Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Let’s start EDUCATING our children – Richard Kemp

by Ian Shires on 2 January, 2012

Came across this interesting Blog Post by Richard Kemp. I think he makes some very valid points. What do you think?

So now we know it. For the last 20+ years we haven’t been so much educating our kids as getting them to pass exams. They used to be the same thing – now they are not.

Everyone seems to be at it.

• Parents cheat by ‘helping’ kids with course work
• Schools cheat by teaching only to a strict syllabus
• Exam Boards cheat by selling information about exams to teachers prepared to pay to go to seminars.

Well let me apologise because some people don’t cheat. Children don’t cheat – they are just abused by the system. Lot’s of schools and teachers don’t cheat but they probably lose out as much as the kids do as other schools are seen to do better than them.

So now although it appears that results are getting better. Although we know children are working harder their level of education is being reduced because thy knowledge and imagination is being confined within ever narrower boundaries. We get people with A Level maths who have to go on maths courses before starting as an undergraduate. We have English students who cn onl spk in txt lng!

So what should we do about this? Scrap three things

School League Tables

This where it all started to go wrong. For more than 20 years now we have been churning out meaningless league tables which have failed to recognise the very difficult circumstances in which many children are brought up. There is little recognition of the fact that kids in nice areas who can go to nice schools with supportive mums and dads are likely to get further than children with the opposite experience.

Gullible parents have looked at the crude figures and have bought into it – often literally by buying a house in a catchments area of a perceived good school.

This has take away much of the initiative of teachers and has allowed far too many schools and teachers to coast. The didn’t need to be good teachers in some schools because they had the right ingredients for success

The National Curriculum

This Stalinist approach to education needs to be abolished. Every child matters because every child is different. Teachers used to be able to recognise this to a much higher level that they do now. Lessons would be crafted around the potential of the day. If it was snowing they might discuss the structure of snow in a science lesson and poetry about snow in English. Not now! The broiler house of education makes people try to achieve the same constants for lessons and therefore pupils across the system


Lastly we need to abolish this pretentious, useless organisation. About 4 years ago I did an inspection alongside an OFSTED team. What an incompetent shower they were. No wonder they were no longer teachers – they wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in front of a class. Instead they behaved little Hitler’s inside the authority they were supposed to be helping.

All this cheating has passed by the over paid inspectors of OFSTED who have been happy with an extremely tick box approach to their work

What would I put in the place of all this? Teachers who have been enabled and encouraged to work with their children to provide a good high quality and ROUNDED education, which could be assessed by real examinations.

The end result of the education process should be people who want to learn, who know how to learn and have learnt. They are rounded individuals who have been given skills for life. Too often we produce narrow minded weak intellects who have travelled down unimaginative railway lines of learning and add little to our society

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