Last week, I attended my daughter’s school exam awareness programme. It was in effect, an outline of what the school expects my daughter and those in her year 9 group to achieve over the next three years as they build for the final exams.
Thankfully, it was but a mere hour long, but it was enough to leave me feeling depressed and concerned over my daughter’s future. Nowhere were the words: fun, enjoyment or happy used to describe the next three years of school life. Instead, we had words such as : commitment, excellence and work littering the hall as though anything but will send your child into damnation.
I am sure it has ever been thus, certainly it was heading that way whilst I was of school age, but it seems more than ever before, anything but 100 per-cent exam marks will be the ruination of your child’s future, or possibly the school’s reputation, which I think has more to do with this than anything else.
Labour’s Ed Milliband is now calling for children to adopt a different approach, citing his own schooling as “more than just how to pass exams”, saying “it taught people how to get on with each other, whoever they are and wherever they’re from.”
That’s fine, but it was his party that were in office for 13 years, with that mantra: education, education, education. But what sort of education were they talking about? I look around and I see teenagers who went through the educational system between 97 and 2010 and wonder what the hell did they learn at school?
Its not just the Labour Party, they are all at it. I know children who are attending fee paying schools costing a fortune and whilst the facilities are second to none, I struggle to find value for money. Yes, they may have a pass rate that exceeds the national average, but if that average is so contorted and construed into passing a system that affords them a university entry at any cost, I say it’s a cost too high.
My daughter’s mother naturally attended the school briefing, must be seen to show an interest and to be fair, that is about the extent of her interest. But it is comments like, ‘well, if she studied that little bit harder, paid a little more attention to the questions set she could make up another 20 per-cent of her marks.’
So, this has nothing to do about learning, this is all about knowing how to get through the school system, knowing how the exam papers are structured and the most effective means of making the grade.
I have no idea what the future holds for today’s children and sadly no answers on how best to effect change that would improve their quality of life. Its just a sad reflection of the times we live in.