Response to Roland Meighan’s letter to the Independent

Ben Ballin responds as a parent to Roland’s letter to the Independent and blog piece:

Well said!  I have been having these battles with my children’s schools for years [and for the most part losing them].  As you say, learning outside of school is another matter from homework, whether broadly formal [eg reading with a parent] or informal [eg developing your footballing and social skills with a group of friends].  The appropriation of “free” time by schools is, I think, a de facto block to space for the kind of learning children are best at, not least learning through play [that very devalued word].  When I had this battle with a first school a few years ago, the best response people could come up with was that formal homework setting for young children was necessary because otherwise the amount of formal homework setting they would get in middle school would be too much of a shock.  Extraordinary … but it seemed to convince most fellow-parents!

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