The Ofsted Overlord.

The Ofsted Overlord.

The school bells rings and my children tear out, bags falling from their arms, coats flapping like capes behind them.

They fly onto the nearest patch of grass and run, yelp, kick balls, chase friends.

If you ever needed an image to describe living without a care – then this is it.

Behind them, my three-year old follows, desperately trying to keep up.  Longing for the day she gets to pull on the uniform and really be part of the gang.

Me?

I stand watching, preparing to burst the bubble, we have to go home, we will probably have homework to do.

I ask in the car, how was school, what did you do?

The answer,

Literacy, maths, spelling tests.

Where is the playing and the crafting, the pursuits of an eight year old?

When did primary school become so academic?

Don’t get me wrong, I think our school is excellent, but like all schools they are bound my the confines of Ofsted.  A utilitarian school of thought that sees children only in terms of numbers and letters. (In my opinion!)

A system that has all but forgotten about learning through play.

And now, it seems, Ofsted want to extend their reign even further.  They want our little ones in school based nurseries, they want to start preparing toddlers for school.

Do I really need to prepare my three year old for school?

She will be there for at least twelve years, I’m confident she will get the gist of it.

One thing I know as a grown up is, we get old quickly and stay this way for a long time.  Those magical days of being in single age digits are so short and should be cherished.

I want to spend my Sundays playing pirates in the park, taking the kids out for lunch, slobbing on the sofa chatting about our week.  I don’t want to be stood over the kids trying to motivate them to do homework that none of us want to do.

Ofsted
They will learn more from playing and exploring than being forced to learn by rote.

And my youngest, she doesn’t need to be taught the basics of reading in pre-school.  I read to her every night, she gets to fall asleep in a world of princesses and dragons, dramatised by mum and dad.

All around me I see great teachers leaving the profession because the job no longer requires inspiring and leading kids.  I hear stories of fatigue caused by excessive forms and benchmarks to reach.   I hear the cry that Ofsted, the system meant to improve our schools is the reason so many won’t ever return to teaching.

I see a system falling apart and my children suffering as a result of this educational crisis.

I see a system I don’t want to be part of but have no means to escape.

A system that will fine me if I take my children away at a time we can afford for all important family time, instead of when they dictate.

A system that thinks my three-year old should be in school already instead of playing at home, with me.

I’m getting pretty disillusioned with the system.

I am so excited to be shortlisted in the Mad Blog Awards 2014 in two categories,

thanks to everyone who voted in the first stage.

I am nominated in

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45 Comments

  1. April 3, 2014 / 8:16 pm

    There are ways out. You may have to be creative. I think you’re quite good at that though 😉

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 3, 2014 / 9:50 pm

      I don’t think I could home school mrs, I am not known for my patience – or maths!

  2. April 3, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    I totally feel your concern on this one. I have a three year old August born child and am dreading the transition to school. Too much too soon in my opinion! Great post.

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 3, 2014 / 9:48 pm

      Thanks and mine is a May birth – she is desperate, I am dreading it.

  3. April 3, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    There is a solution: let’s all move to Finland together. Seriously though, absolutely feel the same way. Bloody depressing.

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 3, 2014 / 9:47 pm

      tis shite!

  4. April 3, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    i am married to teacher, one of those ‘used to be filled with enthusiam but now just works 60/70 hour weeks and verging on depression’ the education system is out of control and just heading down hill. scary.

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 3, 2014 / 9:39 pm

      It is ridiculous!

  5. April 3, 2014 / 10:23 pm

    Seems tone headed that way here too lovely. But not got that far yet thankfully. I am glad that the boy is not starting the schooling system in the UK they don’t start until 5 here and it is all play based until then. Plus because he’s the younger end of the year we can hold him back a year if we think he won’t be able to handle it. Simple solution – just move here!

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:31 pm

      Hmmmm not that simple my lovely

  6. Ruth
    April 3, 2014 / 11:19 pm

    I home ed and I’m not known for my patience or maths either 🙂 but I’ve HE 7. 3 are at or going to uni and all the rest are in work or college except younger twins, aged 15. I ‘m not a HE type. I only took them out when I realised the system was seriously flawed. Youngest two never went to school. I fear for my grandchildren now.

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:31 pm

      Scary times

  7. April 4, 2014 / 9:01 am

    I have far too much to say on this subject but will limit it to saying please don’t let your family time suffer and so far as I am aware there is no legal requirement for full time schooling before age 5 so there should be no fines for taking your holidays when it suits you. In fact I’d love to know if there is any legal bases for taking any age of child out of school. Certainly we take ours out up to year 9 and have never been charged by school. School holidays just aren’t practical for everyone.

