Sunday, 7 December 2014

Accountability and Resilience - Give Me Your Vote

There's an election in around 6 months, a troubling time for every public service as controversial policies are either rushed through before a party is voted out or idiotic statements by desperate politicians searching for your vote are made. The latest fad amongst the political classes regarding education is character, resilience, grit and the ability to pick yourself up and have another go. A couple of links are below (there will be more as the election looms):
BBC Education

It seems that the military are going brought in to teach "grit" and "character" and teachers must back this up, with Labour's Education spokesperson Tristram Hunt stating that if he were in charge then all new teachers would be trained to teach "character", which would no doubt be eye opening.

As you've probably guessed, I have a couple of issues with these noises emanating from the offices of Westminster.
  1. At what point do parents get involved in the process of bringing up their own offspring? It seems to me that parenting has all but been abolished by government and the various agencies/quangos that claim a stake in education. The number of times I get a note in a child's diary to tell me that a child didn't understand (despite links to tutorial videos that apparently can't be accessed or weren't known about) or that the child "had a busy weekend" just shows how a complete lack of resilience, grit or any other character trait that might aid a young person in the big wide world is condoned by parents in general. And if parents won't allow their children to have "grit" what chance have teachers or military personnel?
  2. Why do students at school need resilience nowadays anyway? Students have no responsibility whatsoever regarding their academic outcomes; teachers claim all that whether they want it or not. Students know this and realise that if a teacher wants to avoid capability proceedings then the teacher will essentially do the work for them, in fact only recently this very problem hit the media (The Guardian's coverage is here). DfE and Ofsted obsession with data, or in layman's terms, exam results means that this is an ever increasing phenomenon; kids aren't stupid, they know it and literally let the teachers get on with it. The days of "you get out what you put in" are no longer with us for some, but fortunately the majority of students are conscientious.
  3. What on Earth are MPs doing telling anyone about resilience and grit? The first whiff of scandal and there's a resignation and expensive inquiry.
Politicians in the UK need to make their mind up and choose one of the following two options:
  1. Insist that parents play a role in the upbringing of young people rather than just blindly blaming public sector workers.
  2. Remove every newborn from their mother at birthand bring them up in their own vision in thousands of state sponsored workhouses.
I'm pretty sure they'd prefer the second option but it's unaffordable in times of austerity. More importantly it might lose them a vote, so it's definitely off the menu.