One of these little events that rather seems to have got blown out of proportion. Up in Lincolnshire the local schools were offering, to primary school pupils, the opportunity to come see what the big boys and girls do when they move onto the Big School. Part of that community reachout – what we might more usefully call marketing to the target population – so that people have more information about where they’d like to go to suffer the agonies of puberty.
As it happened the awayday was going to lead to the girls doing a cookery class, the boys woodwork. Cue outbreak of howling outrage:
A minister and multiple MPs have condemned a pair of Lincolnshire grammar schools after they offered the “outdated” options of cookery for girls and design and technology for boys. Spalding Grammar School and Spalding High School invited Year Four primary school pupils from the local area for “experience days”. A letter sent home to parents read: “The children will take part in two, hour-long lessons. The girls will be attending Spalding High School where they will take part in a food technology and drama lesson, whilst the boys will be taking part in a double Design and Technology lesson at Spalding Grammar School.” An angered parent of a young girl posted on Twitter: “I think this letter, that came home with an upset 9 year old girl today. Shows that as a country/society, we have not progressed one cm in 30 years.” She added that her daughter “lives and breathes design and technology and can’t understand why she has to do cooking and drama”.
She doesn’t love. This isn’t a definition of what subjects are on offer at the school. Or even schools. This is just a trial lesson that they’ll be attending as an example. As the school itself says:
The schools responded in a joint statement: “As part of a broad Primary Liaison programme, helping primary school pupils to transition confidently to secondary school, Spalding Grammar School (for boys) and Spalding High School (for girls) work together to provide a range of experiences, including an opportunity for local pupils to spend part of a day with us. “Across the last 10 days, we have welcomed over 700 pupils from 24 schools, and they have experienced the full range of subjects available at both schools; the actual subjects offered on any given day is simply dependent on the availability of staffing and resources.
Those just happen to be the subjects being taught on the day, in a place where more little tykes can be added to the classroom. But, you know, any opportunity to get outraged these days, eh?