It’s clear that education had changed greatly since I was at school. In my day the girls did domestic science and the boys did technical stuff with wood and metal.
Also way back then, computers were more theoretical than anything else. My secondary had only two computers and I’m not even sure I ever saw them switched on.
The careers we were groomed for were in more traditional fields such as medicine, the armed forces, engineering and management.
When my son started primary school I was struck by a comment during a talk to parents -most likely about uniform or head lice. The head teacher said: “By the time these children leave education, a third of them will have jobs that don’t even exist now.”
She was talking about new technology and how out is transforming our world. And one of the most significant areas of this change must surely be the internet.
Searching things on the internet is now an everyday part of school life, for even the youngest children. And at vast expense education authorities have launched internet networks to allow youngsters to communicate in virtual forums.
There are even some schools that brag about the fact that each child has an ipad as a teaching tool.
So in keeping with an increasingly online life, most schools have websites. They are full of information for parents, pupils and members of the community. In fact, to discourage the use of the school photocopier, we are often referred to the site for essential information.
Why, then, are school websites rubbish? Ours is a shocker. It’s really hard to find anything – the navigation makes no sense. You are required to download sizeable pdf files. The font is hard to read, colours bland and the search facility non-existent.
I conducted an entirely unscientific survey and discovered that – apart from fee-paying schools – the standard is shocking. Almost all of them would stand as a case study in how not to do a website.
Surely within every modern education establishment there are the skills necessary to make a reasonable fist of a website. After all it’s not anywhere near as difficult as it used to be.
Pupils get involved in building art work, installing useful things at school and producing a school newspaper – all to an incredibly high standard. And these experiences help the children when it comes to getting a job.
For heaven’s sake, these kids were born clicking a mouse. Skills such as basic website building are now just as important as knowing how to write a business letter.
Plus, this parent in particular wouldn’t get cross every time she has occasion to visit the school site.