Jamie’s Dream School – a marvellous effort!

I watched the last episode of Jamie’s Dream School on channel 4 last night. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamies-dream-school

What a marvellous effort it has been on Jamie’s part to do something for the young people for whom schooling fails so spectacularly! His heart is definitely in the right place but what a mammoth task. ‘Fixing’ it cannot possibly happen by a dream school as he’s aware. The roots of the problems are so embedded in schooling right from the start because of its misguided focus on outcomes. And blindness to the need for quality in the daily journey to becoming an educated person. As one lad pointed out to David Cameron; schooling is so dated in relation to the young people of today and the culture they grow up in. He was right!

But I thought Jamie summed it up perfectly at the end by saying that teachers could do with less rules and regulations and more freedom to try things which really work with their classes.

He’s absolutely right. We need to focus more on the kids and what they personally need, rather than conveyor belting them to fit with our political and social need to tick boxes.

Our schooling system has become all about ‘getting’. Getting grades. Ticking boxes. It is outcome led with appalling disregard to what real education is and what it’s for.

You cannot ‘get’ an education by collecting grades. You can only grow it within yourself as part of your personality and intelligence and social awareness. And that is achieved through personal development, not through getting. Qualifications and grades will be a result of that development. But we’re trying to shortcut straight to the outcomes and skip the personal development required for proper education. That’s why these young people feel so frustrated when they’re hot-housed towards the ‘getting’ bit, as if they were merely plants without minds or souls, to be grown in the way we want them to grow, rather than how they need to grow. Education is not about what you get it’s about what you can do.

The young people in the series can obviously do so much. But schooling failed to give them the opportunity to express it by forcing them towards getting. Schooling needs to change its focus on the end results to a focus on the activity of the daily journey. Only by making each day a good one will the end result also be a good one and not huge numbers of disenchanted youngsters who think schooling is just crap.

The thing is, very often their schooling is just crap. It is real education that is so wonderful, but they were denied the opportunity to see that until Jamie stepped in.

I do so hope he continues with his battle to make politicians – and society – and parents – aware of the need to change it.

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5 thoughts on “Jamie’s Dream School – a marvellous effort!

  1. The series showed what a difference someone who was passionate about their subject (without being handcuffed to tick-boxes and outcomes) could make to children. Not all the ‘teachers’ made a connection with the kids and you could see the despair on their faces as they tried so hard. Others just seemed to grasp the kids’ enthusiasm straight away.

    It reminded me of a similar programme ‘In Search of Genius’ (you can find it on youtube) with Tony Buzan many years ago who spent time with a group of supposedly unteachable children. (It was very moving to see how the self esteem of these children was raised by simply listening, being patient, showing them respect and showing that they did have skills and were worthy people.)

    Vocational training has for a long time been seen as a lower form of education – ‘for the thick kids’ – and it would be wonderful to see it raised to the same status as academic qualifications. Maybe non-academic kids wouldn’t feel so much of a failure in the school system if their skills were valued equally in the education system and in society in general.

  2. I have watched the entire series and it is just so distressing to watch those kids and the angry outbursts they regularly display, but let’s hope they now make a success of their lives.

    I’m in the process of deciding to de-register my child. We home schooled a few years ago and may now return as my child is so unhappy. They were made to sit in front of a blackboard the other week on which the teacher had written “you are all going to fail in life – so why bother trying?”

    Such a sad state of affairs!

    • How shocking is that! Thanks Nicole. Makes you wish you wish you could shame these people – they should not be teaching! Very best of luck with the home schooling. x

      • I think both the school and the teacher should be named and shamed. I can honestly say I am utterly shocked and disgusted by that.

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