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Educating Sir Tom

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Effinbankers, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Anyone else see this?

    Very rich man feels the need to have his say on Scottish Education. He has money, therefore he thinks he has influence. And he once went to school
     
  2. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    I guess it was designed to provoke discussion which it did, but it approached the issue from an outside perspective, not enough critical teacher input. Then again, who would put their head above the parapet. No mention of SQA, CfE, contact time, bureaucracy, etc.
     
  3. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    I don't think we can give Tom a hard time for this, he has a long track record of "doing his bit" to help, he does put his money where his mouth is. The programme was to short and superficial. It was nice that the first minister says she would do anything to help with education and our young people. Well Nicola how about stopping the cuts in education budgets, scrap CfE and (I know this is a crazy one) keep to your promises about class sizes. That would be a change from telling us all to do much much better but pulling the rug from under us while kicking us on our fall.
     
  4. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    Watched this from my perspective of retirement and expected to be shouting at the telly. Nope. Generally, it gave a fairly positive view of the situation via schools which are doing pretty well despite challenging contexts. Given that, it's puzzling that he seemed to be pushing Academies. There's nothing happening in Academies in England which could not be replicated in Scottish schools under local authority tutelage, gimmicky finger clicking, shout outs and all. Unfortunately, he chose to focus on local authority control rather than local authority accountability which is the key argument in favour of local authorities running schools.

    The prog mentioned leadership, high behaviour and other expectations and good teaching as being key to improvement. The Head Teacher of Castleview Primary was congratulated for providing that along with her staff and parents who had been brought on board. But there was no analysis of why leadership can fail in Scottish schools.

    I would be interested to find out a bit more about Newlands College. One or more such establishment in every local authority area might be a major step forward. However, many schools already have their own arrange,nets for potential NEETS kids which might be the reason why some schools did not engage with Newlands. A longer programme or even a series of programmes could have explored this.

    If education really is so important why does a TV production company not do the subject justice and do several programmes looking at all the key issues including teacher workload, curriculum problems etc. "Educating Scotland" : a fly on the wall look at the system with some thoughts from all sides but especially classroom teachers (conspicuous by their absence last night) as to how it might be improved!
     
  5. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    At least, there was an acknowledgement that there are no 'magic bullets' that will close the attainment gap so politicians using the issue as yet another stick to beat teachers is not going to help.

    With the right funding and support, however, it is possible to gradually improve attainment in areas of social deprivation though no-one should be under any illusions that it will be easy or cost-neutral.

    As was pointed out, the developmental gap starts when children are very young, even before birth, and it widens throughout primary and secondary education. Tackling unemployment and poverty is a separate issue and there is only so much nurseries and schools can do to address the literacy and numeracy needs of parents and grandparents.

    Bringing parents on board, developing a sense of community and social responsibility, improving behaviour and attendance and raising aspirations can all help but that isn't going to happen if teachers are undervalued, demoralised and over-worked.

    The experiment with the Junior College which caters for pupils who are in danger of leaving with few, if any, qualifications (but 'have the talent') is still to prove itself; pupils may prefer and benefit from the more relaxed atmosphere but clearly some secondary schools in the local authority are not convinced it is the right way forward or, even one suspects, cost-effective.

    Much was made of the importance of 'leadership', but the issue of bringing private sector thinking into public education was somewhat glossed over. The London academy used to illustrate progress has a small year group at each stage (about 60) and there is evidence that attainment has, in fact, been boosted by a significant percentage of motivated pupils from aspirational immigrant families.

    Finally, reference was made to the unions wanting fully qualified teachers and local authority control of schools in what was described as a 'one-size-fits-all' approach. Yet, as was pointed out, a Curriculum for Excellence was supposed to have allowed more freedom to try different approaches, and to customise the curriculum to meet the needs of pupils yet, in practice, that hasn't happened.

    If the First Minister believes we should at least try things to see if they work, she will hopefully want to consult the people who actually do the teaching so that they can give her the benefit of their professional expertise.

    In the final analysis, however, it is unlikely we will ever achieve more, and more, in education with fewer, and fewer, qualified staff and resources.
     
  6. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    CfE would have been entirely different had it been implemented when there was still some money sloshing about the system. It's an ideal which needs teachers to have the time to talk to each other and for there to be enough surplus staffing in a school to allow lots of timetabling flexibility.

    Instead, it began just as some LAs were shedding teacher jobs and desperate to cut costs. Any flexibility, enthusiasm and goodwill was trimmed out of the system as everyone ended up struggling just to keep going never mind do anything particularly innovative.
     

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