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Thread: Scouts in schools - I am a long way from convinced.

  1. #16
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    Hmm - SL being Sir 9-3 and Geoff 3-5pm may well work for those kids who are going well in school, and already have a good relationship with "Sir"/"Geoff" during their school day. I think my concern is that sometimes Scouting can be a refuge for kids that clash with "Geoff" during the day and need someone else in their Scouting sessions to put their confidence back together. It would be extremely hard for anyone (myself included) to spend 5 hours of the day dealing with a kid that is struggling in class, therefore becomes disruptive and rebellious to flick a switch at end of school day and become "Geoff" the SL who purely treats their time in Scouts as on its own merits and free from baggage from the rest of their school day.

    I suspect that for a pretty high proportion of kids within Scouting who come from within functional aspirational families, and who are coping fine with school, the distinction between an in school Troop and a non school Troop could be minimal and maybe even better in school for various reasons. However by the same token there are going to be some kids that for whatever reason, despite everything else being against them, find themselves in contact with Scouting, who could be significantly worse off if the only option is another 2 hours in the evening with their "tormentors" aka their teachers.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Local experience. A scout group set up in a school, supported by it, half the leaders are teachers, half parents, meetings running after lessons finished. Absolutely fine. Programme compares with the best in district, numbers good, ethos and atmosphere good. So have no issue.

    I think there's a snobbery in Scout leaders that they are somehow different because they are not in the compulsory education system. In fact many leaders have it very easy in comparison to teachers, not having the same educational and training requirements and dealing with children who (generally but not always) want to be there from the easiest and most supported. So I think the best teachers have an experience and capability way ahead of most leaders and are well capable of having a relationship with children which can drive and engage to educate (which is what we're about is it not?) as well as turning that off to be friendly when required. Those who have been on school vocational trips can see that in spades.
    I think it's probably like any other human endeavour, some teachers/leaders are good (or great) and some are not so good (or terrible).

    I don't detect any sort of snobbery, although I do think (only very occasionally), there is the odd leader in it a wee bit too much for the kudos and social standing - such as it is these days.

    Interestingly, or not. Is this not the direction TSA wants Scouts to go - very educational, with a syllabus and cookie cut leaders leading to a formula?

    I also think there is a tendency for leaders to assume the relationship between scout and leader versus pupil and teacher is different. I'm not actually sure this is the case - if you looked at it from the kid's point of view. We do more than most to connect with the young folk - but even so, there are still those you can just tell, who still think you're a 'teacher'.

    I don't mean that in a bad way. But kids go to school and mostly never think of their teacher outside of that setting. It never occurs to most pupils that teachers have homes and families and first names - I think, because they only ever really see them in the school context, (which is why residentials are so useful). With Scouts, (I think) the context is a lot more varied, so we suffer slightly less, although, it's definitely still there.

    I suppose, if anything, the more relaxed atmosphere of a scout meeting, will humanize teachers and make them more accessible. So there's that benefit for them - if they're running things like that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    ........

    I don't detect any sort of snobbery, although I do think (only very occasionally), there is the odd leader in it a wee bit too much for the kudos and social standing - such as it is these days.
    ..............
    I also think there is a tendency for leaders to assume the relationship between scout and leader versus pupil and teacher is different. I'm not actually sure this is the case - if you looked at it from the kid's point of view. We do more than most to connect with the young folk - but even so, there are still those you can just tell, who still think you're a 'teacher'....
    By "snobbery" I meant that there is a view that leaders have a somewhat superior relationship with the YP in our care.

  6. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    By "snobbery" I meant that there is a view that leaders have a somewhat superior relationship with the YP in our care.
    Different, not superior.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    By "snobbery" I meant that there is a view that leaders have a somewhat superior relationship with the YP in our care.
    What Chris said there.

    It's a different atmosphere/setting, so it stands to reason it would be a different relationship. But it depends on how you're measuring it - and it all somewhat goes out the window when you start to factor in the personalities involved.

    All things being equal, from an educational point of view - schools are set up for that. From a personal development point of view - Scouts is better set up for that. What I would say is, the Scout set up still allows for education, but the school set up is not as conducive to the personal development side of things due to the structure and discipline required for the educational part to work.

    But, it still largely depends on the human element.

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    In the end, what does it matter? Is it being touted as the way forward? Is it changing how scouts is done in your patch? A load more young people are getting some sort of scouting. We all know provision is massively variable in different groups, this is what it is, good luck to them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Local experience. A scout group set up in a school, supported by it, half the leaders are teachers, half parents, meetings running after lessons finished. Absolutely fine. Programme compares with the best in district, numbers good, ethos and atmosphere good. So have no issue.

