THE BLOG

Let's Put It Into Context

24/02/2014 11:13 GMT | Updated 23/04/2014 10:59 BST

This week, the National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Family Action called on parents to help develop their children's basic skills.

The words of advice covered everything from letting kids manage money during family shopping trips; to building a tent so they can stargaze and explore some of the subjects they learn in school.

I couldn't agree more. I've spoken at length about the importance of contextualised learning. As parents, we have a clear role to play in helping our children put theory into practice. It shouldn't fall solely on the shoulders of teachers.

However, it still makes me question whether schools are doing enough on their side to prepare children for their futures.

I don't know about you, but I don't often have to solve an algebraic formula or use Pythagoras' theory in my day-to-day life. But reading a balance sheet, creating formulae in spreadsheets and understanding mortgages? Definitely.

These are the skills children should learn. They need to know how to apply what's taught in the classroom to the real world from an early age. Otherwise, when they enter the workplace it'll feel like a million miles away from what they're comfortable with.

It's not just me who thinks this. Keeping with maths as an example, City & Guilds Group research showed that 45% of 14-16 year olds and 54% of 16-18 year olds felt that maths could be improved by gearing it more towards real life.

I want to be clear that this isn't about the skills of teachers. Schools have a set curriculum to follow, established by Government. Okay, there are variations from school to school and teachers play a central role in delivering that curriculum, but the key facts and theories being taught are more or less pre-set.

It's time to get to the root of the problem. As parents, we must support learning and development at home. But we shouldn't be expected to carry all of the responsibility either.

Government needs to meet parents half-way. The obsession with an education system built in the Victorian era simply can't cut it in our fast-paced world.

Theory and practice need to combine so that education is applicable from the get-go. Contextualised learning is the only way to help prepare our children not just for employment, but for life.