1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Government & colleges failing Artistic students! by forcefeeding Maths & English

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by coldmetal, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. coldmetal

    coldmetal Occasional commenter

    I am a lecturer come from industry - as a student I hated Maths with a vengeance. As an adult I come to terms with a grudging practical use for it - Many Art & Design and Graphics students are forced to re-sit O level - much of which contains complex abstract maths which they will never use in the practical work. Some students are terrific graphic talents with lots of potential but are being made to complete huge amounts of written analytical discussion in fact the majority of these units have far too little of practical design attached. Some of them hate the written stuff so much they may fail the units or leave although are in actual fact really good designers.

    I worked with many graphic designers who were absolutely **** at maths and poor spellers (others were there for that) but they were still highly intelligent - at the end of the day to work as a graphic artist you need be capable of producing design fit for purpose, not create huge amounts of analytical deconstruction and evaluation or solve complex matrices with algebra... many students are falling by the wayside due to this culture and working in Morrisons or JD sports when they could be working for top design agencies. What do people think?
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  2. lapso77

    lapso77 New commenter

    I think it is soul destroyingly sad. My subject, similar to yours has gone from 60% creative coursework to one piece worth 30%, although at the exam board launch meeting we were told there are no longer any marks for creativity within it - designs will be considered right or wrong to put us in line with Maths etc. The rest of the course and exam is essay writing and analysis of current products. We will produce a generation who are only qualified in writing essays about each subject with no practical skill to actually work in or make advances in their field. Very sad and short sighted imho
    Anonymity, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It has been a great many years since any sat or resat an O-Level.

    I'm afraid I do think the 3rs are important and children should be able to leave school with a basic level of maths and English. If they have to take an extra year to do so, then so be it.

    I think the issue is more that children are happy to spend hours on things they enjoy, but are not willing to work hard and persevere with things they don't immediately love or with things they find difficult. They drop out because they have to work hard to achieve in school/college and a job in JDSports is easy and gives them money. Long term gain and deferred gratification is an alien concept to many young people today.
    joLT, swampyjo, phlogiston and 9 others like this.
  4. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    It is a real shame. I think there needs to be the scope for children to explore all aspects of their skills, whether creative, practical, design, mathematical or other. It's really difficult as an English teacher to get kids to enjoy the subject or in fact make progress when you're cramming grammatical terms into them, giving extra lessons/booster sessions/revision sessions etc. while they're being removed from subjects they actually enjoy. Children should absolutely be numerate and literate to a high standard but we should also embrace their talents in a range of areas.
    phlogiston and drek like this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi mikecom

    Recently, I was a scribe for a student taking a mock GCSE maths paper and although there was some algebra on it, most of the concepts were things most people would need in everyday life or further study: graphs, working out profit, and interest and percentages. I think his was the foundation paper, so the higher paper would be more difficult. Perhaps that is what you are referring to. Are your students able to choose between a higher and foundation maths paper?

    CTB makes some valid points about having to work hard and to defer gratification in order to meet goals. Many young people in six forms and colleges today also are combining work with their study in order to save for cars, have phones and pocket money for socialising. It is incredibly difficult to study and work at the same time, but many students do it. I don't know how many eventually drop out of college/six forms because they can't keep up the pace and choose the money over their studies.
    drek and rachelpaula008 like this.
  6. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    You can blame government but not colleges. Colleges don't get any funding for students without Cs for English or Maths unless they are on English and/or Maths courses. The colleges wouldn't be able to afford to let artistic students do the courses they want to do without the funding.
    saluki, drek, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  7. eddiev

    eddiev New commenter

    I have just left a job in FE, teaching resit GCSE English to students taking vocational courses (eg. Hairdressing, Motor Vehicle, IT) who failed to gain a C grade at school. We had well over 1000 resit students!!

    With that many students and the limited FE budget, you can imagine how effective these resit classes are. Huge class sizes, no differentiation and lecture style classes. I think our pass mark was around 30% last year :-(

    It's a great idea for students to have access to resits so they can gain qualifications which will help them, but the current system is failing students who were already disillusioned in the first place. As they have to keep resitting English and maths until they turn 19, we had students who were being dragged through their THIRD year of resitting the same qualification and the only thing this is doing is turning them off education :-(
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    well, in spite of the circumstances, and the huge reluctance to participate, that is 30% of your students leaving with a maths qualification they didn't think they could get!

    I think that's great. The impact on their future prospects is huge!

    however, as in many such measures, ofsted are likely to set an arbitrary level without any reference to reality, and expect schools to meet it, without resources, time or cooperation from the students, and then slate us when it doesn't happen

    From me though, well done! xx
    drek, wanet, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  9. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I think this is hardly a Workplace Dilemma and belongs on another forum.
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I disagree, I think what to do with our failing maths and english students is very much a work place dilemma!
    pepper5 and DYNAMO67 like this.
  11. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I agree with dunnocks.

