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Exam Factories

All work, no play at Blair flagship school-News-UK-TimesOnline

Britain’s most expensive state school is being built without a playground because those running it believe that pupils should be treated like company employees and do not need unstructured play time.

The authorities at the £46.4m Thomas Deacon city academy in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, due to open this autumn, also believe that the absence of a playground will avoid the risk of “uncontrollable” numbers of children running around in breaks at the 2,200-pupil school.

“We are not intending to have any play time,” said Alan McMurdo, the head teacher. “Pupils won’t need to let off steam because they will not be bored.”

Dr James Le Fanu, Sunday Telegraph

The standard view expressed last week by Prof Alan Smithers, of the University of Buckingham, is that schools have been turned into exam factories at the expense of cultivating the inquisitive mind. But the more substantial problem stretches back to the educational reforms of the 1980s, and particularly Kenneth Baker's "core" curriculum,which introduced a major bias in favour of the sciences at the expense of the humanities.

The upshot now is that pupils spend a massively disproportionate amount of time learning (or supposedly so) about saturated fats and Ohm's law but nothing of the great achievements of Western civilisation. Their glorious island history is an optional subject and the creative arts are marginalised to the point of non-existence....

This might seem a far cry from the concerns of the family doctor, but the enforced tedium of the classroom must be responsible, at least in part, for the rising incidence of adolescent psychological and behavioural problems. The solution is simple:science should cease to be compulsory, thus freeing up time for pupils to learn about the real world.


What's wrong with both? When in the 60's I attended one of those, horror of horrors, an all male grammar school, we had a very complete education in the so called humanities and Science. However as it was all male,we missed out on Domestic Science, that was strictly for the birds..

I assume the childhood obesity epidemic is so last year.

Mad or twats or mad twats?

I don't see why we can't have both. Less science, more history (I don't say 'humanities' because that would include joke subjects like sociology and psychology).

These teachers and school administrators are in for the shock of their lives if they truly believe that children do not need break time, especially in light of the fact that one was quoted in the article as having said that the children don't need playtime because they will not be bored. A school administrator who thinks so certainly thinks too highly of his/her staff, and probably also thinks a bit too highly of him/herself.

All the best,
Glenn B

...pupils should be treated like company employees and do not need unstructured play time...

Is there any truth in this madness?

"because those running it believe that pupils should be treated like company employees "

Most employees would find being marched from their desk to lunch and back again completely intolerable and would resign. But then, adults have a choice where to work, unlike parental school choice.

Many employers understand the importance of playtime. Whether it be going to the pub, installing a football table for employees to take a break, or subsidising membership of gyms. They know that sometimes, getting away from the desk is what people need when they get bogged down.

O Peterborough, unhappy town, having such an imbecile in charge of it's largest school.

The bit I liked best was that 'pupils will be given the opportunity to rehydrate during the learning experience'.

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