Brief encounter with a sixth former

I had an interesting and instructive encounter with a wonderfully enthusiastic sixth former last night. Looking round state sixth forms, largely out of curiosity, with my year 11 daughter we went to the Government and Politics stand at one of London’s bigger sixth form colleges. My daughter will almost certainly be taking this A level and she and I were interested to hear in detail about the course from the student who was visibly keen to extol its virtues to prospective parents.

So we heard about how Government and Politics students learn about the constitution, the executive, voting systems etc. Then, in the second year they move onto ideologies,” beginning with the major ones…………”

“And the major ones are? What? Communism?”

“No, actually we do Socialism. And then Liberalism and wow is that a big one!” ( He really was a lovely guy, totally ‘ into’ his subject and no surprise at all, wanted to study PPE at Oxford and then become a politician.)

” And what else…”

By now, he was a little unsure about my benign heckling, ‘ Then there’s Conservatism obviously and Anarchism. After this, we move onto the ……….er well, the more minor ideologies.’

There followed some rapid blinking.

” Not ……….Feminism by any chance?’ I said rather acidly. ( I know I know, I just couldn’t help myself!)

Poor boy. There was a lot more blinking and thinking-behind-the-blinking going on as he suddenly stepped out of Curriculum Land into the Real World of Real Middle Aged Women who do not accept the ranking of ideologies, as if in League Tables, and certainly not if it designates Feminism to be some kind of minor aberration in the history of The Great Thoughts of Great Men.

“Obviously, ” he stuttered, ” Feminism has obviously been really important in er..some……of the things………er…..”

I wasn’t really going to argue the point with him, although I did say a couple more things.

But come on now, all of you out there; can we really say that Anarchism is a major ideology and Feminism a minor one?

Or should we just conclude that this small part of the educational world remains designed by men for men and about men? Or am I getting too caught up in the faulty logic of a second rate ideology?

2 Responses to Brief encounter with a sixth former

  1. A lovely blog – and lucky boy to encounter your teasing early rather than late.

    I do hope that if he wants to do PPE he knows he must do Maths. Otheriwse he won’t even get an interview. Amazing how many schools fail to tell this to applicants.

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