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The true costs of teacher training

This UK report looks at the true cost of teacher training, taking into account the costs to government and the retention rate of the teacher trainees to work out the true cost per teacher who is still teaching after 5 years.

Key findings:

  • There is a need for local demand for teachers to be taken into account in teacher trainee allocations.
  • Retention is affected by the relative pay of teachers and other local workers, so national pay restraint for teachers has the potential to reduce retention.
  • Teach First recruits work out very costly compared to other routes into teaching.
  • Teach First teachers have a far higher drop out rate than teachers trained by other routes, with 60% not teaching after 5 years compared with 40% of those trained by other routes.
  • There is little evidence that paying bursaries to teachers in shortage subjects helps attract and retain them.

Since New Zealand also has issues with teacher recruitment and retention, with shortages on some areas and a glut of teachers in others, and since we too have Teach First as a route into teaching, it would be interesting to know how this compares to New Zealand.

~ Dianne

Image courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Why NZ should care that teachers in England are on strike

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On Tuesday 5th July 2016, thousands of teachers in England are striking, and the reasons that are doing so are very pertinent to what is happening in New Zealand.  Everything that is happening there is already being put in place here, bit by bit by bit.

Here, Charlotte Carson explains the reasons that the teachers are striking and why parents should care:

Parents – are you a wee bit pissed off that teachers are on strike again? And it’s all about their pay?!!

I am a teacher and I will be on strike on Tuesday. I want to explain why.

1. It’s not really about pay.
As a profession I think we are well paid. That is why we have good quality professionals working hard to teach children, inspire them and look after them. But this is about to change.

2. The White Paper
The government’s latest white paper proposes DEREGULATION of teachers’ pay and conditions. Currently all local authority employed teachers in England are paid according to the same contract. Like nurses and doctors, we have automatic pay progression (so the longer you serve the more you get – an incentive to stay in the profession), pay portability (if we move schools we get the same basic pay – they can’t pay us less – this stops a competition between schools for teachers based on money – without it richer schools will always poach good staff from poorer schools) .

3. What is performance-related pay?
The introduction of performance related pay will mean that teachers get paid according to exam results. As a parent I would never want a teacher to look at my child and think ‘is he going to wreck my data and stop my pay rise?’ We are not working in sales – it is hugely problematic to pay us based on exam results.

4. Why should non-teachers care about teachers pay and conditions?
Deregulation also means that our working hours, holidays, pay, sick pay and maternity pay will be individually decided by the employer – the academy that is. An Academy in Manchester has in its contract that maternity pay will be ‘subject to affordability’. Who will become a teacher if the terms and conditions are unattractive?

A mum said to me yesterday ‘but in my job I don’t get good maternity pay – why should I care about teachers?’. My answer is this: public sector pay and conditions set the bar for private sector pay and conditions. If we get screwed you will get screwed too.

5. What’s the problem with academies and free schools?
Academies and free schools are businesses. That means their primary concern is money. The government is paving the way for them to become profit-making businesses. Already many academies double up as wedding venues, conference facilities etc. No harm in generating revenue eh? Well only if it’s being ploughed back into the school and the children. Let’s remember schools are about children aren’t they? It seems not.

Many academies including Harris academies have recently got in trouble for deliberately excluding ‘problem children’ and paying local authority schools to take them off their hands – because they wreck the data. How can you publish your excellent GCSE results if some stubborn children just won’t make progress! The answer in some academies is to get rid of them – then you don’t have to report their results.

So if the money isn’t spent on the kids where does it go?

Good question!
Do a Google search on Haberdashers Free School account fraud. He ran off with £4million! How did he manage to do that? Answer – because he was only accountable to the board of governors and the head teacher. Local authority schools are overseen by a democratically elected local council. Academies don’t have to bother with that level of accountability. And the government also wants to get rid of parent governors. This would mean that academies would only be accountable to themselves. We’re talking about millions of pounds of public money. Already there have been many documented cases of fraud in academies and free schools.

6. Qualified teachers v. unqualified teachers
Academies and free schools don’t have to employ qualified teachers. Unqualified teachers are cheaper of course. But I know which one I want teaching my children.

This is all I have time to write just now.
The problem is that most teachers are so busy that they haven’t taken time to communicate all this with parents. I think we need to get much better at doing that.

