Saturday, 1 October 2011

NEDs and NEETs

Being old, decayed, English (by accident not design) and out of touch for a very long time well that's according to my on the cusp of teen kid,  I had not come across the marvellous acronym NEDS. I only happened upon this simplified sociological concept as a nasty looking DVD at the local soon to be shut down and boarded up HMV rather than in a learned academic journal. Non-Educated Deliquents, which of course you knew is the Scottish equivalent of NEETS, has become a fashionable acronym to wave around except without the delinquent tag although I dare say that will be implied in some of our quality English  journalism. Many of last year's Year 11s one or two  of whom were proto-delinquents have, so the stories go, gone down that particularly empty route, sadly, possibly inevitably given the demographic.

The Academy is generally considered to be the least worst of the schools in the catchment. However, judging by the deflated exam results of last year, the continued rise in absences which spike with the release of new games or gadgets, and flurry of diktats we are trying hard to get down with the other kydz.

What is the answer? Imagination. Flexible timetabling perhaps, treating 15 and 16 year olds as young adults rather than lanky obnoxious Lynx drenched children (although many are), amending, or preferably abandoning uniform? Maybe replacing exercise books with tablets / iPads as part of a more imaginative use of technology? Teaming up with local council and local business, such as it is, for proper work experience at a younger age..? I don't know I am just a humble bog standard teacher in a school whose senior mismanagment has misguided ideas shielding them from reality - top buttons done up = A*s all round.

Yet, with all the degrees and sprinking of MAs and a couple of doctorates there has to be something more that we can be doing that is more relevant to the needs of kids from households, catchments, with (seemingly) zero to low-aspirations than have them sitting through classes, such as mine, which have little relevance to their present let alone their (bleak) futures to enable them to break that cycle and not become part Cameron, Gove and Osbourne's not so exclusive one of a million club.

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