New school league tables suck ass

"We don't need no education..."

With all its talk of putting secondary education in the hands for whom it matters – i.e. students, teachers and parents – the new league tables released today say otherwise. Clearly putting political weight behind “traditional academic subjects” it doesn’t bode well for kids who like to be hands-on. If there’s still kids in secondary schools similar to many of my classmates when I gained my GCSEs (and a GNVQ) almost 9 years ago, then not everyone is suited to being judged by academic subjects.

In fact, this complete reliance on “academic subjects” to judge our 16 year olds by smacks of idiocy. The UK has an employment climate where employers are looking for experience – that you’ve actually done or done something similar to the job (or part of the job) you are applying for. Vocational skills, or applied knowledge as I like to think of them, tend to be what matters these days.

I understand keeping an eye on achievement in English (or if you’re in another country, your national dialect) and Mathematics,  as those contain basic skills that you need in order to get by in life and employment. They form the root of many subjects, and have more applications then anything else a person can learn, because they are the key to learning more about the present, past and future of the world and new skills.

Sure, we need to know how capable schools are at teaching kids. We also need a national curriculum that enables children to play on their strengths and work on their weaknesses in a way that stops them from loathing the concept of education.

This snippet from a phone-in today on Radio 5 Live displays Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, completely missing the point that caller is trying to make: that we need to treat children as individuals with individual strengths, weaknesses and desires – is very telling. Why is it telling? Because despite all the Coalition’s talk about free schools, power to the people, Big Society, blah-blah – it still wants to be in control of a Nanny State acting like it knows best.

I’ve also noticed over the years how those of an obvious Conservative background detest subjects that they deem “soft”: the arts, media, design, other humanities  subjects (not history and geography) and ICT. They completely ignore that while some people may be brilliant at mathematics, often they can truly suck at acting. And so on. It’s also difficult for every single kid to be a polymath.

I understand that knowledge of a Modern Language, History and the Sciences is very important. They can help – when taught in a manner that a child responds to – enable individuals to live a fuller, richer life by understanding more of what is around them. But I don’t want the government to put subjects that kids are interested in by the wayside.

Really, our nation, our way of life, and thus our education system really sucks ass. All the government wants education to do is to manufacture the workers of tomorrow, rather than the thinkers of tomorrow. And this does no one any good when it comes to our long term future. So, I will leave you with a video of a talk by Sir Ken Robinson that examines this further.

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4 thoughts on “New school league tables suck ass

  1. The whole league tables thing only benefits the people able to move and choose specific schools for their child. For anyone else, it’s a slap in the face if their local school and only choice is one which is both economically and academically impoverished.

    In the end, it’s a mechanism for the status quo.

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