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:32 pm

      We take ours out, happy to suffer the consequences…

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:32 pm

      Yours will be fine, crafting genius’s x

  8. April 4, 2014 / 11:43 am

    Could not agree more! We do grow up far too quickly and are forced to push our children into education far too young… then we wonder why they are growing up far too quickly… it’s no wonder teachers are known to drink! 😉 x

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:33 pm

      And that is when I think I would make a good teacher…… Drink!

  9. April 4, 2014 / 1:01 pm

    Couldn’t agree more – have you heard the latest? They want children to start going to school at the age of two. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the radio this morning. When do they have time to be children??

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:33 pm

      Yes tis bloody ridiculous

  10. April 4, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    My youngest enjoys 2 mornings at nursery a week. That is enough for her (and for me). She has years to go “into the system”, why can’t they just let them be little?

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:34 pm

      Very good question!

  11. April 4, 2014 / 4:17 pm

    It’s a bloody shame things are going the way they are 🙁

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:35 pm

      It is indeed

  12. April 4, 2014 / 4:22 pm

    I feel as hands tied as you. I can’t afford to take them out of state education, but I have never been so demoralised about the situation in our schools. And that’s even considering the fact that I do rate the schools my children are in in many ways. But yes, the teacher turnover is galling, and the homework is saddening. My girl has an amazing teacher this year, who gets the best out of her, but knows how to have fun – she has no homework tonight. My 6 year old has come home for the Easter holidays with a project he has to complete and hand in when he goes back. He’s bloody 6! He needs a holiday!

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:35 pm

      Would you like a paddle for this boat we are sharing?

  13. April 4, 2014 / 5:56 pm

    We don’t plan to send ours to school but it’s depressing to see the direction things are moving in. I don’t want my girls to grow up amidst a disillusioned generation.

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 5, 2014 / 7:23 am

      You have a few years yet, here’s hoping

  14. April 4, 2014 / 8:35 pm

    I find it so sad reading about what is going on in schools in the UK, hope you find way to keep your three enjoying their education AND their childhood x

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:35 pm

      Thanks lovely x

  15. April 4, 2014 / 9:15 pm

    I was volunteering in a primary school with a view to doing my PGCE a while ago – i got put off in the end, seems the fun has been sucked out of it for all involved.

    • Jane
      Author
      April 4, 2014 / 9:35 pm

      Looks like you had a luck escape at the moment

  16. April 5, 2014 / 7:28 am

    Great post…..We’ve got it so wrong in this country. Psychology and developmental learning in children shouts it loud and clear that all the best learning is done through playing…. childhood is about play. *bangs head against wall*. X

  17. April 5, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    Oh I have SO much to say on this one but will confine myself to vigorous nodding, quite a bit of tutting, some cheek blowing and the odd expletive. Mine are surviving the system because we have made sure they know that it is not the Be All and End All, we’ve encouraged them to see themselves as learners out of school and for school to be somewhere to make social contact and learn the group thing – it was a compromise if I’m honest because I didn’t want to home ed.

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 12, 2014 / 7:55 pm

      Ditto x

  18. April 5, 2014 / 7:08 pm

    Do your Primary schools give homework for weekends? I hope not… time enough in secondary school for that! And time enough in primary school for your 3 year old! Although ‘PLAY school’ (emphasis on play) can be beneficial.
    Heard a report recently that some schools here in Ireland are giving PE/fitness homework? Now that’s a good idea… if it’s made to sound like fun, and it can involve the whole family! xx

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 12, 2014 / 7:55 pm

      We get lots of homework!!!

  19. April 6, 2014 / 4:06 am

    My daughter is 6 and bought an easter craft home its prob the first artistic thing we have seen form school since Christmas she is cretaive rather than academic so at a recent parents evening we just got average average average becuse art and creativity dont count. How sad

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 12, 2014 / 7:54 pm

      It really is x

  20. April 6, 2014 / 8:16 am

    This is something I’m worried about – I have a 3yo starting school in September (which still feels BONKERS) and I want to make sure she remains a child as long as possible. This has given me food for thought x

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 12, 2014 / 7:54 pm

      good x

  21. April 8, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    I seriously worry about this, having Baba only just started school this year I fear for Boo. Baba loves every minute he is in school but his first week he came home with homework. If we could move to Sweden/Finland we would. We have also seriously talked about HE not forever but for the younger years at least. In our opinion its far too much pressure on little shoulders and it just isn’t fair. You need to learn to play to be a grounded adult! Just let kids be kids! xx

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 12, 2014 / 7:53 pm

      well said Kerry

  22. April 11, 2014 / 11:42 pm

    A few friends and I have joked about home schooling between us and getting a shared tutor just so they can still be kids – they grow up too quickly anyway

    • northernmum
      Author
      April 12, 2014 / 4:37 pm

      not a bad idea!

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