What is school really about?


Whilst reading through some articles on ‘The Guardian’ website I found something that I thought would be useful to share with you. This article states that ‘Schools Minister Nick Gibb’s lack of flexibility over term-time holidays is not in the interest of children’.

The article focuses on the topic of school holidays and whether or not parents should be allowed let their children be absent from school during term time. Something that really struck me was that Gibb had said,

“Children must turn up to school whatever the circumstances – maybe a day for a funeral here and there might be permissible, thanks, but no moping about grieving.”

The term ‘moping about‘ really angered me because it makes it sound like the loss of a loved one is something people should just get over immediately, when in fact these periods can be the most difficult time in any adult’s life never mind a child’s. Also that it ‘might‘ be permissible to be absent due to a funeral. I believe that if someone wants to say goodbye to someone dear to them by attending a funeral then nothing is more important.

This really made me question the purpose of the education system as it currently stands. The author of this article argues that school, including primary, ‘is no longer a way of rounding out a whole personality: it’s just a way of feeding the economic machine.’ Is it more important that a child is present in the classroom every single day or that they are given space to grow as a person in the best possible environment?

In my opinion it is vital that the whole child is taken into consideration. I’m not suggesting that children only go into school every second week but there are plenty of opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. If a child is really ill and can’t focus properly, is it really worth them coming into school and sharing the germs with the rest of the class and the teacher? I am a strong believer of the fact that everyone is unique and so something that works for one child might not work for another. If a child is really stressed and in need of some moral support then it should be the parent’s decision whether they are fit enough to attend school that day or not.

It is important to realise the potential of each child and that they are more likely to grow and develop as confident young people if they are not under the pressure of society.

A last point which really resonated with me was at the end of the article where the author has written,

“I don’t want my children to be food. I want them to be fed”.

I would love to hear your opinions on this discussion topic.

2 thoughts on “What is school really about?

  1. Katie Rebecca WhithamKatie Rebecca Whitham

    This is such a good post! I wrote about the same topic in my blog also and I really like the way you have put across your argument of, if children are ill, they shouldn’t be in school. It is something I hadn’t considered. I agree that children can completely learn outside of the classroom, I certainly did and I bring this up also in my post. I’d like to hear your opinion on my views, as we have the same topic.

  2. M MackieM Mackie

    The word ‘moping’ is in really poor taste! In my opinion, if schools were to prevent children from taking time off in order to grieve or even recover from illness; then they are failing to follow the ideals of GIRFEC. Being told that your school education is more important than your emotional or physical wellbeing is not showing respect and is certainly not nurturing the individual. I agree with you that there are times when coming into school might not be the right course of action. On the other hand I do feel that excessive absence for leisure purposes should be discouraged and schools should be aware of the amount of time that a student is away from lessons. Appropriate measures also need to be put into place to support the family and particularly the pupil when they return to school so that they are not in danger of falling behind.


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