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

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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

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!).

IsabelleRinging Mon 23-Sep-13 13:07:57

My ideal school would have

About 12 in a class,
A lovely field and gardens to play in,
It's own kitchen where children are served a delicious,nutritious and balanced meal,
A cleaner which ensures the classroom is spotless every night,
Endless resources to enhance the learning, computers, art materials etc,
A PE lesson or exercise every day,
A curriculum which is relevant to a child's developmental age and devised by learning psychologists not the government, and is without political influence.
Specialist teachers for Music/art/languages,
Special staff for creating displays and assisting the teacher with admin and resource preparation so the teacher can concentrate on teaching and planning lessons.
A TA for every class (of 12) to support children who struggle or need further stretching.
Children who behave well and want to learn and different provision for those that hinder other's learning.

chocoluvva Mon 23-Sep-13 13:44:03

One class per year group. 12 per class.

The teachers would value education for its own sake.

Every day at least one lesson would be taken by a specialist teacher - peripatetic - art, music, P.E, drama and cookery.

There would be a school vegetable patch.

The school would publish an annual magazine, comprised of mostly pupils' work. The senior children would produce it.

The building would not be open-plan.

No time would be wasted lining up (no need as small numbers)

Worksheets would rarely be used.

The children would be encouraged to play outside when it snows and allowed to go out in the rain at break and lunch time if they wanted to.

There would be a fabulous library.

The children would not have to waste time 'evaluating' their work.

The teachers would be encouraging and fun with cheerful personalities. Every child would feel valued and cared about.

Probably lots of other things too!

Small classes, vegetable gardens, fields, libraries, art rooms, languages, music lessons, it all sounds so lovely. I also really like the idea of the finance lessons too.

I wonder whether we could make the school day longer to match our working hours, but give them a 2 hour lunch, with clubs at lunchtime and after school. I'd have lots of singing and dancing too.

NotAsTired Mon 23-Sep-13 14:27:02

Small classes (no more than 15), no homework but parents kept informed of what being taught and perhaps suggested activities, a love of learning in children, a positive attitude towards achieving, a nurturing environment so that chn feel taken care of and take care of each other.

Clean toilets. Healthy dinners.

Definitely learning through play until year 3, more cultural visits, more visitors coming to school talking about/showing stuff.

ZutAlorsDidier Mon 23-Sep-13 15:01:12

I think it would be nice to weaken the "institutional" feel of schools by having longer days, large parts of which are optional; having non-teachers welcome to come in and out (this will be better once we have achieved the home / flexible working revolution, so I for instance rather than being stuck in an office 40 miles away would be a mile away and free to come in and use my break making carrot cake or playing music with them); also by giving people "education vouchers" that they spend through life when they wish so you get a variety of age ranges and a sense of school as an open resource (if you hate school when you are 12 you leave it until you want to come back again, instead of wasting everyone's time especially your own and regretting it when you are no longer able to access full time education; also by having school equipment (which we have all paid for) open at evenings and weekends to everyone (so we can use the gym or the hall or the computers or the playground or the art stuff); schools (not just infant schools) should have rest rooms (not lavatories) equipped with sofas you can recline on (dozing or reading) so that children can have a long day in school and have access to many different activities but still have some down time and be able to take advantage of later / earlier stuff without burning out; cheap meals for the whole community should be served in the cafeteria so that children feel a part of the working community, not alienated from it.
Strong pastoral care with emotional well being being considered as important as educational achievement or physical well being (I think this has come on a huge amount already)
Well equipped libraries and time to spend reading
musical instruments and teachers

chocoluvva Mon 23-Sep-13 15:22:02

Yes - homemade, organic dinners. There would be no choice.

LadyEdith Mon 23-Sep-13 17:14:28

Lovely home-made nutritious dinners eaten leisurely at laid tables with tablecloths, with all the children having beautiful manners and eating it all with no face-pulling or uuurgh sounds.

basilafawlty Mon 23-Sep-13 17:34:00

Attendance to be 100% voluntary with children able to attend as and when they and their parents wish (drop in basis).

ZutAlorsDidier I'd vote for you.

WidowWadman Mon 23-Sep-13 18:35:04

basilafawlty - wouldn't that scenario just leave those children behind whose parents simply can't be arsed to make sure they get an education?

These dream settings seem all well for children of SAHPs who have not only got the time but also the drive and ability to do plenty of stimulating things with their children. But if attendance is voluntary, it'd be also voluntary for children of parents who are not looking after their children's educational needs at all. I can see that ending badly and depriving children of chances they otherwise would have had.

