Politics in school
Nov 7, 2006
Bishop Hill

I'm currently girding my loins to have it out with my daughter's teacher. The school, a state primary, is generally held to be a good one and has had an excellent write up from the inspectors, two factors which together do absolutely nothing to dent my scepticism about the quality of the education it provides. Having myself been the product of a state secondary which had a good reputation and an excellent write up from the inspectors, I know better than to put much weight on the first and any weight at all on the second.

My daughter is a voracious reader. Now six, she is consuming books at a frightening rate and we are certainly struggling to find suitable things for her to read. As is the school. The problem is that the school has responded by doing precisely nothing. They have continued to supply her with picture books for new readers and suggest she reads ten pages twice a week. So the daughter reads the whole thing in five minutes and ends up feeling cheated.

And if that wasn't bad enough the whole curriculum seems to have been written by an alliance of woolly liberal types. Multi-culti this, and wierdy beardy that. Half of the day seems to be spent learning about recycling and emptying the compost bucket from the staffroom. And it doesn't seem to get any better in later years. At the school assembly we were treated to a presentation from the Primary Sevens about the virtues of Fairtrade - all about not giving in to greed and so on.

Now both greens and fairtraders may have wonderful intentions. (We can argue about whether they are going to achieve any of their objectives or if, as usually happens with weird beard types, they actually end up making things worse). But there can be no doubt that these are questions of economics and politics which are entirely out of place in the classroom. I want a school which teaches children how to think, not what to think.

The Bishop is on the warpath. 

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