Sunday, 3 September 2017

Educational nonsense!

It's that time of year again: back to school time. My daughter has just spent an inordinate amount of money on school uniform for her two middle children. This includes smart blazers - grey for the boy and purple for the girl - which they will have to wear at all times in the classroom. Amazingly they don't have to wear them for PE. No, for that they have a different bit of expensive uniform. Even the tiny person, now that she has turned one, has to wear a uniform to go to nursery! The British obsession with uniform goes on.

For those who do not have to worry about how much their children's clothes cost, I found an advert (well a bit of an article which is tantamount to advertising) in today's newspaper. For a mere £195 you can buy a pair of shoes which your child can colour in for themselves. With the headline ONE, TWO, COLOUR MY SHOE, it tells us:

"Charlotte Olympia has collaborated with Crayola to create slip-on sneakers for kids. Yes, they're pricey but they come with special pens for the kids to colour them in themselves, and ensure they're the coolest cats at the start of term."

I wonder what kind of world these people live in. Has nobody told them how quickly children grow out of shoes or that schools insist on shoes of a certain colour and sometimes even a specific style? Uniform again! Nonsense!

On the subject of school nonsense, a leading state grammar school, with the wondrous name of Saint Olave's, has been in the news because it has been excluding pupils and denying them the right to return to school for the second year of A-Level studies. On what grounds did these exclusions take place? Did the students kick over the traces a little too often You may well ask. No, it turns out that they did not achieve high enough grades in their AS-Level exams, or in internal exams at the end of the first year in sixth form. This meant that they were highly unlikely to achieve A and B grades at the end of their second year. The school's average pass rate would be reduced. The school wanted nothing to do with such failures!

Unfortunately for the school, most of the pupils at the school come from families with articulate parents who expect to get things their own way. They told the papers. The consulted lawyers. They made a fuss. Now it turns out that schools have no right to exclude students for not getting high grades and they had to back track and say that they would accept these students back to school after all.

This is what happens when fear of league tables gets too great!

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