But just think about your children’s teachers – do you trust them? If you do then please trust that they are on strike for the right reasons – for the future of our jobs and our schools – defending education from privatisation.”

New Zealand parents, take note – this is all coming our way, too.

~ Dianne

New Zealand, a warning: The forcible conversion of England’s schools to Academies (Charter Schools), by John Palethorpe

no academy

I could never work in an Academy. As an educator, a professional and a passionate believer in universal education, they represent a corruption of the principles of equal access to free education. Not only that, the long litany of problems involving finance, curriculum alterations and mistreatment of students and staff clearly outline that Academy schools aren’t great places to work. A friend of mine wrote beautifully on the subject a little while ago now.

In New Zealand we have Charter Schools a half formed cargo cult version. They’re already in trouble due to finance, curriculum and mistreatment of students and staff. Sounds awfully familiar.

The first UK Academy opened in 2002. Their introduction was aimed at reinventing inner city schools with significant results and management problems. Then sponsors got involved, either rich individuals or corporations (including educorps). They were supposed to bring in private sector best practice and management, like most privatisation is supposed to.

In May 2010 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat (Lib Dem) Coalition came to power in the UK. There were, at the time, 203 Academies in the UK – mostly Secondary Schools.

nut-no-academies-placard1The term of the Tory education secretary Michael Gove saw a radical expansion of Academies. This was often as a result of OFSTED inspections, some of which classed schools as failing only a year or two after they had been called outstanding. Some schools were forced into becoming Academies, against the will of pupils’ parents.

Today there are 4,516 academies; 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools and 2,440 of 16,766 primary schools. The expansion was so rapid that many private Academy trusts took on more schools than they could cope with, leading to those schools failing and being taken back by the DfE until another Academy group could be found to take over. The free market of schools.

“It was the middle of last week when I heard that I could never work in the UK again as a teacher”

It was the middle of last week when I heard that I could never work in the UK again as a teacher. I’ve no plans to move back, I love Aotearoa New Zealand, but the crunching finality of knowing that there’d be no place that I could conscientiously work was sudden and upsetting.

In the Budget, Chancellor George Osborne (not the pig tampering one, the one who looks like a pig) announced that all English schools would be converted into Academies by 2020. Every single one of them.

What does this mean? Well, given the evidence already available it would mean none of the UK’s schools would be bound to teach the National Curriculum, instead being charged to provide a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum. So what you’re taught in one school may be radically different from another. Not teaching style, actual content.

It’s not great for pupils, in more ways than one. Many Academies have operated a subtle and not so subtle selection process, choosing only pupils who are likely to be able to improve their results. Others, when dealing with those who are disruptive or failing, have placed pupils on study leave during exam or inspection periods, or placed them in study support centres outside of the school. This can take the form of pupils and parents being asked to leave by the school, rather than being excluded (which would show up in the all important league tables). Now that every school is to become an Academy, where do those pupils go?

Academies have, over the long term, not been proven to raise results any more significantly than schools in the UK operating under the LEA’s (Local Education Authorities, which will soon be defunded and dissolved). In fact, Academies have come under fire for exactly the same issues that LEA schools had in management, results and organisation, the same issues which saw the schools be forced to convert! Conversion turns every school into an individual Ltd company and scythes out the level of local support and oversight that was previously provided by the LEA. On such a huge scale, that’s far too much for the Department for Education to handle.

It’s going to cost money too. Newly converting Academies get a 10% funding boost, at a time when state funded schools have seen budgets cut year on year. But due to the rapid expansion of Academy schools and the lack of oversight, many have had to be bailed out by the Department for Education. I guess bringing in the ‘best of the private sector’ does mean being utterly sure the Government will spend millions trying to salvage the mess you make.

Overall, it’s had a huge impact on the profession. Academies are not bound by the collectively negotiated pay structure, meaning the UK’s Teaching Unions will have to bargain with individual Academy Trusts and schools. They’re also not bound by the negotiated terms and conditions of contract for teachers, which means many teachers find themselves on-call permanently or schools have employed teachers on the equivalent of zero hours contracts. The trend for Academies to lack unionisation, because of the ease with which you can be dismissed, makes this even harder.

NUT-save-our-schoolsIt’s not great for Academies, either, though. Without a national pay structure, schools who can find more money will get the better teachers. Schools with wealthy backers will have more than schools that don’t.

