A Rebel at School ... and Parents'evening

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

A Rebel at School ... and Parents'evening


Byline: Suzanne Moore

ONE of the very worst things about having children is not simply thatthey have to go to school, but you have to go to school, too. Even when theycan get there by themselves you still have to go.

Parents' evenings, inductions - events where you are meant to bond with peoplesimply because you all reproduced at the same time.

I am a failure at this because I didn't like school, so I often find myself inthe back row sniggering while some earnest head teacher reels off a list ofachievements of his or her institution.

It's childish, I know. But in 17 years of going to parents' evenings, thingshave got worse, not better.

In that time, all the things I hated about school have been encroaching on allsides. There are more rules and regulations than ever, compulsory uniforms andneedless testing. There has been less and less emphasis on creativity andcritical thinking.

I am talking about the State system here. Though, of course, nowadays everyonesays that the answer to all the State school problems is for them to becomemore like private schools.

Well, I can tell you they have - only without the funds, the playing fields,the highly motivated teachers, the small class sizes, the upper-middleclassmonoculture, the presumption of a place at a 'leading university' and thehard-working aspirational peer group.

AMID the unrelenting worry over whether pretty 18-year-olds get four As or A*sat A-level, those who never achieve anything like this are falling furtherbehind. Educationally we do worse than South Korea, Just call it murder,Afurther behind. Educationally do worse than South Korea, Ireland and Slovakiaand we are still way behind the Scandinavian countries and most of WesternEurope.

The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development says: 'Acomparatively large share of individuals in the UK did not complete uppersecondary education and face considerable and increasing penalties on thelabour market. …

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