In the same week that my 16 year old son began assessing his options for subjects and sixth form colleges for next year, his 11 year old brother made a bold but flawed attempt to bunk off school, managing to duck away from the school bus and secrete himself in the local churchyard with his packed lunch and a plan to sit out the day under a bush.
The closeness of the school community and his older brother’s vigilance meant that his absence was spotted and reported within an hour; to his chagrin he was back in school for second lesson. But there were insights to be taken from this traumatic, if brief experience.
Parents searching frantically for places in a decent school for their children – one that gets good results and values a happy atmosphere, say – are failing to spot that even the best schools fail to offer an appropriate education for their pupils at all.
Why? First, because of the future our children face. Remember, modern society is founded on an abundance of fossil fuels (mainly oil), which has produced an economic and social web of such complexity that for many of us life is very far removed from its underlying connections with the natural world. This era is coming to an end, compounded by unfolding planetary crises that are taking us into a transition that will affect how we live, eat, travel and work and the skills we will need to do these things. (more…)