As a male Primary teacher, I’m relatively certain that I’d be paid more than a female doing the same job with the same experience. Why? Because I’m rarer. Teaching is one of the few professions where pay equality was built in already. And they’re getting rid of it.

“Academies don’t have to employ qualified teachers”

There’s also the question of professionalism itself. Academies don’t have to employ qualified teachers. And hidden in the announcement of Academisation was the change to Qualified Teacher Status.

Previously, Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT’s) were assessed over the course of a year or two to see if they were able to meet the standards for a qualified teacher. With a huge teacher shortage looming in the UK, the plan is to allow teachers to teach for longer in the classroom and be certified by their Headteacher and a Senior Staff member.Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says this will drive up standards, and drive is an important word. She announced that allowing teachers longer to qualify and removing the strict schedule teachers had to meet will allow those NQTs who struggle more chances to make it.

As an experienced teacher, I look back on my NQT period as far, far less intensive than doing the job in the years that followed. It’s being presented as like a driving test, just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver, right?

“…reducing the standards you require of a teacher doesn’t drive up standards and professionalism, it drives it over a cliff”

Fair enough, but with one report saying teachers would have up to a DECADE to pass, it makes you ask – if it takes you ten years to pass your driving test, maybe you’re just not a driver? Buy a bike. Or walk. Some people just aren’t meant for the classroom, some people just aren’t teachers and the attempt to try and fill the rapidly depleting profession by reducing the standards you require of a teacher doesn’t drive up standards and professionalism, it drives it over a cliff.

It also makes it trickier for teachers to do as I did and head overseas. There’s been a mass exodus of teachers from the English system, coincidentally or otherwise, in the last six years. By shifting the QTS award to something less substantial, overseas authorities may very well view them as insufficient evidence of an ability to teach. I’m glad I left when I did; others in future may not be so lucky.

There is already a growing and vocal opposition to all of the plans outlined above, as well there should. Announcing you’re ditching LEA oversight and support of schools, dumping the need for any school to employ qualified teachers, dropping the National Curriculum, scrapping nationally negotiated terms and conditions and placing schools in a bidding war for new teachers is a huge and complete evidence free attack on the quality and professionalism of education in the UK.

“For me there’s sadness.”

For me there’s sadness. My love of teaching was developed, as a student, in the UK system that’s now being explosively dismantled. I spent the first five years of my teaching career safe in the knowledge that I was a public servant, providing fair and equal education to all of my children as a professional. I was paid the same as anyone else who was experienced as I was, and I could talk with teachers from around the country about the curriculum and its delivery in the knowledge that we were all working together as equals. It was an education system for the whole country. If these plans are implemented, it won’t be any more.

In Aotearoa we should take lessons from the way in which Academy failures were written off or marginalised to the public and how concerted political pressure on inspection agencies led to the dramatic spread of privatised schools. The few Charter Schools in this country are already struggling, and what has happened in the UK this week shows us the future of education if they’re allowed to spread further.

no-to-an-academy_nut.jpg

~ John Palethorpe

Further reading:

Michael Rosen on academy schools: ‘Local democracy bites the dust’ – Guardian

England’s largest academy chain ‘failing too many pupils’ – BBC news

New academies laws were passed by Parliament last night: here is what they mean for you and your school – Time Educational Supplement (TES)

Anti Academy Alliance

 

 

From the UK: Is it appropriate to test 4 year olds?

UK Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan and the panelists respond to the question, “Is it appropriate to test 4-year-olds in school?”  The quality of responses is high, and it provides a lot of food for thought.

It is worth Kiwis watching the video and considering that this is the path our Minister would like to take us down and is in fact already embedding with National Standards. It starts with in-class testing and overall Teacher judgements (OTJs) and slowly moves to standardised tests and league tables. This is why the NZEI fights so hard on behalf of teachers and parents to resist standardised tests and the like. The push towards more testing, more data, more league tables is relentless, and holding it back is a constant and very real job.

Just because education policy is even more bizarre and broken elsewhere, please don’t be complacent, NZ.

Now I reckon you should make a cuppa, get a bickie or three, and watch the video. It’s well worth it.

~ Dianne

 

Further Reading:

New Zealand Educational Institute – NZEI Te Riu Roa

National Union of Teachers (NUT) – UK

 

Passing and Failing 4-5 year olds, by Jennie Harper

Year 1 Phonics Screening check

Background

In England, the government introduced the Year 1 Phonics screening test in June last year.

