Heads up… Parents aren’t happy

There has been some fantastic news recently, notably that the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers) has joined the TUC (Trades Union Congress).

That means along with the NUT, NASUWT, the ATL, EIS and UCAC, the NAHT’s just under 30,000 mark stronghold of heads, deputies, bursars and business managers have united together to stand hand in hand for the rights of educators – mirroring the TUC’s current stand regarding the trouble in Bahrain with Mahdi Abu Dheeb’s questionable prison sentence. Moreover, this can aid issues currently being tackled by the NAHT in the right way, an example being the issue regarding term-time absences and what constitutes as an exceptional circumstance – i.e. weddings, funerals and religious events and what is just simply unnecessary – such as ‘cheaper holidays’. But, because of the inevitable grey-area that revolves around elements of definition and legitimacy, the solution seems to lie within some sort of re-development strategy in terms of tracking accuracy. To sum up, if schools are to have term-time bans lifted and redefined, they must be able to track issues of authenticity of information from parents as well as remain consistent in carrying out said methodologies.

But hasn’t sudden change in curricular approaches proved unnecessary and in fact damaging for the development of school children before? With nearly 40% of GCSE students missing out on their healthy five A*-Cs, it really isn’t all well and jolly, especially when considering Nicky Morgan’s statement within that BBC article; which basically suggests that because students are now more prone to taking ‘classical’ academics at A-levels – such as maths and literature -“education has finally reversed the decline in key academic subjects”. Thus, it’s served as a plan that will “properly prepare them for life in modern Britain”.

Well, in all honestly Nicky it’s hard to believe you when two-thirds (66%) of British parents believe our education system fails to prepare our children for the wondrous world of work that awaits them. Following a poll conducted by YouGov for City & Guilds, it has been proved that the majority of parents here in the UK believe children aren’t being trained on necessary skills needed for work such as ‘communication and teamwork’.

I have to admit after leaving school myself, high school that is, as much as I understood Pythagoras’ theorem and could remember that sassy slang used in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies like the back of my hand – I still hadn’t the faintest in, for example, how to read a bank statement, or what on earth a ‘tax year’ was, let alone when it began. I even still thought a P45 was some sort of dermatological cream people use to look sharp for an interview. I mean really, I have to agree with the parents here – it’s not silly to suggest that schools are ‘too academic’. Even though academia is and was a forte considerable in acquiring certain statuses within the world of work, such as during the medieval ‘Age of Enlightenment’, we now live in a world where most successful entrepreneurs have actually dropped out of education. Even Alfred Einstein was kicked out of school at one point!

Education is a fundamental aspect of our lives and it is not the concept of education that needs a new approach rather it is the practice, politics and overall system of education that could perhaps do with a few tweaks. As our beloved Alfred Einstein once said success is not in defining a problem but never leaving it until it is solved.

Clearly there needs to be amendments and I won’t deny that there’s been some pretty hopeful movements that have taken place recently, but what do you think needs changing?