Saturday 4 October 2014

We need to follow up today's Independent letter on pressure on pupils with a national campaign

This is the text of the letter signed by educationalists, authors, teachers, parents and grandparents published in the Independent today. I tried to sign when it was on line but was thwarted by technical problems - I fully support it as an ex-teacher and current governor at two Brent schools.

The letter is in line with Green Party Policy and the NUT's Education Manifesto and could form the basis of a national campaign.

As parents and educators we find ourselves increasingly concerned at the pressure that is being placed on our children and young people. We worry about the long term impact that this pressure may have on our children’s emotional health, particularly on the most vulnerable in our society. We are concerned to hear of children crying on their way to school, upset that they will not be able to keep up; of parents worried that their four year olds are ‘falling behind’ or of six year olds scared that they ‘might not get a good job’. And we wonder what has happened to that short period in our lives known as ‘childhood’.

The pressure that is put on schools to achieve results, particularly in the tests that now form such a regular feature of a child’s life, has inevitably led to increased pressure on the children themselves. This is not to blame teachers, or schools. Rather, it is to say that with test results becoming such a high stakes feature of our education system, schools are put in a very difficult position. When test results are the key measure of whether a child’s school is ‘good’ or not, we believe that every child’s entitlement to a broad and balanced education is put at risk. We believe all children have the right to become fully rounded individuals, and that in order to help them achieve this, we must protect their emotional well-being, now and for the future. We believe all children have the right to be treated as individuals, and to be allowed to develop at a pace that is right for them, not to meet a Government target.
We call for all those who are equally concerned to speak out against the direction in which education in England, and in other countries around the world, is moving. We call for governments around the world to take into account children’s emotional well-being when they consider the ‘effectiveness’ of schools and other educational settings.


Nan said...

A long, long time ago, in the days when I attended primary school, we never had any homework. Most of our academic study was conducted in the morning with afternoons reserved for games, art, crafts, reading etc. Yet more of us left school able to read and count than are doing so today.

Just saying ......

Anonymous said...

The emotional well-being of our children lays the foundation of their future emotional health. Stunt the former, and we'll produce an emotionally damaged adult population.