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To wish that for two weeks school was just school

(115 Posts)
Flatoutnautilus Tue 01-Mar-16 00:35:09

Sorry, have to post this as perhaps I'm just being lazy...
Remember when school was just plodding along for a bit and making friends and working on in-school (!) projects, doing a bit of reading and the highlight was a school play?

When did schooling turn into the action packed and exhausting venture that it has now become with such a mind boggling array of themed days and events all of which seem to need parental involvement ?

In the last two weeks my kids (DS5 and DS6) have had spell-a-thon, raising £ for charity with chores, dress up Friday, gym presentation (two separate costumes needed), two school plays, two away matches, two out of school projects needing completion, a grandparents celebration breakfast, homework every night including 'grammar', spelling, maths and a bake sale. It's really the extracurriculars that drive me round the bend.

Perhaps some kids really need this high octane level approach to keep them engaged but I tend to think it must be an adult's view of what is interesting because neither of my two (& they are usually very enthusiastic about most things) can get keyed up about any of it so I spend my time trying to motivate them to participate while slightly sharing their view that it's all a bit unnecessary. Am I being a stick in the mud? Or is this rammed packed school diary of 'extras' just symptomatic of the hyper stimulated environment that we all live in now?

For two weeks a year I would really like to school to clear the decks on the diary front and just teach the kids without all the extras. Maybe even let them play around with the concept of boredom and see what happens...

ShanghaiDiva Tue 01-Mar-16 00:41:01

I agree.Dh and I had a new idea for school it was called 'work week' where the kids just spent the week doing lessons, no plays, no charity events, no talent contests, just lessons smile
Personally I feel sorry for the teachers as it must take a huge amount of time to organise and plan all these additional events.

Baconyum Tue 01-Mar-16 00:42:16

I agree!

Then they wonder why kids are leaving school with basic literacy and numeracy difficulties! I get kids need more than '3 r's' but it's gone too far the other way.

In my area which is a high unemployment high deprivation area with a lot of problems caused by poverty and associated issues the charity fundraising is a particular issue. Especially the type of days requiring costumes, a particular item needing to be worn! Few of the parents can afford to buy items or have time/ability to make costumes and the kids of these families then feel looked down on. Its the assumption that all the families can afford the 'its only a £1'.

Also the children would IMO benefit from more focus on actual schoolwork, the 3 R's, science, health and fitness, languages, non academic subjects (cookery, woodwork etc) should be more than enough to keep them occupied.

Baconyum Tue 01-Mar-16 00:43:42

Shanghaidiva you're right, I've several friends who are teachers and these things are ON TOP OF their paid for work. It's not the teachers that come up with it!

fuzzpig Tue 01-Mar-16 01:03:09

YANBU, when my DCs were at school (they aren't now as we home ed due to other issues) it was insane. They couldn't cope with all the extras on top of a full day at school (probably ASD related) and it always cost a lot too. As a parent with a disability we often had to say no to things that I couldn't get them to (or risk making myself more ill) but even so there was very little time to just chill

SoThatHappened Tue 01-Mar-16 01:07:44

When I was at school, charity events were once or twice a year. A nativity play at christmas and that was that.

Does seem a bit ridiculous. they are there to learn.

Euphemia Tue 01-Mar-16 02:45:50

I like my school's approach.

"What do we want to do for World Book Day?"
"Each take a group in the afternoon and read them our favourite story?"
"Sounds great!"

Job's a good 'un! grin

Baconyum Tue 01-Mar-16 02:49:15

Exactly! World book day = celebrate books/reading!

Katenka Tue 01-Mar-16 06:27:54

It's a nightmare. I am so glad dd went a to secondary as ds started primary.

Although we did get a new head in January last year and she held meetings with parents. And asked why the participation in things was so low. Everyone said because there is too much. The summer before I had spent at least 2 mornings a week at the school for various events for 6 weeks. I work from home so could most parents can't take that time off.

We also pointed out that the parents assembly was great, but an hour and a half was too long.

The new head took it all in board and things have been reduced massively.

The old head used to stand up at events and thank parents for attending, then start banging on about parents who don't attend and how they didn't support their kids education. But at least we did shock

justwondering72 Tue 01-Mar-16 06:34:46

Have to agree. We are in France and public schools here do nothing but teach. No sports teams, no musical productions, no choirs, no crafts based homework. There are fundraising sales every term, but it's just the PTA equivalent selling a snack and drink to the children as they leave the school - no extra work for parents. The younger ones do a singing / dancing show at the end of the year, but the costume is never more complicated than 'a white t shirt with a coloured scarf'. Oh and Mardi Gras once a year, but that's just coming to school in fancy dress of choice (or not) and parents provide crepes.

As well as being less high octane for the children, it means that teachers can actually have a life. DH was a teacher in the uk, never again. Here, teachers work hard but they also have a lunch break every day and, in secondary, are only required to be in school when they are teaching a lesson. When DH was in the uk, lunch breaks were for working as were evenings and 0830 to 1700 every day. It's too much.

