Give me a unique and motley crew

18th April 2003 at 01:00
TO quote from Libby Purves's final paragraph on the ideal infant, "I dunno" either. I get the children in Years 4 and 5, when they have already gone through the machinery of key stage 1.

But for me, the joy of being in the classroom is just that variety of raw material which the system aims to standardise. I celebrate, albeit privately, the child who manages to buck the system, the one who resists all attempts to get him to "do it according to the strategy".

Often he will be the one with the rather vague mum who comes up trumps with fantastic costumes for the junior performance, or with six-dozen iced buns just when we thought the cake stall would not happen.

No one gets excited about a child who reaches level 4 in maths or English.

I just want there to be room in my class for children such as James, who's naff at writing and struggles with fractions, but who this Thursday brought in an ice-cream tub full of broken bits of pottery that he and his dad had dug up (and was able to explain the age and origin of many of them), and who the previous week had dazzled his classmates with an ingenious door alarm which he had designed and made from a balloon, a cardboard box, and a long piece of string.

You wonder what "raw product a primary school would specify": I guess that my Foundation Stage colleague might disagree, but I would ask for the usual motley bunch of individuals which turns out to be completely different from any other class I have taught.

Jan Page

Saint Amand's Catholic primary

East Hendred



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