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 disappointed at the state of Education in this country.
I’m disappointed 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 disappointed 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 enforce this at such a young age.
I’m disappointed that you think a 4-year-old can learn about the seaside without even setting foot on the sand.
Their enthusiasm fading just a little more with each planned activity.
I’m disappointed 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 disappointed when I hear stories of 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 disappointed 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 disappointed 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 disappointed that behaviour and workload is such a problem in some schools.
So bad that 93% of teachers report feeling overly stressed.
How can these people be responsible for nurturing our children when they feel so over-whelemed with their workload.
I’m disappointed 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 disappointed 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 disappointed 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 disappointed 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 disappointed 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!
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 disappointed 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.
I’m disappointed 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 to be offering our children!
I’m disappointed 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 disappointed 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