Big Dave's Magic Wand

Posted: 02.09.07 in Blogging

If we were looking for a prophet of our times, we really need not look any further than David Cameron. I had underestimated his delightful pearls of wisdom, but if you think about what he says for long enough, perhaps they will start to make sense eventually.

Taken from the BBC News website, David Cameron prophesies that keeping struggling pupils back a year will create a magical revolution in schools.

In the original article in the Sunday Telegraph by Patrick Hennessy, David Cameron talks about making weaker pupils attend summer schools at the end of Year 6 – the final year of primary school – to improve before secondary school. Furthermore, a pupil would retake the final year if their achievements do not meet government targets – I would assume. Hennessy writes:

[The proposal’s] most eye-catching initiative is a call for the worst performers at the end of year six – the final year at primary school, when children reach the age of 11 – to catch up either by attending summer schools or in some cases resitting the entire year. This would lead to children of much more widely differing ages becoming classmates than is usual in the present system, which is strictly delineated by age.

If I may be so bold so as to suggest that mixing class ages in this manner is deluded, then I should remind David Cameron of a few things. Firstly, an underachieving child faces trauma enough, without being threatened of the possibility of having to face another year of school. Secondly, dragging a child down a year is not going to improve that child’s confidence – anything but. Even if the child is not embarrassed by being brought back a year, there is a transparent possibility that he or she will have constant reminders. Thirdly, both Cameron and Hennessy may well have forgotten about forming and forging social groups, and losing the security of your social circles will probably hinder a child’s development anyway.

But I could be wrong. Prophet Cameron might have forseen a successful blue future… But I reckon if that happens and your child hates school now, I’d consider a personal tutor.


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