Saturday, 7 June 2008

Schools out.

Fred’s school bag is more often than not brought back after a day at the educational pit face stuffed with letters and information from the school.

Many of these provide details of the opportunities available for him to attend after school clubs or are in support of a fundraising drive of one sort or another.

It’s usually something along the lines of pay one pound and your child may go to school in dress (often themed) other than the regulation school uniform. For example in the last couple of months there has been a ‘Go dressed as a famous sports personality’ or as last week ‘Go in your pyjamas’.

Occasionally you get questionnaires about how you feel the school is getting on and possible improvements that, from a parent’s perspective, could be made.

So it came as no surprise on Friday to find yet another document requiring completion and return.

But this was a little different to the usual.

Entitled ‘Access to Extended Services through Schools’ it appears to be the first evidence of a local attempt to consult on the implementation of the Government’s ‘pledge’ that by 2010, all children should apparently ‘have access to a variety of activities beyond the school day and that these will give them ‘the opportunity to keep fit and healthy, to acquire new skills, to build on what they learn during the school day or simply to have fun and relax’.

Now the first bit of the form was all about after school activities. What sort of activity would you like to see, how far you would travel to get you kid to the venue, how much would you be prepared to pay etc. This seemed fairly reasonable.

But then on page 2 of the form there was a huge table of thing one may like to school to provide information on or support for.

Some of the ones which caught my eye in particular were;

How to survive parenting – I’ll figure it out
Coping with family arguments – I can already cope with lots thanks.
Healthy cooking on a budget – Buy lots of fruit and veg.
Coping with difficult behaviour – I’m a parent!
Your child’s sexual health – No, a matter for my child, the GP and me. Oh and it’s an infants school. You could understand a possible need at the age of 14. But 6 or 7?
Stopping smoking – Oh it’s a Doctors now is it?
Coping with Truancy – I would have thought that if required this may have been discussed with the school already
Alcohol awareness – I am indeed aware of alcohol
Your child’s mental well being – They’re all as mad as boxes of frogs but quite content thank you.
Benefits advice – Not only a Doctors but a CAB / Job Centre too. Cracking
Coping with finance – And a PFA / Bank
Neighbourhood safety – And the local HQ for a hooded vigilante goon squad
Coping with a baby – I guess if you have a child at infants school you might already have a handle on this.
Drug awareness – I am also aware of several drugs thank you for asking.
Eating disorders – And I like Pies
Interview Skills – Got a job.
Coping with stress – Still got a job, three kids, have to cope on below average wages in one of the more expensive parts of the realm. Think I’ve got that one covered
Adult learning – Never stops
Your mental well being – Just get a bit cross sometimes with all of the forms that the school expects me to complete.
Your sexual health – Oh now hang on a minute. Is this the most appropriate institution to discuss these matters?

By now I was actually getting a bit cross with the whole thing.

Firstly whilst this may attract additional funding for the school I would rather that they were left alone to concentrate on the core educational requirements of the children (particularly my own) who attend there. Not to try to turn the school into a one stop shop sticking plaster for any of the ills or whinges that may afflict me.

Because all of this additional information and support, if I needed it, is already available through other agencies. I want the Fred and later his younger siblings to be able to read, write and spell correctly. I don’t (presumably) want their head teacher having to administer the provision of information that tells me how to fill in a CV, that I must ingest my 5 bits of vegetation a day or that smoking (which I don’t) would make me morally equivalent to Pol Pot.

This is no more than a hunch but you can envisage a scenario where schools that don’t offer all of this nonsense may start to feel their core budgets squeezed.

Also if this scatter gun approach is valid than why shouldn’t hospital staff be able to provide individuals with advice on ironing their school trousers or details on the best way to cheat to get good scores in their SATs tests.

Mrs G said that it might be because it would give vulnerable people easier access to general information. I suggested that because someone is vulnerable it doesn’t make them stupid and if they want information it’s readily available already.

All one has to do is look for it.


CherryPie said...

What a bizarre questionnaire!

Chervil said...

I am glad we are homeschooling!

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Your child's sex life? This is just the EU paedophilia agency coming across to Britain.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Sex education, at 14? Late developers round your way then? ;) BG

Grendel said...

CP - Quite
Chervil - Good luck with that
James - It all started with Captain Euro!
Bendy - Ahh but you see the whole point is that this is an infants school and my eldest has just turned seven. Hence part of my concern.

Man in a Shed said...

The socialists want to turn our primary schools into young pioneers camps. The state wants to run your children's childhood.

Thankfully they won't be in power long enough to implement it !

Fitaloon said...

Have a look at Ed Balls's vision of the future titled We will make a happy childhood a reality for all to see what Labour are up to in the next 18-24 months before they are deposited on the scrapheap of Politics. One quote is
"But schools know that they also have a vital role to play in addressing the broader "opportunity gap" and tackling all the barriers to learning in and out of school. From birth to the age of majority, we need to give young people the support they need to stay safe, and be healthy, happy and make the most of their talents."
1984 is now arriving for real.

Nunyaa said...

Nosey mob, if my kids came home with a questionaire as such, I would think up the most stupidest answers to accompany the stupidest questions.

Mrs Smallprint said...

Inteference on a grand scale, I hope you shredded it in double quick time. A while back our local council sent us a questionaire which they implied we must complete and send back. What they didn't want to know was unbelievable!

I duly filed it in the bin and they sent out two rude reminders with further copies (must have cost a fortune), which I also filed in the bin.

1984 indeed.

Liz said...

Don't teachers have enough to do trying to fit teaching in amidst all the paperwork they have to do already?

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