A great many parents will be keeping their kids out of school in protest today. This is in response to rising tension between Nicky Morgan (Secretary of Education) and teachers who believe that the ever changing standards are causing stress spots in both kids and teachers.
Looking at the details it’s difficult to not be on the teachers’ side. SATs on SATs on SATs means extra workload for literally everyone with, apparently, very little benefit other than knowing that little Timmy no longer has the energy to bother mummy in the evenings, or get out of bed in the mornings, or express a will to live anymore. Yet the SoE keeps piling on the assessments like a quality surveyor with OCD. And according to Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the ATL (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) union:
If schools follow the government’s guidance, a teacher of a Year 6 class has to make 34 separate assessments, for each pupil, for six different types of writing. So, a teacher with a class of 30 pupils will have to make 1,020 separate assessments for each type of writing, and that number needs to be multiplied by six (one for each type of writing) – making a grand total of 6,120 assessments. And that is just for writing.
And all of a sudden my mildly inappropriate joke at the expense of those with OCD seems tame, I reckon.
But what’s clear to me here is that kids have too much free time on their hands. That’s the only reason I can conceive of that would warrant this rigorous scale of academic Big Brothering.
Obviously: even more rigorous assessmenting. A childhood is overrated. What even is a childhood? Running around in the street praying that Old Man Trevor doesn’t invite you to play I Spy in his windowless van? Admittedly, though, these concerned parents voicing that kids don’t get enough assessment-free, your-future-is-not-on-the-line days almost have the right idea. Alleviating the teachers and the kids, just for a day even, from any amount of work may seem helpful but going about it like this only pushes the work back, creating even more dense schedules and more stress diarrhoea for everyone.
No, the way to go about it is to help the teachers with the workload. But the parents are too close to it all, what with their offspring losing hair and growing stress fungus on their backs. It’s up to us of the SSCCATAGAPP demographic to fill in the gaps, not with Tippex but with red pen comments. We need to go out there and grab those children by the mushrooms and assess the shit out of them.
Adjudication, Not Absolution
Do you know what a fronted adverbial is? I don’t. But I’m an adult much like you so I can assume you have similarly meta knowledge in other important areas of life, such as work and relationships. Today, while kids have been day-released, and every other day, in fact, let’s impart our knowledge onto these kids and make sure they’re not allowed to slack, even for a day. To start you off, here are some life-meta terms I’m aware of that describe common acts/situations we adults often find ourselves doing/in:
- Fallacious Superiority Participle: Falsely being in a state of superiority and patronising, e.g. when stereotypical I.T guy, Dave Whiteman from tech support, gets fresh with you because you’ve again had to ask for help using a company system that hasn’t been updated since dial-up was cutting edge.
- Auxiliary Aggressive: Providing unsolicited help/advice in a tone that suggests being helpful but is in fact just veiled aggression, e.g. the following note being left under your door from your downstairs neighbour:
“Hi neighbour, 33a here. We haven’t met but I can’t deny that you’re up there! LOL! I know you’re new so I just wanted to write a couple of links to stuff you’ll probably find useful, like an online store that sells soft-sole footwear and cushioned socks, and a website that lists TV channels and films that have low noise levels and minimal dialogue.
I’d totally have come on by and knocked on to meet you but I wouldn’t want to be all noisy and disruptive. Haha right!? LOLLL!
Okay well thanks in advance for keepin’ it hush,
- Inflammatory Transitive: The act of directly pointing things out inappropriately, e.g. saying “AND HERE COME THE CROCODILE TEARS, RIGHT ON CUE” during an argument with your spouse.
(Ultimately teaching them that, generally, life is one big, nonsensical, caps lock argument with both your loved ones and your hated ones.)
By teaching kids both intense meta grammar and intense meta life we can equip these kids with the skills to describe the things that happen to them, regardless of whether or not they ever figure out how to actually apply this knowledge in real life. Which is surely what Nicky Morgan’s intention is when she and her staff frequently give orders to the teachers on the ground without giving any of the real, necessary details until pushed, when it’s all a bit late.
So please: go out there and assess those kids. For their own good we can’t let them become street urchins whom don’t have the literacy skills to mug you coherently, nor the numeracy skills to demand an amount appropriate for a mugging.