Easter holiday – Research in the media 08.04.20
Over the past few days I have started to see a rise in the number of articles discussing schooling, online curriculums and ‘home-schooling’ such as this one in the GUARDIAN and this one in THE TIMES At the moment everything is focussed on Coronavirus, I am wondering whether theres any scope for getting my images and accompanying narrative surrounding the boys potentially not being able to be awarded GCSE/A-level grades into any newspapers at the moment. Their is certainly a story there of a portion of children being denied the same as other children, but I would have to think more about this as there are issues with this.
Firstly, no-one wants to hear anyone moaning about how hard they have it at the moment, or why they are worse off than anyone else. Part of me wonders whether this could potentially do more damage than good in the realms of my project.
On the flip side this could potentially gain more interest in the issues home educators are facing at the moment. These are issues that are specific to them, and it could open up a wider dialogue.
Going back again to the positives, I think aside from to wanting to hear anyone moan saying that things are worse for them, no-one wants to hear that, BUT everyone wants to read a story where something is worse for someone else. It is human nature. You don’t want to be TOLD it, but you do want to ‘discover’ for yourself, things could always be worse.
It does pose the question though – how would the UK be reacting if it was EVERY SINGLE CHILD in school being told that they can’t have GCSE grades this year. How many articles would be written about it then, how many celebrities would jump to the defence of these children . It is as a local council worker in the department of education said to me the other day, it is because we are a minority, because there are so few of us, they hope that the issue will just fizzle out ad go away.
Interesting in this article by Niamh Sweeny in the guardian it says “However, decisions and support from the Department for Education have been slow, reactionary, and leaked to the press rather than first shared with the profession. They have not been collaborative. School and college leaders, local authorities and trade unions have filled the gaping hole vacated by central government.” (Sweeny. Guardian. April 2020) So it is obviously not just the home education community that have been having issues with this, but as my letter to Ofqual (Exam governing body), Gavin Williamson (secretary of education) Boris Johnson (PM), & Steve Double (local MP) stated … “The same issues that effect schooled children may not effect home educated children and vice versa.” (Graham April 2020) This is why a ‘one size fits all’ approach simply does not work for this situation.
The article does discuss the lack of resources and funding for schools under the conservative government, something I do agree with, however as my project is only effected by and not physically about the state, popularity or success or failures of state education, I don’t feel it necessary or helpful to go into this here, within this setting.
I will however say though that this statement “When we go back to school everything will be different – and it must be different. We need to ask ourselves the fundamental question: what is the purpose of education?” (Sweeny. Guardian , April 2020) fills me with an optimism that I have had many times in the past about state education, that John Holt talks about in his book ‘ Teach yourself’ where he states “many of us worked, with great energy, enthusiasm and confidence, for this kind of school reform. As people who are working for change, we saw every sign of change, however small, as further proof that the change was coming. We had not yet learned that in todays world of mass media ideas go in and out of fashion as quickly as clothes. For a while school reform was in fashion. There is no way we could have known that it was only a fashion . One only finds out later what is fashion and what has lasting effect.” (Holt ; 2009) Yes, I firmly, vehemently believe for our children’s futures, for their emotional and mental health their should be reform, but will Coronavirus be the cause of this reform? Sadly, I doubt it, the people who profit from the way the educational system works , as in charge, and they do not want reform, because for them it works, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work for the children, for the people, for they are not the end goal. A point made my Stephen Lassonde in Routledge history of childhood in the western world “In explain gin the emergence of mass schooling in the West, some historians have exmpahsized the role education came to play in preparing young people for the industrial work place, acting as a “sort” of people with widely divergent aptitudes into variegated occupational structure, and, increasingly, as a conveyor of credentials in a system that feeds economies reliant on workers with certified training. Over time, success in school came to serve as a proxy for the capacity to learn the skills workers would need in whatever occupations they aspired to.” (Lassonde. Pg 215. Routledge) I think the issue here is we know we need reform, but we also STILL need workers with accredited skills, so where is the line to be drawn between this. That is something that requires deep thought, consultation and trial, and won’t be changed overnight, even with the Coronavirus causing such upheaval and highlighting issues.
This final sentence by Niamh sums this up, but still I am left with the question as I was when the advice from Ofqual came out, ‘What about the children not in school?’ , one cannot claim inclusivity and then exclude certain groups, that isn’t the way it works !
“If we don’t recognise now the vital importance of an inclusive education system and the positive impact it can have on developing a fairer society, then, I fear, we never will. We must use the situation we are faced with now to end child poverty and inequalities in education and the wider society.” (Sweeny. April 2020)
Fass, Paula S. 2012. Routledge history of childhood in the western world. London; Routledge.
Holt, John. 2009. Teach your own. Da Capo Lifelong Books.
Sweeny, Niamh. 07.04.2020. When the Covid-19 crisis finally ends, schools must never return to normal . The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/apr/07/when-the-covid-19-crisis-finally-ends-uk-schools-must-never-return-to-normal (Accessed 08.04.2020)
Morgan, Caitlin. 03.04.2020. I’m a home-school kid. Here’s what you need to know. Step one: relax – you’re not running a child prison . The Times. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/caitlin-moran-im-a-home-school-kid-heres-what-you-need-to-know-6gdg0jdj2?shareToken=09400ad3b3f29f1577d789399dfbcd20&fbclid=IwAR0RWHXt602Lh1MIsdT_mGvFSyKF109KC0xf2gymcOX2PQkF5DAXT98mOKA (Accessed 08.04.2020)