• It is an unseen paper, it is administered by the class teacher individually.

• The children have to read 40 words, 20 of which are non words. Last year’s pass mark was 32.

• The results are put on Raise Online and are available to the LEA and Ofsted alongside the KS1 and KS2 SATs results. Poor results can trigger an Ofsted.

• In the pilot 34% of children passed.

These words especially on part 2 of the test are at the level of difficulty you would find in a level 2 reading book. However, Year 2 children who score a Level 2 in the SATs reading test are not expected to read these words out of context.

pass failIf they pass they get just that, a pass, whether by 1 word or by being completely correct. Similarly if they are one word under they get the word fail and that’s it. No level, no support to make further progress just that one word fail.

This is not a reading test, it is a test of decoding. It is not about confidence as a reader, about fluency or comprehension. All the strategies that you use as a fluent reader are not being tested.

All children have to do this test. And if they fail it the first time they get to repeat it in year 2 – double the humiliation because then they will have had a year of stressed parents and probably teachers too trying to get them to achieve what just may be impossible.

What we do about phonics.

We do a well known scheme sold by one of the advisors on the test. We used our matched funding and spent £12,000 on resources to start. Now each year most of the English budget will be spent on consumable resources that we will continue to need to buy.

As for the scheme we are using if I say give yourselves a lorry driver….or an elvis…..maybe that would help?

Pros

Some children respond very well to it and they develop decoding skills they may not if we didn’t do it.

The pace is fast and some of the activities are fun.

The children do love the praise and encouragement aspects.

The structure of the scheme shows children the progress they are making.

Our Teacher Aides now feel very involved in the teaching and learning during these sessions.

Cons

We now stream children from the first term in Reception.

Most of our English time is now spent on this as we do it 4 days a week.

The children are assessed every 6 weeks purely on their phonics decoding skills and graded according to that. If they struggle with comprehension they struggle every day as the comprehension skills are assumed to be at a similar level.

The children can also struggle with writing which again is assumed to be at the same level at their decoding skills. In my group I have children who can identify and blend sounds and read many simple words but cannot write cvc words confidently. They are writing streams of letters and feeling failure every day.

The amount of time spent assessing and managing the scheme takes a great deal of my year group leader time.

My experiences with the test.

I spent two full days out of my class doing these tests. Some children coped very well and some enjoyed the 1-1 time with me. Others did not fair so well.

One child told me her mother told her she would be happy if she passed the test and would buy her a present. Her mum would be sad if she failed the test.

I could have told her mum she was going to be sad before her child came into the room and started shaking.

One child spent 10 minutes talking about how much he loved aliens and what he would say to the aliens if he met them before he started the test. He failed. I felt that the test was set up for the children to fail. They went straight in with alien words, not even starting with real words to allow the children to feel success from the start. The ‘real’ words included ‘jazz’ and ‘lords’ which do not appear in many 5 year olds’ reading books, so most children did not recognise them. Even the early stage 1 words were not simple well known words at all.

The advice that came with the tests states that you should say the alien words are the aliens’ names, I would not do that as none of the words started with a capital letter which would make my more able children even more confused.

Oh and yes my more able readers did indeed try to make real words out of the alien words. Strom became storm for most of my children.

We had around a 60% pass rate and we were pleased about that for the children’s sake. We were not observed by our LA who had to monitor a percentage of schools. That is probably a good thing as I passed a couple of children with speech impediments they probably would have made me fail as the advice on SEN is typically vague.

I hated the process of writing the letter that, however we tried to make it sound positive, included the names of 5 and 6 year old children and the word fail.

We then had a meeting with some very confused and upset parents and tried to reassure them that the world had not ended and their children were not stupid.

What next?

This year the 40% of our year 2s that failed will be retaking the test.

Our 6 year 1 classes will be taking the test.

4 new year 1 teachers will be trained on how to carry out the test.

5 year 2 teachers will need to be trained on how to carry out the test.

We will need to have 3 supply teachers in every day for a week plus one day the next week to catch up on those that are absent.

Although we are a classed as a good school, a neighbouring school is about to become an academy, so any weak link…..our results matter….the pressure is on.