    Without ranting I am getting a little tired of workplace dilemmas.

    Look at it, same posts have been here for weeks. Same responses from the same posters.

    I for one don't intend on returning, not with any regularity anyway (certainly when back in work)
  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    It seems obvious to me that the better your maths and English is when you leave school, the easier your life will be, and the better your qualifications in maths and English, the more choices you will have.

    I agree with maths and English being compulsory until 18 (education leaving age)

    I agree with anyone who has got a D in the GCSEs should be working on getting up to a C, and anyone below a D should be working at an easier qualification, such as functional skills.

    And I agree with the IB philosophy that anyone who has "passed" the GCSE (ie C) should be working on improving heir maths and English skills at a higher level.

    But the way it is being done is all wrong.

    How could a small maths department used to accepting a small number of willing motivated resitters cope with the massive sudden influx of reluctant non attenders? The department in my school was simply overwhelmed. There were not enough books, classrooms, chairs, desks or teachers. One of my friends had a register of 60 for one class, no more than 20 ever came, but never the same 20 twice. He was expected to ring every parent of every non attender every day,..... several hours of phone calls every evening - in the full knowledge that if more than half the class ever did attend there would be standing room only.


    then of course - he got blamed for his class's poor results, and lost his job.

    As to including maths and english in other courses, well, there is a fine balance to be struck. If you are doing a BTEC in health and social care, for example, you need a certain level of maths and english to reach the standard required, so it is reasonable that it is part of the course, and of the units within it.

    But obviously, it has to be achievable, and not overwhelming.

    This may need to be reflected in the recruitment stage, if a candidate is NOT capable of the level of maths and English that an employer or university would reasonably expect of a student with that qualification in health and social care 9 or science, or graphic design) then they should maybe be steered towards a lower level course?
    drek, sabrinakat and DYNAMO67 like this.
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    That's the reason no-one else in a position to give informed and accurate advice bothers to come here and respond to posts any more.
  14. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Excellent post.
    drek and pepper5 like this.
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    It's a very interesting topic - but is not an individual Dilemma. This forum was established specifically to provide support for individuals.

    The topic is worthy of extended discussion and it won't get it on WD.
  16. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I personally think (for me anyway) it is two fold

    1) I think too many posts are of a nature where specific advice is sought and needed. See capability ones. I think people are put off posting less serious ones that more people can have an opinion on. I have no interest in replying to something like capability. It is not an issue I can after all.

    2) I think there are a significant number of posters with a grievance against the profession on here skewing the boards
    chelsea2, GLsghost and pepper5 like this.
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The difficulty with the subject matter in GCSE English and Maths is perhaps not the problem - what is part of the problem is the large class sizes that teachers have to teach. With large classes, teachers don't have time to ensure every student is on track and things start to slip. With large class sizes, the behaviour can become more challenging and teachers instead of teaching are spending vast amounts of time following up behaviour issues and ringing parents; time that could be spent on marking papers and planning lessons to fill the gaps that students have. As a supply teacher, I have seen many classes working below what they could actually be doing because of the very poor behaviour in the classes.

    How could an area have 1000 resits? Something is wrong and it is a terrible waste of tax payers' money to pay for thousands of students to resit exams that they have studied five years for.
  18. coldmetal

    coldmetal Occasional commenter

    I agree it's more goverment wrong thinking
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That's the part that does my head in. On the news board, the dilemmas board, the subject boards, the primary/secondary boards.
    Why, if you leave a profession because you have no faith in it, you would choose to keep telling yourself and others over and over how terrible it all is, I have no idea.
    Why, if you aren't even in that profession, though possibly a related one, you spend ages telling everyone how terrible their profession is and what a state it is in and how terrible their lives must be because they choose to remain in that profession is also beyond me.

    I don't mind this topic being here, but:
    I don't think the OP will engage in sensible discussion. See their responses later in this thread here
    I think the thread will quickly be derailed by those with an axe to grind.
    I think those who like to exaggerate and extrapolate will ensure we are all in no doubt how terrible their workplace is.

    It might work better on the FE board.
  20. coldmetal

    coldmetal Occasional commenter

    I think another piece of wrong thinking here caterpillar, if I'm talented at art then let me do art, if youre talented at maths you do the maths this is the way society works - don't make be forced to reach a standard of maths and make my course 70% written work for me to get to my artisitic desire. In the graphic design industry it's not crucial to have a qualification the creative portfolio is key then the company will put you in and get you to create design stuff and if you can do it you swim, if you can't you sink... there are many students who can write all the annotations and have the maths and they could not design their way out of a paper bag! sadly many who could have won't get that far because of the wrong thinking.

Share This Page