When I was sixteen, I dropped out of school, and sank.And now here you are, writing for the ‘Indy’, who are apparently only too happy to accept any old rubbish.
You’ve clearly not done too badly…
In his new series on Channel Four, ‘Jamie’s Dream School’, the TV chef gathers together twenty disaffected kids who have dropped out of school with lousy GCSEs. He then asks some of the smartest people in Britain to teach and inspire them.For a TV show. Not for a serious look at the standard of teaching and the quality of young people in this country.
From the moment I started secondary school, I instinctively hated it. I remember on the first day being given a timetable, looking at it, and thinking: “Who are these people? How dare they tell me what I’ll be doing every Wednesday afternoon at two o’clock?”I can see why he gravitated to journalism...
I spent most of my school-days in the arcades at the Trocadero Centre in central London. There, a United Nations of bunking kids from across the city would master Street-Fighter II , PacMan and Mario Kart, our version of the three Rs./facepalm
Of the kids I hung out with then, some of us have gone on to be successful, and some have continued to sink. What was the difference? It wasn’t intelligence: people smarter than me didn’t make it. Nor was it determination, or decency, or discipline. It was something much simpler – and it is what the teachers at Dream School have found to be the key with their kids. It was forming a bond with a loving adult.Oh-er! Just where is this going?
It’s ok, he means a teacher, one who is prepared to put up with his stroppy nature and coax him to achieve:
I’m sure it wasn’t easy to offer that first encouragement to a kid who acted like he didn’t want or need it. But my sense of self began to change. I began to think of myself, for the first time, as somebody who was competent, and good at things.Just what ARE you good at, then? It clearly isn’t journalism.
I’m not naïve about this. It’s a ferociously hard job to nurture and love kids like who behave in this way.Surely the question we should ask is ‘Is the effort worth it?’. Looking at your contribution to society, I’d have to say the jury’s still out…
The rapper Plan B has talked about how his educational misery-go-round was only ended when his school set up a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) – a calm place where he could be taken out of lessons to go to be given one-on-one attention by sympathetic and consistent teachers who wanted to hear why he was having so much trouble.*grinds teeth*
And that cost how much, and gave us…what? A rapper? Bargain!
There were a few (too small) steps towards it under the last government: All over Britain, SureStart picked up poor babies and toddlers to help their mothers bond with them. PRUs massively grew. Voluntary groups like Kid’s Company were much better funded. Kids falling behind in schools were given guaranteed one-on-one tuition, in the program called Every Child A Reader. Now even those baby-steps towards baby-sanity are being dismantled by the Tories.Good. Let’s start celebrating success, and not cosseting and rewarding failure.