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primary schools - your ideal scenario

(85 Posts)
SarfEasticated Sun 22-Sep-13 08:09:35

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?

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!

SarfEasticated Mon 23-Sep-13 13:58:32

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).

SarfEasticated Mon 23-Sep-13 17:42:36

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.

denialandpanic Mon 23-Sep-13 20:27:17

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?

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