To R’s school a couple of nights ago for parents’ evening (how weird it is to be doing as a grown-up the things you remember your parents doing when you were the child).
Apparently she is topp at Hist and Geog, German, Maths, Tech, Science and RE (where she is trying to convert the other kids in her class to atheism). She can almost play Fairy Bells on the piano and may not be able to recite The Brook, but has put together an anthology of her own peotry (all right, all right, I’ll stop with the St Custard’s stuff now)
There are, of course drawbacks. As her (otherwise fantastic) English teacher pointed out in her report: “Her spelling is her Achilles heal” (the title is one of hers, but with teachers like that…); but she knows she needs to work at it, she’s getting better, and she is filled with enthusiasm for EVERYTHING the school has to teach her. She’ll do just fine.
Obviously I can’t speak for all schools in Tower Hamlets, but the ones I know about are pretty impressive. Don’t let Michael Gove spook you. Education isn’t in crisis because children can’t recite the dates of the Kings and Queens of England. They’re learning different things these days, that’s all. And they learn them in different ways because the world is changing. I hate the New Labour managerial-speak of enrichment activities and learning outcomes just as much as any other literate person, but I do understand that different doesn’t necessarily mean worse.