Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dream On

Dear Jamie Oliver,

So while attempting to have a night off tonight I decided to watch your "Dream School" show. I thought the idea of using big names to try to inspire and educate kids who had been failed by the education system was interesting. I liked the notion of finding out how much difference a good school and great teachers could make.

However one thing on tonights show made me really angry. One of the students, a young mum, arrived at school with her child - the kid had chicken pox and so couldn't attend a normal daycare centre. The student was sent home and left the program in floods of tears saying that having a child had ruined all her chances in life.

Can't we even DREAM of a future where a really good school would be able to help a woman in that situation? Is a school hardship fund to cover emergency childcare something we can't even DREAM of? Or what about the possibility of one of the teachers (perhaps someone who has had chickenpox as a child so isn't at risk) going round to visit her later and providing one-to-one catch-up.

To be quite frank - call me - I will gladly do either or both of those tasks. And yes I've had chickenpox!

Add to that that earlier in the same show when other students were bullying her over her status as a young mum the response was to encourage her to toughen up rather than to educate the other pupils to think more carefully about what they were saying. Frankly I can't help thinking your school needs a really good sex education teacher - not of the Anne Widdicombe "it's immoral!!" school of education but, frankly, again, me.

If we as a nation are to accept the message you claim to spread about improving our society and giving our young people the opportunities they deserve we have to include young parents in that. Not least because they are the ones raising the next generation of young people.

And what message are you sending to the wider world if your response to the issues of time management which affect parents is to chuck them out immediately without even sitting down to try and figure out a way of working around the problem? It is deeply irresponsible.

But my guess is it's just inconvenient for you to change your filming schedule or give up a little bit of your free time to actually help someone else. Once the cameras are off the enthusiasm for helping others is off too.

Well some of us don't take that attitude. As I've said above I'd be happy to help. And I mean that whether the cameras are on or off. Seriously contact me, your school could use a head of feminism I expect.

Yours Kate

1 comment:

Joe said...

Yeah, good point Kate. Having had a kid of that age, I suspect the point is/was that it is hard to get childcare which will take sick(ish) kids. That said, she did seem to get a bit of a brush off - I don't really understand why she couldn't have engaged by skype/teleconference or something.

I need to think some more about behaviour and motherhood with respect to schooling.