Three boys go to a private school: Britain's Youngest Boarders
A tour of stateschools: Unequal Opportunities with John Humphreys
What surprises me about all these documentaries and articles I've been through is that they are all negative and they all talk about education in an abstract way, like it's metaphysics. There's very little said about the effect different approaches on education have on the children, on what should and shouldn't be taught and how school is a mirror of society.
We are so worried about test scores and ofsted reports that we forget to ask ourselves whether the children are learning. Are we encouraging them to learn, to be curious, to help each other out?
And of course, there's no talk about music. From our earliest recorded history, music has been a key part in education: In Pythagoras' school of thought, music was taught alongside mathematics. Many medical studies show that learning music at any age, but especially between the ages of five and ten, stimulates the activation of parts of the brain that wouldn't otherwise be used, develops spacial awareness, lateral thinking, social skills and mathematical reasoning.
Why, then, is it so overlooked? I think, partly, because it is hard to teach well. Unlike maths or science, music has an intangibility that makes it difficult to standardise, and that makes bureocrats unhappy. So music teachers are left to their own devices, often with no support and very small budgets.
Music is possibly the most ubiquitous of man-made things (although the iPhone's getting close), yet it is tragically misunderstood. Surely we can find it in ourselves to change this?