Refusing to tread the well-trodden path

Secondary school: should we or shouldn’t we?

It’s that time of year when many children in year 6(aged 10-11) are preparing for SATS and have recently found out which secondary schools they have been offered places at.
I applied for a secondary school place for Kai last year, while he was in school, as it made sense at the time.  We recently received confirmation that Kai has been accepted at a very good boys school in my local area but I’m doubtful as to whether he will go. Good school or not, it’s still a school. And that’s likely to mean a restricted education within the confines of the school gates compared to the freedom and broad education he would receive outside of school.

Feeling under pressure to conform

Parents and friends are keen to know the outcomes of their respective school applications. But regardless of what school they happen to get into to, each of their children will be going off to secondary school simply because that’s just what’s done. It’s interesting how so many parents have bought into the b******t of school that very few stop and question if this is actually the right thing to do for their children. From infancy, children are pulled from the bliss of natural exploration and pulled into an alien world of phonics and early learning methods which all but destroy their own unique ways of learning. They stay on this merry-go-round for the next 13 years of their lives and come off with a few certificates and very little in terms of real skills.

When did it become okay to sweep all the children off the streets and into the domain of public education? And why are we okay with this?

Yesterday Kai and I rode past a secondary school during lunch time and I couldn’t help feel sorry for the children locked up in the playground, not even allowed out at lunch time anymore. Kai said it was similar to being in jail on ‘yard break’ and that prisoners have two breaks like school kids. I think the greatest travesty is the time theft from the lives of all children in the school system; time they will never get back and time they probably would have spent otherwise if they had a choice. And no doubt time better spent in pursuit of their hearts desires. If my son died tomorrow(God forbid), I would, I hope, take some comfort in the fact that he would have spent much of his time doing things that he loved to do and that he was happy, most of the time.

Sadly, children’s present happiness is being sacrificed for future goals that aren’t even theirs. In the UK all year 6 children( aged 10-11) will be required to sit SATS tests in May. These tests offer no benefit to the children and are used solely to determine a school’s position in national league tables. There is a huge amount of pressure on the children at this time with tests most weeks and mock SATS every few weeks. Some children go to extra (booster) classes to help them at this time (shouldn’t they have got this help before?). But it’s not just the schools that are putting on the pressure. The parents are contributors in the SATS drama, with enforced study times and extra tuition to help them get the best grade possible—all to benefit the school. But when did learning have anything to do with grades?


About SJ

A mother, writer and free-spirited home-educator with a passion for challenging the norm.
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