This report was from the BBC news website yesterday, but is one of several similar I have come across, affecting a range of subjects, not simply maths:
It does not surprise me that students who are particularly good at a subject are neglected in mainstream schools. There will be many reasons for this:
1) The student: teacher ratio means that a teacher cannot possibly give individual attention to the diverse rates and styles of learning of all the students
2) Emphasis seems to be on getting students to pass with a reasonable grade - therefore those who will already be securing high marks, such as As or Bs will not be seen as the ones to focus on
3) There will always be regression towards the mean - the rate the whole class moves at will be the rate of the average students. This does not just discriminate against the weaker students (who maybe do get a reasonable amount of attention) but also against those who are gifted in an area
4) There is a trend to move away from streaming students according to ability, and this can compound the problem. It should be commented, however, that even in comprehensive schools, there does tend to be streaming for certain subjects such as maths
5) There may be issues regarding peer pressure (read some of the reader comments to the BBC article) such that it is not 'cool' to be academic, and particularly not in subjects such as maths
6) The emphasis on learning can be 'to pass the exam' rather than to gain an in depth appreciation and understanding of a subject. An A* is not perfection, and some students may achieve this with relative ease whilst still not developing to their full potential
When I read articles like this, many of our basic reasons for choosing home education are re-enforced. I am encouraged that we are able to address many of the issues outlined above, and will be able to teach our children at the appropriate rate and in the appropriate depth.
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.