‘Education shouldn’t be survival of the fittest’

Competition brings out the best in some people. It fires their sinews and propels them forward to greatness. I am not one of these people. Competition awakens my flight, not fight, mode. It makes me want to drop out and sleep. In Darwinian terms, I’m a waste of space. A teacher writes in Tes.

Which is not to say I dislike a bit of healthy competition. I would hate to teach without maths knockouts and spelling slam downs; I think a sports day without winners is completely pointless; and my autumn term would be infinitely poorer without Bake Off.  

I once heard a headteacher tell a crowded hall of parents how lucky they were to have their children in the school and – to emphasise the point –  they namechecked all the local schools as being hugely inferior.

All of which made me wonder whether some aspects of present-day education: school places, public ranking of children, selective schools are not so much of a race as a fait accompli.

And when times are tight, the competition naturally intensifies. Backing paper, glue sticks, funding for music lessons and teaching assistants: all are running out and difficult decisions have to be made.

In these straitened times, it would be comforting to know that there’s a higher authority at work: some kind of benign force fighting desperately for equality of provision so that it’s not just a seemingly random act of cruelty that some children who desperately relied on support staff will return to school this year to find them gone.

Money alone is no guarantee of a great school experience but a severe shortage of it will almost definitely make that experience less rich in some respect.

Read the full article ‘Education shouldn’t be survival of the fittest’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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