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G.C.S.E in maths/english

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by tamtams, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I have been working in a Pre-school for the past year with the 4-5yrs and before that I taught English in Sweden and worked in a Swedish infant school for a year... I also have an English degree from Southampton uni... I was going to be a TA next year but I don't have Maths GCSE as I shall be taking it along side the job... I had hoped that this wouldn't been an issue, but I'm really worried now...? Do you think I stand a good chance at getting a position?

  2. I wouldn't think it would be a problem, unless you were wanting to be a TA in secondary working specifically in Maths...
  3. ncachia

    I agree with Maizie.

    I am not sure if you are Swedish or English. If Swedish, I expect that you will have the Swedish equivalent to G.C.S.E Maths which would be evidence of competency.

    Are you applying for jobs in the Foundation Stage?
    Sweden has a good reputation for Early Years Education and I would think your work in Sweden would get you on the shortlist.

    Tamtams posted that she is sitting numeracy/literacy L1 and 2, and if these are equivalent to G.C.S.E. maths they might prove an easier and cheaper route for you. Perhaps she could explain further.
  4. Really enjoying reading this. A couple of things:

    NZdoc, I echo your sentiments totally about NVQ's, you sum them up so nicely. One person was allowed on the course before me who actually could not read or write and they were offered 'additional support' with their study. What educational institution lets somebody one a course that leads to a job in education who can't read and write?! I hated doing mine but it was expected of me. Literally as you say, collecting paperwork, reading up on health and safety etc, it was a waste of time and no challenge whatsoever. I have also done the five day induction which was more useful.

    Regarding GCSE Maths. I'm about to start it in September, for all of the reasons already stated and because I plan to train as a teacher. Interestingly though, I only need to get C or above to get on a PGCE course. Now... let me say here, I have three teenagers and one of them in particular did no work and was not particularly good at maths and got a C grade. Mmmmmmm. But that is a whole other subject, (excuse pun) the standard of GCSE's. I have seen the work that is (not) required to get the grades! Sorry if that offends anybody, but generally standards have fallen, so even GCSE maths grade C isn't a guarantee of a great grasp of the subject in my opinion.

    I shall go and hide behind the sofa now. x


  5. 'Carolinewirral' don't hide behind the sofa you're input is interesting, if a little worrying. Hope that your findings re. maths are the exception rather than the rule. On my maths paper, to get a 'C' grade, you had to get over 60% of the paper correct & tackle such lovely topics such as, simultaneous linear equations - hardly the stuff of kindergarten maths! Best of luck with yours! I got a 'D' grade 1st time round but with lots of work and help of a great tutor at night school - finally got it - the lovely grade 'C' - aahh!

    Topic is generally 'right on the ball,' as... has anyone heard of the plans for school staff...maybe they're secret? But...plan is for ALL support staff to be graduates or have a FD & for ALL teachers to have a Masters degree. Food for thought...
  6. Caroline, come out from behind the sofa because you are not alone.

    I do agree with you, that G.C.S.E at grade C or equivalent qualifications, in some cases, are no guarantee of skills, otherwise why would teacher training students, who already have G.C.S.E.s in core subjects, have to complete competency online exams before they qualify?

    I am also working with some N.V.Q.3 staff in Foundation Stage who have grade C in English and whose spelling and grammar are so unreliable that they find it very difficult to write up observations for record keeping or write in link books for parents. I am talking about mis- spellings such as "wich" and "i" or the teacher's name, and grammatical errors such as "he don't".

  7. "Topic is generally 'right on the ball,' as... has anyone heard of the plans for school staff...maybe they're secret? But...plan is for ALL support staff to be graduates or have a FD & for ALL teachers to have a Masters degree. Food for thought... "

    Ooooh! Where have you got that from? That would be interesting! BUT, if that means that 'support staff' are then expected to get in front of a whole class and teach, I WON'T DO IT!!. TAing is NOT class teaching.
  8. ahhhhh.....thanks x

    Maths is a big deal for me. TERRIBLE maths education at school and was left way behind and avoided it for years, but I have finally convinced myself I am far from thick! I like to think it helps me getting things across to the kids, I try to be creative and keep going til the penny drops.

    Because I have had such issues about it (mainly convincing myself I can't 'do maths' - which is wrong), I looked into the subject quite deeply. I found from reading research into the subject 'most' people feel that way about maths and in particular student teachers! Apparently tutors get the same response time after time from students (and teachers alike) they dread maths. I tracked down a couple of really good books and worked through them and although I still have to make a big effort I do believe that I certainly am capable of coping now. (I hope this helps anybody who is worried about it and thinking about doing something about it).

    As for the comments about English, I can't agree more. Again, my own children, all gone to Grammar schools, all going to or at Uni and quite honestly their spelling is not great, which shocks me.
  9. Mazie, you are probably right. Our LEA are certainly pushing the FD. The first year is paid for by them and my school have said they will pay the rest. Last time I was at the teacher training centre they were banging on and on about HLTA, really pushing it and saying there was loads of money going into that and telling us that we should do it this year (no thanks).

    Guess what I am going to say next and don't want the thread to be side-tracked, but just have to say it anyway - salaries? Wonder if they will reflect any qualifications that support staff may have to have?
  10. If anyone is worried about GCSE Maths, don't be. I ran an experiment in my first teaching placement, I gave level 6 year 7s the old intermediate paper - they got 2 B grades and 1 C. No one failed.
  11. carolinewirral -I too have teenagers and couldn't agree more about standard of GCSE grade C- but let's not go there! This is why, though, I regard GCSE maths and english as the absolute minimum qualification for TAs in primary- it doesn't guarantee that someone is literate and numerate but someone who has failed to reach that level in their own education has no place in the education of other peoples' children.
  12. well I hope you will let me off as I am doing it asap! xx
  13. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    Wow, you had Y7 pupils who could get marks on questions on trig, solving 2 stage algebraic equations, drawing quadratic curves, defining transformations by 3 (or sometimes 4) criteria - I'm impressed. That's what you needed to do for the Intermediate exam.

