‘Although we are fast approaching the end of the current academic year, we are only about ten weeks away from the start of the next academic year in September.’
– Dr Fox, Principal of Ryde Academy
And there we have the world according to the DFES, one in which sitting in isolation with your hands stretched out on a desk is considered ‘functional’ discipline. And in which a Headmaster objecting to a lack of discipline within his school, sees nothing wrong with suggesting to parents that they go out and buy a new school uniform, two and a half months away from the end of the school year. Does he know how many of his parents are in work? Or perhaps how many of them are unemployed or even disabled and claiming benefits? Does Sir Michael Wilshaw know?
Grimy crumpled school uniforms, incomplete homework, struggles with literacy? All good reasons to call a child’s teachers together and work out what extra support might be required I should have thought. But no..Sir MIchael Wilshaw has asserted that the parents of such children should be castigated as bad parents and fined. Well and good if the parents aren’t coping with mental illness, disability, chronic illness, unemployment, post-natal depression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, need I go on? But if they are, what will the self-righteous assertions of middle class teaching staff achieve? A child struggling to make progress in an already competitive environment will wither on the vine altogether, if repeatedly told how no good they and their parents are. And then of course there’s the whole point of telling them how far short of the standard of excellence they and their parents have fallen. Which is quite simply to urge them on towards meeting those targets, which will ensure that come inspection time the school can exhibit impressive stats, which will earn it a nice big tick of approval.
There is really nothing quite like the seething, suppressed resentments carried by students who have been bullied, pummelled and pushed towards excellence. Sooner or later somewhere in the midst of their education those resentments will find their expression and, very likely undo some of the ‘outstanding’ good that an academy education was supposed to have helped them achieve.