Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Not quite as bonkers as it may first appear

Oh, dear. This certificate in bus catching may seem bizarre, but there is probably a very logical explanation for it. It's all to do with funding.

To quote from the Daily Telegraph:

Officials at Bury Youth Services in Greater Manchester recognise not only how youngsters find their way to a local bus stop, but also how they sit on a seat during their journey.

Their certificates, issued to 11 to 15-year-olds taking a course called “Using Public Transport (Unit 1)”, recognise the ability to:

* Walk to the local bus stop.

* Stand or sit at the bus stop and wait for the arrival of a public bus.

* Enter the bus in a calm and safe manner.

* Be directed to a downstairs seat by a member of staff

* Sit on the bus and observe through the windows.

* Wait until the bus has stopped, stand on request and exit the bus.

Firstly, I very much suspect that the certificate is not intended for normal kids at all. Special schools and homes for children and young adults with special needs teach kids these basic skills that they don't get to pick up naturally by living in a family. Due to the way the funding system works, schools need "outcomes". It's no longer enough to just say that kids have attended a course in whatever, the school needs to show achievement in some qualification. Besides, why shouldn't the kids who will never get GCSEs or A-levels have a certificate in something they can do?

Thus there are qualifications to be had in the most mundane things. I used to see them when I was trawling through the qualification lists for units on word processing, spreadsheets, digital photography and other IT topics. I remember seeing a collection that related to cleaning, weighing and bagging vegetables. Again an apparently bizarre thing to have a qualification in, but not so much if you think that a training centre might be teaching kids with special needs how to work on the veg counter at the local supermarket or to help out at a local market garden, the sort of work they could reasonably do as adults.

So please don't blame the school for what might seem like a bonkers qualification in something that kids should be taught by their families. They have done it because education has been forced to adopt business practices that reward achievement (ie give schools funding) by measuring "outcomes". Thus schools and colleges have to create measurable outcomes, even when it's not really necessary or appropriate.

And yes, I do have an axe to grind regarding this policy. It is the necessity of making adults do qualifications and take tests that has put people off attending evening classes, especially the so called "leisure" activities like creative writing, calligraphy, pottery, embroidery and what have you. Reduced numbers (or poor achievement rates due to adults not being motivated to pass tests in order to attain a certificate they don't want and have no use for) mean less funding, and hence the cutting of such courses from college timetables. Or in other words, part of the reason I was made redundant just over a year ago.

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