The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Belief Versus Benefits …
October 26, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

OK, so before I begin I should remind everyone that I am not a parent so what I am about to say might be complete and utter rubbish.


What I am about to say might be even more complete and utter rubbish to what I normally write.

So I was going through some magazines last week when I saw a feature on ‘schools’.

Similar to yesterday’s post, there were page after page of ads that were all pretty much saying the same thing.

1. We are a good school.

2. We get good academic results.

3. Your child will have a bright future attending our school.

And almost all featured photos of happy, smiling kids or imposing architecture like this:

But amongst all the parity, there was one that stood out for me.

OK, so it didn’t bombard you with statements about their academic prowess – which means it was automatically differentiated from the pack – but it did still feature a picture of happy, smiling kids on it.

But all that aside, there was was specific thing that, if I was a parent looking to send my child to an all male, private school, would attract me to them over all the others … which, I should point out, I’m not and never would do.

This was the ad:

Can you see what it is?

I’m pretty sure you can given it’s pretty much the only thing on the ad, it’s the statement:

Where Boys Can Be Boys.

Now while that might mean this school encourages and endorses violence, drunkenness and furious, self-focused, sexual adventures – I doubt it … and I’m not just saying that because the kids in the photo look like a bunch of nerdy little sods.

While I am a massive advocate of education, I am concerned where it’s all heading.

School has a number of roles – and while educating students is obviously one of them – so is encouraging interaction, collaboration, creativity and self-expression.

The problem is, as Sir Ken Robinson talked about in his landmark speech, these values seem to be being pushed further and further aside so schools can focus on academic result achievement because these are what drives profit and Government approval, not happy, balanced, expressive young adults.

As I said at the beginning, I’m not a parent and I am pretty much against private schools … however if I wasn’t and I was looking for a place for my phantom son – let’s call him FreddieBrianJohnRoger Campbell – then Cothill House would be high on my list because my view on education is that it’s role is to produce more than a production line of children all holding the same pieces of academic paper.

32 Comments so far
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Differentiation for the right reasons, executed in the right way. TBWA should take note.
Another excellent read Robert except for the alarming choice of name for your phantom son. This is one of those exceedingly rare times where I would suggest using a Landor/Futurebrand naming tool, because even their foolhardy rubbish could not fail to offer a range of improvement on FreddieBrianJohnRoger.
It’s time you became a real father. You would be excellent. It might also mature you up a bit. Though that hasn’t exactly been the case with Andrew.

Comment by George

nice fucking dig at gropers nemesis. your cranky fucking bastard development is coming along just fine. but theres 2 things you better be mindful of.

1) for jills and the worlds fucking sake never encourage campbell to procreate.

2) i am mr fucking mature. you dont get maried 3 times if youre not so fuck you, you cheeky fucking fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Surely andy 3 marriages is evidence of the opposite or at least a very shallow learning curve

Comment by Northern

He can reframe problems like a politician. Or Rory Sutherland.

Comment by Rob

“Differentiation for the right reasons, executed in the right way.”

Says it all really. Differentiation built off the brands values, not what the competition forced you to do/say or some abstract approach developed purely for the purpose of looking different from the competitive set. TBWA should definitely take note but judging by some of their latest work, I’m not sure if they practice disruption anymore.

Comment by Pete

Why are the bass player and drummer always the last guys to get recognition? Why not JohnRogerBrianFreddie? This sort of prejudice makes me sick. Nelson Mandela didn’t suffer years in prison for this sort of thing happen.

I urge you to reconsider Rob.

Comment by DH

what the fuck are you going on about? back on the meths or auditioning for a joke writer spot on snl. the 2 arent mutually exclusive.

Comment by andy@cynic

And would Cothill House still be high on your list even if you lived in China? I bet it would. You’d use it as an excuse to get more free flights from Lee and buy more tech claiming they’re “presents for the boy.”

Comment by DH

campbell. this is known as being caught bang to fucking rights. good fucking work dave. almost makes up for the fucked up shit comment you wrote before.

Comment by andy@cynic

On the positive (for you) I like this post, especially the point of school beyond the point of school. Sir Ken would be proud. Or at least in mild agreement.

Comment by DH

if you had a kid and named them after the twats in queen id be happy because then your fuckedness would be there for everyone to see, not just everyone on this blog, at w+k and home to see. but i wouldnt wish that on any kid, even yours.

this is, for you, a good post.

i even agree with daves comment about the point of school beyond the point of school even though that is the point of school as well as the point of school. this discussion has been going on in my house recently. even though the most stunning and clever girl in the world is months old, schooling in nyc is a fucking battlefield and we have to decide if we want to play.

every fucker wants the best for their child but maybe were forgetting what best is, because its all focused on their employment possibilities in the fucking future, not their personality and attitude. parents play a big fucking part in that but so the fuck should schools and every fucking thing weve read here has talked about “foundation for a glittering fucking future” when i just want her to have a wonderful fucking now.

so yes campbell, im with you. cothill house might be in need of some art direction, but the sentiment, at least in their marketing line, is there. now if only the fuckers were in the us. for girls. and fucking free.

