I’ve been thinking about Jamie Oliver’s ‘Dream School’ and wondering what a Dream School would really be like. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamies-dream-school
Then I thought; the trouble for Jamie’s school is that he is trying to provide a dream school for young people whose dreams are a bit shattered by the schooling they’ve already had and that’s quite a hard place from which to start.
This is the sad thing for many of our youngsters; they’ve become so disenchanted about education that even with the possibility of a dream school they may be too sceptical to believe in it any more.
But what a wonderful thought to start them out in a dream school from scratch, to make their schooling a dream from the minute they walk through the gates of their school life.
My dream school would be a place where the teaching is so stimulating it makes them hungry to learn. Where the way in which students are treated is so respectful they learn that teachers are people who can be respected rather than people who create antagonism or humiliate them. Where people are treated with equal respect not a respect dependent on age and assumed superiority. Where the proportion of adults to learners is high enough to be able to address learners’ needs adequately. Where the curriculum is designed for the interest of the young people not for the purpose of passing tests and fulfilling a status on a league table. Where there are equal proportions of physical activity, practical based learning and creativity rather than a heavy academic syllabus with a bit of other stuff thrown in and treated as less valuable. Where young people have proper and personal choice and control over their learning, not choices manipulated by other authorities to suit the needs of the institution.
And finally my dream school would be a place where children by their experiences there come to understand what a marvellous life enhancing thing education is, enabling them to develop and grow and understand who they are, what they are good at, and where they can go in this wonderful world, rather than think of education as something to be got through and over with as quickly as possible.
That’s what my dream school would be like. In today’s cut based economy a monumental dream!