I find myself frequently highly annoyed at the crap that comes out my kids schoolbags. Homework, perhaps? Textbooks? School letters and notices?
No. What more often then not is shoved into those bags are fliers, advertisements, charity fund raising appeals, surveys from organizations outside of the school. What annoys me the most is how the schools happily accept these things. The local karate school is offering a special deal? I get a flier shoved into my kids backpack. Some government body wants to know if my kids eat breakfast or watch tv before school? I get a survey shoved into my kids bag. The NSPCC wants to do a fundraiser? I get a bunch of propaganda and fundraising appeals in my kids backpack- in addition to my child losing out on actual learning time to be shown a disturbing video depicting children being abused so they’ll go home and ask me to donate money.
The government wants to know how much 5 and 11 year olds weigh? They send people into schools to weigh and measure all the children in reception and year 6. Some government body/private institution thinks children aren’t brushing their teeth enough- I get a letter home saying teachers will now be brushing my 4 year olds teeth after lunch. TEACHERS. Because tooth brushing is in their remit, I’m sure.
I walk into the school auditorium to watch my child’s class assembly, and there is a movie poster for some upcoming film. WHY is the school promoting films? Shouldn’t that space be full of things about the school or quality work done by the children? This is a less irksome example, but it still is disturbing to me.
I expect my children to receive a high standard of education. That should be the foremost concern of the schools and the government. Yet, frequently I feel as if this is not the case. I feel as if schools are treated simply as conduits for manipulating kids. Why is this ok?
My sons infant school was given an unsatisfactory ofsted score recently. Surely, this should mean that they should not be wasting learning time on brushing teeth?
My daughters junior school sold off some land a couple of years ago and made a tidy profit. So, they redid the school bathrooms, redecorated the office, etc. Fair enough. But, they did fairly little to encourage the extracurriculars in the school. When the highly motivated and capable music teacher who had gained national attention for the schools chorus and band was recruited elsewhere, a new teacher was not hired. In fact, whats left of the music club is now run by a parent volunteer. When my daughter started to place in the top 5 of the interschool cross country races and the schools standing skyrocketed for four years straight- the school did nothing to enhance it’s running program, which is still only run by a teaching aide once a week. Every year the school is beat out in the championships by a school that has a proper cross country team. The football club, which for a few years was winning trophies left right and center and gaining lots of attention- doesn’t exist now. There is no academic club for the bright. No support club for those who struggle. The art club is run once a week by the headteacher, when he has time. The school routinely gets a “good” oftsed score, but seems uninterested in making that “outstanding”. Why is this?
So, where are their priorities? Surely the schools must be making money for advertising upcoming hollywood films and shoving local business fliers into schoolbags? Why is that not reflected in the quality of my childs education? I would like all this extra nonsense to stop. I want my children to go to school for an education. For social skills. I want my child’s school to be an enriching part of their life, not just another example of how children can be used and manipulated by those entrusted with their care.