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It's School Season

Jemma Summerfield Jemma Summerfield | 15:42 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

Welcome to the new BBC Parents Blog. Here you will find advice, experiences and opinions about the latest educational trends and issues written by parents for parents. It's also your chance to raise concerns and debate issues that are important to you and your child. Also, keep an eye out for our guest experts who will be on hand to discuss topical issues and keep you informed!

We've launched our blog at an exciting time just as the BBC Two School Season kicks off. It's set to be a thought-provoking season and may spark up a debate about how we can improve our education system. Throughout September there will be programmes about education and the tough decisions parents have to make. The Big School Lottery is the first programme and follows several children and their parents as they apply for secondary school places. Gareth Malone spends a term in a primary school trying to re-engage boys with learning in his Extraordinary School for Boys.

Our Parent Panel will be on hand ready to blog about the issues raised in the programmes so if you'd like to continue the conversation, do check in with us! We'd love you to share your thoughts and experiences on these issues.

To accompany the School Season, the RSA and BBC Learning have organised a debate to explore the issues further and to ask - where next for our children's education? If you have a question you'd like to submit to the panel, you can do so by emailing Find out more including how to apply for audience tickets on the School Season info page on our website. We will be reporting back on the discussion here on the blog shortly after the debate takes place on 13th September 2010.

In the meantime watch the School Season preview featuring a classic track by David Bowie!

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Jemma Summerfield is the senior producer of BBC Parents


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello there,
    I'm a teaching assistant at an outstanding school and I love my job. I enjoyed watching the programme this evening with Gareth Malone. I decided to tune in because I was interested in seeing his teaching strategies because in my opinion a good teacher is one who can learn from others and try new things. I'm very proud to be working in the school I do. The values and targets that were trying to be met in this programme I feel in my school are being achieved on a daily basis, we are always trying new exciting ways to engage the children and the best lessons are the ones that they had fun in and forgot they were actually learning! Personally I would take a more stricter approach and make sure rules, boundaries and respect are firmly put in place before any real learning can take place which was Gareth's downfall, sometimes you can be too much the friend and nice guy and like the featured teachers said they soon start taking that for granted ,although I did think that they were too quick to poo poo his strategies at times. However their years of experience and hands on knowledge did give them that right to their opinions it just came across as though it wasn’t just a competition between the boys and girls it was between him and the female staff. I would like to point out though that as much as I am proud of the school I work in and the figures talk for themselves I am aware that I work in a privileged area and that can really make a difference. I have only ever worked in this school and from what I can gather from teachers who have worked in deprived areas, T.V and parents there is a phenomenal difference in behaviour learning etc depending on the area. My partner lives in Harlow with her son and I live in Kent and I feel a jab of guilt in my snobbery for wanting to get them down here and him into my school when he comes of age. The fear and hopes for him drive me to do my upmost to make that happen. It was so lovely hearing the children’s voice in this programme often I think how the child is feeling is overlooked it was heartbreaking at times and there were a few Kleenex moments. The lack of confidence and self worth was tugging at my heartstrings; it isn’t fair that some children aren’t open to the same opportunities and starts in lives as those that are fortunate to go to schools in less deprived areas. What I found surprising and liberating in this programme was the allowance of taking risks like the tree cutting. Risk taking and fun activities are being taken away by our ever growing PC mad western world. There is so much red tape it’s unbelievable. I’ll never forget the news article years ago about conkers being banned unless they were used with protective glasses because one child got hit in the eye! Our children cannot go through life with protective glasses on! When it comes to children upset or having accidents there is not a lot we can do take comfort them when rules on not giving them hugs or helping them get a little one undressed and into clean clothes if they soil themselves etc is mad but I do understand it in some ways because children and parents can do and say anything which could put your career on the line. Its just ridiculous. I know of a school where all the children’s books are destroyed at the end of the each year because some parents started making complaints about marking and comparing their children’s work so because of them there are many mums with bookless attacks to share dig out in the many years down the line it is so sad! And frustrating to the teachers as well no doubt! Although the head teacher in this programme allowed the making an outside classroom for this programme do not be fooled into thinking that happens alot many schools won’t allow anything that may be to risky for fear of being sued or breaking red tape rules and for their job. So many great experiences and learning oppertunites are lost. My other bug bear which seems to be across the board in public services is the paper work the amount of evidence and paperwork that has to be done is often pointless and could have been spent working with a child giving them the support they need this is particularly a problem in foundation. You’re so busy observing and documenting a child’s special needs that your too busy to actually help them with them to your full potential.
    Anyway i’ve started to rumble teaching isn’t for everyone but those that is is for are the lucky ones the money might not be great but the satisfaction of moulding and changing lives is a great gift and an honour. I’m happy to share ideas or give my opinions and advise as a TA with 6 years experience I’m full of ideas and new resources and i’m always on the lookout for new ones so if anyone would like to share please feel welcome.
    Kelly 26

  • Comment number 2.

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