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Mr Russell

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by sos1, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Have just spent and afternoon writing to my list MSPs about supply teaching pay, loss of teaching posts and general instability in Scottish Education these days.....looking forward to my reply. Used www.writetothem.com to send group email. Feel better getting it out there![​IMG]
    Ironic use of time eh?
    Is it just me or does anyone else feel the momentum is building.....?
  2. Dundee's SNP-led council is proposing to cancel PE and music specialists in primary, but not to worry, primary teachers are trained to deliver those programs. Aye right.
    For the record, here's the Courier story, and a link to a blog by one of the Labour councillors---scroll down for his posts on the proposals as well as his take on the supply fiasco created by Mr Russell & Co. At least someone is speaking out. Anyone have any more examples?
    "Visiting specialists in music and physical education would be removed on a phased basis to save £77,000.
    There are 5.6 FTEs in music and 6.2 in PE, and the council say primary teachers are already fully trained to deliver the music and PE curricula. There is also support available from the arts and PE areas."

  3. I've been writing to my MSPs for months now. Any replies from government just talk about the grave financial situation and tough choices. I keep at it but you're right - it takes all of us pestering politicians to actually influence them.
  4. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    [​IMG] balls!
    having a big shout+swear out loud right now - ask any primary teacher if they feel confident enough to deliver ALL the Es+Os and they will tell you in 2 words. If they have the confidence then they are music teachers who do not have the patience required to do the demanding job which they already do so well.
    so that is how much the Arts are worth in this country?
    Why are parents allowing this to happen? They wouldn't tolerate me teaching their wee darlings primary subjects so what is the difference? Primary teachers need to vote with their feet and refuse to teach music and PE - obviously there is a councillor in the art teachers' corner here or art would be getting taught by colouring-in amateurs (no offence to my Art teacher colleagues meant).

  5. Aberdeen City removed theirs -(last year or the year before?) There are no specialists, that I know of, in City primaries anymore.
  6. davieee

    davieee Occasional commenter

    Hugh Reilly has an interesting take on Supply Teacher's pay in today's Scotsman

  7. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    There are very few anywhere. We have tried so hard to make music a less-elitist subject over the last 30 years and the thanks we get is we've done ourselves out of a job by making it "fun" so it looks easy. (I know I'm not making much sense but this whole thing makes me so angry; role on my retirement and I'm doing private tuition, going to charge £25 at least per hour and get back to enjoying teaching music in a calm environment - I've had more than enough agro and stress)
  8. joni, aye, I can't get my head around this part at all.
    If a politician in Canada DARED to reduce, let alone axe wholesale, without so much as a by-your-leave, a PE or music program in a primary school, there would be all hell to pay from the parents---they'd be up in arms and out on the streets. The general shrugging passivity here, the willingness to roll over and take whatever the powers-that-be dish out, never ceases to amaze me.
  9. Maybe not in this country, but throughout North America, PE, music, art, and foreign language are taught by on-staff specialist teachers in primary from P1 through P7 (that is, Kindergarten to Grade 6). I taught in a poor rural area of Canada's poorest province, and no-one ever questioned the value of having full-time music and PE teachers on staff. It's nothing to do with money, btw. It's all about political---and parental---priorities. Oh, and sensible use of human resources.
  10. ragpicker

    ragpicker New commenter

    I may be misreading the article but it's not clear whether the 'specialist music instructors' referred to means instrumental instructors or whole class music specialists. Incidentally I'm not condoning the removal of either group, I'm just wondering which group is being referred to. If it is the instrumenatl instructors there can be no argument on the grounds that a class teacher can do this. If they mean the latter I can see how this argument can be made in theory however the reality is very different. Unfortunately it's probably the case that they mean both groups.
    The comment about redeployment of specialists to secondary schools is interesting. This suggests that the powers that be are thinking about instrumental instructors in this instance. It wouldn't suprise me if they hadn't considered the different roles of the two groups. My concern about this redeployment is that it is likely to be driven by an attainment agenda and so the instructors will be moved to those schools which are more likely to have young people being presented for national exams. This means that not only will children at primary school not get a chance to learn an instrument at a formative stage but the double whammy is that it is those children who are in more deprived areas who even at secondary level will now have less opportunity.
  11. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Music instructors do not need to have a teacher training certificate so could not teach classes.
    yes, back to those who have get more and the elitist state we were in 30 years ago.
    Cannuckgirl, thanks for agreeing with me - do you want to start a new school with me - equal partners [​IMG]
  12. ragpicker

    ragpicker New commenter

    Hi Jo. yes, I know. I meant instrumental instructors being moved back into secondary schools. I think theres a bit of confusion around the term 'music specialist' . There are instrumental instructors, who as you say, rarely have a teaching qualification and whose remit is to teach a particular instrument , or within a family of instruments. It is nonsense for anyone to argue that this is within the scope of all primary teachers. It was instrumental instructors being redeployed to seconddary that I was referring to. What I envisage happening is that they will be deployed on an attainment agenda.
    Then there are classroom based music teachers who specialise in teaching whole class music, in much the same way as an art specialist. This appears to be a rapidly disappearing group and in my experience comprise mainly of two particular groups of individuals: qualified secondary music teachers who are now working in the primary sector; qualified primary teachers who have a musical background/ specialism and have elected to specialise in this area. It is in respect of this group that I think the argument that 'all primary teachers are qualified to teach music' is presented.Perhaps technically they are but being qualified and being confident and competent are very different.

