Choices on education are a good thing
I have been spending a lot of time working in and around schools recently. It is something I have become hugely interested in, especially with my youngest son starting an as-yet-unnamed primary school in September.
The date Monday 18th April is firmly entrenched in my mind because that is when we find out where he will be going to school.
I will, for sure, be writing more columns about decision-making, nervously-waiting and mixed emotion-anticipating in weeks and months to come.
Back to the present and I have been fortunate to talk to Vicky Neale, head of County Upper School, about the new free school as well as Andy Prestoe about his plans for Bury’s newest upper school, Sybil Andrews Academy on Moreton Hall.
I have also led a social media workshop for some primary school staff – and have to admit to more than a degree of nerves about teaching teachers.
What conclusions have I drawn in these recent exchanges?
One is certainly that teachers seem to be getting younger and younger whereas I must be going the other way, in body and mind, as on more than one occasion I have found myself saying “in my day….”.
But with youth comes a rather wonderful blend of enthusiasm and confidence.
These leaders are looking at education a different way, realising and appreciating that traditional learning may not be for everyone and coming up with innovative ways to solve this problem.
While they remain governed by league tables and statistics, they also want to focus on the wellbeing of our children to help shape positive young people as they enter either the world of work or the next stage of their education.
I can remember writing a column a while back when I admitted I was bamboozled by educational pathways and choice.
Some of those confusions still remain. But they are also being replaced by the notion that the choice, confusing on occasions it may be, will ultimately be a good thing.
I might be more focused on primary education at this minute, but we are blessed to have some wonderful upper schools on our doorstep.
Not one for second am I just limiting this to schools in Bury, both existing and future, as I know there is wonderful work going on at Thurston and neighbouring towns as well.
Then moving slightly up the educational chain, this choice seems set to continue with the news in last week’s Bury Free Press about a multi-million pound new sixth form centre.
With local schools and the excellent West Suffolk College signing up to the plans, this seems like a wonderful example of joined-up thinking by so many.
It seems like the only thing I have to worry about is Monday 18th April. 38 days and counting.