PhD, Chartered Psychologist, historian, researcher, teacher and grandparent
Pam Jarvis PhD is a chartered psychologist and a historian. Her key research focus is the well-being of children, young people and their families, and the development of social policy to support this. She has three young grandsons, and is currently Reader in Childhood, Youth and Education at Leeds Trinity University. She is an active campaigner for 'developmentally informed' policy and practice
A decade and a half later, to effectively communicate on Twitter, I have had to consider how to communicate my thoughts effectively in 140 characters or less whilst maintaining coherence; this in turn led me to engage more deeply with the language of the emoticon and the visual attachment.
While inequitable marking of such high stakes assessments is of course an issue that must be urgently dealt with, it seems to me that the core problem lies at a more fundamental level of the process, a misunderstanding of the relationship between data and assessment.
If we are determined to ensure that further tragedies on the Grenfell scale never happen again, it is the responsibility of us all to ensure that we root out the Thatcherist cancer that has been mushrooming at the heart of our society for the past three and a half decades, returning to a 'people first' approach.
Perhaps, during this week in which we commemorate a religious leader whose contribution to humanity was to champion compassion and charity, we should take a little time to contemplate the burgeoning evidence which reveals the nakedness of the neoliberal emperor currently bestriding the western world?
Over the twenty-some intervening years, I have begun to wonder how many such socially inept policies vandalised the spaces in which people within similar communities across the nation were able to come together, and in so doing, created the conditions for holes to form within the fabric of human connection.
How did we ever have enough time for all this? In those pre-SATs and pre-accountability days, the last half an hour of every school day for every year group in the school, from Reception to Year Six was spent sitting on the carpet, listening to the teacher read a story.
The DFE has also yet to answer questions about the ways in which data collected by such inappropriate tests are to be stored; what uses will be made of them and how long they will be retained. For example, might schools use such data to set and stream children in the early primary school period?
As the Anglophone world prepares to move with trepidation into a new phase in its history, with the inauguration of Donald Trump and the beginnings of the Brexit negotiations, a quieter revolution is also under way which has equal potential to change society.
Now, as those of us in the Northern Hemisphere face the longest night of the year, it is time to do as communities in our cold little island have done for millennia, and celebrate all the small things that make us happy as we begin our journey back from the darkness into the light.
We still just have time to mute the effects of Gove's 'accelerated curriculum' if we act quickly. If we do not, the PISA results of the 2020s will no doubt make even more painful reading for all involved in education in England.
What it would tell us, if only we would study our reflection for long enough, is that, what is most 'humanly desirable' in the production and maintenance of mentally healthy, sociable human beings is, as two of the most celebrated bards of the twentieth century pointed out, fundamentally 'easy: all you need is love'.
21/11/2016 12:00 GMT
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