Lack of choice in STYLE of education

(15 Posts)
astoundedgoat Fri 30-Nov-18 09:36:05

Does anyone ever feel cheesed off with the "one size fits all" education here?

We've changed primary school a couple of times (we moved city and then came back) and I feel so disillusioned with mainstream education.

My children are NT, reasonably bright, nice kids, but they don't find school especially inspiring and I find the curriculum to be dull, with only the barest gesture towards languages or art (although music is good). They enjoy seeing their friends. That's about it.

I have thought about home education but apart from not really wanting to jerk them about again with another change, that's not really the point - my point is that I don't like that there is one standard style of schooling, which everybody is expected to roll in with, while schools are squeezed to death financially by cuts, and other countries do things differently with demonstrably better results. But we slog along with the longest school year in Europe, less and less cash, dull and homogeneous curricula and not great attainment.

I feel that private secondary might be the answer for my kids when the time comes, and my city has one or two good small schools that fit the bill, but like home ed, I feel that I shouldn't have to - the state should provide the range of choice and high standard for all kids, not just the few who can afford private.

I don't know what I want to achieve with this thread. I'm just feeling grumpy about it.

(I also wish there was a Steiner school in my city - I wish we had CHOICES).

OP’s posts: |
Fairgroundtoast Fri 30-Nov-18 10:10:40

I agree completely. However I can't see it changing until Ofsted is scrapped. Schools have to focus on English and maths results in order to achieve the results to get good or outstanding Ofsteds. They do not have enough time to do all the lovely arts etc. Ofsted needs to disappear and then a broader curriculum will certainly be provided.
I dread to think how much worse teenage and then adult mental health will be affected before things change.

Crusoe Fri 30-Nov-18 10:17:15

I agree. There is a one size fits all approach to education that just doesn’t work for some children.
I have a square peg that mainstream school tried to force into a round hole. They ended up damaging the peg.
We had to relocate for the right school.

Racecardriver Fri 30-Nov-18 10:20:18

I’m not sure what you expect. The state education system is crumbling. Too many children and not enough money. If you don’t like it put them in private or homeschool. The government provides a basic education so that no children go without. It’s really not thegocetnments job to do anything beyond that. They make sure that children’s basic needs are met when parents would fail todo so. If you want your children to have something more than a basic education then it’s your responsibility to provide it.

Switcherpoo Fri 30-Nov-18 12:06:14

@Racecardriver "a basic education" is not what I pay my taxes for. Our children are entitled to a comprehensive education and it's our choice how we expect that to be delivered. Through state funded, private or home education.

If OP wants education delivered in a specific style, then this is how you supplement the learning they do at school. This is the part you play as their parent.

TimeWoundsAllHeals Fri 30-Nov-18 12:16:21

This is more or less why I want to homeschool. I want an education that is tailored to my kids as individuals.

We’re used to so much being individualised because modern IT makes that possible cheaply at scale but education, health etc have a long way to go to catch up.

RedRoseReb Fri 30-Nov-18 12:16:50

I agree with Op and Racecardriver!

I'd like better for my children but I acceot in the world of universal state education we have to compromise.

There are quite a few parents I know who think school work is all a bit too much for their kids. I would like a more old fashioned style with a bit of academics in high school as it would suit my kids more! But I realise it alienated some in previous generations.

Funnily enough I'd never send my child to a Steiner school!

State comprehensive education has to be a massive compromise.

We just try to do reading/talking about the things we are interested in at home.


SaltPans Fri 30-Nov-18 12:23:49

DS went to primary school before the literacy and numeracy hours came in. He was at the top of his class in both. He loved the history, science, etc in the timetable in those days. Once, they were squeezed out for the literacy and numeracy hours, he was bored, because he could already do the literacy and primacy. By age 7, his reading age was 11!

Actually, IMO parents are quite reasonable to expect our education system to be more like other countries, where children go to kindergarten with an emphasis on play up to 7. Afaik, there is no evidence that it is better for our children to have so much emphasis on reading and writing from reception; and actually there might be less mental health problems in our children and young people, if there was not so much emphasis on testing!

