Tuesday, 1 October 2013

In support of protest

I rarely use this blog to discuss politics, my family or my working life in detail.  However!
Today I will apparently be "inconveniencing parents and damaging children's education" through the
withdrawal of my labour for one day.

One day to protest at the systematic dismantling of a state education system that provided me with the opportunity to learn and thrive because of dedicated teachers.
I am not striking because of the eroded pension rights, the performance related pay that will be based on a measure that is being removed; I am not striking because of the inception of a curriculum which has disregarded experts research over nostalgia for a  "golden age" of Jennings.
I am striking because this government has taken the idea of child out of education. They do not seem to recognise that a developing human being is not a computer file to be filled with academic programming. They appear to believe that children are little blobs of unformed putty that can be shoved into the one size fits all box.
I am striking because whilst I will be expected to care for someone else's children from 8 until 6 each day, my own will not have right to my time and care.  I am striking because the removal of non contact and rarely cover will mean that the preparation of lessons, materials and assessment of work will take what little time left for my family away from them.  (When else will I have time to mark 60+ scripts per day?  My children already think marking books is my hobby).
I am striking because children are being expected to perform academic tricks before they have learnt how to socialise, form relationships, learnt to communicate...
The loss of understanding of child hood is one of the most iniquitous parts of the current Early years plans.  Our children do their learning how to learn in this crucial time;  their most used question is Why?  The constant corrosive testing of, failing of, ranking of young people is divisive.  Fail often enough and you give up, Aren't you a level 4...don't forget you are a number.
Whether you agree or disagree with my choice of action is your personal opinion.  However every other form of objection and protest has fallen on wilfully deaf ears and I have to make a stand somewhere.
Today I will be making my protest because if I don't how then do I have the right to object to the way our children are being treated.


  1. Well said. What is wrong with this country when it comes to Education ?
    ( and a lot of other things ! )

    1. Thank you Penny. What really scares me: there is no place for the square pegs in all these little round holes. The children who don't follow a prescribed developmental arc. I was lucky, my boys have had supportive and dedicated teachers who went the extra mile for them. But it could have been very different (and would have been if not for me being inside the system and knowing how to play it). But according to the current regime my eldest would not have been considered top decile; the fact that he has asperger's and finds written literacy exceptionally difficult. Yet he is articulate, knowledgeable and has an enquiring and scientific mind; just not on paper.

  2. I fully support you in taking this action, Charlotte.

    You may remember that I am a home-educator but I have watched with increasing dismay and anxiety the way in which successive governments in the UK have systematically destroyed, reversed and dis-empowered state education.

    There seems to be a total and wilful ignorance of the needs of a child as a whole human being, of the breadth and depth of what education should and could be. They want schools to be factories that will produce little grey units of economic productivity and nothing more. It horrifies me.

    In doing this, they have also so grossly undermined the autonomy of teachers, insulted and restricted them to the extent that even those many teachers who would offer a real education are gagged and bound and unable to do so.

    I furious and fed up with it.

    Let teachers teach, let children learn and grow and let the government get its filthy hands off the education system.

    The current danger is also that we are seeing a new generation of teachers coming into the system who where themselves 'educated' in this environment and have been 'trained' to perpetuate it and have never known anything else.

    Resist and Overcome.

    1. Thank you. To know non teachers support us is very important. I do understand the objections of parents not in teaching. From the outside it does look like we moan and complain, whilst having 13 weeks holiday and a short day. I have been on both sides, as this is my second career. I work the same hours now as I did working for a publishing house.
      I mentor new teachers, and see them have the stuffing knocked out of them at the end of their NQT year. The profession has an appalling drop out rate.

      The narrowing of the curriculum is heartbreaking. The loss of creativity is stifling. I want to teach my kids to enjoy that process of learning, find out about the world through all thei senses; gather to themselves knowledge and then apply it; to engineer, design, and shape their world. I have taught children who can identify an adjective in a sentence, but can't cut paper with a pair of scissors.

  3. Wonderfully said, Charlotte - and Austin.

    Teaching is one of the most important job out there, yet - as I've witnessed in my native Canada - one of the first to suffer government cuts and meddling. Here in Germany, I'm appalled by how the children are being forced into very narrow, restrictive future units of productivity, as Austin alludes to above. The ones who do well in school are those who are able to jump through the hoops set for them. They also stream the kids insanely early here - I think it's similar in Britain? - at the end of the forth grade when they are just nine or ten. That's a huge academic pressure on kids when they could and should be learning many other and often far more important things, as well as learning in an environment not so full of angst, and competition with their fellow students.

    I dearly hope that your action and the actions of others can turn things around, Charlotte.

    1. Thank you. We have marched and rallied and hope that some have heard and stopped to think.

  4. Charlotte,I applaud your action.....good luck!


    1. Thank you Ruby. It may make no difference but at least we have tried, we have made a stand.

  5. i admire you for making a stand, a statement!
    I am assuming US citizens might be doing something similar any minute!

    1. Thanks Tammie; I had a long chat with my mum (an old fashioned conservative; small c) She was wonderfully supportive and understood totally the frustrations. She is of a generation that remembers what industrial action in the 70's was like and the divisive nature of it on communities and families. Yet she felt there was no other way to go.