One of the primary tasks of parents is to bring up their children to enter adulthood with the best possible options. A good educational foundation is fundamental to this objective. But achieving this without manipulation can be the hardest task any of us can take on, as failure is a collective disaster.
At this time of year with exams looming the focus on academic achievement becomes more intense. Our teaching resources, responsible for the educational process are being equally examined. Targets have to be achieved to prevent retribution by OFSTED. And common with a relegated football team the recovery for a school classed as “improvement required” becomes an all-consuming vortex. Key players (teachers) seek to pursue careers elsewhere and supporters (parents) become less compassionate.
A school that is in trouble can recover but it is not an easy task. The quest to employ the best teachers to induce the requisite educational standards can become insurmountable. Why join a struggling school and suffer undue stress that any recovery will entail. The temptation for any school in this situation is to bend the rules. Children do not then become educated but merely taught how to pass tests and exams. Targets are met, schools become reclassified and students are cast into the wide world with a very narrow band in their knowledge.
The growth in the number of tutors is a further indication of what is going wrong. Children only require tutors if their educational progress is sub standard. Is this the fault of the school, the teacher or the system? And then the question of social equality. Affluent parents can afford to potentially correct any failure in their child’s ability, poorer parents cannot. But the bottom line is why the fault occurred in the first place. Schools have a job to do and need the best teaching resources and a relevant curriculum to achieve it. Targets are a cover up that masks the true achievement. Manipulation of the facts through skilled drilling in exam techniques masks the lack of depth in a child’s education. The school may appear progressive the reality is they have disguised the truth. The performance pressure may be reduced but the school is producing children ill equipped for the future.
Lord Winston announced he is reluctant to recruit individuals with a first-class honours degree. He feels they have spent so much time concentrating on the narrow band of a subject to achieve a first such graduates lack the broad brush education and failed to develop other interests at university. This epitomises the “teach to test” and tutored exam techniques emerging at primary and secondary schools. Education is all about preparing children for adulthood. Careers and parenthood skills need to develop with the changing world in which we now live. It is pointless giving children a false impression of education merely to pass exams. If they lack the broad brush of learning their ability to adapt and progress will be severally limited.