    I think there's a snobbery in Scout leaders that they are somehow different because they are not in the compulsory education system. In fact many leaders have it very easy in comparison to teachers, not having the same educational and training requirements and dealing with children who (generally but not always) want to be there from the easiest and most supported. So I think the best teachers have an experience and capability way ahead of most leaders and are well capable of having a relationship with children which can drive and engage to educate (which is what we're about is it not?) as well as turning that off to be friendly when required. Those who have been on school vocational trips can see that in spades.
    I have no experience of Scouting in schools. My experience though is that a lot of young people don't want to be in school, even the good kids, and "scouts" in a different environment away from school is a good option, I'd argue a better option but I have no benchmark to validate the statement.

    On experience, well, I guess it is swings and roundabouts. Some Leaders volunteer and aren't particularly great and we can't get rid and they won't walk. Teachers are just as much a mixed bunch and sometimes the poor ones stay as long as the good ones. Some have great experience and great skills, others have not. Those who have sent kids on vocational trips and know the truth of what happens on some such trips may have a different view.

    On that last point - school trips are always very much a curate's egg.
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    As an aside, I have a fair experience of DoE in schools and Scouting. Without the usual abuse hurled at the quality of school DoE (which I'd absolutely refute), if you want your offspring to get through DoE quickly and efficiently it's school every time. Simply because our YP take school much more seriously. In Explorers "homework" (registering and planning) simply isn't done, whereas at school they seem to take it a lot more seriously and if there's an evening DoE meeting after school they tend to attend. Practice and real hike dates are publicised much earlier and school pupils seem to prioritise them.

    In Scouts there are repeated attempts at practice and real hikes which often get cancelled or moved as they drop out not taking the dates seriously, and then when group numbers drop below the minimum groups have to start again and combine or delay.

    My own son passed his silver DoE at school before this contemporaries at explorers had finished their Bronze.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    As an aside, I have a fair experience of DoE in schools and Scouting. Without the usual abuse hurled at the quality of school DoE (which I'd absolutely refute), if you want your offspring to get through DoE quickly and efficiently it's school every time. Simply because our YP take school much more seriously. In Explorers "homework" (registering and planning) simply isn't done, whereas at school they seem to take it a lot more seriously and if there's an evening DoE meeting after school they tend to attend. Practice and real hike dates are publicised much earlier and school pupils seem to prioritise them.

    In Scouts there are repeated attempts at practice and real hikes which often get cancelled or moved as they drop out not taking the dates seriously, and then when group numbers drop below the minimum groups have to start again and combine or delay.

    My own son passed his silver DoE at school before this contemporaries at explorers had finished their Bronze.
    That's a pretty decent example of why Scouts and school is different. Schools will always have critical mass on their side as well as the statutory nature of what they're their to actually do - same as it is with school trips.

    Other than that, it really (really) helps if the people running things are getting paid to do it. I know, I know, they're doing that out of school hours, but it's still very much a part of the job. I do a fair bit of work-related activity that I don't get paid for too - but I still have to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Local experience. A scout group set up in a school, supported by it, half the leaders are teachers, half parents, meetings running after lessons finished. Absolutely fine. Programme compares with the best in district, numbers good, ethos and atmosphere good. So have no issue.

    I think there's a snobbery in Scout leaders that they are somehow different because they are not in the compulsory education system. In fact many leaders have it very easy in comparison to teachers, not having the same educational and training requirements and dealing with children who (generally but not always) want to be there from the easiest and most supported. So I think the best teachers have an experience and capability way ahead of most leaders and are well capable of having a relationship with children which can drive and engage to educate (which is what we're about is it not?) as well as turning that off to be friendly when required. Those who have been on school vocational trips can see that in spades.
    Just catching up on this.

    It's certainly not about snobbery. Teaching is, in my opinion, a much under valued profession and the world needs many more good teachers. Once upon a time I wrote a blog (now killed for various reasons) and one of my regular visitors/commentors was Katherine Birbalsingh, the now famous (or is that infamous?) head teacher of the Michaela Accademy in London, in the days when she too wrote an anonymous blog before being "outed". Now myself and KB had a strange blogging relationship. There were things we both strongly agreed on. There were others where we strongly disagreed. What I will say is that I had the utmost respect for her even when we disagreed. Yes I am a fan of teaching and acknowledge it as something not everyone can do and which takes as much training and practice as any other profession.

    It is though different to being a scout leader. I struggle to articulate exactly what it is, but it is. Yes there are some parrellels, the need to communicate, the need to have a certain "presence", but it is still differemt.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    In the end, what does it matter? Is it being touted as the way forward? Is it changing how scouts is done in your patch? A load more young people are getting some sort of scouting. We all know provision is massively variable in different groups, this is what it is, good luck to them.
    So far no influence round our way. In fact our district used to have 2 school based groups. One of which folded as the school lost interested and the other of which sceeded from the scout association. In fact the latter does flag up another concern, at one time kids at that school were under pressure from the school to ditch their other scout groups and join the school one. Something that I thought completely out of order.

    Anyway you are right, it is what it is and I should add that I hope that it does work and that my concerns are unfounded.

    Nevertheless seeing the names of those involved in plugging this school in Bristol I have little doubt it will eventually be touted as the way forward by HQ.

