Education goes retro

The experiment is starting

Generally I’m fond of retro, especially as I most likely already have that look in my wardrobe; have got the record in my collection – and on vinyl (who knew!); know how to make a prawn cocktail – and no one knows that I’m not hip, ha! just old!

But for our kids education… No. Retro – that’s NOT good!

Whoever (OK, I do know who – Mr. G), thought it was a good idea go back to the bad old days and test 2 – 2.5 years of study in one or two exams of a couple of hours – that’s multiplied by at least 5 for the number of subjects the kids take now, well they want expelling! Current year 9 pupils are going back to those dark days, they are the first year to have to sit the new exam system. They are the first experiment.

Some kids can sit exams easily, most cannot. Some kids have photographic memories and total recall – some flail at the sight of a blank sheet of paper. I was in the flailing camp. I did pass my school O and A level exams, but I was a bag of nerves, and when I had a choice of university or a vocational course, I picked vocational. Because when I had a choice after A levels I never ever wanted to take another exam again, in my LIFE.

My daughter is just choosing her GCSEs, luckily she is arty so the subjects she is choosing for her options are still going to be partly graded on project work. Also, and happily, teachers now instruct on how to revise and they really target their learning towards exam success – which is great for the compulsory subjects. (moan) I can’t recall getting any tips on revision, just having to go through everything and make a zillion notes and giving myself little tests, so that is a huge relief.

Shame on the government for going retro on educating our kids.

Today I read an article by Richard Branson ‘The end of average’, it brought home to me that while we are growing up we are put, or put ourselves into pigeon holes, wanting to be the same as our peers, an average, when what we should be doing is enjoying what makes us different. This is particularly evident during school years where kids are growing physically, mentally and trying to find what makes them tick.

It takes a long time to break being an average of the people we surround ourselves with, it can stunt creative thought and action.

I charge you with encouraging your children to be true to themselves, to be an individual, and to following their dream – not sleep on it.