Who does not love learning something new? I know I do and these days we have so many opportunities to satiate our lust for learning. Alas for most children they do not get to learn very much as they go to school. Why this is still the case remains a mystery. There can be no logical reason for herding children together who have nothing in common other than the fact that they were born around the same time and live in the same area. It is a patently silly idea that has never worked and never will work. Successive governments keep coming up with some novel idea they claim will make it work – usually involving doing more of what is not working now… more testing, longer hours, shorter holidays etc.
Fortunately here in the UK one need not bother with such nonsense. The law requires that parents provide their children with a suitable education. This can be in any form that suits the child and the family. Attendance at school is not a legal requirement. The original thinking was that there would be an education service along the lines of the health service – available to all as and when required.
A good school, in short, is not a place of compulsory instruction, but a community of old and young, engaged in learning by co-operative experiment.
Such a radical idea was crippled by the machinations of the church, existing school system and the limitations of post war funding and was, alas, never realised in the 1944 Education Act and that “triumph for progressive reform” was a pallid interpretation of what was envisaged and possible.
One looks forward to the day when the nonsensical schooling system is disrupted and we can start to build something better.
While heading in to town with my unschooled daughter we had a chuckle at a poster that had appeared by the bus stop…
The Truancy The Facts website mentioned on the poster links back to the Manchester City Council site. Alas their school education appears not to cover [wikipop]proofreading[/wikipop] and so they happily start a sentence with And and insert, random commas which, make no sense at all and a trip to the website reveals some bizarre paragraphing:
The Guardian’s [W:Ben Goldacre] piece today threw up some interesting links. The VoteMatch site is like an online dating service for you to be matched to your ideal local candidate. One particularly taxing question was the old tax breaks for educating children outside the school system….
I remain open minded about such things. While the BNP were in favour the Lib Dems (my ideal match apparently) were not…
It looks like a close call between Lib Dems and Greens but the local Green chappie, a teacher, has ruled himself out with a leaflet that promises to protect the education system; which is about as un-green a system as one could possibly devise.
It seems to me that the home education community (whoever they are!) lack a certain degree of imagination in their protestations against the [W:Badman Review]. “They sign those petitions ’til they’re sad in the face. And still they seem to be getting no place.” So “If public policy gets on your nerves. And no one pays attention to you” all you need to do is get naked!
What you have to do is what the [W:Doukhobor] did….
Last weekend threw up an interesting contrast. On Radio Three’s Private Passions available on iPlayer (until 6th December) Bill Bailey described his schooling (the independent King Edward’s School, Bath) where his talents were recognised and encouraged. On the other hand since her first audition for the X Factor:
one felt that Stacey Solomon had somewhere along the line been failed by the school system. Is the King Solomon High School (motto: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14) really meeting the requirements of Section 7 of the Education Act 1996? If you delegate the education of a child to the mass schooling system do you have any redress when that system fails the child. As Ms Solomon enters the X Factor semi-finals (and, one hopes, ultimate victory) one can only wonder at the countless other children who have been failed by such a piss poor system. If only there were some form of education otherwise than by schooling….