m a big fan of well-being, honestly, but still… I actually believe your well-being is likely to be seriously damaged if you arrive in a secondary school unable to read.
How could you watch the 2016 Olympic Games and not be inspired? Continue reading
There’s a sea change happening in the world of sport and I wonder how long it will be before it arrives in schools?
The new buzz word is ‘performance’. Or perhaps ‘performance!’ Schools have been in the business of improving performance since the league tables came in and have even become quite team-aware in the process. I have come across a school where the English department was forbidden to teach a tough long text for GCSE because the kids could score just as highly on a shorter, easier book and, with less reading to do, would have more time to spend on tougher subjects. That’s whole-school thinking, though I would lament the loss of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for ‘Of Mice and Men’ any day.