I just received this email about a school in Devon undergoing building works:
‘Our two boys attend a grammar school in Devon (every possible Ofsted accolade) where they were told in assembly that with the construction of a new block they were not to speak to any builder, and that no builder must speak to them or he will face dismissal. How can we possibly hope to build any kind of better (or ‘big’) society with such an frightening lack of trust, not to mention courtesy? The school’s instructions sound like something out of a 1950s sci-fi nightmare.’
The business of bringing outside contractors into schools has become fraught with difficulty. One man, who installs wind turbines on school roofs (in the holidays), tells me that all his staff have to be CRB checked.
And the fact that this Devon school prohibits any interaction between contractors and kids – even a ‘hello’, which is surely just good manners! – shows how ordinary interaction between adults and children has become contaminated.
The ‘safe’ behaviour is for adults and children not to talk or acknowledge each other in any way. A dramatic sign of the estrangement between the generations.