And the result? Instant level playing field between all schools and all students, with the message: it's down to you. Instant requirement for schools to shift their whole focus - however they do it - to the development of independent study skills, self-motivation, and good planning, rather than force-spoon-feeding content repeatedly. And with the freed-up teacher time - as well as allowing some reflection, planning and thinking time - you could massively increase your three Rs direct tuition to younger students, with every teacher of every subject sent to do one-on-one literacy and numeracy support for younger individuals at more influence-able ages - or send every teacher in the country on a IT coding course, if you like - or to learn Mandarin; or triple the Work Experience opportunities for all fourteen year-olds. Or get teachers to team-teach in other subjects and learn a wider range of skills from one another. Or create a ten-week window of wider activities and enrichment for year groups remaining in school. Etc. So make study leave a fixed legal requirement with a set date for all schools. Go on, Govey. I dare you.
- schools have the capacity to, and should function as, places of restraint to keep dangerous characters out of the public space - i.e. schools are prisons
- no-one else wants responsibility for our youth - not police, local councils, employers or parents - not hard to see where the current youth unemployment figures come from, huh?
- young people are predominantly likely to be a danger to society rather than an asset - the litany of alarm (cf James Arthur's work - now running the new Jubilee Centre for Character and Values at Birmingham University)
- we don't expect schools to have inculcated any independence or focus on self-managed learning into students in all of the years they've had them...
- ... and we're going to reinforce that negative presumption and poor practice with a constant insistence on no-study-leave which compounds all these negative messages about the function of schools and the incapacity of both schools / teachers and young people themselves