Beware of Special Awareness Days

How many awareness days do we really need?

Now I’m all for children being ‘aware’. There’s an awful lot for them to know about and awareness days are just the job for drawing attention and shining a spotlight to something or someone special.

But, it’s getting out of hand.

Just how aware do we need to be? The curriculum has literally been swamped by awareness weeks or days or both and it is pleading for mercy. Listen, you can hear it cry,

“No more, please! We’ve got stuff to do like maths and literacy, PE and art. Just leave us alone! We don’t need all this extra gunk and fluff.”

Not that long ago it was British Science Week.

This also coincided with Shakespeare Week.

It also included Programming for Primaries day/week.

It was also Healthcare Science Week along with World Glaucoma Week, Nutrition and Hydration Week, You Can Care Week and even National Butchers’ Week.

Right in the middle of that week was Pi Day.

My head is going to explode!

Okay, fine it was quite possible to ‘do’ the lot using pedagogical potions and harnessing some sort of creative wizardry. If you managed to do that, then good for you and give yourself a pat on the back and a hard slap in the face.

Why? Well, we need to wake up here – some of us are still getting over World Book Day.

Some of the awareness days are gunk and fluff but some aren’t. Some are deadly serious and deserve some air time. Some are so important that to let them slip by would be almost negligent. But whatever you do don’t feel obliged to hold a special day – that’s not what schools are for.

Remember that some awareness days are just commercial ruses to get you to spend money on resources and have been marketed as something special when in fact they are just a pile of nonsense.

If your neighbouring school is making a big deal of National Poultry Day, National Stop Snoring Week or National Unicorn Day then let them get on with it.

Causes and campaigns have to resonate and they also have to be carefully planned into the curriculum. To get the most out of any of these special awareness days requires lots of work and so celebrating or raising awareness isn’t something a school should enter into without real thought.

Why not launch your own Special Awareness Day (SAD)….

Anyone can set up a special day and declare it as something worthwhile. All you need is a good cause. If you want to declare a ‘Flipper and Slipper’ day where everyone is required to turn up to school wearing a flipper on one foot and a slipper on the other then do it. You can use it to raise funds to buy some stationery.

School teachers and children could quite literally spend the whole year dressing up galvanising the community and furthering the cause of something but awareness days need rationing. Be selective and do something that means something to your school community and not what everyone else is doing. For example, you might decide that the focus for your year is SEND – if that’s the case then look at the calendar and see what events you can join in and support.

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