Another nail was hammered into the coffin of Education and the Family today. A short while ago I wrote a post explaining why teachers were striking sadly nothing positive has changed since that post. Today it was announced that Kirby would like to introduce 9-6 school days and holidays of only 7 weeks per year.
The benefit, it was claimed, is to help working parents slash the cost of childcare.
I’m sorry – I thought my job was to teach, to inspire, Obviously in reality I am a glorified child minding service. Here just to keep children occupied whilst the parents work. Unfortunately this proposal shows a complete lack of care to working teachers – who will collect our children at 6pm whilst I am minding yours?
However I see a more sinister purpose. This government don’t think you can parent your child. They don’t actually trust you to do that important job. Instead they want to take over feeding your child as they think you are not capable of providing nutritious healthy meals. They are worried about an obesity crisis you know. They want to take that basic function of feeding your family over. This is why reception children will be having free school dinners from next year. They are not doing you a favour, they are not thinking of you.
I have written previously about childhood disppearing this motion would eradicate childhood. Children would not have the time to play, they would be exhausted and it would be bedtime shortly after arriving home. Maybe this is the plan – it cuts even more family time down.
This government claim to be all about families, as this quote from Cameron in 2009 illustrates.
“Now I have always made it clear what I think about the family. I think families are immensely important… I am pro-commitment, I back marriage and I think it’s a wonderfully precious institution. Strong families are where children learn to become responsible people. When you grow up in a strong family, you learn how to behave, you learn about give and take…You learn about responsibility and how to live in harmony with others. Strong families are the foundation of a bigger, stronger society.
Yet something seems to have changed as the educational policies are undermining that family, it is destroying the family, it is ripping them apart. How can we be strong families when they are stopping us parenting our children?
After school activities would also become a thing of the past. Chloe taking grade 5 dance exams would not be possible as she dances after school. Yet the qualifications she recieves from dancing are just a valid as academic qualifications and are recognised by Universities. The Junior Assessment Centre for England Hockey would not be possible and if it was possible the talented youngsters would be too tired to develop. Do we not value what our children learn outside the classroom anymore? Are we only interested in the results that can be measured by crude league tables?
In 2007 the UK came bottom of 21 developed countries for the well being of children. Our children are already tested more than most, we have a rising problem with teenagers suffering depression in addition self harm and eating disorders are a common feature that secondary school teachers are now versed in witnessing. Taking away their ‘downtime’ will have a negative effect on their emotional well being.
The notion that stay at home mums would be able to enter the job market is laughable? Where are these jobs going to come from? We already have a growing number of young graduates unable to find graduate opportunites. Again the government are undermining the role of parents by suggesting that women are better off in work than being at home. Yet Cameron believes in strong families? I am a little confused. Women are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
Reducing the school holidays will limit what you can do with your children. Remember you cannot take them out of school due to the risk of being prosecuted. You will not have the freedom to take your child to places both far and wide to educate them about culture, geography and to teach them about the world outside their classroom. Do you think for one minute that business and industry will be equipped enough to let all parents be off with their children during those few weeks holiday in the summer? I doubt it and then what? Family holidays become a thing of the past too.
Notice how I haven’t even looked at this from the teachers viewpoint – I didn’t want this post to me about me – but about our children. However I will just ask if you want your children’s worked marked to see what progress has been made and whether you have considered when the teachers will plan their lessons ( this is currently done at weekends and after school teaching has finished). I also wonder who in their right mind will choose teaching as a career. Do you want the best graduates? Because they will be running in the other direction at these proposals. They will be seeking a career where the bosses hold them in high esteem, where they recieve a decent wage and where they can have a work / life balance. They won’t be getting any of that in teaching.
Let’s just be done with it. Why don’t we just hand over our babies to the state after maternity leave and pick them up the other end some 18 years later?