(And before the OP moans again that she only wants to hear fantasies - how can you talk about them without thinking through the drawbacks?)

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Mon 23-Sep-13 19:18:42

Small classes, proper science facilities for all year groups not just year 6, not having to rush from one thing to another but having time to extend learning, large grounds, a swimming pool, running track, integrated ICT throughout, 3d printers, 1:4 ratio of adults:children, specialist teachers for languages, music, ICT, sport, outdoor education and stuff like Beavers/Cubs do, survival adventures, exploring. Oh the list is endless.

ommmward Mon 23-Sep-13 20:21:06

I'd be a Summerhill type if I had to choose some sort of close-to-ideal primary school for my children. Instead, I'm a smug home educating bastard.

ZutAlorsDidier Mon 23-Sep-13 20:22:48

WidowWadman, I see my plan as the opposite - a community facility open long hours that is a haven for children with shit home lives, that supports relaxing in a positive way between activities as much as the activities themselves - a place that welcomes adults who want to be positively involved but that provides somewhere safe and calm and conducive to positive activity to those who don't have adults at home who will do that for them.

On the other hand, formally dropping out of school (and retaining your vouchers for potential future use) would be an option. not dipping in and out - but leaving for a term and seeing how you like that (not much, probably, relative to the lovely schools I am wistfully planning)

Much as we are dealing in pipe dreams here I think dipping in and out would be nightmare for teachers. you can start algebra 101 when you are 11 or when you are 52 but once you start you have to keep going to all the lessons and doing all the assignments. But there would be support for the work.

MissBetseyTrotwood Mon 23-Sep-13 20:24:15

Any school that really, truly values each child as an individual and is able to adapt the curriculum to make it accessible and enjoyable for all.

our state primary school has garden and allotment, local /organic dinners, table cloths and naice homely atmosphere at lunches, outdoor learning, extra languages, dedicated pe teacher, clubs and activities galore, swimming pool, fantastic whole school atmosphere, excellent results. It really feels like we have won the state school lottery and I can't believe our luck. These schools do exist.

snowmummy Mon 23-Sep-13 20:53:39

It makes me quite sad how far removed real school life is to what I'd like my children to experience. Some good suggestions on here.

I'd have much more home-school partnership ... so certainly if you wanted to do something interesting and educational with your child one day or week you just would, and then there would be some mutually supportive communication and sharing about the child's experience including with their peers afterwards.
Curriculum would be much more based on children's developing interests.
A team of at least two teachers or other adults would work together to support each other and demonstrate real co-operation and team work to the children.

There would be about 15 children
Teachers and co-workers would be well paid
They would be well trained and supported, andt trusted in their professional expertise.
Good practice would be shared between teachers and schools.
Approachable advisers would replace inspectors.

There would be a breakfast and after school club with lots of free, interesting activities, including every child doing sport, playing an instrument, art, cooking etc.
Lunch would be a highlight of the day with free, nourishing food shared in a friendly atmosphere.
It would be a small village school in the heart of the community which most children could walk to.

Mindmaps Mon 23-Sep-13 21:11:18

Widow you obviously have no idea about home education, child led, autonomous or more home at school variety. Most studies show home ed CHILDREN are more socially competent, tolerant and socially minded than their schooled piers. They also have a higher university entry rate than the norm. Go figure.

WidowWadman Mon 23-Sep-13 21:18:12

Mindmaps - Whilst not a fan, I don't doubt with the right parents looking after their children's education it can work.

However, if talking about ideal schools only dreams up schools which cater for children from families where their educational needs can be met in that way, then either those dreaming them up are very naive or don't give a flying fuck about children from less privileged backgrounds.

I'd rather have a school system which caters for all children from all back grounds.

friday16 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:05:35

don't give a flying fuck about children from less privileged backgrounds.

Let them eat (home baked) brioche.

Most of the Home Ed studies just show that the non-SEN children of affluent, educated parents with a strong focus on education do better than average. Which is, I think you'll agree, completely astounding hmm.

As to children whose parents are illiterate, or speak no English, or left school at 12, or are alcoholic drug abusers, or are living chaotic lives with mental illness, well: as you say, who gives a flying fuck?

donttrythisathome Mon 23-Sep-13 22:05:45

Sarf, your school sounds like my ideal school too. I'd add lots of outdoor time, and adults as facilitators not teachers.

