Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Some kids are just thick

When I was young, back in Suffolk, to be Educationally Sub Normal a kid had to be stuck on finger-painting at the age of eleven and have a tendency to wipe its nose with its foot. Otherwise, it was just 'slow'. Somewhere along the way, ESN became an unfashionable moniker and transmuted to 'special needs' at about the same time spastics became cerebral palsy sufferers, and overnight it seems that a vast additional cohort of ESN kids was created.

At the same time, never backwards in cruelty, kids themselves adopted 'special' as a term of intellectual derision. To be 'special' was shaming in a way that being 'slow' never was; there's no shame at being slow in Suffolk.

Then along came Labour with a performance target for 'Statementing', a made-up word to describe the production by the LEA of a Statement of Special Educational Needs for ESN and, er, 'slow' kids. Overnight, it became a mini-industry as bureaucrats raced to meet their Statementing targets.

Today 20% of the nation's school roll are classified as 'special', more than 700,000 kids. It's all, of course, an incredible waste of money. If a child is slow, no amount of additional attention will make it intellectually quick. We need slow people; we depend on them to do the tedious, repetitive and largely manual jobs as vital to the functioning of our society as brain surgeons. Accept it.


Anonymous said...

You haven't been chanting your socialist mantra's this morning have you?

We are all equal (some more than others).
Nobody wins, nobody loses,
Education, education, education,
we will program you.
Special needs for all, till we all go to the wall.
We don't need no thought control,
"Hey teacher! Leave them kids alone!"

Edward Spalton said...

This case of "Special Needs" then called "Educationally Sub Normal" (ESN) occurred over thirty years ago.

The local doctor sent his youngest son to the village school where he was allocated to a dud teacher. Most years parents complained about this teacher. Each time the Education Authority went through the motions of investigating and told them that "best educational practice" was being followed.

The doctor and head teacher met at a party and the doctor asked what he was going to do about the dud. "The only way I can get rid of him is to give him a good reference so that he will go to a promoted post" was the reply.

The doctor continued to complain and the head played the ace of trumps. As "best educational practice" was being followed, the problem could only be with the boy. So he set in motion the wheels to have him declared ESN. This had the desired effect. The doctor removed his son to private education so that he would not be branded. From this the lad went on to get two degrees in difficult scientific disciplines.
The conspiracy is still between the local authorities and the teachers' unions and their solution to all problems is "more resources".

Anonymous said...

[quote]..."their solution to all problems is "more resources".[/quote]

There aren't any more resources...