primary schools - your ideal scenario

(85 Posts)

Mine would be home-schooling my dd(5) 2 days a week, so she can concentrate on doing the stuff she loves (and I miss her), and school the other 3 days. My ideal school would have one teacher per 8 children and the classes would be mixed ages and based on what the children were interested in.
I would also like the 3 days she does do at school to offer cover from 8 - 6 with imaginative and creative after-school clubs. I would also like the schools to interact with the wider community and help with litter clearing/weeding/fundraising.
The teaching staff would all earn at least c£50k per year and parents would be encouraged to come into the school and help out as required.
Academic success wouldn't be judged on exam results but on all round decent citizenship and usefulness to society.

What about you?

GetStuffezd Sun 22-Sep-13 08:13:48

I would open more schools for children with serious EBD and fill these with highly capable, caring, strong teachers who would get the very best from these children.

WidowWadman Sun 22-Sep-13 08:45:32

sarf - with all this being based on what the child is interested in, does that mean your ideal school would not teach the stuff a child is not interested in?

FWIW, my ideal school would be engaging and make everything interesting to the children - grouping by ability seems a good idea, to me too, as a way to keep children engaged.

I'm not a fan of home schooling - as a parent of course I have to work on backing up what my child is learning in school, but that's more of a support role. I don't think simply having born a child makes anyone capable of teaching as such, and again, only concentrating on what the child is interested in already seems not a good idea to me. Keeping a child out of school "because I miss her" seems a very selfish reason to home school.

WidowWadman Sun 22-Sep-13 08:49:18

Also this "Academic success wouldn't be judged on exam results but on all round decent citizenship and usefulness to society" surely is bollocks.

Someone's ability in maths should be surely determined on how good they are at maths, and not whether they're "decent citizens".
If someone is good as gold and well behaved but can't spell for toffee, they're good as gold and well behaved, but that doesn't mean that their literacy is any good.

Testing should be done in a way that kids can't just be drilled for the test, true, but your suggestion is madness.

stantonherzlinger Sun 22-Sep-13 09:07:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Thank you WidowWadman for helping me to fine tune my masterplan. Also this is my ideal so I can really be as selfish or as mad as I like in my own fantasy surely.
I do think that spending time with your own children, going to museums, parks, the beach are all opportunities to learn too. I learnt a huge amount from my own father about marine life and ecology just from walking our dog along the beach, and then going to the library.
When I said that lessons should be child-led, i didn't mean that they did nothing all day, I meant that the topic would be decided by the children, but would encapsulate all the other subjects. Maths, Science, English and History are all subject that primary school children can learn from maybe a topic of horses.
When I say 'Academic success wouldn't be judged on exam results but on all round decent citizenship and usefulness to society', I mean success at school wouldn't by wholly assessed on exam results. Lots of children leave school feeling a failure because they aren't academic, but are excellent leaders, networkers or facilitators.

noramum Sun 22-Sep-13 12:34:16

I want my ideal school to teach a well rounded curriculum, leaving my child with a decent general knowledge of the world, being able to know how to learn and that learning is fun. I want her to be prepared to deal with acquiring further knowledge herself when she is an adult.

I want to have decent outside space so teaching is not restricted to the classroom.

I want to know what is going on and what they learn so I can support and intensivy at home. Actually I want her to have homework.

They should teach about society so children should know what life is about, especially if you live in the lovely white middle-class bubble. But I don't want them to be involved in any kind of community setting as a default, that's my job as a parent.

My job is also to share my world with her, taking her to places and to make her a well-rounded polite and criticall thinking person. School should support especially the latter.

I want no tests if the test is to test the school. I would prefer what I know from my school days in .germany, having regular exams throughout the school year, giving a better view about the child's ability and also make the parents aware where problems are. Two parent evenings a year are just not enough.

School is preparation if life and that means no mollycoddling but teacng them to have own goals, visions and how to achieve them. But also to learn that the world has rules and you are a part of society as well as an individual.