Comment by andy@cynic

yes ive complimented campbell. deal with it.

im doing it for the kids. but not in the way jim’ll fix it did it. dirty, sick fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is a great comment Andy. Not because its funny but because you’re showing your real side. The smart, passionate and insightful side that for some reason, you like to keep hidden on here. You will probably make some sarcastic comment about me writing this, but it’s true. Great to read and nice to see how quickly you’ve fallen in to the great dad role.

Comment by Pete

You know those moments where you regret writing or saying something? Having read through the comments, I think this is one of those times.

That said, when you filter out the comments that state my potential procreation could be a danger to the future of civilization as well as my choice of name for my phantom son, there are a couple of genuinely good points.

You’d expect that from George and Pete [differentiation/disruption] but it’s always lovely to see when Andy has let his carefully created ‘blog persona’ slip and let his genuinely interesting and insightful side come out to play.

There’s not much point saying anything about them because it’s there for you all to see, but I think Andy sums up the issue with the ‘business of education’ best, when he says [minus the swearing]:

“Everyone wants the best for their child but maybe we’re forgetting what best is. It’s all focused on the employment possibilities in their future, not their personality and attitude.

… and …

“Everything we read talks about creating a “foundation for a glittering future” when I just want her to have a wonderful now.”

Great points. Good Dad.

Comment by Rob

i am a fucking god. and dont you bastards forget it.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t think anyone can review the Youtube presentations by John Taylor Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyt and still believe that dumbing down of kids isn’t taking place deliberately. This issue gets so little discussion in the corporate media because that’s how the corporate media like their cubicle staff conditioned; a bit stupid, plenty compliant and no questions asked. Any discussion of an which ad or which school is best seems to me secondary when considering this.

Comment by Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith)

I agree the schooling system has become more focused on the business of education rather than the joy of learning and that causes me much concern. That withstanding, I do not know whether children are being deliberately “dumbed down” to ease the actions of government both now and in the future. Fortunately, the majority of children I come in to contact with are intelligent and curious and long may that continue.

Comment by George

Important stuff, and wholeheartedly agree on what’s been said before about education and how everybody stresses out if his/her kids don’t speak 8 languages fluently when they get out of elementary school.

I just helped out my old school on their brochure and stuff and while they are for 15-19 year olds, it’s the same story. All of the high schools talk about career possibilities, all of them talk about how well you’re prepared for a distant future. All of this in a time when the kids have their first girl- and boyfriends, drive a scooter and get driving licenses, explore life to the fullest and get drunk (in Austria that is, and not always in that order). We went with ‘the time of your life’, because that’s really what the school tries to make possible for them.

Comment by Thomas

I swear to god this links to my post about forgetting the difference between what data tells you and how you should communicate it. Mind you, it also links to my peeve of treating humans as robots, not beings filled with contradiction, hypocrisy and a quest for emotional liberation, not just financial glory.

Comment by Rob

education is for ugly people…

Comment by niko

You’re still alive?

Comment by Thomas

like lazarus…

Comment by niko

Bloody hell, it’s Niko.

Thank god … I thought you might have been kidnapped! Mind you, if that was the case, you’d of quoted so many rapper lines at them they would have brought you back within a day so I’m assuming you’re just utterly, utterly busy. Hope all is well with you matey.

Comment by Rob

But by that reckoning, doesn’t that mean I should have gone to university?

Comment by Rob

Oh lord don’t get me started on this. The amount of otherwise nice people I know who get all sharp elbowed when it comes to their kids can be frightening. No tv until you’ve solved the key to cold nuclear fusion
Of course my children are born geniuses not to mention natural swimmers so this debate doesn’t apply to me

Comment by Northern

I’m not entirely sure that anyone has even the slightest clue as to what you’re trying to say.

Comment by toto

Excuse me?

Comment by Northern

i fucking do. he thinks his kids are geniuses and swimming gods but we all know my daughter is the best at that sort of shit. except the swimming, she has people for that sort of thing.

Comment by andy@cynic

My comment wasn’t meant for you Northern, otherwise i would click “reply” after your comment to stay in one section like andy just did. Let’s just forget this :]

Comment by toto

so who the fuck were you slagging off? probably campbell. even if he pulled off the one post of the year that made a slight bit of fucking sense.

Comment by andy@cynic

Actually, when i used word “you’re” (in my 1st comment) it was in a plural form. It was supposed to be a joke. I know I know…

Comment by toto

Oh dear. Ha.

Comment by Rob

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