    However if you are saying that pupils only a year out of KS2 could do all these things, then TAs must have GCSE C grade in Maths if they work in a primary school.

    Lastly the B Ed which was meant to turn teaching into an all-graduate prefession was the norm around the mid-70s (you do the maths) after the James Report of 1973, and the last students to leave secondary school aged 15 were born in 1958.
  14. Wrong. The last pupils to leave school at ae 15 were brn 1956-1957 They left in 1972.
  15. 44 | Posted by: Seraphim1 at 01 Aug 2008 15:30

    Topic is generally 'right on the ball,' as... has anyone heard of the plans for school staff...maybe they're secret? But...plan is for ALL support staff to be graduates or have a FD & for ALL teachers to have a Masters degree. Food for thought...

    ALL support staff to be graduates? Will the grounds staff need to have degrees in landscaping etc?

    In the current economic climate I wonder how many of the government wish lists will survive.
  16. Bluebell, if you re-read Turnabout Teacher's post it says:

    'they got 2 B grades and 1 C. No one failed'

    I am not dismissing what you say but the point is you don't actually need to know everything to get a C grade. And as grades are A*-G then there is quite some scope for passing!

    As far as I am aware the grade boundaries change each year depending on how hard the paper is, so it may well be 60% pass mark one year but not the next.

    This quote from the Times is old, but I think it says it all.

    Call for a GCSE shake-up as pass mark sinks to 16%
    By Alexandra Blair and Tony Halpin
    PUPILS were able to gain good GCSE passes with scores as low as 45 per cent in more than a hundred examination papers this year.
    The controversial grade boundaries were revealed after national test results showed that more than a quarter of children aged 14 also failed to meet the expected standards in maths and English.

    Last night critics called for a review of the public examination system, claiming that the results were misleading and indicated a ?progressive lowering of expectations?.

    The revelation that pupils scoring as low as 16 per cent could be awarded C grades in one Edexcel maths GCSE paper and an A* grade with only 47 per cent in an AQA business studies paper was made after an investigation by The Times Educational Supplement.

    But the astonishingly low marks for top grades were not isolated.

    The analysis also revealed that pupils could achieve a C grade with 20 per cent in AQA GCSE maths, 25 per cent in classical Greek or 28 per cent in physics.

    At Edexcel C grades at GCSE were awarded for 32 per cent in a French paper, 36 per cent in German and 39 per cent in religious studies, where administrative staff were used to speed up the marking processs.

  17. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    re post 52:
    blue117, I did say that I was educated in Scotland, (like quite a number of teachers working in English schools!) This applies to Scotland at least:

    "It was not, however, until the 1980s that all courses leading to school teaching were finally given degree status. The most recent development has been the incorporation of most of the colleges of education into universities, following the passing of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992."

    I think the school leaving age of 15 applying to those born up until 1957 is not irrelevant when discussing TAs - I have never seen any statistics but my own experience would suggest that quite a large number of Teachning Assistants are actually over the age of 50.

    I do share your apparent scepticism about how easy GCSE Maths is because I suspect that many of these kind of 'experiments' ( so beloved of the Daily Mail with their "6-year-old passes GCSE in ICT, standards drop again!" headlines) do not actually ask younger children to sit a full paper, and certainly not a paper at the highest level - I believe that there are three tiers of GCSE Maths and, of course, three different exam boards in England, with differing standards from what secondary teachers say on their forum.
  18. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    Sorry KeepSmiling, I think I meant to say that the first pupils who had to stay on to 16 were born in the academic year 1957-1958.

    The old Intermediate paper was mentioned but not which exam board. C grades tended to be around the 60-65% mark on Intermediate. To not attempt intermediate algebra questions etc would make a B grade pretty much impossible, and a C very unlikely.

    Yes I agree that the roughly 30% required for an E grade (no F or G grades on the old Intermediate) and so avoid an Ungraded could be done by a Y7 top set, after all E is about a NC level 5/6.

    PS I left off mean from grouped data and probability tree diagrams from my previous post's list
  19. "Wow, you had Y7 pupils who could get marks on questions on trig, solving 2 stage algebraic equations, drawing quadratic curves, defining transformations by 3 (or sometimes 4) criteria - I'm impressed. That's what you needed to do for the Intermediate exam."

    I had 1-1 (well 1-3) tutored them in some of these subjects for 6 weeks beforehand, with parents permission. I should have probably said that - the experiment was to see whether they had the cognitive ability to deal with the exam at such a young age.

    Probability and grouped data they seemed to grasp well, even in the blue KS3 textbook they used, these concepts were introduced at the level 7 stage and once explained they seemed happy enough with them, though they did need the calculator to actually work the probabilities. The focus of this tuition, as noted below, was to concentrate on scoring the highest possible.

    It should also be noted that they did only a chunk of one paper, due to time constraints. It was a scaled chunk however, they got no more or less time.

    I also doubt very much whether they had retained their learning, I just showed them how they could do it. I would have liked to follow up, but sadly I must earn a living now.

    Irrespective of all this, the point stands. If 11-12 year olds can hold enough of a grasp of these concepts to pass, I'm sure your TAs can do the same.

  20. carolinewirral......... i'm doing GCSE Maths & English in Sept-no course work involved in Maths.
    I have Level 2 Maths & English- but i feel it was sheer luck that i pressed the correct choices when doing the maths test- I will need to concentrate alot harder to obtain a C grade in both subjects.

    Cheers LP

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