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Providing calculators for students. Do we have to?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mathsteacher1953, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. We are trying to have a clampdown on pupils who do not come to lessons properly equipped. (Pen, pencil, ruler, calculator, book, + a few other items). I tend to lend compasses when they need them and even protractors on a good day but I cannot afford to provide calculators. I have a "Grot" box for pens, pencils and rulers but give the kids a hard time about it if they haven't got these basics (unless it is a student who usually never forgets)
    The Headmaster says that we cannot take sanctions against students who don't bring equipment (not even a detention) because schools are required to provide all equipment required for any course. I couldn't believe this but he has pointed me towards the 1996 Eduaction Act (England and Wales) and it certainly appears to be correct.

    Here is an extract:

    454[/URL]
    Neither the parent of a registered pupil at a maintained school nor the pupil himself shall be required to pay for or supply any materials, books, instruments or other equipment for use for the purposes of or in connection with—

    <a id="section-454-1-a" class="LegAnchorID">[/URL]education provided for the pupil at the school in respect of which, by virtue of section 451, no charge may be made, or[/i]
    <a id="section-454-1-b" class="LegAnchorID">[/URL]a syllabus for a prescribed public examination which is a syllabus for which the pupil has been prepared at the school.[/i]
    <a id="section-454-2" class="LegAnchorID">[/URL]Nothing in subsection (1) shall prevent the parent of a pupil from being required to pay for or supply any materials for use for the purposes of the production, in the course of the provision of education for the pupil at the school, of any article incorporating those materials, where the parent has indicated before that requirement is made that he wishes the article to be owned by him or by the pupil.[/i]

    I know all the reasons why a student should have their own calculator (so that they learn how to use it) but on the face of it we cannot insist on them bringing any equipment for Maths (Not even a pen, pencil or ruler). For this reason the Head wants to go easy. He is worried that we could find ourselves having to provide everything.

    Has anybody else got any experience of not being allowed to impose sanctions for lack of equipment or does anybody know whether this part of the act has been the subject of legal interpretation?
     
  2. We are trying to have a clampdown on pupils who do not come to lessons properly equipped. (Pen, pencil, ruler, calculator, book, + a few other items). I tend to lend compasses when they need them and even protractors on a good day but I cannot afford to provide calculators. I have a "Grot" box for pens, pencils and rulers but give the kids a hard time about it if they haven't got these basics (unless it is a student who usually never forgets)
    The Headmaster says that we cannot take sanctions against students who don't bring equipment (not even a detention) because schools are required to provide all equipment required for any course. I couldn't believe this but he has pointed me towards the 1996 Eduaction Act (England and Wales) and it certainly appears to be correct.

    Here is an extract:

    454[/URL]
    Neither the parent of a registered pupil at a maintained school nor the pupil himself shall be required to pay for or supply any materials, books, instruments or other equipment for use for the purposes of or in connection with&mdash;

    <a id="section-454-1-a" class="LegAnchorID">[/URL]education provided for the pupil at the school in respect of which, by virtue of section 451, no charge may be made, or[/i]
    <a id="section-454-1-b" class="LegAnchorID">[/URL]a syllabus for a prescribed public examination which is a syllabus for which the pupil has been prepared at the school.[/i]
    <a id="section-454-2" class="LegAnchorID">[/URL]Nothing in subsection (1) shall prevent the parent of a pupil from being required to pay for or supply any materials for use for the purposes of the production, in the course of the provision of education for the pupil at the school, of any article incorporating those materials, where the parent has indicated before that requirement is made that he wishes the article to be owned by him or by the pupil.[/i]

    I know all the reasons why a student should have their own calculator (so that they learn how to use it) but on the face of it we cannot insist on them bringing any equipment for Maths (Not even a pen, pencil or ruler). For this reason the Head wants to go easy. He is worried that we could find ourselves having to provide everything.

    Has anybody else got any experience of not being allowed to impose sanctions for lack of equipment or does anybody know whether this part of the act has been the subject of legal interpretation?
     
  3. DM

    DM New commenter

    You are actually quoting legislation that has been revoked and replaced by subsequent statutory instruments but that is irrelevant as nothing significant has changed.
    You cannot charge a parent for equipment you lend to a child.
    You cannot force a parent to buy equipment for their child.
    However, there is nothing there to suggest a school has to pay for this equipment either.
    I would avoid giving sanctions. The sanction is the inevitable underperformance of the child.
     