Mindmaps Mon 23-Sep-13 23:25:45

Many if not most people HE on very tight budgets as many have given up careers to do and are one income families actually. Also a high percentage have SN for many it's the main reason we HE actually.

friday16 Mon 23-Sep-13 23:32:34

For many parents, if they gave up their "career" (I believe that's middle class for "job") there wouldn't be one income in the house, there would be no incomes in the house. Can you think why that might be?

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 01:15:15

Not all schools within a system would need to be the same. There could be part-time ones for those who want to and can HE some of the time. There could be Montessori ones. Ones that skip all the child led early years stuff and focus on a traditional 3Rs curriculum. Suggesting a fantasy educational experience for your own child isn't the same as saying all schools should be one particular way. It's a shame we've lost sight of the possibility that education doesn't have to be one size fits all.

I'd have full time Montessori style until about age 7 and then a more academic approach from then. No uniform. Ad hoc wrap around care from 8 - 7. Plenty of outdoor space including fields and maybe a day or two a week of Forrest school. Also I'd have schools encompass at most 4 years before you moved up to the next one (I like middle school systems).

Classes small enough, or with enough TAs, for children to feel listened to and for no child to fall through the cracks.

WidowWadman Tue 24-Sep-13 07:09:11

emmeline - so how would a system work where attendance is 100% voluntary but only for some? Or the "education vouchers"? Would there be a sorting hat at the beginning to determine into which strand a child falls?

I love the idea of a sorting hat - let them have owls too - would keep the mice down in the fields.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 07:27:23

Parents choose which "strand" they wish to be in. Attendance at school is currently voluntary iand it seems to work quite well.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 07:28:30

Owls should be compulsory.

issynoko Tue 24-Sep-13 09:41:22

"The respect of parent's freedom to educate their children according to their vision of what education should be has been part of international human rights standards since their very emergence."

- United Nations Commission on Human Rights - 8th April 1999

FYI Flexi schooling is a life saver for some small rural schools. There is a famous example in Staffordshire (Hollinsclough) which has dramatically increased the number of children on its roll through offering a flexi option ensuring the continued existence of the school, at least for now. Elizabeth Truss/Michael Gove have issues - some understandably involving funding - others due to being woefully ill-formed about how it works. It might be that flexi-schooling options could take the pressure off over-subscribed urban schools too, although I appreciate the checks needed to make sure parents were able to fulfil their side of things would make it hard to enshrine this in policy.

issynoko Tue 24-Sep-13 09:44:49

"The respect of parent's freedom to educate their children according to their vision of what education should be has been part of international human rights standards since their very emergence."

- United Nations Commission on Human Rights - 8th April 1999

FYI Flexi schooling is a life saver for some small rural schools. There is a famous example in Staffordshire (Hollinsclough) which has dramatically increased the number of children on its roll through offering a flexi option ensuring the continued existence of the school, at least for now. Elizabeth Truss/Michael Gove have issues - some understandably involving funding - others due to being woefully ill-formed about how it works. It might be that flexi-schooling options could take the pressure off over-subscribed urban schools too, although I appreciate the checks needed to make sure parents were able to fulfil their side of things would make it hard to enshrine this in policy.

issynoko Tue 24-Sep-13 09:45:26


ZutAlorsDidier Tue 24-Sep-13 09:48:11

Widow, the "education vouchers" was me and it is a separate and very simple idea - you don't hold people in school who don't want to be there, and you put aside their entitlement to education till they are ready to use it - but as you seem to be pointing out, this does require that students commit to a course, and I agree with that (commitment that is. Unless every child has an individual tutor, there has to be some joint learning and that means people have to show up and do the work consistently. I think this is fine and not in any way oppressive)

PastSellByDate Tue 24-Sep-13 09:49:27

My DD1 is in Y6 and my DD2 in Y4 at our primary school and having had 6 years + of attending this school my views are these:

I'd like a school that worked hard to ensure every child could carry out all math calculations to 3 or 4 digits (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), and deal with numbers with up to 3 decimal places. I'd like a school which viewed it as normal for a child to leave with a reading age corresponding to chronological age.

These are in fact internationally basic standards - but elsewhere when children are struggling they're taken out of class (during low impact times - PE, Art, break/ recess/ lunch/ before or after school) and given extra small group or one on one tuition to help close the gap in learning.

I'd like a school that if they saw potential in a child would foster that - encouraging writing, research and study in an area of interest for that child or broadening it out (if popular) for the entire class to enjoy.

