Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What would you do?

We join a local home-school group on an outing to Stratford-on-Avon.

I wasn't particularly looking for a spot of alternative provision, but you have to believe me, this was timely.

We were watching I, Claudius on Youtube (I can pretend it's Latin studies), just hours after I'd checked the prices for Julius Caesar by the RSC. Then an invitation pinged at me.

Do you want to come to Stratford? Includes Falstaff Experience; town walk with Shakespeare; workshop at the RSC; evening performance of Julius Caesar. Spare seats on the coach.

What would you do? Some home educators wouldn't go within a mile of this offer, no matter how seductive it was, even if delivery was with naked bodies and tumbling clowns. I know other home educators who would leap at the chance.

For those happy readers in a state of blissful ignorance who don't know what fuss could possibly be made about here, it's in the words, alternative provision.

Alternative provision is an education guided by the requirements of the local authority. The kids might not go into school every day, and they might receive an education off-site, but they'll probably be signed in somewhere to follow the National Curriculum or take a bag of GCSEs. The kids must be assessed and monitored (and maybe the parents, too) so the effectiveness of the scheme can be measured. Join up to an alternative provision model, and you receive certain cost benefits, but there are costs on your freedom, too.

Whatever your opinions, it's undeniable that alternative provision works for some children, especially if the daily, grinding uniform of school short-fuses their brains. Alternative provision also works for some parents who need a structured, supported, recognisable route; better one that can be provided within a framework that doesn't bludgeon them to death with all the heavy-duty structures of a conventional school.

Anyway, me and the little grits tagged along - eyes, ears, minds open - and it was a good day. Stratford is a charming come-hither town, is it not? The Falstaff Experience was fun; the RSC drama workshop was outstanding, and the evening production, superb. The setting of Julius Caesar in Nigeria is a bull's eye for the director. The setting and casting chime perfectly with the themes of the play. I recommend it.

Of course the day trip made me consider again the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative provision model for us. I always wonder, Would a flexischool system work for me and the little grits?

On the plus side, by signing them up to such a scheme for their GCSE years, I could duck out from the weight of a lonely and heavy sense of responsibility. On the minus side, I'd be taking on other, more widely accountable responsibilities in an agenda set ultimately by someone else. And I'd have to manoeuvre Shark, Squirrel and Tiger into attending sessions and lessons they might not want to do. Could I shoehorn that into my philosophy? Tricky.

I don't have any answers for us right now, although I probably know intuitively what our answer would be.

What about yours? Would you say yes to alternative provision?


Deb said...

It seems our minds have been working along the same lines lately. I don't have any answers though, sorry. Still pondering. Thank you for making me aware I'm not alone in my pondering though :-)

OrganisedPauper said...

One swallow does not a summer make. One good experience doesn't mean it's going to be all good, or even mostly good.

sharon said...

Maybe let the gritlets try it out and see if any of them want to travel that route?

Grit said...

looking forward to those debates continuing at hesfes.

kelly said...

What the???

How have I been home educating for three years and never heard of this? Is my head up my bottom?