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If only I was Secretary of State for Education, I'd.......and you?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by tandemtinker, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. tandemtinker

    tandemtinker New commenter

    Something drastic has to be done to improve a teacher's lot, if all the threads here and general discontent within the profession are to be believed! Here are my suggestions from nearly 50 years' experience in primary schools!
    (a) Remove Ofsted and replace it with an equally robust local authority inspection. ( CFBt) with HMI inspections at

    (b ) Remove externally marked KS2 SATs. ( the validity of such is so questionable when schools invigilate the testing
    process themselves) I am all for maintaining the highest standards in the 3Rs, both in delivery and testing, but to
    allow schools to conduct their own exams, when the results can so influence a school's reputation, is asking for
    dubious practices from certain unscrupulous quarters!! ( incidentally, in the early 60's, the 11plus was the norm!
    No head or teacher was allowed to invigilate the exam in their own school...heads moved to each others' schools
    to administer it, so to remove any hint of foul play!!!)

    (c) Replace unnecessary bureaucracy forthwith!! Planning and recording in the last few years has become a ludicrous
    albatross round teachers' necks! We are professionals and should not have to put chapter and verse about how, or
    what we teach in front of a class....can you imagine our medical colleagues writing down the minutiae of every time
    they perform an appendectomy or a dentist an extraction?

    (d) Remove the statutory requirement for "a daily act of corporate worship" One a week is sufficient. I have seen and
    continue to see so much wasted teaching time taken up with over-long assemblies! Often these assemblies are
    delivered to such a wide age-range that attention and interest, cannot be maintained!

    (e) Remove the compulsion to teach MFL, unless the teaching of it is overhauled and made more meaningful...I've
    been lucky enough to visit Chinese and Japanese primaries and see their teaching of English...their 20 minute
    DAILY lesson from 5 to 11 years of age DOES provide spectacularly successful and meaningful results.....I can't
    say the same for our country's teaching of MFL!

    (f) If all the figures of obesity and generally unhealthy primary school children are to be verified, give a higher priority
    to physical education in our schools.....and I mean physical!....where the heart rate is increased significantly....I am a
    great believer of "Circuit Training" in the primary school, where each child , twice a week, works at their own speed
    and ability. ( no teacher. in my school, planned or recorded results! ....that was up to the children themselves!)

    I hereby end my ranting! Something has to be done to improve our image! I do hope there will be replies to shoot
    me down in flames! I'd like to hear your views! I used to think that teaching was a "calling" Is it still?
    TEA2111 likes this.
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Did you say 'Abolish OfSTED'? If not, I'd add it...

    Oh, and a moratorium on all substantive changes for 5 years.
    lanokia likes this.
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Scrap Ofsted... like FF said.

    Two decades of declining standards show them up to be a national joke.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    • Get rid of state funded religious schools and remve state funding from any school not under local authority control.
    • The majority of children go to their nearest local school. We get census data so there should be ways to plan for this.
    • Every classroom is led by a fully qualified teacher.
    • Kids who struggle get smaller group teaching with a fully qualified teacher, often their own class teacher. Removing the weakest learners to work with the poorest qualified is idiocy.
    • Get rid of Ofsted.
    • Kick Pearson out of the system. Have one exam board and set strict rules for course materials etc. so that everything needed is freely available to all candidates and teachers.
    • Set maximum class contact time at around 20 hours.
    • Cap SMT numbers to a set ratio to pupil numbers.
    secretsiren likes this.
  5. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    • Scrap league tables and arbitrary targets that assume that all people learn at the same rates at the same time and end up in the same place.
    • We should be allowed to let children fail. It can be a good thing to teach them to work harder, revise more or simply that they're not good at something. It's not the end of the bloody world and it would mean less cheating.
    • Performance related pay should be scrapped.
    • No forced academies, no more free schools.
    • Abolish Ofsted and implement a mutually supportive system in which constructive criticism and help is given, linking really successful schools with ones that need a bit of a push so that there are lots of opportunities to share the good stuff and have a hand with the tough stuff.
    • Accept that the world needs practical and artistic people as well as people with academic qualifications. I thank God there are plumbers, mechanics, electricians and builders - do all children need to go through a one-size-fits-all approach? I would argue not.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  6. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    YES! THAT!! I failed at nearly everything at school at O Level and it didn't kill me! (And I STILL got a degree and post-grad quals and became a teacher..... so actually maybe I was stupid after all!.....)
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    It's interesting... my old school paid lip service to the notion that children should be allowed to 'fail' but it was so obvious that the responsibility for the failure was then transferred to the teacher and it was their duty to catch the pupil in their teaching and action... they were the safety net.

