teacher shortage

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Current state of education in the primary sector in the UK, by Jennie Harper

Union Jack bagI sit here typing this at 6.20 in the morning because that is the only spare time I have to do this.  I hear all the time of teachers who leave their job at 3.30, that start at 9 and have loads of holidays to do as they will.

I just wish I was one of those.

I have been teaching now for 19 years and this should be easier.

I spend at least 2 hours every day marking just to keep up.  

We have fabulous new ideas called ‘responding to marking’ which means marking in depth, setting new activities or ‘gap tasks’ and ensuring the children complete those before the next lesson.   I have a large amount of stickers and stamps but have still used up the ink in 6 purple pens since September.

We have been told Ofsted do not require unnecessary levels of marking so we will see if things change but I won’t hold my breath.

Our education system is now based on finances and results.

My pay is now dependent on my children achieving the results that were set before I even started working at the school. I get observed 3 times a year and have to achieve 60% outstanding to be seen as value for money.

The observations will be carried out by those ultimately responsible for managing and setting the school budget. You can make your own observations about that!

Tests and more tests are the everyday life for children in our schools.

They start in year 1 with our now legendary phonics screening check that measures decoding skills and is passed off as a reading test. The children get a nice little tag with pass or fail on it at 6 years old. As a teacher this goes against everything I believe. I am forced to label my children as failures at only 6 years of age.

If the children in your school struggle with these tests and your results suffer then you are exposed to the OFSTED machine that descends upon schools and puts them into a state of fear and misery.

Then if they are judged as failing, the whole school can then be sold off to the highest academy bidder. Land is then sold off, new uniforms ordered, a bit of new building works to impress parents and off you go.

Teachers are forced into school at 7am, expected to work including after school clubs until 6pm.  There are even Saturday school sessions where staff are expected to attend.

We have a dedicated work force who have put up with a lot over the last years but there are signs this is changing.

We have teachers walking out of the profession even in difficult financial times.

I honestly feel if this does not change you will have a teacher shortage and a dominance of teachers who are so beaten down they cannot hope to perform to the best of their ability.

And who will suffer? The children who our government say are at the heart of what they do……

by Jennie Harper, UK Teacher

Teacher Shortage Looming, says NZEI

Political footballs run for the hills

NZEI published this press release today, warning of an up-coming teacher shortage and questioning how Government will tackle this.

Given the recent spate of attacks Government has made on teachers, it’s no wonder people think twice before joining the profession, and even less of a mystery that people lose the will to carry on and leave in droves.  How very sad to lose so many wonderful teachers because they feel undervalued, bullied and constantly used as political footballs, always playing catch up with the latest mad-cap untested, unproven and often just plain daft initiative.

Instead of looking to the USA and UK, where education has nothing fabulous to offer us, maybe Government could take a long hard look at Norway.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see teaching valued and respected by those in power, well resourced, well paid, and with plenty of quality professional development – that’d be a great start to promoting the job to the next generation of high fliers.

NZEI Press release: Looming teacher shortage – wake up call for Government

The Government needs to work with the education sector to resolve the looming teacher shortage, says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.Mr Goulter says it’s important that the Government makes a commitment to keep the best teachers in front of students rather than going down the path of increased class sizes and allowing unqualified people to act as teachers in charter schools.”Increased class sizes may have been put on hold earlier this year due to reaction from parents. But that doesn’t mean the Government has walked away from that policy, and it could still re-emerge as its preferred answer to any teacher shortage.”

“Instead, it is important that the Government commits to tackling the teacher shortage by good planning and maintaining good quality teaching and learning. That means keeping the best teachers in the classrooms.”

Projections show that school rolls will continue to increase steadily for the next seven years and this will be exacerbated by a large cohort of teachers reaching retirement age.

“Allowing unqualified people to act as teachers in charter schools is clearly another attempt to deal with the teacher shortage. But that will simply reduce both the quality of teaching and the number of qualified teachers in front of students.”

He says the early childhood sector is another area where the Government has shown short sightedness.

“Once again, the emphasis should be on ensuring good quality teaching instead of reducing the ratio of qualified teachers in our early childhood centres.”

Mr Goulter says the Government’s policy of attacking teachers and the politicisation of the sector has been a big turnoff for many student teachers.

“Instead of attacking teachers for political purposes, the Government should show leadership and work with the sector to attract good students into teaching.”
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