We have a bulge class of 30 children 24 of them had never attended school before they joined us in October this year…we have now been told we cannot separate their results… we are vulnerable.

by Jennie Harper, Teacher, UK

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

Reformers’ teacher training schemes – what’s the problem?

wanted teachersFor those of you that think how New Zealand structures teacher training in future isn’t an issue to be concerned about, take time to read this and see how, in the UK, outstanding university courses in Teacher training have been shut down since their equivalent scheme, School Direct, started.

The Department for Education boasts that take up for the scheme is great:

…there will be 17,609 places for School Direct trainees in 2015 and 15,490 higher education postgraduate places

Proponents cite the increasing numbers of applications year on year as evidence that School Direct works. I would posit that it is evidence that would-be teachers can no longer afford to go to university and prefer to earn money while training.  Who wouldn’t?  But that in no way means the scheme is superior in terms of training.

There are another concern, too.

As universities shut down their teacher training programmes, there will eventually be a lack of places even for School Direct trainees to get their uni-based components:

Under School Direct, schools recruit trainees directly and link up with universities to provide out-of-classroom training. Trainees have an “expectation of employment” at their school at the end of their training.

But critics are concerned that the shift to School Direct may destabilise the teacher training system because universities cannot guarantee student numbers – and so funding – year on year.

And there’s a teacher shortage looming in the UK…

Hey, but who cares, because when push comes to shove the government will scream !!!TEACHER SHORTAGE!!! and decree that teachers don’t have to be trained at all.

You know, like they don’t in charter schools already….

See the link?

Cheap, disposable labour – seemingly the government’s goal for all employees these days.

I think the most telling part of the article is when the Department for Education spokesperson said:

“The School Direct programme is a key part of our plan for education.”

Yes. I bet it is.

Alllllll part of the bigger plan.

I’m telling you, people, we are on one hell of a slippery slope.

~ Dianne

______________________________________________________

Sources and further reading:

http://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2014/10/15/more-school-direct-places-than-university-pgces-in-2015.aspx

http://www.newstatesman.com/education/2013/08/why-isnt-government%E2%80%99s-school-direct-scheme-attracting-enough-schools

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/jul/08/teacher-training-in-schools

http://dianeravitch.net/category/teach-for-america-tfa/

 

Education Minister on “a mission that sometimes floats free of the evidence”

bored at schoolUnfortunately, when it comes to the old education reform palava, the UK and NZ seem often to be living parallel lives.

There’s fierce opposition at the moment to UK Education Minister, Mr Gove’s curriculum tinkerings, but as The Guardian pointed outLike many politicians, Mr Gove prefers the disaster narrative” and will forge ahead no matter what the actual evidence or need.

Or as The Guardian editorial so eloquently put it “Mr Gove is a man with a mission that sometimes floats free of the evidence.”

I think he and Hekia would get on famously!

Anyhoo, I found this satirical blog post about Gove’s changes to the UK curriculum, and thought it was worth sharing.  It is on one hand completely hilarious, and on the other hand … <sigh>.

Among the changes being introduced are a requirement for more interminably monotonous tones to be used by teachers in design and technology lessons, as well as subjects such as history and geography to include a lot more soul-destroyingly dull lessons full of irrelevant facts that young children will learn to hate by heart.

According to a Whitehall source:

The introduction of pointless tedium into the national curriculum will prepare state education children much better for the kind of monotonous work such as shelf-stacking and burger flipping which probably awaits them when they leave school.

Boredom and monotony will become the standard in our schools – and this combined with spiritless, fed-up teachers will ensure all schools will be falling over themselves to become academies or free schools just to escape the mind-numbingly tedious national curriculum we’ve introduced.

Key skills such as whinging and carping in many subjects have been brought forward in a child’s school career, so primary-age pupils will be given a lot more annoyingly dull tasks for them to complain about from a much younger age.

Read the rest of this blog post here.

Thank goodness NZ still has its great, flexible curriculum.  So, maybe we are no so parallel after all.

At least for now.

Them And Us – Can teachers and industry experts work together?

Education is top of the agenda not just in New Zealand but all over the world.

Fight the GERMReforms (or as I like to call them ‘deforms’) are being pushed through, and once a reform hits the USA, it hits the UK, and  sooner or later Aotearoa catches up.  So, in my bid to keep my beady eye on the GERM (global education reform movement), I read a lot of what happens in the UK.

In good old Blighty, the political parties are in the midst of a bitch-fest on a scale last seen on Glee, with accusations flying back and forth between MPs, and even the exchange of terse letters .(You remember those, right? They are texts but on paper).

