Education based rant today, but since it’s Sunday nobodywillreadme, so I should get away with it. Both these stories appeared on Thursday.

First off, I was watching a news report about on the job training, effectively apprenticeships, for young people. I’m all in favour of this. There’s a limit to what you can do with the current crop of academic achievements that are geared to the pursuit of rankings in the school league tables and to avoiding the wrath of Ofsted.

The aim is laudable, but I was roused to a mental state that somehow managed to combine ennui and frustration. The reason for this was the psychobabble being spouted by a woman being interviewed. She was ‘spearheading the initiative.’

Not an auspicious start to things, is it? What does that mean? Sounds more like someone in charge of setting up safe spaces so students don’t get upset by some triviality than somebody who gets their hands dirty doing a physical job. Of course, there was more to come.

The word ‘enabling’ came up a lot. Good. Don’t want to disable folks do we? ‘Maximizing potential.’ Yes? And? ‘Optimal opportunities.’ Well, you don’t want anything else from training do you? It’s a given. ‘Life skills,’ one of those phrases that makes me lose the will to live. ‘Progressing.’ Again, that’s a given. You don’t train people to go backwards, do you? ‘Empowerment.’ Guaranteed to make me edgy, that one.

Then the real killer. I may be paraphrasing here, but the sense is correct. ‘Well paid employment to make them better citizens.’ Right, in order to be a decent civilised human being you have to earn a lot do you? I take issue with that.

Move along. Nothing to see here, so let’s now turn to the wise words of one Barry Found, principal of a school in Mansfield. He’s slapped a ban on the practice of children raising their hands when able to answer a question. Apparently this ‘does not fit with modern values or educational methods.’ I’ll give you a moment to absorb that bit of twaddle.

Then the psychobabble gets into full spate. ‘We will use a variety of other techniques to ensure {tooth sucking from me} that every student is challenged {ditto} and developed {ditto}… and has opportunities {that word again} to contribute {aaargh!}’

I think what he means is that there’s a tendency for the swotty children to be first off the mark. This is true, as I can tell you because I was the swotty one. But this is  a man who is in charge of educating children, and who can only talk in soundbites like a politician.

No wonder the country’s in the state it is.

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