Friday, 9 May 2008

A Year Ago Today

A lot can happen in a year. If Derbyshire County Council had got their way, our youngest daughter would have been in her last term at the village school, the place would have been running down in front of our eyes, then dismantled and lost for ever. A piece of history and a slice of excellence in a mediocre world would have been thrown to the four winds with barely a backward glance from the perpetrators of the crime.

But we fought the good fight and we won. This is something to celebrate in a society increasingly crushed by senseless rules and petty bureaucracy, by small-minded people with limited vision and an eye to the main chance and self-aggrandissment. Instead of painfully counting the days till the end of the summer term and the end of an era, facing farewells that should never be and tears that needn’t have been cried, I was able to leave my five year old daughter in the playground this morning happily attempting to jump her spindly little legs over a rope in a brave attempt to learn the art of skipping. The air was soft and warm, the birds were singing, the children were laughing and the cress was bursting through the soil of the grow-bags which they had busily and messily planted last Friday afternoon.

Instead of a sense of heartache and loss, we are able to continue with a sense of well-being, growth and optimism for the future: these children are being given the very best of starts in a beautiful, healthy, sane environment. I can assure you that the seedlings that come out of this particular grow-bag are strong and vigourous and will grow into beautiful mature plants. They have been given the best of starts in life and they will flourish. These young people are our future and if every child could be given the educational start in life that these children receive, then our world would be a much better place.

Coincidentally on the lunchtime news a youth worker and reformed gang member who was commenting on the brutal knife murder of 16 year old Kodjo Yenga in Hammersmith last year said the problems we are facing with this aggressive youth culture is all down to education. He said that he (as a gang member) was a product of this failure in education. If he can see it, why on earth can’t the people in charge? Why does this government (and others before it) continue to mess up our education system, swamping it with mindless health and safety rules, absurd levels of administration which take away from teaching time and, perhaps most significantly, insisting, in the vein of globalisation, that big is beautiful and that one size fits all? When will they learn that ultimately it is more economical to produce well-educated, well-rounded young people from smaller places of learning than to produce ill-educated dysfunctional people from large anonymous institutions where each child is barely no more than a statistic? This is not rocket science. This is just common sense.

Instead of taking money away from village schools, they should be investing in them. They are the heart of a community, they instill community spirit and a sense of belonging and society to the children whom they educate. It is not just about results and league tables. It is about appreciating what it is to be part of a family, it is about developing self-respect and self-confidence, and understanding what can be achieved by team effort and a positive, optimistic approach to life and learning.

The achievement of our small community in fighting the big boys and beating them at their own game is surely proof enough that small can be beautiful too. We pulled together, we worked as a team, we never gave up and we came out smiling. It can be done.

17 comments:

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Well done! I can feel several rants developing nicely. Government has got way too big and does try and run everything and everyone, using our money to do it, and doing it badly. Health and Safety, in principle a good idea, in practice an absolute bloody nightmare. So agree with you that big is not beautiful! Anyway, you pulled one out of the hat.

Frances said...

Hello to you from someone who went to school, in a neighborhood school, many many decades ago.

I say a very big congratulations for persevering, and keeping up your enthusiasm for this cause.

Well done. Another group of children will benefit from your efforts, and who knows, by the time they are as old as I am, they may still be cherishing memories of the next school year.

xo

Working mum said...

Well done saving your village school. Absolutely the right thing to do. I hope your children have a relatively small secondary school to go to as well. I used to work in one with just a three form entry and I knew every child in the school - it makes a huge difference to the level of respect and good behaviour when we all know each other.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Berludy well done you and I agree with you. Our schools are the heart of the community and should indeed be supported and not closed down.

Mignon said...

Bravo.. Bravo... I stand a applaud you and your village. High Five everyone!!Woo-Hoo

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

I am so glad you vilalge school stayed so much is lsot ewhen they go and so much more is learnt within thier small nurturing confines than in some vast modern dump!

GoneBackSouth said...

That's brilliant news about the school. Fantastic - you must be so relieved. I used to live in Macclesfield - not far from you at all! My kids went to Gawsworth, another friendly little village.

the mother of this lot said...

Well done to everyone involved!

family affairs said...

Well done - a major achievement. Thank you for your comments today x

Cait O'Connor said...

I am so with you on this, Why can't bureaucrats see that communities are the most important thing and the smaller the better if we want people to feel that they matter. There would be less crime and a more 'caring' population. It starts with the children after all.

Frankofile said...

Thank you for coming over to my blog - I'm delighted to have found yours. Oversized secondary schools are especially disastrous (bullying for example). And (especially as an OU tutor) I hate the way education 'fails' so many/ labels so many as 'failed'.

I used to live in Derbyshire (and work for DCC) and still have many friends there. Beautiful place.

HER ON THE HILL said...

Hello Frankophile, what another extraordinary coincidence in blog world that you lived in Derbyshire and worked for DCC! And I came over to yours because you live in my beloved France...!

Working mum said...

Thanks for coming over to mine again. I had a sneaky suspicion your older children might be at my school, but I had a surreptitious look at the school database and the computer says "no"!

I sing with The Manchester Chorale, by the way, there's a link on my blog. Maybe see you there?

Frog in the Field said...

Ahh, a bit of Elvis, just fab.
Ooh, ooh, good post too!
Well done!

Mignon said...

Hello Her On The Hill,
Just wanted to let you know, I did feel bad about not putting 13 candles on my Pita's Birthday cake. So I re-did it and posted it on my blog. It was yummy cake too. Thanks! Peace

(Very) Lost in France said...

Hello - I thought I'd come over and have a look at your blog as you were so kind to look at mine. Well done on saving your village school. Here in France, three villages joined together to form a reseau scolaire with the babies going to school in one village, the middlies to another and the big ones to the third. It enabled them to keep all three schools open, even though DDs school only has 17 pupils and 1 teacher.

Great blog too.

HER ON THE HILL said...

VLiF - yes, in fact that is what happened in the village up the road from us in France where my friend's little girl has just started school. It's a good way forward in terms of the survival of small rural schools.

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