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"Jack is walking!"... but the system is failing
ONLY AT the age of nine was Jack seen to be walking for the first time. It was with the aid of the water in the school baths but his achievement inspired the whole school and all his family.
John Blackall, secretary Knowsley NUT
It started when another pupil noticed his concentrated and determined attempt to cross the width of the pool, on his own, and without the attention of his peers. When half way across the awed witness shouted, "Jack is walking!" A moment's silence followed and then the whole class began to chant in time, "Jack is walking, Jack is walking, Jack is walking...."
When Jack reached the other side he raised his arms in victory and screamed with great vigour, "Yeesssss!" The chant then changed to "Jack! Jack! Jack!" The teachers were exhilarated and gave the class 'Free Time'.
While the children enjoyed themselves the staff stood silently remembering what they had been privileged to witness, some wept with joy. One teacher said he had never experienced a more fulfilling moment in his entire teaching career.
Later the teacher in charge, after some thought, realised this was an opportunity to be built on and went to see Jack's teacher. He suggested that Jack followed a week-long programme devised to develop the potential they had all witnessed.
The teacher said no. The next year was Year 6 and Year 6 is SATs year. There's no way we can have any pupil out of class in SATs year. Literacy and numeracy are too important.
The other teacher, astonished, made clear his feelings about this decision, muttered his profanity under his breath, and walked away.
This is a true story, which can be authenticated. Sadly it reflects the deterioration in education as increasingly the curriculum is further narrowed and distorted at every level. The fact that common sense is also now a casualty for many in the profession is a clear sign that things have gone far enough.
Teachers must campaign to build a leadership, which will in turn build its members' confidence so that we can end the damage being done to a generation of children.
In The Socialist 21 February 2004:
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