How well I remember my poor old dad going off to night school to retrain in his chosen career. Having been in the forces, he became an apprenticed aircraft engineer on aircraft carriers. A very dangerous occupation and one that had very specific training at the time. After he left that life behind, he became a rep for a brewery – a very popular job for some men quite probably, but it was only a comfortable stepping stone for dad. He had other ideas. He wanted to combine his talent for sketching with illustrating and doing technical drawing. So after working all day he would go to night school twice a week to learn the essentials. It obviously worked – he was able to get a job at the very important aircraft factory that was building the marvellous supersonic aircraft that defined our country for a few short years – I am so proud he was able to make his contriution to that exciting project.
I was listening to a ‘warts and all’ interview of a celebrity on radio the other week. Coming to the programme after the start, I was initially unclear as to the subject of the frankly syrupy banter going around the studio. It took me a few moments of light concentration to catch the voice – I am very good at that as a rule. Having got my first clue, I listened on to a quick run down of the candidate’s education – he elaborated rather on having been a bad boy at school – obviously a fee paying one. I say obviously – no one at state school would have been so full of ego to try some of the apparent capers. It turned out to be the very well known and popular cricketer from the 1980s I had first thought of. Funny raconteur and good sportsman in his day but a rather less effective advertisement for going through the privately educated route to anything – other than stardom!
For the most part, families who know their place in this world have no difficulty in deciding their route to the top educational establishments. Generally in the grand scheme of things, there wil be a scattering of top army brass, an MP or two and one or two very popular minor aristos to keep the name circling high. These fmilies have for generation after generation educated their children at one of a select few pre prep schools, before little Mini Me goes up to the next stage of prep and finally the biggie – Eton or Harrow. The long term view is that you only get the best if you pay for the best. A consultant can help many families who are not exactly in that upper league. They have a nose on every angle of education in this country and can suggest alternative routes that can achieve the same but cost far less.
I have a youngster amid my extended family and she’s now soaking up learning and education like asponge. For most of her teenage years, she has been sitting in the corner of the room quietly sketching anyone and anything attracting her immediate attention. Rather like a war reporter. She has a very impressive gallery of pictures nd filled sketch pads. Everyone assumed she would major in art and has never really thought about another stream of learning. Now that she’s in her gcse year and results of ‘mocks’ are the instrument govening her next stage, she has suddenly gone into over-drive with wanting to bone up on other subjects. Realising that art is a luxury subject and not taken very seriously by schools, she has taken to revising the core subject big time using e-learning and online education courses. Her whole ethos has changed and she’s keen as mustard to get the highest possible grades in all!
A few years ago there was a trend going around the younger up and coming members of the business community for snappy slogans and attaching ‘themes’ to companies and products. If you went to a modern university then it was referred to generally as ‘red brick’, rather than old stone portal. Anyone hoping to score top marks with brilliant ideas that were far reaching and stimulating would be described as ‘a blue sky thinker’ and in a way it pigeon holes us for that period in time. Any women who succeeded in business after going to a prestigious fee paying school for example would universally be referred to a ‘the blue stocking type’ – despite having worked jolly hard to gain her qualifications through knowledge and how to apply it. Gaining additional qualifications for any vocational direction is much easier today with e-learning and online courses that are very job specific.
So many times you read about an actor being interviewed and amongst their little witty throw away lines they mention that they never planned to become an actor. Lots of the older ladies had mothers who insisted they took a shorthand and typing course first – almost as a punishment for wanting to do something as risky as become an actress. There are countless ways that being a short hand typist must have given great security to folk who were just starting off on their career ladder. The initial training could be beefed up with the next grade up, as I managed. I did Pitman’s elementary, intermediate and advanced typing whilst at school. Until fairly recently, when men suddenly decided that having a laptop meant they could dispense with a secretary . . . there was always a good lucrative means of earning an income. Now, men do their own correspondence – all via email and sadly, rarely a business letter is sent anywhere !
There are many things that seem to be going wrong for society these days. Too many folk trying to cram in to already seriously over crowded connobations. The old ghetto system is still prevalent but it has taken a slightly different direction. In these deprived areas, a lack of appreciation of the fundamentals of education seem to pass the occupants by. What should be thought of as a right of all children to be offered, is sometimes considered to be a waste of time and only for the already privileged kids. When education leaders are struggling to engage with families and communities, there are ways and means now of getting some of them online for their learning. Education consultants can develop specific E-learning tools for the slower and less enthuiastic components in any community. It just needs the right instruction to be given and someone to know what the expectations are.
What does it take to get to the very top of the tree with industry. This is a question that used to be very easily answered by the phrases ‘old boy network’ and ‘not what you know, but who you know’. To a small extent this can still be true when it comes to politics and needing backing to get started in the first place. But much education, training in the ways of the company, attendance of online personnel response courses and updating our cvs with the most accurate but positive items, will help to get us up the ladder quicker. An education agency will know of the right courses that can be available for those who wish to further their knowledge in a particular discipline. They can develop custom designed online training courses for sectors of a company scheme or a civil service department. Starting on a level playing field has never been easier.
There’s currently a great deal in the press about the subject of grammer schools getting a hike in the governmemnt budget allowance and this is not going down terrribly well with the rest of the educational world. Many on the more socialist side of life are up in arms about the fact the selective schools already have a great advantage over the comprehensive system and that it is not fair funding. Whatever sort of school one attends, there really is no excuse for getting poor results. There is a much more even playing field for all children now, far more so than in the early years of education in this country as a whole. All schools are geared to allow for bright candidates from poorer backgrounds to get a helping hand on to reach their potential. There should be no such thing as a bad school. Bad pupils maybe. It takes effort and determination to succeed.
When we think of schools all we generally recall is our own sorry attempt at learning in a large class environment. The mix of bored disruptive children with bored under achieving teacher can make for a volatile atmosphere for most folk. The lessons have changed for the better, but whilst some of the content and presntation skills have vastly improved, for every ‘super lesson’ there are hundreds of mediocre run of the mill teacher led lessons going on in mainstream schools today. So for the discerning parent, how about checking onlne with the latest trends on online learning -e degrees and the supply of online teaching courses in any subject and efectively, any age group. Knowing how to learn is a critical lesson in itself. Just listening to facts and figures is rarely the answer to any education methodology. Being able to take information and re learn it in chunks is the basis for online learing.