  13. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Unfortunately, if a child does not start learning to play a stringed instrument, such as a violin or cello, by Primary 4, they are unlikely to have time to develop the necessary technique.
    Introducing instrumental instruction for the first time in secondary is possible for some instruments but, generally speaking, the younger you start the better.
    As for primary teachers being trained to deliver the music curriculum, that clearly has to be something of a joke although there are, of course, some primary teachers who are musically gifted because of their own general education.
    What the powers-that-be don't seem to understand is that whilst being able to play a music CD, strum a guitar or teach children to sing songs is useful, it in no way comes anywhere near what can, and should, be provided by a trained Music Specialist. Designating someone the Music Coordinator is no substitute.
    Thirty or forty years ago, there was a thriving music tradition in many Scottish primary schools but slowly, over the years, it has been cut back and cut back. Where once almost every primary had visiting teachers for Music, PE, Art, Fabric Craft and Drama, now in some areas you are lucky to find any.
    Whatever happened to the education system that was supposed to be fit for the 21st Century and the new curriculum that was meant to ensure excellence?
    Yet Mike Russell believes today's pupils are very lucky to be living through this time. [​IMG]
  14. jubilada

    jubilada New commenter

    When McCrone came in, the specialists in our area were redeployed to cover McCrone time, and it was all a mess. Neither parents nor children were properly informed about what was happening, and probably deliberatly so. I remember having to explain to almost every class I saw why their lessons were arranged differently and they couldn't understand why at the end of a block of teaching they wouldn't see me again for over a year, if ever.
    The subsequent reduction in specialists has meant primary schools do not get full coverage.
    Some schools tried very hard to carry on as normal - concerts, teaching recorder and percussion, so parents probably thought everything was going OK. However this number of schools has got smaller over the years. Also parents of current primary 1-3 children are possibly unaware of what has been lost.
    I am appalled and genuinely saddened at the lack of real musical experiences and opportunities for primary children, but many parents do not appreciate the benefits of proper class music lessons.
  15. Exactly, fly.
    A disgrace in a country known the world over for its rich, distinctive, and massively influential musical heritage. Can people not see what is being lost here? Or do they just not care?

  16. I can't get my head around this. This is how the rest of the civilised world does classroom music in primary schools, and PE for that matter, not to mention art and foreign languages. Why does this not happen here? What is so hard about putting qualified specialist teachers on staff full-time to deliver proper professional programs? Don't say it's the cost----a music teacher would cost not one penny more than a general dogs-body "McCrone teacher".
  17. In the Dundee Evening Telegraph article that also focused on this issue, Shona Robison (Scottish Culture Minister) was apparently quoted as saying that 'the children won't notice any difference' if PE and Music teachers are withdrawn from Dundee schools!
    As a parent, I was appalled by that comment but, as a teacher, I wasn't at all surprised. The SNP keep bleating on about a curriculum for the 21st Century. What a joke!
    Ms Robison is also a parent, so if that's what she wants for her child, then fine but I want something much better for mine!
  18. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    In my view it does not happen because (and some may be surprised at my answer here) of the division between Primary and Secondary. I'll qualify that ...

    Primary education was, right from the get go in the 1870s, all about social control and training rather than education. Girls were taught to be servants and mothers and boys were taught to be factory hands.

    Secondary education was restricted to the middle classes and a few lucky wc kids who were able to get into Higher Grade Public schools. Until the 1950sand possibly even the 1960s when comprehensive secondary schooling got up steam, therefore secondary education was for the elite and primary education for the masses. The masses did not require all that fancy music stuff so, apart from class singing of cultural standards to develop an awareness of cultural heritage ("Appreciate, Connolly!") and the tastes of their betters music was very limited in primary schools. Sure, a few enthusiastic teachers did their best but they were urinating against a breeze.

    History casts a long shadow. I would suggest that we still have music in primary schools basically serving these ends. I'll bet there'll be a surge in music this month with Burns' Night but then its back to business as usual.
  19. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Dom, my dad was a pupil in England in the 40s+50s, as was his older brother. My uncle passed his 11 plus, my dad failed his - uncle went to grammar school then uni, dad to local sec. school till he left at 14. I'm sorry but I don't accept that we should blame the past. I was a pupil in 60s+70s and sang in class music or listened to records. I became a teacher in 1981 and I repeated what I had experienced plus a bit more instrumental playing in classes. Into the 90s saw the introduction of classroom instruments, music teachers using their composing skills to produce arrangements of pop songs for said classroom instruments and into the 2000s brought computer skills,music software programmes and such like.
    Now we are to go back to the dark ages of my father's generation when music was considered for the elite? Just because
    then does not mean we should do our children a similar dis-service. As for Burns Night - yes I am covering this with my wee ones, and the PE teacher is doing ceilidh dancing. We are moving onto our next topic on Feb 1st - don't know what PE is doing but I'm doing Jazz in my music time.
  20. jubilada

    jubilada New commenter

    Pre McCrone agreement, our music service had developed a really good way of working, by no means perfect but good value provision - specialist teaching, support for class teachers, new projects and developments, arts days/weeks. It was a great teaching and learning environment for both teachers and pupils.
    McCrone was the excuse that enabled the authority to remove all these opportunuties in order that we could cover six classes a day four and a half days a week; to cover all the regions schools it had be done a rotational basis. Despite all our efforts and protest, and little back up from EIS, the teaching of music became less important than having a body in front of a class to permit class teacher release.
    Unfortunately I cant see any likelihood of things improving in the near future. And if McCrone time is taken away, the few specialists that are hanging in there might find themselves out of a job, and any "music" taught will be by teachers who have had little training in the subject and no access to subject support.
    A grim picture.

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