reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
Sir, you have stunningly hit the nail squarely on the head in relation to a personal dilemna that both I and my wife have been facing here on the
other side of the pond in England.
I won't hesitate to say that your clarity of thought and confident expression of your enlightened opinion have emboldened me to follow the necessary
step of taking a new view of the state schools, as 'high-priced babysitters' rather than true educators. I almost fell into the trap of thinking I
was without recourse following some ridiculous recommendations made by our son's teacher - that simply because he is not particularly artistic, he
should be forced to endure a 'special group' to help kids 'gain confidence, to increase their fine and gross motor skills, handwriting and
participation' amongst other such things.
They made it sound like an invitation to a special event, a privilege - but in reality it is geared towards the production of a homogenous mass of
children who all parallel each other in ability, to take away personal preferences and enforce 'compliance' with 'the program'. As part of a
'taster session', they asked him to "count to twenty, write a sentence, draw a picture of himself and read a short story from the books on the
He could count to a thousand over a year ago, was writing the beginnings of what would have amounted to an hundred page story six months ago (coming
up with the ideas independently), and has enjoyed drawing, painting, glueing and arty stuff (to his level of ability) since birth. For reading
material, he sits down with The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Human Body, or a book on the specifics of certain branches of paleontology aimed at
children three times his age (essentially a reference book for older teenagers). He asks questions about tidal locking, the constitution of
asteroids and the orbits of the various planets of the solar system. A year ago, he could reel off the planets and several star systems by rote. And
yet, they want him to be held back, because he doesn't 'conform to the ideal model' in one area of his work. His handwriting suffers only when he
is bored by what is being asked of him. His participation cannot be encouraged because he already knows everything they are teaching - he tries to
get involved but gets accused of being bossy or demanding, just because his general knowledge and common sense are so overwhelming to most of the
He turns six years old in a week.
The education system in the UK is a bloody con - a swizz, and a disgrace. I've seen enough in two years as a parent of a brilliant child to know
that they are not interested in brilliance - they are interested in creating robots suitable for the corporate world. The headteacher is a snide
political animal, who maybe once upon a dark age could have cared about the education of children, but who has (after fifteen years in the game) been
well and truly turned - into an efficient and mean-spirited business manager; nothing more.
I will now be having a long chat with my lovely wife about how we can go from here, to nurture his talents and encourage him to enjoy the art of
learning. He is already frustrated daily by the repetitious nature of the studies he is being forced to sit through.
Thank you to the OP for raising such issues, and thank you Jean Paul for your incisive and pertinent comments.