Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Magic of Childhood

You'll be glad to know that Peterborough's new academy will be built without a playground, as it might lead to: '“uncontrollable” numbers of children running around in breaks at the 2,200-pupil school', according to this article in The Sunday Times.

Apparently, pupils are to be treated more like 'company employees', and will get their exercise in PE lessons in a nearby field.

' “We are not intending to have any play time,” said Alan McMurdo, the head teacher. “Pupils won’t need to let off steam because they will not be bored.”'

Some staff also add that it will avoid children falling victim to bullies in the playground. Ah yes, that must always have been the way to deal with bullying in the playground - remove the playground. This is the kind of joined-up thinking that will, fortunately, predominate at academies.

Let's face it, what right-thinking academy sponsor wants to see idle children shrieking and running around when they could be learning valuable time-keeping skills, or preparing themselves for the sorts of leisure-free lives their parents lead.

Anyone who does not find the following paragraph worrying has lived too long in Blair's Britain:

'There will be a 30-minute lunch period when pupils will be taken to the dining room by their teacher, ensuring they do not sneak away to run around.'

And the following epitomises the backward management-think that characterises most New Labour projects:

' However, Delap, who has run the academy project on behalf of its sponsor, Perkins Engines, and the Deacon school trust, said that playgrounds did not fit into the concept.'

When playgrounds do not fit the concept of a school, when children have to be escorted to a dining hall to ensure that they do not run around during their lunch hour, and when a school thinks that it has so many pupils they might become 'uncontrollable' at lunch break, there is something wrong with the school.

I'm sure Delap are proud of themselves for ticking all of those Blairite boxes of 'thinking outside the box', 'blue-sky thinking' and 'slaying old-world shibboleths that are holding us back.' It's a shame they do not realise what humungous shitehawks they are.

To those that think 'structured hydration' is a suitable replacement for break time, I have nothing further to say. At present, the world is yours, but there will come a time when ordinary people, more interested in quality than enforced 'choice' will replace your quotas with humanity, and will learn again to live full lives without your 'help'.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Brown Academies?

The media have jumped on Gordon Brown's suggestions that he would "continue to support and finance" academy school as evidence that education policy will continue in the same way under a Brown government. I am not sure that follows, however.

The statement is distinctly lukewarm when compared to Tony Blair's messianic zeal for the unproven, expensive wastes of public money. After all, what is Mr Brown's alternative? To refuse to finance the schools? To withdraw all funding from them.

I'm not hugely hopeful about the direction of education under Mr Brown, but don't see his comments to The World At One as being particularly troublesome. I can even bring myself to hope that they indicate a slight change in emphasis...

No Academy For Haringey

The Schools' Adjudicator has ruled that the new school in Haringey will be a council-run comprehensive. It beat two proposals for academy schools, and one for a trust school. More information can be found here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Heartsease Debate

Apparently, there is to be a meeting to debate the academy to replace Heartsease High in Norwich (see last post). It should be interesting to see the results...