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Good ideas (?) department...

Time for another one of my occasional policy ideas. Education is not exactly my specialist subject, although I will admit to having gone through the education system. While I think that the more rigorous testing of school children is /broadly/ a good thing, unless children face the prospect of repeating a year, American style, unless they achieve a certain level those indicators are verging on worthless. I don't have the energy to engage in a debate about whether or not standards are falling, but would rather focus on what ought to be the core aim of education - teaching literacy and numeracy. Everything else should be subsidiary to that.

The prospect of being held down a year and being away from one's friends would be a huge incentive to under performing children, and I think has much to recommend it. An additional tool used in Texas, on the advice of Ross Perot (if my mate from those parts has his facts straight) was for all extra-curricular activities to be off the agenda for children unless they reached the required standard. In the case of sports players that threat was hugely effective.

Thoughts, insights, additions, death threats etc please.
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Blogger istanbultory said... 9:33 am

I used to teach, for my sins. Actually, holding back kids a year probably does not help them.It would certainly stigmatise them and isolate them from their peers, thus opening the way to even greater problems...

Rather than forcing kids to repeat a school year, it would be much more effective to enroll under-achieving children in compulsory summer school and/or remedial classes during other school holidays. This is already practiced in many countries. If the kids, then, fail to make the necessary effort over the summer break or genuinely are unable to progress (for psychological reasons, health problems, whatever) they should naturally repeat the previous year again.

Overall, there is no doubt that smaller class sizes, better-trained teachers and head teachers, a challenging curriculum, high expectations and good after-school provision can make a positive difference in opportunity and achievement for all children. But how many state schools actually are providing the aforementioned?  

Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 9:55 am

the problem with the education system in this country is that it's run by wet leftis,for wet lefti's.Not for the kids.they use it to propagate their utopian view of humanity and to fund their lifestyles.

Corporal punishment is what's needed or at least a proper beasting ie run them round the block/push ups.

As for getting rid of after school stuff..here we go.I learned more in three minutes in the boxing ring than I did three years atschool.kids nowadays are fat and crucially have little confidence.they're not daft they know everyones getting grade A's.to do well in life ie be happy,you need to be confident.

Qualifications are lessening in value at the same time as it's costing more to get them.go short academics,go long sport/drama/music  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 10:45 am

At my school we had pupils who were held back a year(idiots), but then again it wasn't a state school.
Fact is most people neither need nor want to know anything beyound being able to read and write and perform basic arithmatic.The school leaving age should be dropped to 14
and Victorian teaching methods and discipline reintroduced.  

Blogger istanbultory said... 11:17 am

Doesn't NuLabour plan to actually raise the school-leaving age to 17!! I seem to remember hearing about such an idea. Madness.  

Anonymous Ellee said... 11:52 am

Why not make boys read books at secondary school instead of letting them take in comics to classrooms? This has been my experience, how is that encouraging them to read?
Did you realise boys do not have to read books at schools after the age of 11 unless they choose to study Eng Lit?  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 11:55 am

errm elle
how exactly do they study then?
apart from the web.
I left school ahem over twenty years ago , and have children of my own and take no interest in other peopples children, so whats happening?  

Blogger istanbultory said... 1:40 pm

Ellee is right.

As most teachers will agree, boys take longer to learn to read than girls do. Boys read less than girls read. But boys are more inclined to read graphic novels and comic books. And it's all reading material at the end of the day...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:47 pm

Anyone else notice that 'Look and Learn' has been resurrected?  

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