Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Enjoy and achieve

After learning something about what 'be healthy', 'achieve economic wellbeing', and 'Make a positive contribution' really mean, I have a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach about 'enjoy and achieve'. Something tells me it's going to be the worst one of the lot. That word 'enjoy', in a government document like this, is just so Orwellian, isn't it? It makes me think of the Ministry of Love. On the other hand, I am curious to find out exactly how they intend to enforce this 'enjoyment'.

Ha! I've just looked at its five aims on the Framework [opens pdf] and already I hate it. Get this:

  • Ready for school;
  • Attend and enjoy school;
  • Achieve stretching national educational standards at primary school;
  • Achieve personal and social development and enjoy recreation; and
  • Achieve stretching national educational standards at secondary school.

Yes, I think home educating families might have some slight difficulty in meeting one or two of those, don't you? I take it we weren't in the forefront of the minds of its authors.

Or perhaps we were.

Associated PSAs and DSOs are as follows:

  • PSA 10 – Raise the educational achievement of all children and young people;
  • PSA 11 – Narrow the gap in educational achievement between children from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers
  • PSA 2 – Improve the skills of the population, on the way to ensuring a worldclass skills base by 2020
  • PSA 4 – Promote world class science and innovation in the UK
  • PSA 15 – Address the disadvantage that individuals experience because of their gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief
  • Supported by: DCSF’s Departmental Strategic Objectives to achieve world class standards in education (DSO 3) and
  • close the gap in educational achievement for children from disadvantaged backgrounds (DSO4)

So we're spoilt for choice. I think I'll have a look at PSA 10 and possibly DSO 3 if there's time to do both before the children wake up.

Well, I've just spent half an hour looking for PSA 10 and can't find it. Can anyone else? I've found plenty of references to it, including one for 'stakeholders' (which turns out to have a slightly different meaning to the one I had in mind) and this:

PSA 10

- which doesn't tell us much, and certainly doesn't relate to home educators.

Let's try DSO 3. Hmm - I'm not having much luck this morning. I can't find that either. I've got sidetracked into a load of stuff about eCAF and other fact sheets, but not even a search on the DCFS's publications page ("What you need, when you need it") will yield a result.

I'll look for the other PSAs and DSOs mentioned in the list and see if I can find anything interesting there instead.

PSA 15 is here - it seems that the Treasury is pretty good at publicising its PSAs (PSA 10 comes from DCFS, who apparently isn't) - but I don't think that contains anything particularly relevant for us.

I'm going to have to try to get to grips with this outcome from another angle, I think. Typing "Enjoy and achieve" into Google led me to this page on the QCA website, which states:

Enjoyment and achievement tend to go hand in hand. If children enjoy learning, enjoy good, supportive relationships with their teachers and peers, enjoy a rich variety of learning experiences and enjoy their leisure time, they are more likely to engage and achieve high standards.

Enjoyment is not just about having fun - it is also about looking back at a 'job well done'; a mission accomplished. Every child has gifts and talents to be uncovered and developed. The challenge for schools is to ensure that all young people see themselves as successful learners and are able to live fulfilling lives.

Pupils need to learn:
  • how to work imaginatively and creatively to develop new ideas, insights and ways of doing things
  • how to assess their skills, achievements and potential in order to set personal goals and achieve their best
  • the joy to be gained from successful learning.

This demands a curriculum full of surprise and challenge. If children are to enjoy learning they need to investigate deeply and widely, build on their own interests and aptitudes, confront the big ideas that shape the world and have the chance to make a difference and take on responsibility.

Schools need to consider the specific needs of all their pupils before designing appropriate learning experiences across every aspect of the curriculum.

The thing is, I think home educators probably do all that much better than schools can.

This lack of relevant documents is very frustrating. What, for example, does "ready for school" mean? I'll try just Googling that and see what comes up. Oh my. A whole 'ready for school' website, that's what. Here is all the stuff we need to buy and do to get our children 'ready for school'. The list of five (another list of five!) necessary skills includes 'Following Direction'. 'Nuff said.

I'll tell you what I did find on my extensive travels this morning though. This little nugget, in here [opens pdf]

1.6 Parents are the best judges of their family’s needs.


Blogger Gill said...

Ah, I've found this now. Just not sure if I've got time to work through it..

7:20 am, February 10, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

- but I've just briefly read it and EHE isn't mentioned.

7:23 am, February 10, 2009  
Blogger Shena Deuchars said...

The summary of findings saps my will to live:
• Priorities and actions relating to personal and social development and recreation mainly refer to ‘out of school’. Enjoyment is chiefly aligned with recreation rather than with learning.
- maybe in ECM-lala-land, not in my EHE world
• Overall, 21 different targets appear in ‘Enjoy and achieve’. Targets frequently cover achievement ...
- what would a "target" cover if it did not cover "achievement"?

8:53 am, February 10, 2009  
Blogger lotusbirther said...

aarrgghh, just read the annexe on child development and labour market in that last pdf you linked to. It is total craziness! A whole blogpost will have to follow back my way as I \have/ to comment on those statements!

10:24 am, February 10, 2009  
Blogger moley said...

Someone please stop this train I want to get off!

The statement: "Enjoyment is chiefly aligned with recreation rather than with learning." is so convenient isn't it? It means they can totally ignore the fact that most children do not enjoy school and 80% of teenagers said it was a boring waste of time.

Some of the quotes from the LAs' action plans would be funny if they weren't so depressing. To paraphrase: "We are going to tackle school attendance by having an initiative to tackle school attendance, using current best practice."

Oh okay - I feel so much more reassured now (sigh!)

2:44 pm, February 10, 2009  
Blogger R said...

so in the review questions we have to answer "No", our children can't enjoy and achieve because they don't go to school. hmmmm

2:48 pm, February 10, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Shena, it's good to know someone else thinks ECM is lala land. It does something to your brain, reading that stuff, doesn't it? I have to get out into the fresh air after a while!

Lotusbirther, I will look forward to that blog post and should probably read the annex myself. Do you mean the pdf I posted in the comments here? So many pdfs, so few memory cells..!

Moley, that's a very good point. I suspect 95% of this ECM rhetoric is just baloney, to mask the 5% of actual - and mostly detrimental to human society, IMO - changes they want to make.

Raquel, I haven't even thought about how to asnwer the review questions! I'm hoping inspiration hits me before the 20th!

3:47 pm, February 10, 2009  
Blogger lotusbirther said...

The Government itself is appearing to fail PSA 4 following this statement:(quote)
The UK science minister has called for a debate on whether a bigger chunk of the research budget should be spent in areas that would benefit the economy.

Lord Drayson said the debate was important in the context of the global economic downturn. (end quote)


10:04 pm, February 11, 2009  
Blogger lotusbirther said...

That 'Get ready For School' website is frightening!
I must admit too, I don't actually know what Midline Crossing is.

10:08 pm, February 11, 2009  

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