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Throwback 2007: Stage not Age wasn’t totally pants!

I trained to teach in 2006-2007 based at Sheffield Hallam Uni but my main placement was at a school I already knew well in Barnsley. At the time I trained, we were in the throes of the ‘Every Child Matters’ and ‘Stage not Age’ bit of education policy. The aims and purposes of the policy were really laudable and training, then working in a tricky setting these ideals really chimed with my views at the time. It makes such total, logical sense to teach kids where they are rather than where you’d quite fancy them to be, measured along some pre-determined scale.

So here is where I get cross again.

I don’t hark back to noughties Barnsley, despite it actually being a really, really cool place. No. Instead I am driven to ask, where the eff did the people in charge of directing learning and pedagogy leave their brains? Which jar are they in? Have aforementioned brains gone a bit wonky? Was there even a brain in the first place?!

This grump arises from a chat I had with an amazing lady I know who works in a small primary school. The kids have had 2 years with mahoosive disruption in their learning so they have substantial gaps in their experiences of school. I don’t say education quite deliberately, because not all children will; some will of course have missed learning but others won’t. The commonality that all learners/students have is that they haven’t experienced full years in school for the last two academic years so they’re at slightly different stages in their educational journeys from what might usually be expected. So surely, their educators should be able to pick the kids up from the points they’re at socially and academically, so that building blocks are solid, firm foundations for future learning are laid, and children (and staff) aren’t confronted with a monolithic chalk-face to climb?

That would make sense, right? So that the kids are taught at their ‘stage not age’! Surely this is a good time to throw-back to the early noughties.

Alas no. Nope. Nahhhhh far too much like using noggins that!

No. Instead, my friend’s primary school and others, are not given the grace to work with kids where they are. They are having to fit in 2 full curricula next year for ‘catch up’!

I have no polite words left so I will stop suffice to say, those in charge really need to locate their brains/brain storage jars sharpish, so that non-ridiculous planning can take place to allow professionals to just to their chuffing jobs!

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