With all political emphasis back on another forthcoming election there’s a danger once again of our children’s education being used for political leverage.
Education always features high in any election campaign and clearly should be important in any politician’s agenda. However it’s often the case when elections are imminent that their promises are more for the sake of winning popularity and less about what children actually need.
So it’s very important parents take a careful look at what politicians say about their educational intentions when deciding where to place votes, hoping they deliver what they promise!
One of the aspects of education that has been in the news recently is the subject of SATs test in Primary schools.
The NUT (National Union of Teachers) has been arguing against their value both for children and teachers feeling that they do more damage than good and are calling for a boycott. (See the article in the TES).
And there’s a group of parents in Cambridge who’ve got together to make a stand against them, as others have over the country.
As home educating families prove through their approach to their child’s education, testing is not necessary for successful learning and often hampers it, as is happening in classrooms. But we need assessment of the system; as long as it doesn’t intrude on the children’s learning lives, or disrupt teaching.
However, testing is not the only issue that will be used for political popularity come election time. Budget, curriculum, fees, class sizes, will all no doubt be in there.
So it’s a good time to listen to the educational promises and be clear about what we think is good for the children in all of it. There’s an interesting collection of opinions here – opinions of those involved with education rather than politicians who are not!
So what would be the top of our educational agenda if we were in charge?
Happy, comfortable and inspired children would be a start, which may mean moving away from such a hampering, objective led curriculum. If kids are comfortable and inspired they will learn with enthusiasm and things like class disruption, unengaged learners, school phobia and other mental health issues may be reduced.
We certainly need to stop so much disruptive assessment, we need plenty of inspiring people to work with the youngsters so we need to pay them well to attract them, we need to alleviate unnecessary stress and overload on those people so they can do a good job and not pass stress onto the children, and we need to reduce the pressure of an over prescriptive curriculum so that’s there’s opportunity for an inspired learning environment for all.
What current political agendas will deliver that?