Archive for November, 2010

White paper on education. Bullying and anti-bullying.

It’s been a while. For many of us – after the government’s spending review – planned early years projects have been delayed, re-arranged or scrapped altogether. The future is uncertain.

I’ve been looking at the government’s new white paper on education. All eighty pages of it. What strikes me is that the Finnish model of education is consistently cited as something excellent to strive for. The government is omitting to mention that children in Finland do not start school until much later than their English counterparts. Two years later in fact.

At the risk of repeating myself – my understanding of the current international research consensus on educational achievement is that there is no evidence at all to suggest that children benefit in the long term from starting school at four or five and being pushed to read, write or spell at such an early age. (See Sebastian Suggate’s research on early reading). The Finnish government seems to understand these findings very well –  why else would they delay the start of school until the age of seven? So the government’s white paper on education certainly seems flawed to me.

The white paper also says quite a lot about discipline and schools.

In the meantime – at the frontline my child is learning a lot about society and school at the moment. Once again, perhaps not quite what she was supposed to be learning. She has been bullied again at the age of five (after eight months of persistent bullying in her very first term at school at four).

Tackling this problem has been gruelling for all of us and for several weeks I’ve been unable to write anything at all about this subject. Then slowly, I’ve started to listen again to the experiences of other educationalists and parents across the globe. Out came a series of articles on bullying and anti-bullying policy. Here are the links:

How to recognize the signs of your child being bullied

When school boards become school bullies

Problems caused by teachers ignoring bullying