Pupils and Parents – Set your Goals

Children are the future. They will take over from us one of these nearing days, and we must trust them in their decisions. But must they make them at 11? Why should we place such a boulder of life and learning and decision making on such fragile and boney shoulders? Given the decision of which box of kellogg’s multipack to have in the morning, usually results in them choosing two and mixing them to form a milky mush in their morning bowls. How are they then supposed to make decisions about careers and classes at 11?

I remember at 11 all my friends and I wanted to do was ride around on our bikes, believing that these kind of decisions were light years away, and went home to enjoy a peaceful, stress free nights worth of sleep – which, let’s face it will undoubtedly haunt us in our older years.

In an article that I read on a thrilling train ride home from London, the Evening Standard made mention of the fact that pupils of a new London academy will be helped by parents to decide what they want to study. Fair enough, it is their education after all.

“The Hampton Academy….is sponsered by Swedish education provider Kunskapsskolan, which believes in “personalised learning.” So do I after my years of GCSE, A Levels and starting a Degree… doesn’t mean to say I was ready to decide all this at 11.

This is all very well, and most probably a very effective system, no doubt it obliterates the chances of disruptive classes, as every pupil is there, in that particular class, because they want to be. It hones in on their abilities, their strengths. An all round good idea.

Until, that is the choices, and specialised 20 minute parent meetings, are all for one reason…”They [pupil, parent and teacher] set goals about where they would ultimately like to be, whether that is going to University, being a pilot, getting 8 A*s at GCSE or being a painter-decorator. It makes them think.” Okay, I get the point, it gets the pupil ready for the world, makes future choices easier, but in all seriousness, at 11 I wanted to be like Jane Goodall and live in a tree house in the rainforest and saves gorillas.. and now I am doing a Journalism and English course at University and have no idea whether I really want to be a pilot, go into Fashion or Historical Journalism or become the world’s greatest professional student and get all the degrees under the sun.

I think it’s a great idea to get children motivated, doing what makes them happy and achieve amazing things, but how about letting them have a childhood when it counts, rather than make them grow up quicker than they need too?


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