    I think it was called ... 'The Pit'.

    Tosh of course.
  8. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I agree with the majority of the suggestions above. I would also make school optional from 14. I think that would improve motivation. Pupils would be there by choice. Even if it is their parents' pressuring them into staying the school could expect more support from the parents than they currently receive.

    I would give pupils who leave the option of returning for more education later, if they decide they need it.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    • Improve links with colleges, training providers and businesses so that pupils can go out on extended work experience/specialist courses from about 14/15. Get this properly certified with something employers respect.
    • Have more flexible approaches to inclusion where a school campus also has specialist support and pupils can opt in or out of the mainstream school timetable as appropriate.
    • Encourage and ethos which treats pupils like people rather than prisoners to be hemmed in by fences, cameras and stupidly short lunch breaks.
    • Have space for kids to run about.
    • If there are unifroms make them sensible so pupils can (for example) play football in it at lunchtime rather than dressing them up in formal "business" wear which a) is usually not very hard wearing or washable, b) looks like **** when transferred to cheap fabrics anyway and c) in no way prepares anyone for the world of work.
    foxtail3 likes this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Many of the responses above do not fit with the first sentence of the OP:

    So let me likewise growl likewise while addressing the OP:

    1. Reform ITT. Most Education schools may as well be polytechnics. They suck down hordes of graduates each year, mostly unsuitable by degree & by disposition, and train them to be teachers with predictable results on pupil performance and our prestige. We have gone from being recognises as an honoured and invaluable profession to being discussed as a workforce but are, in effect, a commodity.
    2. Recognise that QTS does not make you a teacher and do something about it. There are far more important things such as a feel for people, for your subject, grounded enthusiasm and practical intelligence. In fact, QTS is to teaching what I.Q. tests are to intelligence - non-predictive. Non-QTS teachers are not the threat to our terms & conditions represented by the QTS-waving, first-jobbing, agency-fodder pap produced by most ITT courses.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
    hermitcrabbe and foxtail3 like this.
  11. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    • I'll buck the trend here and suggest not scrapping OfSTED, I think they have an important role to play in education. They just do it badly. Their remit is to improve education, yet they are devoid of suggestions to actively help schools improve what they're doing. They should be a research focused organisation, looking into what schools do well and helping disseminate that knowledge. When visiting schools it is no help to bash with a stick and say "do better", there should be a constructive dialogue where inspectors work with schools to improve on the weaknesses - sometimes that may be personnel, but it may be other things as well. The current culture is demoralising and destructive when it should be supportive and progressive.
    • Teacher training needs an overhaul. I learnt next to nothing useful at university and learnt everything useful while actually working. I don't really know the right solution to this but my 4 years getting a degree were pointless. Being a primary school teacher is not a career that requires a degree. Secondary may be different but I won't try and make recommendations when I don't know what I'm talking about.
    • The purpose of our education system needs defining, at the moment it is very directionless. Is it to pass exams and look good to the world? Is it to improve on exam figures every year? Is it to prepare students for specific jobs that have been identified as "jobs for the future"? Is it to make sure every child has the necessary skills to survive at life regardless of which field they end up in? Is the goal for primary schools different to those in secondary? At the moment exams are the only purpose of the system, but does it really help everyone prepare for life beyond school? It's an important debate that needs to be had.
    • Sort out society and be harsh on societal problems that impact on children. Is your child fat? Then stop feeding him/her and encourage some exercise. Is your child rude/getting into trouble with the police? Then instill some discipline at home. Too many problems get in the way of educating children and too many problems get shoveled onto schools that are actually problems that better parenting or higher expectations from society should sort out.
  12. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    Make sufficient alternative educational provision so that all kids who disrupt the learning process in mainstream schools for whatever reason can be removed from there for as long as necessary.

    Allow totally disaffected students to leave school early, with a voucher for further education later when the need for skills/knowledge becomes fully apparent even to them.
    bombaysapphire likes this.
  13. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Abolish my own role as Secretary of State for Education. This role is far too powerful for the likes of a layperson to be messing around with.

    It should be more like in Finland where all educational issues are run by a series of committees staffed by people from the industry including universities and schools and not from political think tanks or politicians.

    In Finland, teachers are much happier and the status of teachers is very high. Every single teacher has to be educated to Masters level in which they have to academically justify their own philosophy of education before being allowed to teach. Teachers volunteer to be a head teacher for a 5 year period before resuming their teaching career. Can you imagine? The squeals from the porkers would be cacophonous with protest.
    FolkFan likes this.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    One word ruins it all. Can you guess which?


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