Hornsea School And Language College were at a loss as to how to educate Nick Cooper, 16, of Hornsea.
The traditional classroom system just didn’t suit his learning style at all. Schools have a very limited scope of learning styles, these have been used for hundreds of years, seemingly unwilling, or unable, to change. Nick is one of thousands nationwide that don’t suit the learning style offered; they learn by being hands-on and practical, not looking at a book and being forced to adapt to the current methods.
When Nick was put on a limited timetable, though we are unsure how this could help, his thoughtful mother Donna Cooper took the initiative and opened up new opportunites to give Nick some real options. She took the bold step of posting in her local discussion and occasional ranting, page on Facebook and offered his employment for free!
Naturally, there were doubters that questioned why she would do something so unique to get him out to work, but we at Hull.Today can see the genius behind apparent madness. Not only has Donna stopped any chance of Nick thinking too much into what’s happening, being let down by an archaic system of education, but she has also given him a distinct advantage over many of his peers of a similar age; real-world work experience.
Not only does Nick now have part-time schooling, he also has an apprenticeship with local joinery firm Colin Sangwin Joinery.
We spoke to Tom Sangwin of Colin Sangwin Joinery about Nick and the news couldn’t be better. Nick has “a fantastic attitude to work” and is settling in well to his new job role. Tom tells us that this is down to Nick noticing that “because he’s helping make things and can see an end product it gives him a sense of pride”. Something the school system doesn’t instill in students is a sense of self-worth and confidence in their practical ability. Now that Nick is actually learning by creating he can finish his work and think “I’ve made that I am worth something”, something in which Tom agrees, self-worth isn’t something kids leaving school are instilled with.
With growing numbers of students struggling with such a primitive system of education, in a classroom with little practical learning, perhaps it is time more options were made available. One system that could have benefited Nick greatly could have been the Montessori method. In short letting the children have more choice in how they learn, with the teachers there to aid their learning if the student asks for help. Though the Montessori way of teaching doesn’t match the current methods and grading systems, it would open doors for students to move into apprenticeships much easier than it currently is. It would also nurture individual children’s interests and let them learn what they want to learn. For instance if a kid really enjoyed drawing and by the age of 10 that’s what they had decided, for themselves, to pursue in life, learning about Chemistry would do very little to help them. With Montessori they would be encouraged to learn all the different forms of art and hone their abilities before moving further in life.
There are more possible options available than the standard school systems and maybe it’s time for these to be explored and made available to students and parents?
Nick has been lucky that his mother, Donna, showed initiative in getting him into work, as he could easily have been left behind by the system. Now that Nick has found a way of learning that suits him he now has a chance to succeed. Maybe Nick’s situation should be a learning exercise for Hornsea School, and others, that if the way they are teaching isn’t working then perhaps they should encourage others that have been put on restricted timetables into apprenticeships and demostrate the other options they have. As we mentioned earlier, there is some genius to the apparent madness, Donna has helped show other parents that may feel their child is being left behind by the system that there’s hope, as long as we have local businesses like Colin Sangwin Joinery, that care about their community.