Blake is now five years-old and he's just started year 1 at primary school. He loves the social side of school the most, thankfully he's also keen to learn. However, the start of the school year hasn't begun without its problems, and it's made me question at what age should children start school in the UK?
In many european countries children do not start school until they are 6, and in other it's 7. I think the UK schooling system needs to follow this example. At the age of 5 a child is still developing at an extremely fast pace, they are still learning about themselves and the world around. The school system puts a lot of pressure on their young students. Most of this pressure comes from the government and I hear a lot of parents complaining about how things are, yet no one seems to be willing to actually fight to change it.
When Blake heads to year 2 he will have to take the SATs. These are exams that every child has to take, Blake will only be six years old and I'm worried about the pressure this will put on him. The thing that angers me the most about these tests is the fact that they aren't even for the child, they are for the schools and their reputation. How is that fair on the child?
School is not the be all and end all, yes education is important, but so are other things in life. Following your passions and discovering what you want out of life. Blake loves drama and being creative, he takes after his mother that way. If I had a choice between letting him follow his dreams or being a part of an education system that doesn't support that, then I know which one I'm going to choose.
Even as a child I thought that children spend far too much time in school, and half of what they learn they will never use in real life. Blake does his homework four nights out of the week for 15 minutes, and that's it. That's all it takes, sometimes he even does more on his own. He's keen to learn, so long as he's not pressured and it's on his terms.
Children do better in life when they are given some flexibility, sadly school doesn't appear to allow for that. They expect children to be on target and on time, all the time. Children can't be raised in a system that doesn't take into account their individual needs and abilities. Yet, that is exactly what's happening and it's unhealthy.
As parents I think it's important that you support and understand and support your child's individual needs. A school has it's hands tied and are unlimited to what they can do, but as parents, we can do so much more for our children.