WidowWadman Sun 22-Sep-13 12:46:18

sarf - believe it or not - we do this stuff with our kids, too, and believe it's important. At weekends and days off.

Of course you can be as selfish as you want to be in your own fantasy, but that doesn't make it any less selfish.

cherrytomato40 Sun 22-Sep-13 12:52:00

No spelling homework for 5yos.
Class sizes of 15 max.
Sport/outdoor activties every day.
Art/crafts every day.
A lot more time for just learning through play, all the way through primary school. I loved the reception year for DD, she was so happy and stimulated, now all of a sudden year 1 is too much change, too quickly in my opinion.

I don't really know why you are being so arsey about this widow this is just meant to be about my ideal primary schools and others as well.

I agree cherry I may even make my fantasy primary school start at 7.

Lottiee Sun 22-Sep-13 14:59:48

In that case: THIS would be your perfect school

http://familyschool.pbworks.com/w/page/19600204/FrontPage

Adikia Sun 22-Sep-13 17:18:41

I have to say I'm not a fan of home education either, I think there are some things that children need to learn at school which they can't learn at home (how to be away from their parents and the independnce they gain from that, how to make friends, how to handle that kid they don't get on with etc.) but the 3 longer days a week does sound like it coud work so long as you are a good enough teacher, patient enough and strict enough to actually make sure it works, I'm not so it would never be an option with my 2.

My perfect schoool would start and finish a little later, not so I can get up later but because I live in the town center and walking DD through town when all the secondary school kids are trying to get to school can be hard work!

Other than that it would only have teachers who genuinely care about getting the best out of each child and encouraging their individual strengths rather than just getting them to do well in the subjects the school are judged on.

The perfect school would challenge my children but have the balance just right between challenging and too hard and would find ways to make learning interesting so my children actually enjoy their lessons and would set homework that helps me reinforce the lessons at home. They would also have lots of opportunities for children to learn skills like cooking, gardening, music and art/craft and do lots of hands on lessons and relating things they've learned to the real world rather than just knowing the answers for a test.

They would also give at least 2 weeks notice for any costumes/events and make sure they actually gave me the letters not let DS shove them into the blackhole in the bottom of his school bag and forget about it until 5.29pm the day before!

Apart from the start time and letters in DSs bag both my DCs schools are pretty close to my ideal scenario tbh.

I like the idea of home-schooling especially as dd is 5 and a joy to be around most days, (and I can answer most of her questions too) but I fully accept that it would get harder as she gets older. Lottie Larkshall family school linked above looks great, but I would need a second job to afford the fees! I love the ethos that children naturally want to learn, and the teachers are there to help. Norasmum I agree with a lot of your comments, I actually like homework as I like to get involved and can enforce that learning is interesting and fun.
I also agree with you Akidia on cooking, gardening, music and arts and crafts.

friday16 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:06:10

When I said that lessons should be child-led, i didn't mean that they did nothing all day, I meant that the topic would be decided by the children, but would encapsulate all the other subjects. Maths, Science, English and History are all subject that primary school children can learn from maybe a topic of horses.

Oh good, a combination of Summerhill and the worst excesses of 1970s "project" based timewasting learning. What could possibly go wrong? People who actually want their children to be educated flee in droves, leaving behind a rump of those whose parents can't or won't do anything about it plus a few terminal hippies. If you want a Steiner School, you know where they are: most people don't.

