18_may_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,437

Wednesday 18 May 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The imposition of the SATs exams is a hostile imposition, it has no regard for the children who must suffer its iniquities, it is forced obedience for imposed answers, whether the children understand the questions and answers or not.

If all children aged 7 or 11 have to learn what a subordinating conjunction is, what possible use is that to the vast majority of those children? What educational value does that have other than the suppression of children’s creativity and intelligence?

In very simple terms, because the circumstances demand it, education is the nurture of the habit of inquiry. It is the continuing presence of a desire to learn which should remain throughout life.

It is entirely possible to suppress that desire and the best way is to present education as a series of set pieces to be learned by rote, aided and abetted by regular testing which imbues a narrow, and stupid, framework of success or failure, inducing fear and anxiety. Short of physical punishment, that is the best way to suppress the desire to learn which is innate in all human beings.

Every child from birth, barring very unusual circumstances, in imbued with a desire to learn, a desire which can only be suppressed through neglect and punishment and even then it can be harmed but not eradicated.

It was Michael Gove who dragged us back to a system of rote learning and competitive, difficult exams. As a strict traditionalist he probably favours the puritanical model of education and beating the devil out of children, however given that corporal punishment is now illegal he recommended litter duty and mopping dining hall floors for unruly pupils. Of course he is far from alone given that your welfare reforms and the DWP advocate punitive incentives to drive people into work regardless of their physical or mental well being or even if they are dying.

I suppose, in the light of current social policy, a repressive education system really is fitting children for life (under you Tories). I don’t know why you don’t roll The Department of Education and the Department for Work and Pensions together with the reintroduction of work houses, that’s what it’s all about anyway. You could call them Centres for the Advancement of Social Excellence, with the slogan, ‘From birth to grave the Government is always on your CASE’.

http://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/pass-SATS-questions-meant-10-11-year-olds/story-29248879-detail/story.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/100-academics-savage-education-secretary-michael-gove-for-conveyor-belt-curriculum-for-schools-8541262.html

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/nov/14/michael-gove-backs-learning-by-rote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10612481/Michael-Gove-teachers-should-punish-children-with-litter-duty.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/27/death-britains-benefits-system-fit-for-work-safety-net

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/25/benefit-sanctions-regime-should-be-scrapped-independent-review

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