I used to live in India. I taught at a school there with my husband, and my eldest daughter was born while we lived there. The pace of life was less hectic, we were a lot less stressed and we had loads of friends. We never argued with each other, and never had disagreements with work colleagues. The surroundings were beautiful and we had no issues with pollution, or water supply, or bills. The weather was always sunny, but not too hot. Hang on a minute - was it really that good? We're going back for a holiday this summer, which I think is a really good idea because we've started to look back with rose-tinted spectacles, remembering only the good times, and are beginning to think about working abroad again. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but it will do us good to be reminded of some of the frustrations and difficulties of living in India before we go any further down that path.
My point here is that we all, at times, look back on the past as being some kind of golden age. Maybe not our own childhood, but we can all imagine a time when things were better, and the phrases "When we were kids..." and "It never did me any harm..." are commonplace among parents. And the Government too it seems. Michael Gove, the secretary of state for education has now announced that he would like a return to O-Levels, qualifications that were scrapped when I was just starting secondary school. If change is needed to our education system (although I'm not convinced that such radical changes are needed) then surely we should be looking at moving forwards, not back to something that was deemed to be outdated in the 1980s. Mr Gove seems to be under the impression that a return to the way things were done when my parents were at school will better equip our children to live in the 21st century. That's right, a system that educated children to live and work in the 1960s and 70s, to be reintroduced today. Hmm.
If we want our children to succeed in the system that the Government imposes on them, then we will have to roll with the changes, and attempt to keep up to date with the methods and strategies that Gove sees fit to introduce. Progress and change are not bad or scary words but Gove has me in a tizzy at the moment - what on earth will he come out with next? At the end of the day spending time with my children and taking an interest in what they are doing (whatever that is!) at each stage of their education is the best way to help and support them and that's what I'll continue to do, whether that be learning Latin with them, or helping them to revise for their O-Levels.