Sunday, May 06, 2007

No Playground? Where Are They Supposed To Have Fights?

Whoever came up with the idea of the brand new Thomas Deacon City Academy in Peterborough is mad in three different ways.

1)£46 million to build it. Someone's making a fortune out of that.

2)2200 pupils is far too big. We should be moving in the opposite direction; to smaller schools where the teachers can get to know every child. Kids just become anonymous in a place that size.

3) Building a school without a playground is the craziest thing of all. Boys especially need to burn off suplus energy at breaktime and lunchtime otherwise they cause mayhem in your lesson. The Head, Alan McMurdo has clearly lost the plot. He reckons:

"They won't need to let off steam because they won't be bored"

Hmmm... They will be the first kids in history then.


Anonymous said...

How does a guy like that get a job in education? He clearly has no knowledge or understanding of children. Bet you his wife's a teacher. I hope he's not waiting for my CV.

Almost American said...

My reaction to reading that news was the same as yours. I can't imagine a practicing teacher who wouldn't react the same way! The kids NEED that time in the playground to learn how to negotiate social situations on their own. Of course they need time to blow off steam! Even if they're being treated as corporate employees, doesn't that entitle them to breaks? It certainly would here in the US!

The article you linked to quoted the project manager as saying: "For a school of this size, a playground would have had to be huge. That would have been almost uncontrollable. "
Well, duh, didn't that tell them something about their plans? Don't these people learn from experience? Apparently not, as the article says: "Another city academy, Unity in Middlesbrough, opened in 2002 without a playground, prompting criticism from government inspectors about poor design. The school later built a playground."

Anonymous said...

No - I disagree. That head teacher is a genius. He knows exactly how to please the fuckwits who run the DfES. He has clearly "thunk outside the box" and they are so stupid that they think that all counter-intuitive ideas are brilliant, just because some of the most brilliant innovations in human history have been counter-intuitive.

I'll bet my left arse-cheek that he is one of those £100,000-a-year "super-heads." Worth every penny.

Meanwhile, would anyone else like to ask me why I pay £1500 a month for a public school education for my children?


Mary said...

I don't follow... how are 2200 kids spending their lunchbreak variously roaming the corridors, trying to unlock the science labs, "accidentally" setting off the fire alarms, turning open rooms into a jungle gym, etc, any less "uncontrollable" than the same kids in a playground?

Our teachers used to dread the kind of rainy days that warranted indoor breaks. I have to acknowledge that they had bloody good reason.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful comment from the Head: “[Pupils] will be able to hydrate during the learning experience,” .

Pure Blair-speak, I reckon. I do hope the kids don't start hydrating over each other, as that could be a wee bit smelly...

The Remittance Man said...

"For a school of this size, a playground would have had to be huge. That would have been almost uncontrollable."


Surely having the little buggers in an open space is much more controllable. Fewer guards would be needed to keep them under observation. And riot police/water cannon/machine guns/sword wealding cossacks are far more effective on large crowds in the open.

The only advantage to keeping them indoors is that tear gas is more effective in enclosed spaces.

The Remittance Man said...

ps the telling line comes in the last paragraph of the Times report

However, Delap, who has run the academy project on behalf of its sponsor, Perkins Engines, and the Deacon school trust, said that playgrounds did not fit into the concept.

The holy "concept" is obviously everything and I doubt anything will be allowed to stand in its way, even common sense. I guess that means the lab rats (that's you teachers and your charges) are going to have to bend to the almighty will. Or else.

Me? I'm saving every penny I can to ensure the Little Remittances (should there ever be any) go to private schools of my choice.

Anonymous said...

Mr Chalk,

Excellent, and crisply enunciated in three points. Your teacher training has served you well.


This also serves as a trackback - never quite got to grips with them myself...

Unknown said...

The head did not make this decision, he was appointed after it was made... I will be teaching in the new academy and have an open mind about it... the lessons will be an hour and a half long and the school day will finish at 2.30... then the kids can let off steam... it just might work???

Anonymous said...

Sim, we know the Head doesn't decide whether to have a playground or not. However by his statement, he clearly thinks that it is a good odea. What sort of person seriously thinks that

'the kids won't need to let off steam bexause they won't get bored'?

And just where do they play at 2.30?

I've never heard anything so daft in my life.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is going to Deacons in September, and this is the first I've heard of it.
It means I'm going to have a hyperactive zombie with no social skills coming home early and screwing up our already fragile work/school/parenting arrangements.

"Hydrating during the learning experience" my left buttock!

Anonymous said...

Lessons of an hour and a half! And the Head doesn't think the kids will ever get bored?

What a fool!

Anonymous said...

Question: What sort of man says things like

"Pupils will be able to hydrate during the learning experience"

Answer: One who is completely divorced from reality.

As Sandy said, it's the sort of thing Tony Blair would say.

Anonymous said...

Well he won't be the one in the classroom scraping them off the ceilings. Him and His smt might be like ours... its a bit like Where's Wally?

Anonymous said...

Teacher Sim states 'he has an open mind', half a mind might be a more accurate description! 'Academy'? -ponced-up Neu Labour lingo for a privatised, educashunal holding facility! Get real!!