Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CentreForum: Saturday lessons for poor children

The Times reports:
Children from poor families should be given extra lessons on weekdays and Saturdays to provide them with the levels of support enjoyed by pupils at private school, a controversial report will recommend today.
That report is Tackling Educational Equality. You can download a .pdf copy from the Centre's website.

I wonder if the authors have considered how extra lessons on Saturdays would be received by children from poor families? No doubt the sort of children who grow up to work for think tanks would love them, but I suspect the rest would be further alienated from the educational system.

Besides, whatever the problem is with our schools, it is not that our children spend too little time in them. A report on the BBC website today says:
Children in England and Wales have the shortest school summer holidays in the European Union.

With many schools about to begin a six-week holiday - there are schools on the continent which are shut for 16 weeks over the summer.

But there is little sign of a link between longer hours in the classroom and higher standards.

Schools in Finland, one of the most successful education systems, have been on holiday since the beginning of June.
And you have to add on top of this the modern enthusiasm for homework for even the youngest children.

Rather than trying to corral children into schools for ever longer, we should be asking why our schools make such poor use of the long hours they spend there already.

Now that really would be controversial.

1 comment:

Bishop Hill said...

Absolutely right. Schools should be closed, at least for lessons, from lunchtime onwards.