I woke this morning and switched on the radio, which is permanently tuned to Radio Four. The news centred on SATs and the mess the government has created around testing young children who are trying to have a childhood. I applaud the stance of many parents of six-year-olds who boycotted the tests yesterday, which showed a great sense of love and care for their children. Much was said, but it was the underlying thread that upset me and is the reason for me writing this article. We are a nation with many problems with leadership. True, sensible and intelligent leadership in respect of children, is at an all-time low!
My point is this. If we analyse what has come after childhood in our society, we see a vast panorama of very concerning numbers of children with extreme anxiety, enormous piles of pills used to medicate this anxiety, the decline in children’s integrity, serious drug usage, violence and a vast raft of young teenagers who are unhappy about their image.
Teenagers look up to the stars, not those bright, beautiful lights that gently glide through the heavens, but those ‘lights’ that appear with monotonous regularity on television, in films, in the myriad of glossy sexist magazines, an entire advertising culture committed to making young teenagers feel they don’t fit in! What happens next is that they begin to steadily destroy who they are, they cut, self-harm, drink excessively, take drugs and look for the next weekend when they can spend millions of pounds on the unnecessary things in life. I feel very sorry for the youth of today who are led into such negative pursuits by a serious lack of leadership and example and understanding of the gentle young, growing human beings that were once the beautiful babes in the arms of their caring parents!
I feel that instead of allowing the Secretary of Education, aided and abetted by the ruling party to actively destroy the wonderful elements that lie within each and every child, we should be appointing sensible, caring parents who have brought up their families successfully, to take a place in society as upright, freethinking, aware human beings, to create the programme of education.
Where are the leaders? Where is the sense? Why do educationalists think that subliminally structured abstract questions can be the way to check if children are being educated properly, when over 99% of the kingdom of childhood spend almost more time plugged in that they do at school, or sleeping. These gadgets bring about the decline in standards and have effectively destroyed a couple of decades of children who had the potential to do much better.
It is all well and good being the headmaster of a small private school nestled in the beautiful Cotswolds, somewhat out-of-reach you might think, with the reality that is British life. I assure you that we are not out-of-touch at Acorn, and we are aware that our children receive a privileged education, which enables them to be happy, content and achieve to a very high level. Students graduating from this school, who wish to go to university and achieve the school’s average degree pass of a first, deeply care for their world.
Finally, why is my school so small, when it used to be over one hundred and twenty children? It is because I have refused to go with the flow and be like other schools who are centred on the Internet and screens to educate, even though the researchers have declared that system does not work, and our parents have chosen a screen-free school up until the age of seventeen. Am I mad? Are the parents who send their children here mad? Are the children at the school missing out on something very important, such as being able to access the world on a screen, or are they the privileged ones in the society of children?