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How do you fight 2.5 hrs of non "teacher" time

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by subman68, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    Well it is well and truly here. My kids go to a primary where they will "pilot" the 2.5hrs of non teacher time. I have only been told as I know one of the teachers friends (they were told not to tell pupils or parents).
    I am very very unhappy about this and see it as the thin end of a very big wedge. So what do I do.
    Take my kids out of school during this 2.5hrs? (if I can get someone to watch them)
    Write to the MSP/Counciler/Council/everyone?
    Phone/Talk to the HT and express my total P'ed offness about it.
    What are the ideas folk I really want to fight this.
  2. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    Well it is well and truly here. My kids go to a primary where they will "pilot" the 2.5hrs of non teacher time. I have only been told as I know one of the teachers friends (they were told not to tell pupils or parents).
    I am very very unhappy about this and see it as the thin end of a very big wedge. So what do I do.
    Take my kids out of school during this 2.5hrs? (if I can get someone to watch them)
    Write to the MSP/Counciler/Council/everyone?
    Phone/Talk to the HT and express my total P'ed offness about it.
    What are the ideas folk I really want to fight this.
  3. 1) Protest to the HT verbally.
    2) Follow that up with a written letter (is there any other kind?!) demanding a reply as to what "learning" your children will experience whilst under the care of other unexpert (?) personnel.
    3) Whatever the reply, ask how what they say will be measured. Eg, if they say children will learn about sports then ask what goals, what experiences and outcomes will be targeted, and how that will be measured, by whom, when and how often.
    4) Ask <u>what is the point of your children being at school</u> - a place of learning, remember - if they are not learning anything. Hint - subtly or in-your-face - at removing your children from school during this time.
    5) Spread the word amongst your fellow parents - after all, you would want to know what was happenning to your kids, as you obviously do.
    6) Get fellow parents to complain as well, and kick up a fuss as well as you. How's about a few, or all, parents getting together and removing their children from school during this 2.5 hours? Practicalities may kick in, as I'm sure you are aware, but even if a decent proportion of pupils were removed then this would be a significant protest (if parents can't get time off work to do this then get a lawyer to draft a letter allowing you to take their kids for this time as well as your own).
    7) Lobby the school's PTA, school board etc. Demand that this is an agenda item at their meetings. Use them to put pressure on the school as well (I mean, ***, they're just glorified talking shops anyway, get them to actually do something for a change).
    8) Let your local newspapers know what's going on and use them to put pressure on the school.
    But you're right in wanting to do something about this. I hope the above is helpful, or at least helps point you in the right direction.
  4. I can see a political response for this being, "The 2.5 hours have been planned carefully by, or in conjunction with, the classteacher and therefore the quality of learning will not be affected".
    Begs the question, "What about the quality of the teaching?" and how much preparation time teachers will have to do give themselves non-contact time.
    Not sure that removing my kids would be my own answer unless you can prove that the 2.5 hours you give them is evidentially better than that which they might receive during the 2.5 hours in school. Therefore a few of BJs questions would be useful in helping you gain that evidence.
    To my mind, it should be the 'movers and shakers' that you need to pinpoint - senior managers, directors, politicians. It would appear that they are using your children as guinea pigs for the benefit of financial planning, not an improvement in their learning.
  5. Good point, Pete: ask why the school is doing this. Is it to save money or is it to improve the education of their pupils? If the former, then that's not a valid reason to do it. If the latter, then can they prove it?
    Personally, I think removing pupils from school would create such a stooshie that other schools and councils would avoid it at all costs.
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    bigjimmy makes some good suggestions.
    Start with the school. Write to the Head expressing concern. Get the School Board / Parent Council / Friends of the School group (whatever it's called) to discuss this at their meetings - if possible, get them to write to local councillors requesting that they attend (councillors can attend ex-officio, though it's not compulsory as was the case before.)
    Write to the councillors from your ward - you will have three or four of them. Pay particular attention to the councillors who are <u>not</u> part of the administration - they are the most likely to pick up the issue and run with it. Remind them that there are elections in 2012. Write, too, to the Chair of the Education Committee (this may not be the exact name, it varies from authority to authority) to ask why this is happening - it's unlikely that this would be happening at least without his/her knowledge, though it's not impossible.
    Local papers can also be useful - try to phone direct to one of the reporters, or the news desk, rather than writing a letter, as this will get them moving quicker. The more info you're able to give them the better.
    Good luck - the louder people protest about this the more those in the ivory towers are likely to see the nonsense of this idea.
  7. Questions 1-4 are addressed explicitly in Renfrewshire's proposal, so presumably the party line will be toed by the HT in that regard, assuming the HT will be interested in keeping a job. Therefore I don't see much point in wasting time there
    The thing is, this proposal should be on public record now, so there is no excuse not to know about it. If the parent council at your school is not riled up about this, they bluddy well should be. That's where you start. Forget faffing about with letters to the politicians. Mobilise the entire parent body to fight this. Get angry voters (ie, parents) out on the street in front of the school and all over the TV news. Politicians HATE that kind of publicity.
    It's important to remember that this proposal is above all a political decision. Renfrewshire Council is testing the waters to see how much they can get away with, and every other council in the country will be watching this with great interest. If Renfrew pulls this off---if the parents don't reject it outright---, this "modest proposal" will spread across teh country, and within a couple of years, every child in Scotland will lose 10% of their school time with teachers in the name of cost-cutting.
    There is NO educational reason for this choice, it is ALL to do with saving money, and the kids are the ones who will pay for it.
    Over to you, parents.
  8. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    This is outrageous! Why is this not common knowledge? Obviously they are expecting trouble from parents (at least). I have no more advice to add to what already has been said Subman, so please complain as loudly as you can.
    This is unbelievable and I'm speechless - when is all this going to end and what stupid scheme will they come up with next?
  9. FAO all: here is the proposal by Renfrewshire Council which was approved on January 13 and is set to be piloted in that authority beginning in April, for full implementation in August 2011.
    60 FTE teaching positions will be eliminated. Much cheaper council employees and part-time temporaries will take up the slack.
    Renfrewshire children will be taught by qualified teachers for only 22.5 hours per week, whereas children in the rest of Scotland will---for now, at least---have fully-qualified teachers for the full school week of 25 hours.
    When is the penny going to drop on this, I wonder?
  10. And please note that this proposal is for PRIMARY only. They've even got a super-duper moniker for it, A "Revised Model" for the "Delivery" of Primary Education, aka the "enrichment program."
    Swift's "Modest Proposal", anyone?
  11. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    This almost makes me wish I lived in Renfrewshire so I could write to local MSPs and councillors. In response to removing children from school for the 2.5, someone said you may have to prove what you do is more educationally valid. I don't think so if it's in protest. It's about sending a message that it won't be tolerated, not making permanent provision for the child to be educated at home. It would probably only work if a large number did it. You definitely should speak to the headteacher. They may well be dying for parents to complain as I'm sure most heads worth their position will be firmly against the move, but unable to act without parental intervention. This is probably not a feasible option for most but do you think threatening to send your children to school in neighbouring authorities would have an effect? I know some secondary kids from the Govan area go to school in Renfrew - would primary kids in Renfrew possibly be able to attend primary schools in the Govan/Rosshall/Bellahouston areas? That's one example of a placement situation and I apologise if it's ridiculous in practice.
  12. Thanks for the link CannuckGrrl. Just looked at point 3.11 and the appendix which sets out an example of the activites from P1 - P7.
    I've now made several attempts to make a rational comment but now find myself totally lost for words.

