I love my son’s school. I thought it best to clear this up right from the beginning because this post is not a poke at his school in particular; this is my, and I would guess many parents’, concern about the government’s priorities when it comes to education. Anyone who has been on the internet or watched the news recently, will have seen that the way in which our children are being taught is set to change. There will be new lesson structures, new exam types and potentially more school years to get through before the future generations are ready to hit the world of work. My post today is about smaller changes however.
When I was at school I don’t remember my mother ever being asked to come in and help with a trip or activity. This is probably just as well really as I am one of six siblings and the poor woman might as well have moved into school to save on travel time alone if she had needed to. I, on the other hand, am asked on a regular basis to help with cookery classes (weekly), school trips (several each term, not including the big end of year one), read with children, bake for the cake sales, help with stalls, bring in materials, sponsor, make costumes and a whole host of other tasks. Thank goodness for my Dodo Pad, without which I wouldn’t have a clue what my son needs on what day, or more to the point what I have to arrange, sort or pay for.
It simply isn’t possible for me to help out in the way that the school asks and I know that others struggle too. I work full time from home and while I attend plays, class activities and help where I can, I simply cannot give any more time to school, especially as I pay for a child-minder twice a week for my youngest to give me extra working time. I am committed to my son’s education and school experience and find it frustrating to see the school and, in particular, the teachers stretched so thin.
My worry is that the government are clearly overlooking problems at ground level. Schools have had their funding cut, their teaching assistant numbers in some areas have had to be reduced and they are relying more and more on parent help and funds to give the children the learning experiences that they deserve.
My question for you today: Should the controversial and costly learning and exam overhaul go ahead when from our children’s first days at primary school, teachers are struggling with resources and available support?