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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Primary school education.

Never far from the news.

Parents up and down the U.K. always have their say on their child's education, never is this more true than on their child's primary school education. In these times of SATS, which are ridiculous for children under 11 years old as they prove nothing, nothing is more ridiculous than forcing children to sit tests. Tests that could determine their entire working future. Children of that age mature at different ages and alongside that maturity comes the ability to soak up that which they are being taught, therefore, making them sit for tests is an exercise in futility.

During the 1980's games where seen as a bad thing as they, they said, fostered a winning personality. Taking part became the mantra is better than winning. Most sensible parents debunked this mantra. Nowadays children are vilified for being lazy none games playing children. The truth behind this is that it was the government that stopped our children playing energentic games.

Again during the 1980's the governments educational policies frowned on children's creativity. Most primary and secondary schools removed everything to do with creativity from the schools daily work load. Again it was the governments educational policies that dictated this should be so.

Pre-school and primary school children need a lot of 'playtime' to help in soaking up the energy levels they all have. Added to this they need an avenue for their build in creativity. Both of these activities were removed from the curriculum during the 1980's. Perhaps more accurately they were squeezed out due to the curriculum being overcrowded.

Over the course of the last few years the Commons education committee has seen the folly or sheer stupidity of previous decades and is now coming out on the side of creativity for children. It has come as no surprise to sensible parents.

In 1964 I started preschool. The day consisted almost entirely on play. This play was punctured now and again with creative learning. In 1965 I started primary school. During the first term the format of preschool followed. During the second term the mornings consisted entirely on creative learning and the afternoon was playtime. During the third term, mornings were more mainstream, formal learning and the afternoons creative learning. During the fourth and final term the whole day consisted of formal learning. By the time one entered ones second year of primary education the scene was set for formal learning all day everyday. And so it went on until one reached secondary school age (back then that was 9 years old with 9 to 13 being junior school and 13 to 16 senior school) at which time at term end the children sat a test. This test determined what level the child started at at junior school. Once at junior school formal schooling continued until aged 12 or 13 the children sat another test which like the previous end of primary school test determined what level the child started senior school. The only important tests the children sat in those days were the A, O and GCE tests at the end of senior school years. Of course throughout a child's time at junior and senior school in those times peripheral tests were sat but these tests were more to determine what level the child would start at at the beginning of the following term.

The whole system worked fine and gave us some of the best brains this country has ever had.

This was from 1964 to 1976. Shortly after this the governments educational guru's started changing things for the sake of changing them. During the 1990's the government then blamed teachers for failing to deliver on changes the government themselves changed during the 1980's which the teachers did not agree with in the first place. Games playing was out. Creativity was out. It was a mess. And right in the middle of this mess was our children. Creative learning was out. The cane was out as was chastising unruly children. Is it any wonder we are now turning out more and more children that cannot read and write? Children that have no grasp of basic English? Nor mathematics? And children that have no grasp on general decorum?

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