Today I experienced the slight ordeal of the end-of-formal-schooling meeting at my Son’s school. Sitting through something like this shows me how little the essentials have changed since my day, now almost 30 years ago (although we didn’t invite parents or dish out awards – it was just one big, dull assembly).
The genuineness of the Head Teacher showed through his talk and here was a man with real interest in his pupils and rightfully proud of the ‘outstanding’ result of the recent Ofsted inspection. However, we then experienced the ‘special guest’ and her slightly interesting, though ego-driven talk which, I strongly suspect, had most pupils nodding off. The ‘special guest’ was a glorified administrator from the council – this choice no doubt being driven by school and education centre politics rather than anything else. I don’t blame the Head for playing the game, indeed, it is the smart thing to do but I despair at the wheel-greasing that seems to be necessary for anything these days. She was also presented with a rather handsome shield of the school coat of arms which I strongly suspect cost well above the trophies and plaques for the pupils. Why? For crying out loud, this woman is doing her job! I’d be bloody delighted if I got an award or present for turning up at work. Sod all chance of that though.
Next up, were the school awards. Typically, the majority of these comprised various achievements in sport, the most popular of all school subjects, hated by no one…
Out they were churned; Hockey, Football, Netball, Rugby. Everyone who’d played for a school team…
Then came the academic awards. One for English (even though English Language and Literature are taught as two very distinct disciplines). One for Science (even though the top set will be taking Chemistry, Biology and Physics GCSEs in separate exams).
Pretty much sums it up – let’s get the academics out of the way and heap the praise on the sporting crowd. And that has not changed a jot since my day.
The sports stars don’t need awards, they need elocution lessons so they can say “Do you want fries with that?” nice and clearly.