Educating the East End Episode 2 Review

This is just going to be quick one as I went into lots of detail last time which can be found HERE and I don’t have so much time now I’m TEACHING!!

I watched episode 2 with my son and he said something which I thought was quite relevant in response to the discipline and that was “if we’re supposed to act like adults to prepare for being adults then when do we get to just be kids?”.

I thought it was quite significant and pertinent, when do they get to be kids? I know there were some serious issues of getting involved with the wrong crowd, but had the boy in question been battered outside of the school gates it wouldn’t be “a school issue” and parents would be advised to go to the police. The police had been involved yet the school still disciplined as well. But anyway, I digress, the kid is a boy, he’s having a laugh, teenage boys find everything hilarious, they are  being forced to stifle this essential element of who they are, the element which will bring them their most fun childhood memories because they are expected to act like adults which they are not.

Part of preparing for the adult world is them learning how far they can push boundaries and of saving face. The challenge was thrown down to put the ball on the desk within the allocated time ‘or else’, he played by the rules, he did as asked, he put it down within the time frame rule dictated by the teacher, the adult, and yet he was still the loser, the adult chose to break the rules and the ‘or else’ happened anyway, even though he had played by the rules dictated. I guess in that sense we could concede that he was being prepared for adult life, in that quite often as an adult you play by the rules and it gets you nowhere, or people with authority will change rules to suit themselves or they will break rules and that’s OK as long as you know your place and you don’t. He wasn’t pushing the boundary to irk the teacher, he was doing it to save face in front of his peers, and the same could be said of the teacher who had to save his face in front of the boy’s peers too, but he won and grandad was called in, detentions and exclusions bandied about willy nilly and when the kid does something really bad there is nowhere left to go with punishments and the whole process breaks down.

I was hugely in agreement with the PE teacher and the way he persuaded the football crazy lad to think of a plan B. It can be a fine line between destroying someone’s ambition by asking ‘what if’ and encouraging the back up plan but I think he did a great job of it.

My only concern is that the opportunity to coach football was seen as an opportunity at the right time and put to good effect and tied to performance criteria which is arguably a good thing, however the opportunity to join police cadets should have been identified sooner. Why do we wait for things to go wrong before we take action? Why does it take a child being ‘a problem’ before we get to know them and tailor part of schooling to meet a need and avert a crisis? Why is there little in the way of risk management for all from the start?

One of the down sides of waiting until there is a problem is that the other kids who are not offered these opportunities see them as rewards for bad behaviour and who knows where that could lead? Most likely to further bad behaviour.

Final point, the jewellery on that deputy head’s hands is ridiculous. How can you say you set rules around appearance as a preparation for adult or working life and then have teachers with hands rattling in rings, tottering around in high heels and with ear tunnels? It’s a conflict. You can’t wear those rings because in the adult world you won’t get a job if you go to an interview or to work like that and that’s being told to you by an adult in the adult world with a job… go figure, it’s confusing.

I’m not as into this series as I was into the last two but Educating Yorkshire took three episodes to grip me so let’s see what the next one brings later this week.

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