Sunday, June 08, 2008

Words That Don't Go Together - Truth-Seeking, Schools and Ofsted

There's more on the vast and hugely evident disconnect between Ofsted reports and reality from ex-Ofsted inspector, John Bald. He explains how schools are getting away with not offering pupils extra support in specific areas in which they badly need it. This lack of help in schools is a common complaint amongst those who deregister to home educate.

Why am I bothered about the disconnect given that we have opted out of the system? Well, it's still irksome to know that parents allow themselves to be fooled into thinking a totally unacceptable situation is fine for their children and it's irksome to think that schools are getting away with it, since it's hard to imagine that the situation can improve if the problems are denied.

By way of yet another example of the disconnect, a friend of mine went to look at our local secondary school which is apparently thriving if one were to believe the Ofsted reports, yet amongst many other less than impressive occurrences that took place during her visit, she was taken into an DT class to find complete mayhem, some sort of protection racket being perpetuated and no teacher to be seen. It emerged that this said teacher was hiding in a back room having completely given up on maintaining any form of discipline, let alone actually teaching anything.

But most irksome of all, I think that this hypocrisy sets up a terrible model of lack of respect for truth-seeking. Given that truth-seeking is one of the fundamental principles that I wish to impart in our home educating life, it looks as if we might have problems adapting to school, where dissembling for self-protection appears to be the norm.

I am proud that Dd recently told Badger that she couldn't possibly say the Rainbows' pledge (containing a reference to God), because at the moment she is a fairly convinced atheist and that it is better to tell what one believes to be the truth if one possibly can. Although Badger did look a trifle discombobulated, Dd remained completely unflustered. Apparently none of the other schooled children had ever approached Badger on the matter before, though I bet a number of them have never taken the idea of God terribly seriously. Ho hum. I would not be happy about that record.


Anonymous said...

Hmm yes. The story in the article sounds very familiar. If you have an otherwise capable child not doing well in one area, or a very capable child with average performance in an area then it is very hard to persuade anyone that there is a problem.
I should say that it is also very hard to get individual help for kids with really marked problems, sadly. So from a teachers point of view I suppose a child doing OK as in the article is not going to be a priority.

sigh. I won't write a list on this pro home ed blog of the reasons my children give me for going to school but I'm off to recite them in my head to try to cheer up. I do also enjoy being in the system offering support for some of the good things I see happening (no homework in our primary school!)Shh don't tell ofsted


Carlotta said...

I love the fact that you are making it work for you and doing this so cleverly!

Anonymous said...

oooh it's too soon to say if it's working or not. but then i do suspect and hope in equal measures that all our cherished, respected and on the whole pretty autonomous children will turn out OK

or they'll have no trouble offering us criticism and where we went wrong LOL


Shirl said...

Sometimes I wonder if it's a situation where the horrendous things that go on in school have just become "the norm" for teachers and Ofsted. They realise they have reached a point where everything is in chaos and can do nothing about it, so continue as if everything is fine.

"discombobulated" - now that's a word. Well done your dd!