28 Feb 2011

Rights of Children

News from Save the Children that about 1.6m children in the UK are living in severe poverty is indeed a "national scandal". We just don't seem to get it right here. I was at a parents evening last week and the headmaster shared this inspiring piece by the writer, Michael Morpurgo and his Dimbleby Lecture - see here.

Michael Mprpurgo talks about the rights of children - the UN charter is signed by all except Somalia and the US but he questions Britains' commitment to it - in particular he looks at the shame of Yarl's Wood immigration and removal centre where children are detained and children in Gaza. Michael's piece finishes with a closer look at our own education system: "We still have classes that are twice the size they should be, far too big for teachers to make those vital relationships with children that are so important, particularly with those children who are already disengaged and alienated. And we still have a society where, although some schools are wonderfully successful, others remain mired in poverty and failure, a situation which continues to wreck the lives of so many of our children, and exacerbate divisions in our national life. It is those schools and those children we are not reaching and whose rights we are denying."

Michael Morpurgo also picks up on an issue I feel strongly about - the age children go to school - in Finland it is 7 and they rank second in the world. We start our children too early...and curriculum's are too narrow and exam focused. I have long wanted to see more about relationships and creativity in our schools - exams and learning can come later.

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