Jamie’s Dream School – lighting the fire in your belly (9 March 2011)

Well, I’ve just finished watching the second episode of Jamie’s Dream School and I have to admit to finding this series absolutely brilliant.

There is, unfortunately, a very high amount of kids leaving school every year without proper qualifications and that in itself is something that has to be addressed.  I’m not writing this blog to lay the blame at any particular door but it has to be realised that the blame doesn’t lie solely with the education system but neither does it lie solely with the kids.  It’s a combination of contributing factors.

Personally, I’m very into politics and tonight it was interesting to watch the reaction of the kids to Alastair Campbell’s politics class.  They really very much got into it, highlighting issues which bothered them and in general getting fired up.  Yes, a fight broke out outside between Jenny and Georgia which was unfortunate but did highlight the passion the each had for their own side of the argument – it just went too far but they did make their peace.  I have actually seen grown, educated men fight like that when disagreeing on certain subjects.

Watching the kids get fired up about politics got me a bit fired up.  I wish I had had more politics in school, it was a subject very much glossed over, covered in Modern Studies and probably a bit in History.  There are so many subjects which deserve to be on the curriculum that it’s hard to fit them all in which is where an overhaul of the education system is needed.  Do I have the answers? No.  Would I like to  help find a solution? Yes, of course.

Back to Dream School.  Tonight seemed like a bit of a breakthrough programme.  Starkey made his peace with Conor and taught a class which the kids really enjoyed.  Rankin brought out real creativity in many of the kids and gave them a positivity which so many of them need badly.

Simon Callow didn’t have the greatest of lessons but taking them to a performance of his play was something they seemed to enjoy.  The reaction of the audience wasn’t great and it might have been deserved but Simon was willing to take the risk and the kids did get something out of it.

As an aside to that, while the kids might have been disruptive in the theatre, I have been, and know others who have been, in theatres and cinemas where other attendees have answered their phones, had conversations and allowed their phones to ring during performances.  Were these the kids from Dream School? No.  Actually a variety of people, many of whom you’d expect better.

Another thing I liked was Jamie taking out his mixing bowl and asking for the mobiles then shoving them in a cupboard.  There is no doubt that mobiles are a distraction.  Not just to these kids either.

Well done Jamie and his celeb teachers for doing this.  I hope that all of the kids, in some way, get something out of it.