King Alfred is White-Washing his Shadow

I met a Dad yesterday, his son was having ’emotional’ issues and won’t go to school.  The school gave the impression that his son was the only one having such problems.  I would imagine the parents are feeling inadequate and frustrated with the situation.  I don’t think either the parents or their child should see themselves as the problem but it is the system which is meant to serve them which is at fault.

There have been two suicides at this Wantage based school.  If you were to ask the school about the circumstance of these tragedies, I would wager that the school’s position is that they were caused by mental health issues and/or there were problems at home and/or it was some sort of misadventure.  But the events that led to the tragedy had absolutely nothing to do with the school.

I can speak from my own experience and the conversations I have had with other parents, that the school has a culture that fosters anxiety and emotional problems in children.  I have sat in the school reception and watched a teacher shouting like psychotic at a child; if such a teacher did the same in public it would be classed as a public order offence.

This man’s son, my daughter and other people’s sons and daughters have been put through this mincing machine that is meant to be a place of education.  Some children have met with serious traumas at the school that they won’t go back.  I have written to Ed Vaizey MP on two occasions and brought to his attention wrong-doings at this school; nothing has happened.

The school is focused on ‘targets’.  These targets mainly focus on exam results and the school loves to tell the world what prestigious universities the alumni have gone on to.  The education system is probably to blame, therefore a huge heap of responsibility has to lie with the government; hence the need for my MP’s involvement (or lack of).

The problem is the school white-washes its shadow.  It won’t face the facts that its culture is harming the children whose wellbeing it is responsible for. Like some dystopic reality where the accountants are in charge, if the school can’t measure it then it does not exist.  How do you measure mental wellbeing or even happiness?  And even if there was a measure, or even if a survey was undertaken, please be reassured that the results would be ‘manipulated’, ‘reframed’, ‘sound-bited’ and there would be economies made with the truth.  At all costs, a picture must be painted to the world that everything is shiny and positive at the school; all targets are met and all boxes are ticked.  And remember, there is no shadow!


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