ArmchairTraveller Tue 01-Mar-16 06:39:40

As a teacher, I completely agree with you.
I sometimes get a bit tired of the three-ring circus and added sideshow approach for every week. Yes, it's a hyperstimulated environment and sometimes the learning is fragmented rather than enhanced.
There are currently studies ongoing to see whether children's ability to concentrate for sustained periods is being eroded in the 21st century, along with their resilience when faced with failure or challenge without immediate rewards at every stage. Not just in schools, but in their everyday lives.
It's a whole new world from 30 years ago.

greenfolder Tue 01-Mar-16 06:47:45

Our lovely head (at an outstanding ousted school just to show that bloodt ofsted requirements are no excuse) is strict. One dress up per term usually related to the topic the kids are doing. These are the same each year so there is a ready supply of stuff available, dc3 is ladt child so her costumes go to friends in lower year. One parent assembly per term. Xmas play is the evening once kids are in year 3. Assembly is in the morning and done by 9.30. Open classroom at the end of term, about half parents go. It's a good balance. My older kids lower school was nuts and I remember the stress even now.

greenfolder Tue 01-Mar-16 06:48:30

That should read ofsted not ousted altho that has a ring to it

Mistigri Tue 01-Mar-16 06:52:53

My kids go to French schools where lessons are lessons, and homework is for the student not the parent...

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 01-Mar-16 06:53:33


adreamworld Tue 01-Mar-16 06:55:57

What's wrong with 'grammar' homework?

Mistigri Tue 01-Mar-16 07:00:35

What's wrong with grammar homework?

Quite aside from the debate about whether homework is necessary at primary school, I imagine the OP's gripe is that if they spent less time at school doing fun stuff, there would be more time to do the grammar exercises at school.

I think one of the big issues with schools spending too much teaching time on this sort of thing is that learning gets delegated to parents, not all of whom may be able or willing to help. This increases the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged.

camelfinger Tue 01-Mar-16 07:07:46

I don't have school aged children but I am exhausted just reading your post. I wholeheartedly agree, although the homework seems reasonable. I think children should be educated in economics with regard to charity fundraising so they realise that £50 raised from a bake sale ought to at least acknowledge the hours spent in making the goods. I think there should be a campaign on this - I like the fact that it's just two weeks uninterrupted!

SoupDragon Tue 01-Mar-16 07:17:38

All I can say is that the OPs school sounds nothing like ours.

barnet Tue 01-Mar-16 07:22:35

We have one day dressing up in 4yrs, to celebrate when you've been at school 100 days. 1 play at christmas, 1 day raising money a year. (In norway). No school sports teams, no sportsday, no modelmaking, no projects at home. The kids are icefishing today though, no extra hassle for parents though, they are sitting at the lake all day. It is certainly peaceful at school here, they absolutely know boredom. Not much going on academically. But there is alot to be said for stressfree days (for both parents and children)

acasualobserver Tue 01-Mar-16 07:24:09


Parents, if you don't like it - and you shouldn't IMO - then start complaining to your child's school.

CamboricumMinor Tue 01-Mar-16 07:24:42

It sounds nothing like my DC's school either. One did nothing, the other got the children to agree on a book that they would use as a class (Charlie and the Chocolate factory) and they did their English lesson based on that. They didn't dress up or anything.

BadgersNadgers Tue 01-Mar-16 07:25:13

Ours is the same. There's always something -- to fork out for-- going on, often several events in one week. My current bug bear is the half hour swimming lesson which takes an entire afternoon! Mind you, at least at this school they do actually do some work - at DS1's old school they watched a DVD every Friday afternoon until the school moved to an asymmetric week.

SqueegyBeckinheim Tue 01-Mar-16 07:25:43

Twelve months ago DDs school got a new HT, and suddenly the endless hoopla of special days and project based homework ended, and it's bliss. They are doing world book day dress up this week, but I don't mind because it's the first time this academic year there's been a dress up day, other than a couple of charity fund raising mufti days. The HT reason for stopping all the nonsense was that the children were losing a ridiculous amount of learning time each year to it, I don't think a single parent has complained.

manicinsomniac Tue 01-Mar-16 07:29:35

It sounds like you are talking about an independent prep school? (away matches and large amounts of formal homework for Y1 and 2)

Apologies if I've got the wrong end of the stick but, if you are, then that kind of environment is, ime, what most of the parents are paying for. I teach performing arts in a private school and, tbh, my teaching could be better. 90%+ of my time and energy id focused on the 'added extras' - 20+ productions a year, LAMDA, dance clubs, performing arts choir, choir and dance tours, theatre trips, scholarship prep, talent shows, house competitions etc etc etc. The actual curriculum almost seems to take a back seat on occasion (apart from examined subjects obviously) and that is what parents seem to want. (I'm not complaining about that btw, I absolutely love it!) The sports, music and art departments are exactly the same; massive focus on the education outside the classroom. The there's all the charity events, themed days, trip etc that you describe.

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