Damien Hinds’ Roman Banquet and Hill Rolling

Hind's Act 2

One could [perhaps] for a nanosecond [if that] consider Education Secretary Damien Hinds’ ‘activities passport’ [*] as a well-meaning gesture if it wasn’t so ridiculous.

And if it was a fully-funded curriculum initiative for replacing SATs…

It isn’t ridiculous in the general ideology that young people of primary school age should play and explore and create, but it is when Hinds presides over a curriculum that at primary and secondary levels places the barren acquisition of knowledge above all else, and especially at the expense of playing, exploration and creativity.

That such a curriculum has been knocked together with the remnants and thus many missing parts of some Education Golden-Age lego-bricks’ set by Gove & Gibb explains the further nonsense of Hinds’ most recent intervention in ministerial non-performance [but anything, no matter how desperate, to try and deflect from Brexit…]. Wait – was there an activity suggestion ‘Write Malvolio’s defense of the Brexit Deal’ or did I dream that?

And the ‘activities passport’ itself reflects a different kind of illusory golden-age of childhood development, steeped in Scouting and Guiding and other uniformed molding. It is ironic in that its design to turn students from their ‘gadgets’ – this sweeping manifestation of technological modernity – is so antiquated that it seems to crave a complete transformation of young people’s experience of growing up today rather than seeking to build on and make positive sense of a 21st century world they cannot, and should not, try to escape completely.

There are many ‘activities’ which are not of themselves ludicrous or unattainable or in any way unacceptable. There were bound to be a few sensible ones: law of averages and so on. But the somewhat comic range of Take part in a Roman banquet to Roll down a hill? Presumably this wasn’t devised by a Think-Tank [though on second thoughts…] but rather a morning assignment when a small group of DfE minions were locked in a store cupboard and tasked to produce a list before that day’s coffee break.

And a significant observation which I’m not going to waste my time explaining, it is also a list that is middle-class and rural/rustic.

The opening found poem for this posting is just that, a random word-generated response to Hinds’ ‘activities passport’ which will follow this paragraph. Having thus randomised Hinds’ list, I crafted/created new ideas from it. Indeed, why not try one yourself, or better still if an English teacher, use the list as a cut-up writing exercise [1] with young people who do, yes, need and crave the kind of activity that frees them from the knowledge-gadgetry of their compulsory school curricula.

[*] Schools Week report   [1] Complete as a proper scissors and paper cut-up.

Hinds’ Activities Passport List

Visit a farm
Paint a self portrait
Plant some bulbs and watch them grow
Go on an autumn walk
Make leaf rubbings
Make a sandwich
Taste a new fruit
Visit a place of worship
Fly a kite
Make a paper boat and see if it floats
Perform a song
Re-tell a story to an audience
Post a letter
Meet a friend’s pet
Search for butterflies outdoors
Take a photograph
Make a treasure map
Dress up like a pirate
Look up where you live on a map
Have a teddy bears picnic
Record different sounds and ask others to guess what they are
Make some biscuits
Make and taste chapattis
Make a puppet
Put on a shadow puppet show
Borrow a book from a library
Discover what is in a pond
Create a piece of art for an exhibition
Look up at the stars on a clear night
Perform a dance
Go on a hunt for some insects or small creatures
Make a home for an insect or small creature
Create a class collage
Create a comic strip
Take part in a play day
Roll down a hill
Make a daisy chain
Join an extra-curricular club
Build a den
Perform in front of your class
Plan a party
Play a board game
Learn a poem off by heart
Take a trip to the seaside or walk alongside a river
Bake a cake
Buy something and check your change
Write a weather report for your class
Build a bridge and test its strength
Become a nature detective
Dress up as a superhero
Make a film
Start a vegetable patch
Pick blackberries
Get soaking wet in the rain
Go bird watching
Learn a French song
Walk barefoot on the sand or on a nature trail
Start a collection and share it with your class
Walk to a local landmark
Make a mask
Compose a piece of music
Take part in a Roman banquet
Eat something you’ve not tried before
Create a mosaic
Design and make a board game
Climb a tree
Create a soundtrack for a piece of film
Make a pinhole camera
Make a musical instrument
Light a candle
Learn a new game
Make something out of wood
Cook outdoors
Learn to play a game of cards
Tell your class about your favourite character from a book
Produce rubbings of fossils
Try yoga
Eat something you have grown
Visit an art gallery
Stay away from home for a night
Make chocolate
Create a display for show and tell
Write and perform a poem
Perform in a play
Watch a play or a dance production
Use a camera to document a performance
Choreograph a dance
Make a sculpture
Create a sculpture trail
Explore inside a cave
Walk through a forest
Learn about a new religion and visit a new place of worship
Make up your own game and teach it to someone
Visit a museum
Skim stones
Visit a castle
Swim outside
Learn to sew on a button
Go hiking
Take part in a treasure hunt
Take part in a debate
Learn something new about your local area
Learn to moon walk
Make and launch an air powered rocket
Use an OS map
Go orienteering
Do a blind folded taste test
Write a story for the Reception class
Make a large scale model
Visit a science laboratory
Write a play
Experience a Victorian school room
Put on a performance
Make papier mache planets
Climb something that is taller than you
Walk to the top of a hill
Write in hieroglyphics
Pick litter in your local area
Plan and cook a meal
Design and make an electric model
Keep a diary for a week
Take a trip on a train
Send an email
Learn to knit
Write a speech
Vote in a school election
Plan a tour around your local area
Interview someone
Visit a local charity and find out how you can support them
Learn how to access the news
Design a product or business idea and pitch it to ‘investors’
Choose objects to put in a time capsule
Write and record/broadcast a radio play
Sleep under canvas
Make a dessert
Organise tea for parents and carers
See the sun set
See the sun rise
Go on a picnic
Visit a new city


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s