I'd like to see library visits being about supplying children with reading material rather than ticking the box we took 30 kids to the library - with no librarian and where kids check out books to each other chaotically and many leave with no book at all.

I'd like schools to put more emphasis on STEM subjects and try and cross-fertilize other elements of curriculum - history, guided reading, etc... Why hasn't the class been taught about the solar system? Why can't dinosaur's be taught? Why can't some of the reading children do be about this instead of always dreadful Biff & Chip.

I'd like a unit on the Romans to actually include working with Roman numerals, a visit to a Roman site, an experiment making Roman food and reading about Roman life (both fiction & non-fiction). Why not try and learn a few basic latin terms or learn to recognise some latin roots in everyday words?

I'd like resources for the national curriculum to be more freely available to both parents & school - and I'd like to better understand what is 'expected' in a given year.

I'd like the staff to own that curriculum, to absolutely understand what the national & international expectations for the age group they teach and be fired up to at least meet them if not exceed them.

Sadly pretty well none of this is happening at our school.

Groovee Tue 24-Sep-13 09:51:13

I love our half days on a Friday in Edinburgh. Midlothian/East Lothian/West Lothian all have half days too.

It gives up the opportunity to do things together and a bit of a longer weekend.

Theas18 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:59:43

In all this lovely fluffiness can I add the following?

Parents to ensure that all children are well behaved at school. And parents to be better behaved!

No suing the school when child fell off climbing frame or out of tree ( as we are encouraging active outside activity) or knocked a tooth out in rugby. Parents to hold own insurance for things like this. THis is how independent schools operate, and I believe we have paid something like a fiver at DS school for similar insurance. Of course the school has responsibility to make sure the matting the the play area is right etc but accidents do and will happen.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 10:30:28

Theas18 - There's nothing stopping you suing your independent school if you think they were negligent and some parents do, you just don't hear about it quite so much. The individual insurance your school insists on for pupils doesn't change their liability as an institution. If you want to change the culture of suing at the drop of a hat (and I'm not sure how much of a culture of that we really have) it's our legal system and its funding you need to change.

friday16 Tue 24-Sep-13 10:44:16

You're right, Emmeline, that there is nothing to stop people from bringing actions against independent schools.

However, there's a reason why the adverts for accident lawyers are in tabloid newspapers and ad breaks on ITV4 and not in the Guardian.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 11:08:44

And what do you think that reason is friday?

Theas18 Tue 24-Sep-13 11:23:55

Of course anyone can sue anyone but if you have insurance in place then the financial motivation to sue is less I would think? Or maybe that's just my " reasonableness" showing through- If I have the financial support from insurance,if say, my child needs if say they loose a tooth and need implants via the insurance why would I sue the school?

I do think this is an issue in how are kids are educated ( my kids are at state school BTW ). I'd want my kids at a school where climbing trees/throwing snowballs, and maybe even skidding on the ice wasn't forbidden.

friday16 Tue 24-Sep-13 11:35:35

That a few grand of compensation is of differential value depending on how affluent you are, and the getting of that compensation is seen in different ways in different social classes. If you can afford twenty grand a year in school fees, grubbing around in court in order to get a couple of grand in compensation is neither a worthwhile use of your time, nor something you'd want your friends to know about.

merrymouse Tue 24-Sep-13 12:33:35

(Steiner is nothing like Summerhill - they have almost nothing in common and home-ed these days can be anything you want)

Anyway, my ideal primary school would have lovely teachers who loved teaching (like the majority of teachers I have encountered), who would have some kind of time turner so that they could both be part-time and not have to job share. They would have plenty of qualified staff in school so that the teachers could say no to parent helpers if they weren't that helpful. Classes would be no more than 20, and as this is an imaginary school, the teacher would be able to provide enough attention to each child regardless of child's needs/available time. (Remember, teacher has time turner).

No SATS/testing as they seem to waste so much time. Everybody would just trust what the teacher said about each child (and they would obviously be able to pass on information in a way that enabled this.)

All classrooms would be very well organised and have plenty of space and light, while not having any noise problems.

Delicious school lunches served at tables with table cloths, plates, flowers and proper cutlery, with plenty of time to eat, and not too noisy.

The PTA would organise social events for parents and children, but no body would have to feel guilty about not being able to contribute during the working week. No fundraising necessary.

No computers in infants.

