PARENTS WEEK: A parent’s hopes for primary school | @srcav

ParentsweekIn Parents Week (details here if you’d like to contribute a post), we are presenting the views of parents about education. This one is by Stephen Cavadino, a parent and maths teacher from Leeds. He is a member of the Labour party. You can read of his musings on maths, teaching and life at

It’s Parents Week on Labour Teachers this week, and that has gotten me thinking about my daughter, as she embarks on her journey into education. She’s 3; she’ll be 4 in July, which means when she is 3 years and 6 weeks she will start school and that seems far too young.

She’s excited, she came on the visits to the prospective primary schools and we discussed together which ones we all liked before we put the preference form in. She was perhaps a bit too honest, announcing loudly on one tour that she much preferred the other two we’d seen at that point! We find out where she will be attending in a few weeks.

I do worry though. I worry that as soon as she walks in she will be judged and assessed, and I worry about what the state of the British education system will be if the ideological asset stripping continues. Will there even be a public education system by the time she hits 13?

Schooling is a long process, and there are some things I would like her primary school to provider her with:

  1. a good grounding in the basics – she can write her name and a few other things, knows what all the letters look and sound like and can count, I would like her schooling to build on these basic skills.
  2. a wide range of interests topics – I think that during primary schooling a wider curriculum is better, if an area piques her interest then we can explore that with her. I remember my parents building on things I’d learned at school with me and I hope to do the same with her.
  3. some great friends. Some of my best friends are the ones I met at primary school, and I’m hoping daughter can build some equally enduring friendships in her time there.

These are my 3 hopes from her primary schooling, none of them have quantifiable targets attached, and I tend to think that the majority of the new tests and measures for the primary sector are about measuring teacher performance, rather than improving outcomes for children or appeasing parents, and that seems a little backwards to me.

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