As someone who is forever grateful for the opportunities of a lifetime that her school gave her, I felt really sad to read the story of someone whose school experience was not as positive.
At the age of only 5, Sean Macnamara was streamed at school, and in effect written off. He suggests that where he was placed was for those pupils perceived to be of “low ability.” He calls it, the “the oblong table.”
Sean was not encouraged to persevere with home reading, and he didn’t get good grades at GCSE. By his own admission, he and his mates “just used to mess around.” But as you’ve probably guessed, they were far from low ability – Sean confirms that today, many are successful people in a variety of work areas. Sean himself is deputy head of a primary school, and while teaching was not his school-leaving career choice, he eventually realised that teaching would be his lifelong career.
And from a good article about Mr Macnamara’s career and his continuing research into ability teaching, I took the message that regardless of whether you’re school age, or older, it’s never kind for someone to seat you at the oblong table.