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One primary teacher's open letter to the government: 'The standards expected are now untenable'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Nicky Morgan again, '... we trust your judgement...'

    delnon likes this.
  2. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    Best have a word with Ofsted and large swathes of SLT across the country.

    Because they positively don't.
    petenewton and delnon like this.
  3. lightningconductor

    lightningconductor New commenter

    Well spotted, Vince.
    But you've missed the point of my comment about your accurate observation.
    What was the point of stating that open letters are fashionable?
    It's just too cryptic for the normal bods like me to understand.
    (Or maybe it was just a pointless comment. Do you have a lot of spare time at the moment?)
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

  5. SDBennett

    SDBennett New commenter

    This letter hits the nail on the head. Here's hoping that it makes a lick of difference.
    delnon likes this.
  6. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    No, I absolutely don't agree.

    The reason Primaries are worried about the new KS2 standards is simply because Primaries are desperately clinging onto the failed Religion of Progressive Education and still not teaching kids to read properly via synthetic phonics.

    In my own subject, maths, I see primaries are desperately doing all they can to avoid teaching times tables, number facts and long multiplication and division. I suspect this is because a large number of primary teachers don't actually know their times tables and can't do long multiplication or division themselves.

    Stop clinging to known failing methods. Teach the kids properly, then the KS2 tests can look after themselves.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

  8. Gillimarie

    Gillimarie New commenter

    Bravo, well said. I couldn't have put it better myself.
  9. nical73

    nical73 Occasional commenter

    Are you serious? How very patronising to any a Primary School Teacher - especially those, like myself, in year 6.
    Primary School teachers and TA's are experts in teaching children to read.
    In relation to your comment about maths, your own subject, how do "you see primaries desperately doing all they can to avoid teaching times tables, number facts and long multiplication and division?"
    I would like to know how many primary schools you have visited, spent time in and how many observations have you conducted in these schools?
    I teach, always have done for the past 20 years, daily times tables, long multiplication and division. Every maths lesson (daily) plus two booster sessions a week at the moment, are spent on number facts and using and applying all of the KS2 objectives in reasoning within problem solving. My children in my class are excellent at long multiplication and division. I just wonder if you are actually aware of the KS2 curriculum and feel that your comments are extremely rude.
  10. deanow

    deanow New commenter

  11. deanow

    deanow New commenter

    Ah, Paul DG, do come and show us all how it should be done. Perhaps you could pop in to our local secondary schools, some of whom visited recently, to impart your knowledge. They asked how they could find out what was taught in KS2. It seems, like you, they had little grasp of what actually happens in a Primary School.
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I expect they were being sarcastic.
    aspensquiver_2 likes this.
  13. Headwaltonoak

    Headwaltonoak New commenter

    Emily Gazzard - brilliant! This is the letter I have been mentally composing in my head for the last 9 months, put beautifully and succinctly. How can this not be heard?!
  14. lightningconductor

    lightningconductor New commenter

    I would advise my fellow primary teachers not to bother contributing to this thread any more.
    The all-knowing secondary teachers who have contributed recently are so ****-sure that they know better and can do better that they will not listen to those who actually work with primary aged children. Of course, they will never be able to prove how much better they can do. They don't get the chance to work with primary children on a day to day basis, year after year as we do, so they can sit behind their keyboards and spout their criticism without ever having to put their ideas to the test. They can make sweeping untrue statements about primaries avoiding teaching certain aspects of maths (and insult their fellow professionals too) without any proof quite happily, it seems.
    Of course, one of them will now come on and describe their observations of teachers in KS2 or state that they once met a primary teacher who didn't know what eight sevens were or whatever (and possibly expect people other than strangely prejudiced secondary colleagues to believe them).
    I'm glad to say that not one of the secondary teachers I know is similarly prejudiced.
    Taramichelle and deanow like this.
  15. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I've resisted commenting so far except by proxy but, 'succinct'? People think it's succinct? Really? It's a two.five thousand word appeal not to teach English, with headlines and hyperlinks. That's not succinct, that's Look-At-Me,

    aspensquiver_2 likes this.
  16. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    No it's not. It an accurate picture of what is happening in primary education today.
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Yes, unfortunately it is, but not in the sense that you intend.
  18. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    Paul, you make an interesting point. I can see where you are coming from. I would never presume to tell another teacher how to do their job, but I have to be honest here. I have known certain primary teachers (and it is not the majority) who emphasise fashionable show-lessons, fun, discovery and play activities above all else and use that approach for everything. More worryingly, new trainees coming in for placement do seem to believe that this is the only acceptable way to teach primary children and practically recoil in horror at the thought of more traditional 'old fashioned' methods. For things like times tables and long multiplication, I really believe that this kind of thing does not happen by accident and it needs teaching rigorously, often by rote methods. I also agree with you about the reading - phonics is helpful for a lot of children, but it is not the only way and there is, in my view, far too much emphasis on it in primary.

    That said, I do believe that the majority of primary teachers try their utmost to get their pupils to the highest standards possible. We just have to accept that, despite the best efforts of the teacher, some pupils simply don't reach them. It's not an excuse, but family issues, parenting, societal culture and genuine mental health issues do stand in the way, especially in pupils so young.

    I respect your plain speaking though. It is refreshing.
  19. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    i don't respect his plain speaking when such comments seem to allude to ALL primary teachers.I have never knowingly done fun lessons or not stinted on tables,rote learning etc etc...i was brought up the 1950's and I assure you life was not easy.we worked hard and learnt fast( a slap with a ruler gave you encouragement). Most of the work was boring, repetitive and left you no room for thought or creative learning...similar with Secondary.
    In My 38 years of teaching both in Secondary and Primary I have seen fashions come and go.I was trained in progressive methods but did not adhere to them.so as a matter of practice taught reading(every child heard at least twice a week) Maths in various forms as long as the child learnt,understood and was able to apply that knowledge......Its a fallacy that teachers do not work hard and if there is a need for a 'fun' lesson its usually because the SLT demand to see such things in their observations,and in some cases because it gets over a point better than strictness.
    But please do not assume PaulDG that you can simply class all with one description....get your ass into schools and see the hard work teachers are doing.
  20. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    He's entitled to his opinion.
    aspensquiver_2 likes this.

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