Structured Regime

For all of my concerns about teenagers out of control, there is a new school opening in the autumn that scares me.

The Blair Government has been big on the development of city academies built as public-private partnerships. Some of these have done reasonably well. Others have not. The most expensive school ever built is the new £46.4 million Thomas Deacon school in Peterborough. As one of the largest schools in Europe, it will house 2,200 pupils.

I use the term “house” intentionally. It is not a boarding school. It is a bit more like a prison. Even though the children are drawn from the general population, thanks to the closure of three other schools, the regime sounds like a reform school or Borstal.

There is no playground. The company running it say playgrounds do not fit into their concept. But no matter. Who needs a playground when there is no free time? There will be no breaks in the day. This has been designed to prevent bullying and truancy.

The company says pupils should be treated like company employees and therefore do not need unstructured time. I’m not sure where their company is located, because employees in the UK are legally entitled to an hour overall – 30 minutes for lunch and two 15 minutes breaks. Even a prison has an exercise yard.

According to headteacher Alan McMurdo, “We are not intending to have any play time. Pupils won’t need to let off steam because they will not be bored.” And this must be because ever pupil is going to enjoy every subject and they are only going to hire the very best children’s entertainers and call them teachers.

If adults only get 30 minutes for lunch, why should children need any more? During the lunch period pupils will be escorted to the dining room by their teacher. This is to ensure they do not sneak away to play or breathe fresh air.

This also means that teachers will get no breaks in the day, unless they happen to have one of those elusive non-contact periods during which they are not taken for a cover lesson. If it is a day with no free period, it will be a day with no free time whatsoever, even at lunch.

Some of you may have thought I was being melodramatic about the increasingly totalitarian state in the UK. Yes, this is the Government’s vision of the future becoming reality.


One Response to Structured Regime

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds more like incarcerating than housing pupils to me………

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