Still in debt to Victorian values

23rd July 2004 at 01:00
So, choice is everything. Parents can choose, schools can choose, governments, seemingly, can choose. But what choice do pupils have?

For all the rhetoric, the plans and the huge investment of public money pupils will still do what they did in Victorian times. They will go into a classroom, be taught things and go out again - whether they like it or not.

They will still be required to attend lessons, perform tasks, follow timetables, move when told, come, go, stand, sit, speak, be silent and learn to order.

They will continue to have little or no say in what, when, where, how, who, with or whether they are educated. If they do not conform they will be punished.

Most will have no say in the very clothes they wear during 11 formative years. We must not be surprised, then, if they go on kicking against an overbearing system which prescribes their learning, limits their freedom and impairs their happiness.

Education in this country will never function effectively until pupils, at least at secondary level, can choose their areas of study and do not spend every day wastefully being forced to learn much of what they do not want to know.

AJ Marsden 9 Chester Drive Ramsbottom Bury, Lancashire

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