RedRoseReb Fri 30-Nov-18 12:29:33

Ok. I'm in a different part of UK. My kids haven't been taught to the test. Any in school testing has been kept quiet about, kids don't get their marks.

We still have a one size fits all system but I think possibly more kids let down at the lower attainment end.

Racecardriver Fri 30-Nov-18 12:59:19

@switcherpoo the British public does not pay enough taxes to cover spending. Your tax payments don’t entitle you to anything. At best you pay taxes to pay off debt incurred by past governments.

4point2fleet Sat 01-Dec-18 10:09:16

Choice of style wouldn't actually work though, unless there was a huge redundancy in the number of school places.

If a city had a Steiner school, a traditional academic school, a Montessori, a Sikh school, and an Arts bases school (for example), it would be fine in a year where 20% of parents happened to want each type of school. However, in a year when 80% of parents wanted the Montessori, the Government would have to fund the empty planned places in the others to keep them going and available for the next cohort to have the same choice.

Unless you feel some teachers from the traditional school could just pop over to the Montessori school and quickly re-train?

We used to live in Slough at a time when a Sikh free primary opened. Families not of that religion were only offered that school as it was the one with places. Given that the plan was for the entire curriculum to be based around the faith, it caused a bit of a furore.

As the system stands, were there allowed to be different 'styles' of schools, families would have to be ready to accept a style not of their choice.

TimeWoundsAllHeals Sat 01-Dec-18 10:23:14

Given the information on social media it would probably be fairly easy to estimate demand for each school type. I’m sure it would get slated by privacy campaigners but I don’t see why if people selling apps and phones get to use information that way that the school system shouldn’t do the same kind of market research.

user789653241 Sat 01-Dec-18 13:41:09

I am not sure, some aspect of it I do agree. But others, if your child is interested, it's so easy to supplement school work/topic fairly easily at home these days, through millions of free/fee paid online resources.
My ds is very able in maths, so he is under challenged in that subject, but everything else, he is enjoying and inspired by school pretty much in other subjects, and pursue on his own if he wants to learn more about it.

astoundedgoat Thu 06-Dec-18 12:08:49

Thank you for the replies - I take the point about the fluctuations of supply and demand.

If I was doing it all over again, I wonder if I would even consider opening my own school! Maybe I just read too many Chalet School books as a child... 🙂

I realise that small schools are financially precarious, but I still feel that especially at secondary, the giant schools that hoover up so many children could surely be broken down into academic high achieving, nurturing, sporty, arts & theatre, science etc.

I'm feeling torn about it right now because my younger daughter is flourishing socially but not being even remotely stretched (3 times tables were her only homework last week in Y3) and my older daughter is doing fine academically and everything is on her level, but she feels lonely and awkward. We moved back to our home city this year and I wish I hadn't been so quick to put them in school at all, to be honest. Maybe a year of home ed would have given us all some clarity!

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Thu 06-Dec-18 15:37:19

Well academic schools are grammar schools and hated by many. Specialist schools were introduced but again it involves selection. How do you run a catchment area with specialist schools and who pays for transport when you live miles away but prefer an arts school? It’s a very expensive model and the truth is we cannot afford it.

Few parents pay sufficient tax to educate their children. Your taxes also pay for all sorts of things.

I have always been impressed with the breadth of the curriculum in schools that I know. It’s true the best prep schools have a broader arts and science curriculum but the state schools I know are not spending all day teaching to Sats. Far from it.

When I was young we spent all morning cramming for the 11 plus. The afternoons were spent doing art, sport or a bit of music and history. We did no science at all!!! No geography either but we had Bible stories. Be careful about thinking education in years gone by was great. It wasn’t. I got to a grammar but was woefully under educated when I got there.

Ofsted and the National Curriculum are necessary. It’s up to schools to have a varied and stimulating curriculum and it’s perfectly possible. Ofsted want children to make progress and have first class teaching. They like a varied curriculum and extra activities. They certainly don’t just look at results.

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