Thursday, 23 May 2013

Leader Comment: The Demise Of The Extracurricular

As years pass by since my first day of our school, it has truthfully and honestly, gotten worse and worse. I hear your cries of "This school was always and will always be s**t SLUDGE!” You feel that your awareness of the schools deterioration since young age will back you up on this point. But I am going to suggest a notion many will disagree with. Our school was once a brilliant place to be. STOP SCRATCHING OUT YOUR EYES AND LISTEN.

Many years ago, before our school began participating the ludicrous game of the stats table, our school had a sense of community. The friendship groups between different year groups began from participation in school events and excursions such as GOOD school plays, theatre writing groups, countless school orchestras, the annual rock concerts, the awesome music trips in Europe, history trips to Normandy and America, the skiing trip to Austria, the annual fashion show, several debating trips (while we are there, f**k those pompous mass-debaters) and even a chess club. The list goes can go on and on and I am so very tempted to complete it establish the point regarding the amount of extracurricular activities available although I realise you are not an idiot. I can already predict the many clusterf**ks who are thinking "but we used to get s**t results back then, and now our results output is way better", but at what cost have we achieved this? We used to be a school that used to produce Shakespearean theatre productions, compete and beat Eton at debating and run fantastically big charity fundraising events. Now we have posters brainwashing us with doubleplusgood speak and squalid cultural events.

With extracurricular activities, students are given the ability to explore their favourite subjects in a laid back way. They are able to establish themselves more as an individual. Whether they discover that they have a skill in producing scenery for theatre or establish an interest in robotics. With the decline of extracurricular activities, the school is no longer a community, yet a warehouse manufacturing exam results to satisfy the government and   Ofsted which in turn is to consequently increase the paychecks of the managers of the school and employees of the school (I also would like to note that teachers aren’t included in this as they are employees of Camden council).

I have, as is contradictory to this publications usual method, attempted to question this up along all lines of authority and management in the school. I first went to my elected council representative who had no idea of what to do and why I was taking this issue up with him and told me to talk to a senior member of staff for further information, as he was: "not the person to talk to on an issue like this, sorry man". This was a contradictory statement, as he was the elected student voice for my year. Nonetheless, I took his advice and trotted along to a member of the SLT. She presented me with the idea that if I am not satisfied with the status quo then I should be the one to initiate, setting up and directing societies as I wished as the school encourages student let societies. I asked why teachers were not engaging in extracurricular activities as they used to be, she replied "Well which individual teachers do you feel are not engaging and why do you require them to engage?" Why do teachers need to engage in extracurricular activities? BECAUSE THAT IS THEIR JOB, TO ENGAGE STUDENTS. One of my subject tutors, is one of the most outspoken and honest members of staff, relieved me with a truthful answer.

It turns out that the problem stems from the system of how teachers are paid. The last Labour government changed the way teachers are paid; from being paid by the day and allowing overtime, they are now paid by the hours in which they teach and the hours they prepare their lessons. So a teacher has to quite literally, spend their own time running extracurricular activities. This is disgusting. The way in which this and past governments have valued and treated our education system and teachers have been despicable.

Politicising academia and quantifying education into meaningless statistical data for the benefit of politicians only alleviates to the fact that people in power want to remain in power at any cost. Through the apathetic nature of our society we are fooled to believe that the children of this country are progressing and achieving. When a headteacher decides to commit suicide due to the fear of an upcoming Ofsted inspection, the government should realise that they have f**ked around with education system too much.

DISCLAIMER: This Hampstead Trash article has been written to critique the actions of the governing bodies of the school. This is so student readers can hear both sides of the argument, and formulate their own opinions on matters pertaining to their education.

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