Chalk Face Blues

For some, memories of school conjure up a happy sunny little room in the corridor of their psyche, with laughter and learning in equal doses; for others, bleak Dickensian scenes from Oliver Twist come to haunt them. Author and mother Victoria Johnston takes a comprehensive look at alternative routes to mainstream education, highlighting the need for a multifaceted approach to help younger generations fulfi l their potential and give of their best without having their vibrant energies diluted and their spirits crushed…Our own experience of school inevitably colours our fantasies about how our children might cope with the school environment. Some of us imagine tots tumbling out of their reception classes brimming with enthusiasm and anticipation. For others, the dark shadow of testing, targets and competitive league tables shrouds our school children’s drive and natural energy. We’re all aware of the pressure that these load onto parents and children alike and this is coupled with the pressure on teachers who have to concentrate on what is known as ‘teaching to the test’. Desired approach A more qualitative approach to education is desirable, and currently the national curriculum and the primary schoolleague tables and ‘teaching to test’ are all being reviewed by the government. League tables won’t necessarily be dispensed with and nor will testing, but a wider range of activities will be introduced and primary school children will be encouraged to learn languages.

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