To understand one of the main reasons why, despite massive spending, British secondary school students are under achieving in comparison with their peers in Eastern Europe and East Asia, look no further than this report in the UK Daily Mail.
Mother hauled before a court for taking her son, 13, out of school to attend her Caribbean wedding
• Frances White refused to pay town hall fine for her son’s 11-day absence
• She had asked Marple Hall School for permission a year in advance
• When headteacher refused, she took her son to St Lucia wedding anyway
• The 31-year-old is due to appear before magistrates next week
An eleven day Caribbean wedding – just one example of how bloated the wedding industry has become. Once, of course, second weddings were fairly discreet affairs, quietly despatched in modest registry offices with no bridal gown or over populated reception. Even first weddings were generally organised within a limited budget so that the balance could help furnish the first home.
But no more of that – modern brides want the gowns and the beanfeast and the furniture and the exotic honeymoon for every one of their weddings and a gargantuan industry has grown to feed those wishes – strange, really, at a time when more than half the couples living together are not married….marriage is dying but weddings are big business…
So Frances wanted her big exotic wedding and she wanted her thirteen year old son to give her away and to create a memorable moment for all involved then she wanted him as part of the honeymoon….want, want, want, want….. then the school had to spoil her dream by pointing out that she could have chosen to get married some time during the thirteen weeks the school was closed.
But, she sobbed, that would be too expensive and it would spoil her dream….so she took her two sons out of school for the eleven days and immediately sent a signal to us all that education is a low priority in her world.
Of course, one can say, the world (especially the UK it seems) is full of people who prefer their gratification instant rather than deferred, so why make a fuss?
The fuss, my friends, is not to do with Frances White who, in every other way, is probably a loving and caring parent – it’s to do with a) the attitude of the Daily Mail and b) the views of those readers who commented.
The Mail reported Frances White as a woman wronged by a jobsworth bureaucracy, a view, unfortunately echoed by the majority of the commentators. If DM readers are representative of Middle England (as it frequently claims) then Middle England puts education fairly low on the agenda when faced with weddings and holidays….in other words, schooling must not interfere with our social life, no way, matey….
The Daily Mail has always been drooling with delight at any report of indiscipline in schools or falling standards of attainment – yet whenever a head excludes a pupil for wearing jewellery or not ignoring proper uniform they publish a picture of some little scrote pretending to be downcast plus “parents” who often look like escapees from the cast of “Shameless”. Anybody with half a brain would realise that the exclusion is the final act of a farce that has been going on for months, a deliberate pushing against the boundaries by families who see education not as the key to aspiration but as a drag on their tribal mores.
Interestingly the DM highlighted this in their piece on the OECD Report
British children’s poor reading skills are said to be partly because they spend too much time on computers rather than reading books, but are also a tragic reflection of the education they have received.
Nor has it helped that the UK has a relatively low proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. And having some of the world’s ‘best-educated’ parents has not improved the standards of Britain’s children – raising serious questions about the effective role of parents in UK schools.
Serious questions indeed – and the lack of parental concern in 21st century Britain is buttressed by the Daily Mail which seeks to undermine any attempt by schools to inculcate into parental minds that, unless we publicly value the process of education we shall slip further and further behind countries like China where parents will make every sacrifice to install a love and respect for learning in their children.
Shame on you, Frances White, for sending a message to your sons that schooling should never be allowed to interfere with social pleasures – and a curse on the morons at the Daily Mai – and it’s readers – for proclaiming Frances White as a martyr.