  4. I find this one quite a toughy.
    If your cohort are a well motivted bunch and its the norm to bring the materials then there is no issue IN THE MAIN and I feel there should be a way pupils can 'earn/win' equipment from the school to encourage them.
    On the flip I have taught in schools where the kids will simply not buy them and parents often can;t or won't support the purchase.
    I feel (big picture time) we have to provide them as marking their GCSE papers 5 months out we see how many marks we could be saving by the use of a compass, calculator and even a ruler (would you believe)
    The average loss of marks was around 6-8% per paper and for many that is the borderline. I have a class set of calcs and just get the kids used to the kit in lessons.
    You may offer those purchasing calcs from you a 'return' purchase at the end of their GCSE/year for some of their moeny back. You can then use the calcs for those who don't subscribe.
    Many kids are eager, many less so and this is often the straw that breaks the <strike>mules</strike> camels back. I would prefer an engaged (or at least semi engaged) kid using my own kit (my personal kit) than the constant battle, setting of sanctions and increased BP if they dont have a &pound;5-6 calc.
    C'mon you can get 20 fags 4 a fiver
    &pound;5-6 per pupil for calc and ruler/compass kept in a class set of 30 is an outlay but for some groups I think its a 'suck it up' moment
     
  5. My thought here is that it's irrelevant without the support of your head.
     
  6. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    In a recent ofsted inspection, a rogue inspector tried to suggest a teacher's lesson could not be graded anything more than 'satisfactory' due to having to lend out equipment such as rulers and calculators. We complained and the judgment was subsequently revoked.
     
  7. swampyjo

    swampyjo New commenter

    This has made me so angry, reading the OP. We issue the pupils calculators on day 1 and charge parents (state boarding school, 100% boarders). If they turn up without one, they do a page of sums. (they may get a warning)
    I have 6 spare calculators for those who forget. They have to leave me with a deposit of their shoe if they want to borrow one!
     
  8. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I agree. If a kid hasn't got a calculator I'll lend them one, but the ones available for loan are often antediluvian. However, with constant encouragement, I usually find that before too long everyone has acquired their own [decent] calculator. It also helps to suggest a few models, what they cost and where to buy them.

    Mind you, having never worked in anything like an inner-city school, I can't say whether my experience would translate to everywhere.
     
  9. I really do wonder what ofsted do in their spare time
     
  10. We are a small town, but big catchment area, truly comprehensive school of 1300 pupils. Like most of us I am under terrific pressure to improve results by getting the D grades (and E grades!) up to C. Support from parents in the target group is not good and it seems that far too many of the students and their parents are ot bothered about whether they get a C.
    I am a realist, I have had a bottom set year 11 vocational group today and I lend them rubbishy calculators if they need them because it isn't worth the hassle. The problem is that even these are likely to get trashed if I don't keep a really good eye on them. I manage to cajole the group along and I'll be quite delighted when they get a pass of any sort. They are quite funny in their coarse way.
    The real worry is those students below set 1 who are good enough for a grade C but who can't be bothered to bring basic equipment or a calculator. I'd love to let them get the result they deserve (because they can all afford a calculator) and I am pretty sure that in the long term a touch of the hard reality of life would stir a number of students and their parents into taking more responsibility. The problem for everybody these days is that it is not an option. I cannot afford class sets out of my budget (we tried this a few years ago) so teachers tend to make do by handing out manky calculators which often don't have the functions necessary for a grade C student. Either that or we lend them a Casio and they buy a Sharp days before their exam and don't know how to use it!

    They need the kick up the backside to ensure that they get properly equipped but if I cannot, technically, even give detention my hands are tied. Naturally, I do give lunchtime/breaktime detentions and have a standard letter to send home to those who consistently come unequipped. My difficulty is now that the Head is suggesting that we are on thin ice and from his perspective we cannot give sanctions.
    One of the most important things we should be teaching students is the importance of taking responsibilty for their own actions and I think we end up failing them. Business leaders often comment on the attitude of fresh out of school recruits. If only they knew what we are up against. I have managed to get my middle/ lower middle year 10 group to bring all equipment but it just seems such a struggle and I fear that others may give up the battle.

     
  11. Yes, been in the same place. It does annoy me when the kid comes in with a sharp because it was a quid cheaper or looks nicer....."we have just done a year on the casio and you have no idea how to use that do you?" "No but its pink"
    Its a hard one but I say even 10 per class and an emulator woud be a good addition and suck it up in terms of the moral standpoint...I appreciate how hard it is...I really do
     
  12. Lend em a calculator! [​IMG]
    Nag em to buy one BUT lend em a calculator.
    Who gets the b(*&^^king if the pupil underperforms???? [​IMG]
     

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