No special 'days' (e.g. world book day) or 'weeks' - just a good teacher and children having fun learning with sufficient resources in a calm, pleasant environment.

(As parents also have time turners, no need to offer extended hours).

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 12:51:30

Can I have a time turner? That would make motherhood sooo much better...

EmmelineGoulden Tue 24-Sep-13 12:52:03

I mean, even without going to your school.

CruCru Tue 24-Sep-13 13:40:31

Quite a lot of what some of you would like reflects Montessori principles.

I'd like

- no uniforms
- lots of outside playtime with things like climbing frames etc
- PE not just to be bloody ball games
- emphasis on being kind to each other.

hardboiled Tue 24-Sep-13 14:37:42

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.

Ahhhhh [sigh ] How exceedingly lovely are the fantasies of the bourgeois. Unfortunately, most people have to work for a living and full days at school are a life saver for them.

(Sigh) I also have to work full-time - if I didn't this wouldn't be my ideal or fantasy.

chocoluvva Tue 24-Sep-13 16:01:20

I agree wholeheartedly with "emphasis on being kind to each other"

The primary school my two went to was considered to be a good school, but the senior staff could not have been described as kind.

hardboiled Tue 24-Sep-13 16:07:38

So basically your ideal would be that every mother of a primary child in the uk gets two days off a week cause the ideal is that school is three days only and that includes cleaners, supermarket cashiers, nurses, admin assistants, teachers... everyone who couldn't pay for such amount of childcare time.
Well yes, I guess that is what we call a fantasy.

merrymouse Tue 24-Sep-13 16:10:31

I can only assume that if you started a thread about fantasy dinner party guests and included Einstein and Shakespeare some people wouldn't be able to get over the fact that they were dead.

chocoluvva Tue 24-Sep-13 16:10:39

That's the point of the thread! "ideal scenario"

chocoluvva Tue 24-Sep-13 16:11:27

My last post referred to HardBoiled.

ZutAlorsDidier Tue 24-Sep-13 16:13:41

I find it impossible to imagine my child being taught by someone whose name is not Mrs Johnson* because right now her teacher is called Mrs Johnson.

*name changed. [head explodes]

merrymouse Tue 24-Sep-13 16:21:41

As this is a fantasy thread it is equal opportunities. You can fantasise about spending a couple of days a week with your children whether you are a cleaner, a banker or a SAHM, or indeed sending them to boarding school from age 4. I imagine most people have fantasised about doing both at various times.

CruCru Tue 24-Sep-13 16:27:52

Also, the school would be right around the corner from my house.

WidowWadman Tue 24-Sep-13 19:48:33

merrymouse - fantasy dinner parties don't usually have an impact on others, unless you schedule it at the same time as someone else's fantasy dinner party and you both want Einstein.

Fantasy ideal schools don't work that way though, I think, as the scenario is bigger.

I also don't get what's so wrong about considering not only benefits but also drawbacks of one's fantasy.

ZutAlorsDidier Tue 24-Sep-13 20:30:52

"fantasy dinner parties don't usually have an impact on others" - unlike fantasy schools, which your children are now forced to go to, and let me guess, one of them needs firm boundaries and isn't good with open ended stuff and the other has asthma and pollen allergies and won't like all this outdoor stuff. WTF. IT'S A GAME.

WidowWadman Tue 24-Sep-13 20:41:24

Yes - it's a game, but what's wrong with thinking it through? Like, e.g. going back to your fantasy dinner party, thinking through how what combination of guests may lead to more or less fun or potential disaster?

In retrospect, maybe the compulsory owls should go.

hardboiled Wed 25-Sep-13 15:13:30

I guess I just get all realistic and grumpy when one discusses the ideal primary school which I read as "what would be the ideal primary education in the UK" ...something that affects EVERYONE. As opposed to what mi ideal dinner party would be... something that affects ONLY ME. So yes, I missed the point that this was about a personal fantasy and F the rest of the world. I just can't think of education that way. So there, I apologize for not getting what the game was about.

BTW, with 8, 10, even 12 kids per class, pray lucky when it comes to your child finding good friends, with common interests, with matching personalities... cause you've just reduced the odds.

Sorry hardboiled I should have made it clearer. I was just interested in what kind of school people would want for their children if they could have any kind of school in the world. My daughter has just started in Y1 and the fact that she is now part of a system that I have no control over freaks me out. This is why I fantasise about home schooling and such like.
Thanks everyone for joining in though - I've really enjoyed your posts smile

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