A well-rounded education

September 8, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Hulton archive



Hazel Speed

So Grammar Schools are to be extended? What a mish-mash of diverse schooling we have in this Country. Like an a la carte menu in a dubious restaurant.

From basic State Schools, Grammar Schools, then in former days it was the technical College around the same time apprenticeships seemed to be ending.

Then for those whose Parents had “fat wallets”, a year or two at Prep Schools/Eton and Harrow/Oxford (and/or Cambridge) provided opportunities to meet one’s career desires. The Class system, Old School Tie or Jobs for the Boys (and Girls) were all commonly acknowledged.

The menu has further options such as Faith Schools, Schools for Girls only, or Boys only.

For children whose Parents were in the Military Services, or were Ministers of the Government, the Church, or Diplomats, they were inevitably either put in Boarding Schools soon after they could say “mummy” or dragged to postings along with their Parents, either here in the UK or abroad.

What also is concerning is the rush to adapt to Academy Status with its various unknown or known agenda. Yet another Americanism.

What should education provide?

I myself went to eight schools. In adulthood I was privileged to lecture one evening at a famous public school for girls.

One could see by the character on the faces of these young ladies that they were all destined for great futures as Diplomats, Judges, Barristers, Surgeons, you name it.

Emotionally though they also looked detached, as they were, from their Parents. I recall thinking I would have loved their opportunity of wonderful academic schooling but not at such an emotional cost, leaving aside the term fees.

One can attain day schools of similar standing but even then what about other aspects of educational opportunities.

I am thinking about the choices of attending mixed schools or segregated ones. There is a difference in ethos and each has their merits or otherwise.

Throw into the mix one school may be more sedate and another rather like St Trinians.

Faith Schools are limiting in a different way again. They can produce young adults with moral character at best and bigotry at worst. Rituals would be more frequently imposed than the old Morning Assembly in others.

Therefore what produces a well-rounded student ready to face their working life and careers.

The Military Services offer a great conduit for those keen to learn specific skills in such environments.

It is a pity the NHS do not have fast-track schemes for school leavers in respect of high level nursing, general medicine, surgery – irrespective of more usual and formal routes, the two being merged at some stage.

The day and age may arise where local communities will sponsor students in return for a term of service in the community or local hospitals/specific professions after they qualify. Similarly, this could be replicated across the board within all works of life.

Going back to what may constitute a well-rounded education, a lot depends on the individual child or student and their home circumstances, educational and emotional needs in conjunction with their inherent talents and aptitudes, along with similar faculty of the teachers to recognise and nurture the same.

After all of the above considerations, at the end of the day happiness and fulfilment with hope for their future endows a school child with a well-rounded education.

Segregation whether by 11 plus equivalents, Grammar Schools, State, Public, Faith Schools, etc, if truth be known in the perfect world, a segment of experience in respect of each would be ideal but education is something like virtue – it cannot be literally taught to every child within all these arenas of learning, so why not create State Schools plus, which should be ahead of their time and without divisions or financial fees. Utopias of learning together under one auspice and equally thereby producing well-rounded adults who may, for many generations, realise a better world for all. That seems much better to me than extended Grammar Schools.








Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing states of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk.


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