It’s all rather riveting, to be honest, and would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that it’s children’s learning that is being used in this political football match.

Anyhoo, I was particularly interested in this piece by Tristram Hunt.  Dr Hunt is a UK Labour Party MP, a broadcaster, and an historian that lectures on Modern British History at Queen Mary, University of London.

This week the Minister of Education has been arguing that Dr Hunt should not teach lessons in his local school as he is not a qualified teacher.  Now this intrigued me as it speaks to questions being asked in Aotearoa, too.  So I read Mr Hunt’s response to Mr Gove with interest.

Here it is for you to ponder:

When my son has a fever, I sometimes give him a bit of Calpol; this doesn’t make me a doctor. Sometimes I take a class on Stoke and the industrial revolution; this doesn’t make me a teacher.

Indeed, every time I enter the classroom I am more and more convinced of the need for well-trained and qualified classroom teachers as they manage all the modern demands of pedagogy, scholarship, learning, inspiration, empathy, analysis and sheer bloody time-management. The success of the Finnish education system is based precisely on a highly motivated and qualified teaching profession.

But rather than encouraging MPs to spend more time in the classroom, Gove wants to pillory public representatives who are passionate about schooling.

So be it. The Labour party takes a different view. We will not stand in the way of civic minded experts speaking in schools, be they from politics, the arts, science or industry. Indeed, we want more of it.

This is also a matter of social justice. While the likes of Eton College and St Paul’s can enjoy an endless caravan of high-profile speakers, this is not the case in other schools around the country. As a result, their children’s horizons can be lowered and their career options stunted, and potential unfulfilled.

So, we wholeheartedly support brilliant initiatives such as Future First, which exposes people to inspiring professionals as part of careers education, or Teach First’s Every Child Can campaign, which attracts high-profile business leaders to teach a one-off lesson.

We are also very open to allowing new talent into our school system. Teach First, which was set up under the last Labour government, has demonstrated the success of attracting high-performing graduates into our most challenging schools.

But exposing our schoolchildren to as many outside speakers and ideas as possible (such as BBC business editor Robert Peston’s excellent Speaker for Schools programme) is a very different issue from that of raising professional standards for full-time, permanent teachers. On this our message is clear – at the next election Labour will offer what parents want: high-quality, fully qualified teachers in every classroom.

As Jacques Barzun, the great American philosopher of education once said, “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” The Labour party has not lost its regard. And if my local heads let me, I’ll be back at the chalk-face.  Source.

Now, I have to make it clear that I’m not at all convinced yet that the UK Labour party and I are on precisely the same page regarding education policy.  but what Dr Hunt said sits well with me.

Teachers should be educated professionals, planning lessons, and guiding students’ learning with a full and comprehensive understanding of pedagogy.

shake handsAnd in addition to that, experts from all fields should be invited into schools to share their knowledge and excitement and passion with students AND teachers.    What’s not to like?

I love space and could teach a good unit about it at primary level,  but holy moly how fabulous to have someone from Carter Observatory or an amateur astronomer or a postgrad come in and share their knowledge, too.

I should note that many teachers already invite in experts, but wouldn’t it be fabulous if it were done more – much, much more?  Wouldn’t it be great if experts knew they were welcome and felt welcome to offer their voluntary services for a lecture here, an experiment there?

Surely this is the best possible scenario?  Well trained, respected, professional teachers inspiring students alongside visiting experts.

Think TED for schools.

Win:win?

What do you think?

~Dianne

The Parents, The Politician and The Moneymakers – A warning for NZ schools

The Parents, The Politician and the Carpetbagger is a short film that follows parents and teachers from Downhills School, England as they try to stop Education secretary, Michael Gove, forcing their school to become part of the Harris academy chain.   The parents, teachers and community fight to prevent it happening.  Watch it now.

The film challenges Department of Education claims that academies out perform non-academies, which they don’t.

It reveals how local authorities are being bullied into serving up schools for forced academisation, just to keep the Minister sweet.

How they were made to sound like raving Communists.

How they were inspected and found to  have good teachers and governance and be improving – then at the behest of Gove they were suddenly re-inspected and found to be failing in all areas.

It shows who is set to profit from the privitisation of schools.

This is a must watch for anyone wanting to know what New Zealand is letting itself in for.

Watch it now.

 

 

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