Junior School and the 3 “R”s: literacy and numeracy
The major issue for children entering junior school, also known as primary school, is that by the age of 10, that is a clear year before entering secondary school, all children should be able to read write, do all aspects of arithmetic and some algebra. There is no possibility of their being able to achieve much in secondary school if they are nor able to do the 3 “R”s, reading, writing and arithmetic and a little algebra e.g. linear equations in the form of solving an equations such as 6x+3=9.
The major problem is that some teachers within the State system are themselves not able to do such things and if the teachers, which it has to be said are mostly female around the age of 50, can’t do it, how can the kids?. My researches have shown that in 1970 there weren’t enough school places for women in the Dorset area and as much as one wishes to deny it women have suffered at the hands of the previous system.
<junior school>The high level of unionisation in the schools means that class-work is “policy-driven”, that is, as long as the teachers follow the union rules they will continue to teach regardless of the results. As we have seen recently (17/12/10) one-seventh of boys are leaving junior school without the necessary skills to enter secondary schools: the head-teachers are simply saying that the problem is at home. The job of schools is to teach.
It is not the job of schools to judge the parents. We all pay for our children to go to school and be taught. I went to a primary school that was built right by a council estate. It was a good school, there was never any trouble, all children were attended to and I was able to go on to enter the famous public school St. Albans School on a scholarship. Indeed so did my brother. The location of the school is irrelevant. What is relevant is the quality of the teaching.
Piaget shows that the years 0-5 are the most important in the creation of personality, after that it is a question of teaching (put metaphorically, by the age of 5 the wardrobe of personality is made, then it is a question of putting the clothes in). The State school system has simply become a Hoover for government workers: those that are naturally good succeed, those that struggle are left by the way-side: they are of no use. This may be to my benefit but that’s not the point.
Children need to memorise their times-tables (or factorisations as it should be called) be able to add, subtract, divide and multiply competently, be able to read and write competently (I was able to read Oliver Twist at 7 years-old: I used a dictionary!) and do some simple algebra. It seems evident that the 3Rs are not being taught: on a recent check on my young charges, when asked what the 3Rs are, one replied “is it something to do with “rights and responsibilities?”: otherwise they didn’t know: they do now.
Children who struggle need extra help in school but in the absence of that they will need private tutoring which is where we come in.