Parenting and Education: who’s job is it any way?


Education vs Experience
Education vs Experience

Good parenting is probably the most important job in the world however; there are many other aspects involved in the process of raising children, not least the formal education element.

Parents (and teachers) appear to be getting younger, yet all those organisations, agencies and individuals responsible for providing the support and  ‘experience’ element of the educational process, often abandon the parents and teachers. They leave them to get on with the hard job of raising our future generations and then simply vilify them when it all goes wrong. That can’t be right, can it?

But added to the education process there are also a myriad of differing social factors impacting upon our children during their formative years. I’ve voiced my concerns about the current UK education system before (see here) but the question still remains; how do we address all the other problems which create failure in the process of parenting and education?

Parents have the most important job in the world. Bringing up the next generation is a tremendous task. The amazing thing is not how many make a complete dog’s breakfast of it, but how many children grow up to be decent, healthy, hard-working responsible adults, who also remember their manners, wash behind their ears and are kind to old ladies…(Sharon Griffiths – Darlington & Stockton Times)

With numerous conflicting reports, suspect statistics and ‘interest’ groups, professional or social, all impacting upon the process, it’s difficult to effectively and fully understand and address all the issues. How many of those ‘failures’ are actual or perceived? How ever we wish to quantify and/or evidence the overall subject; many of those ‘failures’ appear to be in the ascendant. But could this all be as a result of our media methodology?

I don’t often agree with the author Owen Jones, but he had a point when he penned the title of his book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class. But, as Griffiths points out (above), for every youngster in our feral underclass and feckless society, there are many more well-educated and well-balanced kids, all destined to be valuable members of our society.

The Department for Education are now (belatedly) looking at ways to combat the problems in our schools. Arguably and in my opinion it is their mess, theirs and the legacy of numerous political predecessors. Decades of interference in education process, dumbing down of standards and politically motivated social engineering, have all led to the problems we see today.

The constant, often politically motivated, drive to give children the same rights, expectations and choices we afford to adults has failed in many respects. It failed because we’ve expected our children to make all the right moves, without the necessary academic and social maturity or guidance. How can we expect them to positively and fully gain from those variables, without all of the above? But as a society, we also fill them with false or unrealistic expectations for their future. For every one that makes it as a ‘celebrity’ of some form or other, there are thousands of utterly despondent failures!

We then proceed to compound their ultimate disappointment, when they fail to achieve their desires, by giving them the tools to build on their expected goals. Is it any wonder that so many ultimately disengage with the whole process? It’s even more worrying when you consider the ever decreasing age at which our children disengage (or are excluded) from the educational process.

I hate using business speak and buzzword bollocks but many of the problems come from the way in which we operate and think in the public sector, education is no different. We need a more holistic approach to the problem, instead of our prevalent silo mentality..

We may espouse all the right stories, with all the popular (and PC) terminology. We continually ensure that all our research and consultation is carried out to the nth degree, by people with academically evidenced qualifications. We publish tomes of directives, advice and guidance however; our ever-increasing silo thinking about the issues requiring more a more holistic approach often negate the whole process. All those organisations, agencies and individuals involved in the overall process simply hide behind departmental remits and protocols. Often for financial reasons and sometimes, artificial budgetary constraint.

Often there’s very little understanding of the end ‘product’ or ‘customer’ requirements in the whole ‘business’ process. A process that often results in impacts upon the needs and wellbeing of human beings and not, the inanimate objects that are tagged with a production cost value. But also, we now live in a blame culture society of slope shouldered responsibility.

Very few people or organisations and agencies are prepared to go that extra mile to provide true service. We shy away from taking on anything not within our personal or organisational remit. We lack the ability to look outside our small and self-interested work/life bubbles and consider; what is the impact of what I am doing on others?

From this September, for the first time ever, new trainee teachers will be allowed to do some of their teacher training in Pupil Referral Units, where children excluded from mainstream education are taught. They will be able to develop key skills in managing disruptive behaviour (see here).

One step in the right direction perhaps but still probably wofully short of the mark and I suspect, mostly hot air of political rhetoric… We will see?

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