Discover more from Hugh’s Newsletter
What are we doing to our children ? 6
Ex Principal: One day children will ask why they were denied once-in-a-lifetime chances that arise from being at school.
What are we waiting for?
While classrooms sit empty, life chances are being destroyed, mental health is in ruins and children are shut away in their bedrooms. Why are healthy young people not allowed to play sport, running about outside? They have a 99.9% recovery if they catch Covid, taught by teachers who are at no more risk than anyone else
What would you say are the most important aspects of a child’s life? Meeting friends, going to school, getting qualifications, playing sport, involvement with choir, church, clubs.
So why aren’t the needs of the children being put first?
Surely some day our children are going to ask why were we penalised -why were we denied education and sport-why were we not allowed to see friends or to travel or go to university.
Why were we denied those once in a lifetime experiences that now we will never experience — the educational visit in p7, the first year at secondary school, playing for the school, going on an educational visit, being in a drama production, singing in the choir, the satisfaction of passing an exam,the last year at my school?
We spent 12 years at school and never got to say good bye.
Why were our life chances restricted?
Who were we protecting?
Who was protecting us?
Life chances destroyed, abuse through the roof, mental health in ruins.
Shut away in our bedrooms.
Why were we not allowed to play outdoor sport? A group of healthy young people running about outside?
We have a 99.9% recovery if we catch it. Taught by teachers who are also at no more risk than anyone else and then home to our parents, who are also almost completely unaffected.
Granny doesn’t live with us. Could mum and granny not have agreed what was best for granny-rather than penalise me? We didn’t like the burden of ‘killing granny’ being placed on us, it was scary.
Who was looking after my health and well being?
My big concern is the potential damage to life chances. When pupils fail to pass a particular threshold in exam grades it closes off opportunity.
Pupils who miss out on basic GCSE passes in eg English or Maths, might lose out on a job opportunity, or fail to secure a sixth-form place.
Students dropping an A-level grade might miss out on a university place, consigning teenagers to poorer employment and earnings prospects for years.
I am particularly concerned about those children around the grade C-D-E boundaries, children who would almost certainly have benefitted from robust in class teaching in the vital months coming up to exams.
Younger children can be damaged if they have missed out on the acquisition of key building block teaching, meaning they are less likely to make progress.
Research at the London School of Economics reveals how the pandemic has exposed divides between education’s haves and have-nots.
Private school pupils were twice as likely than state school pupils to benefit from full days of online lessons during school closures in the first lockdown.
A quarter of pupils received no education at all. How can you fairly assess the same topic when one pupil has received a few online lessons in cramped and crowded conditions unsuitable for study, while another has benefited from private tutoring and unlimited internet access?
It will be the same here in Northern Ireland.
A telling statement of a five years old schoolgirl:
“I don’t need anybody to play. I have accustomed to the loneliness”,(reported by the BBC)
Social distancing, lockdowns and masks violate children’s and kill their souls and sociability.
As a recent study by Public Health England reported “the long-term harm of keeping children out of school was enormous”.
School staff do not have a markedly higher risk of infection than other working adults schools — including special schools — are not a major source of transmission of coronavirus, according to the NI Public Health Agency.
Those countries and states which did not close schools did not have a greater fatality rate. The children are not at risk.
What are we waiting for?
• Hugh McCarthy was principal of Killicomaine Junior High School for 23 years