Tuesday, 2 July 2013

DIY education at the ROH

O deliver us! The news of Govian central planning - to hand over academies, playgrounds, book cupboards and all, up into the eager receiving hands of the venture capitalists - is not entirely unexpected. Although writ out in black and white like this, it makes for depressing reading round at Grit's.

I am ideologically opposed to profit-making from a child's education, of course I am, and here at home we have the most expensive private education going. But for your state school to introduce a cash-based exchange - your child run at a profit - removes, fundamentally, trust in a learning relationship, all round. Between parent and teacher; teacher and child; child and parent. Can a child trust mama if she is doing the bidding of a corporate body? Sure you have to get  the A grades. They want their money's worth from your exams. So what if your child is the one who doesn't fit the system? Tinkertop, who is messily devoted to paint, or slugs, or trees? And no amount of threat, fines, punishment or bullying will shift her? Who's going to be interested in investing in her failures?

Well of course you can always stick up two fingers to the corporate bodies.

It's just for the moment - and I'm beginning to think it is a moment in time, before home educators are required, along with the rest of you, to engage with their child's education on a commercial basis, before we all must register with a privately run body who overseas curriculum delivery, online monitoring, and accreditation - just for the moment, you can escape Gove's consumer world. You can elude his clutches; you can snatch Tinkertop from the hands of those who see her as a profit centre in miniature, and you can DIY her education.

At the moment, just for now, you don't need to ask permission, you don't need to have your plans approved, nor monitored - nor locked down in commercial agreements with your educational scheme loaned back to you with a 45% annual interest - you can take Tinkertop off the treadmill, look around this fantastic world with all the brilliant offerings from woods to fields to scout huts to quarry tours, and do it yourself.

Today, we did it ourselves; we snatched up the offer from the Royal Opera House for the matinee performance of Gloriana, at a rock-bottom cost for schools, educators, alternatives and old hippies like Grit. We showed a different way, off the path, out of normal, no profit to us involved, but seeing sudden growth, revelation and world learning in Tinkertop. Opera? she says wide-eyed, I didn't know I liked opera! But it is brilliant!

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