Michael Gove is Turning Children into Battery Hens

An eye-catching headline if ever there was one, in an issue of the Evening Standard during our return to London after a 3 month sojourn up north.

The article, written by Richard Godwin, made us chuckle as we headed east on the DLR and read his words:

“Pity the nation’s six-year-olds. They must have a lot on their minds, what with phonics, Key Stage One numeracy and the social pressure to put as many elastic bands on their scooters as possible.

The main result of this is increased anxiety in the classroom. Already, British schoolchildren are some of the most stressed in Europe. Some 80,000 suffer from depression, including 8,000 under-10s, says the NHS. Constant testing is one of the most commonly cited reasons. They have been turned into academic battery hens, farmed for their SATS results, mainly so education secretaries can prove how effective they are.”

It was ironic that these words were read following an energetic CPD session at the amazing Northwold Primary School. For a glimpse into one of the activities, click here.

We had been kindly invited by Alison Kriel, the inspirational Head Teacher at the best performing primary school in Hackney and third best performing primary school out of the 1674 primary schools in London, to introduce some of our new active learning games to their staff.

To find out more about the successes at Northwold Primary School, click here.

We urge you to check out what makes the learning and curriculum at Northwold Primary School both special and relevant. The learning and teaching at Northwold Primary School clearly has an impact on standards…and there is not a battery hen cage in site. In fact, head into their varied outdoor learning environments and you will see free-range chickens!

Head to their You Tube channel and we guarantee you will be as impressed as we were. As Alison is keen to point out, there is an emphasis on the well-being of the learners as well as the staff, with plenty of smiles in evidence.

On the subject of smiles, Richard’s references to “the Blob” and ‘the blobby” conspiracy caused us a wry smile. As many educators know, the continual drive towards academic achievement is often done so at the expense of time made available to be active. The resultant worrying problems associated with inactivity and obesity continue to escalate.

Richard Godwin rightly creates an image of children as battery hens, but this is not the case in all schools, as evidenced during our visit to Northwold Primary School.

If you know of any other forward thinking schools, please contact us and share the good news…