Since my eldest daughter was born, I have been nervous about her being at school. As an ex-teacher, you might think that a strange thing to think, and perhaps it is, but nevertheless, I was. Although I was certain I could provide her with a more enriched education, I was eventually guilted left right and centre into sending her so she didn’t miss out on important interactions with children her age. Education always appears to be in the media, and a recent list of things children don’t do, along with a Twitter post from Zara, re-ignited my doubts of the British education system.
Life in School
She’s now in her second year at school and is in Reception. In her first year, I was told to essentially ‘back off’ from her literacy and numeracy skills because she would be ‘too far ahead’ in her next year. I was instead told to concentrate on her ‘social skills’ with things like taking her coat on and off by herself. Phoebe has always had a natural interest and enthusiasm for learning. She loves to read, spell, write and count. There was no way I was about to switch her learning off aged three.
There have been instances where she has come home with unexplained bumps or cuts that I wasn’t made aware of, instances where despite me sending in a spare set of clothes in case of accidents, she has come home in boys shorts and pants out of the Lost Property Box. I don’t need to tell you how demoralising that can be for someone so young.
Still, I persevered with the school and things have seemed to improve, slightly. I have worked in a variety of schools and would like to say that perhaps this situation pertains only to this school. Sadly, however, I can’t. The positive to her being at school is that she is around other children on a daily basis. This means she has learnt to hit, kick, growl (?!) throw things and argue back. She has also began wetting the bed at night where she was once dry. I am not ‘teacher-bashing’ either, far from it. I know how hard they work! I am merely questioning whether the school system is the right thing for my child.
What Is It Like & How Could I Improve It?
- She is around other children
- She is (VERY slowly) learning routines
- She has time away from me
- In literacy, there are so many errors, it’s ridiculous. Some staff can’t even spell her name correctly!
How Could I Improve It?
- She would have 1:1 tuition from a qualified teacher (who also knows what differentiation is!)
- She would learn life-skills instead of a largely redundant curriculum
- She would still have social interaction with the friends she has made, as well as other interactions from places she would go.
- She would eat a nutritious lunch, as opposed to half-eating a lunch she doesn’t like, before coming home and eating me out of it!
- I could go on forever I think. Ultimately, however, I know her best. End of story.
There are still a lot of decisions and discussions to be made. Whilst it sounds like an ideal situation for me to be in, I also know the reality would be different. I don’t have copious amounts of money to be able to give her the experiences of taking her to places the school might be able to or providing specialist resources like a school can. I do know that I wouldn’t be pigeon-holing my child so she fits in with the masses.
What do you think? and more importantly, what would you do in the same situation?