Gracie990 Mon 23-Sep-13 10:46:00

I think a half day Friday would be good, I'd like to do a homeschool afternoon. Time to focus on my child's interests, weekends just fly and a Friday trip out would be lovely. ( museums would be less busy on a Friday afternoon)

Otherwise I think school is great for children and I wouldn't be able to offer the independence and balance school does.

friday these are just my fantasies, I was just interested in what kind of schools parents would like if they could have anything at all. I'm not going to start lobbying parliament.

thegreylady Mon 23-Sep-13 11:05:11

My dgs school is pretty near ideal to me. It is a little country school with about 90 pupils in 4 split age classes. They have a small area of woodland and a big field as well as some rustic playing equipment. It has the most caring ethos ever and each child is treated as an individual. I once went to pick up dgs2 from nursery and found the HT turning one end of a skipping rope and teaching the dc some of the old skipping rhymes.
One criticism would be no male teachers but the after school clubs are run by coaches from local sports clubs. Parents are always welcome and the dads get as involved as the mums.

WhatWillSantaBring Mon 23-Sep-13 11:09:42

Being a former spod (gosh, that's a word that's dated!) I would like a school where academic excellence is prized, not mocked, and the brightest kids get led (not pushed) to the fullest extent of their abilities.

But also any other areas of acheivement, be they sporting, artistic, good citizenship, or just trying really hard are all recognised and rewarded.

And interesting teachers who had lives before teaching. My most outstanding memories from primary school are of my French teacher, who was one of Monty's desert rats. We could (and did) distract him for hours talking about the war. And could get him to digress onto ancient greek or latin at the drop of a hat.

Actually had this all at my primary school. Talking to my dad about schooling the other day, and the lack of choice round us, and he said he found the same.... so started his own school, found an inspirational head, and got us all the education he wanted us to have!!

mintgreenchilli Mon 23-Sep-13 11:14:53

Mine would have finance lessons that begin simplistic, e.g. all the shop role-play stuff they do in the EYFS, building up to managing pocket money and a budget through primary school, then learning about taxes, bills, savings, mortgages etc. in secondary school and getting more and more complex so by the time one leaves at 16 to go into a technical skills role or further training they are ready and know why earning money is so important.

One lesson a week pretending you're spending money as a real adult - that would be very useful.

lljkk Mon 23-Sep-13 11:34:57

There's a style of teaching mostly thru role play, forget what it's called, but the teacher explains to the class who everyone is in the role play & they all take up their part and practise skills like writing reading & math as part of their roleplay. Brilliant. I'd have loved that for Dc under yr3.

Class sizes around 22-26 (which we have anyway). But a TA in every class as well as qualified teacher (which we don't have).

Perihelion Mon 23-Sep-13 12:12:24

Gracie990 schools in Edinburgh finish at lunchtime on a Friday grin.

jojane Mon 23-Sep-13 12:30:33

The DCs school is really good, each classroom has a patio outside area and lessons are very free flow around the different areas so the class is split into different groups and they will spend some time in the creative area, some time in the classroom and some time outside. The grounds are lovely with little woodland walks and log circles as well as nature gardens, and out door play stuff - reading hut, sand pit, climbing wall, obstacle courses, builder play stuff with foam bricks, play cafe etc. inside the classrooms are probably a little on the small side but there are several TAs in each class as well as the teacher.
If anything I would prefer the teachers to be there a bit more and do less admin/ other stuff .
It's a state school and they have been brilliant with ds1s special needs, there are other children at the school with physical needs and they did a lot to adapt the school before they even were awarded a place!
The head teacher is a bit scary buy lovely, she knows all the children's names, there are about 200 kids.

Gracie990 Mon 23-Sep-13 12:43:32

I need to move to edinburgh!

choceyes Mon 23-Sep-13 12:53:15

I like my ideal primary school to be in a city, with lots of kids of different nationalities attending (pretty close to what we have actually!) and lots of interesting things to do nearby after school.

I'd like the children to learn different languages. I'd like a school that encourages those that are bright and help those that are less able (most schools do this anyway I'm sure). I'd like it to nurture the children, respect them and look after their emotional development too. I'd like them to serve healthy school meals with proper plates and cutlery, not the prison style platter thingies.

And yes more male teachers and half day Friday (only because I'm off on a Friday anyway!).

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