Jamie’s Dream School – what we think

We’re all educators at 121 Home Tutors (and quite a few of us are teachers) so we were glued to the screen on Wednesday night for the first instalment of Jamie Oliver’s new programme, Jamie’s Dream School

If you’ve not heard about or watched the programme then we’ll give you a quick rundown of what it’s about. Jamie Oliver, successful chef, author, entrepreneur, businessman and campaigner decided he wanted to see if truly inspirational people could help turn around failing children and their future prospects. Jamie left school with 2 GCSEs and in the first programme pointed out that around 50% of school children now leave school without the ‘magical’ 5 GCSEs Grade A-C (the grades usually required to move onto A Levels and University).

Jamie set about bringing together some of the most inspirational people in the UK and turning them into teachers. People like David Starkey, the historian (who ran into controversy in the first programme), scientist Professor Robert Winston (famed for developing IVF) and Rolf Harris (a brilliant artist as well as TV presenter). Their task would be to work in the Dream School and find exciting ways to teach and engage 20 young people who’d left school with few or no GCSEs. The hope is to persuade these young people to give education another chance.

The first programme was fascinating. David Starkey insulted a pupil by calling him fat, horrifying the real-life headmaster. Robert Winston almost cleared the classroom by cutting a pig up. Actor Simon Callow struggled to teach Shakespeare against a tide of chatter and disaffected teenagers.

What it did show is that controlling a classroom is a real art (and one many of our tutors know all too well!). But there were glimmers of hope, one student asked pertinent and intelligent questions during a rat dissection. Maybe an indication that a fresh way of teaching had hit home? At 121 Home Tutors some of our private tutors aren’t teachers, they come from professional backgrounds and we know this can often be invaluable in a one on one tutoring situation. They aren’t constrained by ‘classroom rules’ and can reach a child precisely because they do things differently. Private tutoring is a bit like a dream school – you get an expert who can provide you with their full attention and find ways to get you fired up about your subject again.

Our tutors are telling us they’ll be tuned in on Wednesday night and we hope we’ll see lots of students who find their enthusiasm for education again.

What do you think about Jamie’s Dream School? What do you think would help these pupils?

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