  13. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    I fail to see how the claim that 'this will ensure that continuity of learning and teaching for pupils is maintained by their own class teacher.' Do teachers currently teaching the 2.5 impede the ability of the class teacher to maintain continuity in a way that a council sessional worker wouldn't? Someone explain to me please - I must be reading it wrong!
  14. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    Sorry, I meant to say I fail to see how the claim can be justified, rather than the incomplete sentence I used instead!
  15. The entire document is breath-takingly stupefying in its double-speak and cycnism, is it not?
  16. Ack, that should be cynicism, of course. It's tooe early to be on here....[​IMG]..
  17. Write to your own MSPs. Explain that you are concerned about this proposal for the reasons outlined here by many and ask for reassurances that the government/your MSP's party will oppose both this situation and any measure to expand the scheme nationally.
  18. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    <font size="4">Thanks all for the advice. I did talk to the HT yesterday and she stated that she would not confirm "at this stage" that we are one of the pilot schools. She then stated that it would be good for the kids to experience different forms of teaching thought the school week. AAAAGGGH the bluudy HT has bought into it. I told her that I would be taking my children out of school during the time they did not have a teacher. She bluntly stated that she would have to inform the attendance officer about my plan......Silly B forgot they got shot of the attendance officers in the last lot of cuts.</font>Battle is on folk I will keep you updated.
  19. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    Sorry no idea what happened the font and size[​IMG]
  20. I heard of colleagues who are intending to leave the school if the 2.5 hour slot is at the same time for the whole school: let the external staff cope on their own.
    In that situation, what happens with confidential information about the children: medical information; alert information; additional support needs - will that be shared with these external staff? If the sessionis at the end of the day, are we happy with these staff dismissing the children?
    Our School Council chair circulated the following from a School Council chairs' meeting:
    The following questions were asked by Councillor Mark McWilliams to Robert Naylor, Director of Education prior to the Council vote and have been forwarded to me a few days ago.

    &bull; You have stated the budgeted hourly rate for the non teaching-qualified staff who will replace the qualified teachers is &pound;14, inclusive of on-costs and the average hourly rate for a teacher is &pound;29.58, including on-costs. Can you provide comparable figures for the average hourly rate of a classroom assistant in primary schools?
    &bull; Please also provide comparative figure for the 3 categories above exclusive of on costs i.e. the new sessional worker, existing teachers and classroom assistants?

    Category of Staff:
    Teachers(unpromoted) Average hourly rate incl on-costs &pound;29.58 Average hourly rate excl on-costs &pound;24.24
    Primary Classroom assistants Average hourly rate incl on-costs &pound;9.69 Average hourly rate excl on-costs &pound;8.15
    Sessional staff Average hourly rate incl on-costs &pound;14.00 Average hourly rate excl on-costs &pound;11.20

    Sorry I can't copy the table correctly, but you get the gist. It sounds as if the Councillor was moving towards asking the Council why they don't just employ Classroom Assistants in these roles, which as I understand it is pretty much what happens in England. If this is the road we have to go down, that would make more sense as at least they would know the school, know the children, and have some qualifications related to education!
    I'm very worried that the secrecy being employed by the Council means that parents are getting information second- and third-hand, don't know what to believe or how to protest. I agree that using your School Council is the way ahead, but I just have this horrible feeling of dread that Renfrewshire Council are going to do what the hell they want, no matter what anyone says.

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