A Letter To Headteachers Everywhere…
Summer is over and your classrooms are full of smartly dressed students once again.
My child won’t be among them because I’m saddened by the state of Education in this country.
I’m saddened that children so young are already bored with learning. Their once enthusiastic faces, keen to understand everything…gone. Just like that. They’re pushed too much, too young. Research has shown that children who are taught to read later catch up with earlier learners and actually retain their enthusiasm for reading. But is anybody listening to this?
I’m saddened that young children are labelled as difficult or naughty because they don’t sit still at circle time. It angers me that despite research saying otherwise we still think that we need to enforced at such a young age.
I’m saddened that you think a 4-year-old can learn about the seaside without even setting foot on the sand. They spend weeks sorting shells, matching colours, drawing sea creatures, counting fish. Their enthusiasm fading just a little more with each planned activity. A few hours at the beach could have achieved more…and it would have been fun!
I’m saddened that children are being told that they are failures. Failures because of a grade on a test. A test that was written to decide whether teachers were working hard enough.
I’m saddened when I hear stories of victimised children. Children who were failed by their school. Anti-bullying procedures should be in place and followed when incidents occur. Don’t tell parents that “bullying doesn’t happen” in your school. Open your eyes and deal with it! 40% of children and young people say that they have been bullied in the last year! There is NO excuse.
I’m saddened that you allow teachers to take away a child’s outdoor time as punishment. You know that’s what they do in prison right?! A child won’t behave better if they’ve been kept in all day. Often, the disruptive pupils are the ones who need time outside the most.
I’m saddened that a key lesson is being missed in school. Teaching children how to learn. They don’t need to memorize all of the answers! They just need to learn how to find information and how to assess if that information is likely to be correct.
I’m saddened that you assume that children need so much structured chaos in their lives. You’re surprised when parents say that their children lash out or tantrum as soon as they get home. The fact that their child ‘behaves’ at school doesn’t automatically mean that home is causing the problem. Home is often their safe space, where they can finally breathe and attempt to deal with the anxiety they’ve held in all day. Anxiety that your school has caused.
I’m saddened that behaviour and workload is such a problem in some schools. So bad that 93% of teachers report feeling overly stressed. This can only prove that the system is all wrong.
I’m saddened that so many young people are struggling with the pressure they’re under. Record numbers of high school students are asking for help to cope with anxiety and depression. I’m thankful that they’re seeking support, but they really shouldn’t need to.
I’m saddened that we have to diagnose a child before adapting our teaching styles. We need a label before any support can be put in place.
I’m saddened that there are still a number of teachers who are ‘excellent’ at inspections but are truly terrible with kids. When it actually comes down to real teaching and pupil wellbeing they just don’t care.
I’m saddened that children spend most of their childhood indoors. We know how important outdoor time is for kids, we know that obesity levels are on the rise. Yet we still think that children must learn to sit still!
I’m saddened that far too many good teachers are being bullied, over-worked and destroyed under your leadership. Almost a quarter of those who qualified since 2011 have already left the profession.
I’m saddened that barely any time is designated to teaching personal, social and health education. Despite all of the issues we hear about in society, it’s not even timetabled! It’s absurd! Teachers aren’t trained properly to teach it! It’s an add-on for already struggling teachers and is easily replaced by extra numeracy.
I’m saddened that despite spending years in education our young people are apparently still lacking the skills needed by employers. Skills like team working, critical thinking and communication just aren’t being developed while the focus is on Literacy and Numeracy.
I’m saddened that we lead our children from School, to College, to University to the workplace without allowing them the opportunity to discover their strengths and their passions. We’re sending them to work for employers where it’s ok for 12.5 million working days to be lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. This is not an OK future yo be offering our children!
I’m saddened that as parents we’re expected to hand our children over to you for 19,000 hours of their lives. For 19,000 hours parents trust teachers to educate and guide their child. 19,000 hours from age 3 or 4. There are plenty of studies that show that children this young are not better off in school.
I’m saddened that despite home schooling being totally legal in the UK, USA and many other countries, parents are still criticised, ostracized and judged for taking control of their child’s learning.
But, mostly I’m hopeful.
I’m hopeful that all the information now accessible online will enable parents to make informed choices about their child’s education.
I’m hopeful that more and more parents will join forums where they can share ideas, thoughts and concerns.
I’m hopeful that some teachers are aware of these issues in school. They’re working hard, lobbying…trying to make a change.
Being a Headteacher is such a responsibility. Your pupils aren’t just there to get good grades. They’re there to learn how to be good, kind, confident people who will each contribute something different to our world.
I hope you know that too.
A Home-Schooling Mum