    I fear that if it becomes widespread scouting risks losing its identity and what makes it special.

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    When I was a scout one of my leaders happened to be my German teacher, she was Sarah at scouts and Frau M at school, she could make the switch between teaching hat and scouting hat and it worked well.
    Other teachers most definitely would not have been able to make such a switch.

    But the main difference was the way you were treated by the adults.
    At school you were not allowed an opinion. You obeyed all orders immidiatly and without question or suffered the consequences for not doing so, you could not generally be freinds with any of the adult staff, because you were their subordinate in every way and were expected to fear the teachers, that was how it was mandated to be. In the eyes of the headmaster the most serious crime any student could commit was insubordination closely followed by failing to end any sentence addressed to any adult in school with Sir or Miss (or Madame or Frau in a language lesson)

    I'm not sure how scouting could function in such an environment

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    There is a Group in our District that is based at a private School, most of their Leaders are teachers at the school but not all are. They certainly used to call their teachers Sir and Miss at Scouts probably to maintain that boundary (I will admit we took great pleasure when I was in Scouts in calling their Scout Leader by his first name which we all knew, funnily enough I actually get on quite well with said Leader these days despite this). They are one of the largest Groups in our District (partly because every child at their School has to do at least one after school activity which includes Scouts) and they certainly get alot of CSAs.

    We also have a new Group starting in our District which is meeting at a primary school but it is meeting in school hours and I think they are going to have two entire classes of Cub Scouts. I think they have at least two teachers as Leaders and are being supported at least initially by a couple of Leaders from our District. This is in a part of the District that is more economically challenge and we have really struggled to get a Group established in the area for a couple of years now so it good to see something set up that appears to be working and getting kids into Scouting that otherwise simply would not be able to join (our whole District is pretty oversubscribed really)

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    As someone married to a Headteacher, both kids are teachers, most of our friends are teachers and my entire camp crew was once teachers (those long holidays so despised by the Daily Mail were good for something) I'm obvioulsy biased. However, on both this topic and the DofE in schools (again No 1 child is the DofE co-ordinator for their school) I'm afraid I adopt the attitude that some scouting/DofE is better than none. In an ideal World of course all local Scout Groups would be able to recruit sufficient leaders/YP and school groups would be un-necessary. But the sad fact is that we can't so I'm grateful that the gaps are currently being filled by a different sort of provision to the one I'd like to see, but at least those YP are receiving a version of scouting.

    We may hate seeing those lines of DofE groups winding up the Surrey Hills but without the schools those YP wouldn't get out into the countryside at all - the schools generally are not stealing 'our' young people they are providing an additional provision which we should ideally support & welcome.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    As someone married to a Headteacher, both kids are teachers, most of our friends are teachers and my entire camp crew was once teachers (those long holidays so despised by the Daily Mail were good for something) I'm obvioulsy biased. However, on both this topic and the DofE in schools (again No 1 child is the DofE co-ordinator for their school) I'm afraid I adopt the attitude that some scouting/DofE is better than none. In an ideal World of course all local Scout Groups would be able to recruit sufficient leaders/YP and school groups would be un-necessary. But the sad fact is that we can't so I'm grateful that the gaps are currently being filled by a different sort of provision to the one I'd like to see, but at least those YP are receiving a version of scouting.

    We may hate seeing those lines of DofE groups winding up the Surrey Hills but without the schools those YP wouldn't get out into the countryside at all - the schools generally are not stealing 'our' young people they are providing an additional provision which we should ideally support & welcome.
    We had a local DoE presentation evening for schools and Scouts, of those that actually attended, Scouts were outnumbered 7 to 1 and felt very uncomfortable in their uniform they said. Dunno why I'm saying that really - I suppose that DoE at Scouts doesn't seem to me the best use of our programme.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    As someone married to a Headteacher, both kids are teachers, most of our friends are teachers and my entire camp crew was once teachers (those long holidays so despised by the Daily Mail were good for something) I'm obvioulsy biased. However, on both this topic and the DofE in schools (again No 1 child is the DofE co-ordinator for their school) I'm afraid I adopt the attitude that some scouting/DofE is better than none. In an ideal World of course all local Scout Groups would be able to recruit sufficient leaders/YP and school groups would be un-necessary. But the sad fact is that we can't so I'm grateful that the gaps are currently being filled by a different sort of provision to the one I'd like to see, but at least those YP are receiving a version of scouting.

    We may hate seeing those lines of DofE groups winding up the Surrey Hills but without the schools those YP wouldn't get out into the countryside at all - the schools generally are not stealing 'our' young people they are providing an additional provision which we should ideally support & welcome.
    We had a local DoE presentation evening for schools and Scouts, of those that actually attended, Scouts were outnumbered 7 to 1 and felt very uncomfortable in their uniform they said. Dunno why I'm saying that really - I suppose that DoE at Scouts doesn't seem to me the best use of our programme.

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