There has been a lot of hot air expelled recently regarding “edukashun” by ridiculous comic characters who do not know of what they speak. Michael Gove, Ed Balls and, indeed, the plastic hippo, huff and puff and blow down houses not yet built. On this final day of the summer term, perhaps we should turn our ears toward the voices of the people that know more about education than we so-called grown-ups could ever hope to comprehend.
Countless cohorts of children and young people will today progress to a new year group, key stage, school, tertiary establishment or employment market and this week has seen a plethora of special assemblies, graduation ceremonies and, that most insidious of American imports, the senior prom. Stretch limos and hummers seem slightly incongruous in Walsall.
Many of these people will not have achieved the arbitrary targets set for them by grown-ups detached from the real world but for them, simply surviving the botched system is a major achievement in itself. These children and young people deserve to be congratulated for their successes and for putting up with the mess we have created. The transition from being a big kid in year 6 to being a little adult in year 7 is as daunting as entering a job market that has no jobs and rather than demonising “youth”, we should celebrate with them and wish them luck. After all, they will inherit this failing system we have created.
As inadequate as the system may be, our young people could be considered as being lucky. Recent performances by David Cameron and Nick Clegg on the world stage indicate that a privileged, expensive and private education does not equip the student with a basic grasp of history, economics or logic. One can only speculate if, aged five and six, Clegg and Cameron sang along to the 1972 Alice Cooper hit single but five and six year old children today are perfectly entitled to join in with the line:
“My school`s been blown to pieces.”
The demographic profile of the readership of these musings is unlikely to include anyone young and fortunate enough to enjoy the challenges of the education system. But, if you know anyone who has progressed today, please tell them how well they have done and give them a hug. They deserve it, we don`t.