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What a surprise

Discussion in 'Education news' started by gainly, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    patternandsurface likes this.
  2. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

  3. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    Sadly, many teachers are a bit clueless, irrespective of how good they are as teachers.They think that all you need to do to improve schools is to throw money at them, and so any party who tightens the purse strings is the enemy. In addition, Gove is not the most diplomatic or understanding of men, and although any Tory would have been opposed in principle by the, generally left wing, teachers organisations, during his time as Sec of State he was particularly unable to develop any sort of warmth or real rapport. A shame.

    Those of us who have had experience in the real world, as well as in schools, know that it it not money, but management, that makes things work well. Many head teachers and many governing bodies are completely out of their depth, which is the major problem in education today.

    Blair had quite a good run with teachers, despite all the corruption in his party and his appalling lack of judgement elsewhere, because he allowed a lot of the money that had previously been saved by prudent administration to be used for all kinds of wild schemes. Much of it was wasted.

    Although the knee-jerk reaction of many of the less, er, thought-enabled posters on here is of course to decry anything conservative, the fact is that all governments have promoted both good and bad things in their education policy. If BJ as PM is able to gain a decent majority so that the government can again function, it may be that we will see some better ideas coming through.

    And of course, once we finally get out of the dysfunctional, wasteful and corrupt EU, there should, over time, be more of our tax money to spend on our own citizens rather than on those of Luxembourg and Belgium.
     
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    You need both. In the event of a pay freeze, when you've driven along pot holed roads to get to a school needing considerable repair, where nothing seems affordable, what leads a teacher to think "the Tories want to have a strong economy in my part of the world?"
    Under the Tories, the management that puts cost cutting above all, even results, seems to rule.

    I have my doubts here. If we don't get a good deal for our exporters, the wealth of this country will continue to decline and there could bbe a lot less tax revenue.
    Even if they get more tax revenue, I do not believe they'll want to spend it on us (meaning the people generally). They'll cut taxes for the wealthy.

    True

    .
    He had no intention of ever being such.

    Anyone remember the Blob?
     
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    We don't "just" think that.
    This Government has been fixed on harder exams and outsourcing of governance.
    What else have they done to improve schools?
     
  6. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    I appreciate all your comments and the way you make them.
    I actually don't think it is really up to the government to do all that much. As a conservative I believe in small government - government as a facilitator rather than an interferer.
    In my ideal world of education, there would be a capitation sum for each student (there is), an extra premium for those areas of deprivation (there generally is), some brilliant training for school managers (hmmm) and a massive amount of freedom for the headteacher to run his/her school as s/he sees in the best interests of the students. (hmmm again).
    In addition, there would be several kinds of schools for post Y4 - like the German model - so that students with differing interests and abilities could make the most of them, but with a certain flexibility for a later switch if really seen as appropriate.
    I would want a far better system of accountability, based less on exams and more on holistic results, but accept that this is a difficult one to manage - though not impossible.
    Penultimately, I would want a very robust system of sanction and exclusion, probably using some kind of boot camp, for that 1% of persistent disruptors who cost so many wasted hours in so many lessons.
    Finally, I would want it to be far easier for teachers who are simply carp or not up to the job to be sacked. Sorry - but it's the futures of many human beings that bad teachers screw up, and they just have to go.
    So - let the government provide the resources and the framework, guide and train headteachers to a truly high level and remove the ones who are not up to the job - and then let them and us, get on with it.
     
  7. bessiesmith2

    bessiesmith2 New commenter

    For many teachers money is not the main gripe about the last 9 years of Tory education policy. Of course it is an issue, but it was clearly never the education secretary who was in charge of the Treasury and its austerity policies (although presumably they agreed with these on some level).

    For many of us the issues arise from the mounting work levels the Tories have created for us, driven by the requirement to provide evidence of everything we do to teach and support every type of child in our class in order to a) meet performance management targets and b) cover our backs in case any child fails to meet the fairly arbitrary target grades they have been set.

    It is all very well to blame these on individual headteachers but the fact is that it was the Tories that introduced performance related pay - at the same time as the huge budget reductions - thereby making it impossible for headteachers to grant pay rises to everyone who was doing a good job. The only way to balance budgets was to find spurious reasons to deny pay rises to as many members of staff as possible - and so the 'evidence' trick gained pace, alongside the more sinister threats of capability if any child did not meet the target grades. It was obvious to most teachers that this is what would happen before the policy was rolled out - so presumably also obvious to the Tories who introduced it.
     
  8. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    Of course the tories aren't popular with teachers.
    Academisation has allowed all the money to be stolen by MATs. It's given heads unlimited power to abuse staff. It has created an army of pointless, incompetent managers who spend their days making things worse for everyone. It's forced many thousands of decent, hard working and honourable teachers out of their jobs and the profession, to prop up the pay, conditions and ego of the managerial class. It has changed schools into exam factories that treat our children as product.
    I mostly despise the tories for entirely selfish reasons. They have destroyed my profession thoroughly. But I am an adult and I can go work somewhere else. I despise them because I am not rich, and they have shredded my daughters chances of a decent education. They have reduced her options, and those of all of her generation not at private school. It will probably take decades to repair the damage these sociopaths have done to the public sector, if it is ever repaired.
     
  9. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    I have made the following statement on here before. I know a senior servant in the treasury who has stated privately that there is sufficient money in Education but it is in the wrong place. I leave you to guess where!
     
    Sally006 and ajrowing like this.
  10. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I think the previous post answered where the money has gone.
     
  11. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I think that is the real key. It is the continual meddling of successive governments in things they know nothing about that causes the damage.
     
    Sally006, Jamvic and ajrowing like this.
  12. ajrowing

    ajrowing Lead commenter

    I'd like to suggest an improved paragraph to you.

    Those of us who have had experience teaching for many years in many schools, know that it it not money, but management, that makes things worse and worse. Many head teachers and many governing bodies are completely out of their depth, due to a lack of experience and time actually teaching.
     
  13. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    Well, I'm very happy to accept suggestions as to how I can do better in any walk of life, but I'm unsure how this improves my first effort. It merely makes the same point, i.e. that is is management, rather than money, that makes the most difference in a (hierarchical) organisation.
     
  14. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    I would respectfully disagree after my experience.

    After finding out the school I worked in had huge deficits, SLT decided the only way to balance the books was to make redundancies. They made redundant 15 members of teaching staff who were all on UPS, and all but 1 of the TAs.

    We went from a teaching staff of 35 to 20. All the experienced teachers went. I was an NQT and it was horrendous.

    The children in that school were in need of stability as they grew up with many challenges and for some, school was their only sanctuary. The continual stripping of funding had so many effects, too many to list, on students, staff and the local community.

    I would argue that if schools were given more money, we could have kept all our experienced staff and saved the heartache the staff and students went through which rippled out for many years to come.
     
  15. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Were any members of SLT made redundant?
     
    install and Jamvic like this.
  16. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I was a 'part-time' teacher when Maggie Thatcher arrived on the scene (another Tory of course). I was about to be appointed to full-time teaching at the college where I'd worked part-time for many years. The first thing she did was to stop all full-time appointments to Further Education. Then we had to buy our own materials - office magazine that my class needed, chalk, blackboard duster, paper and even the key to the staffroom so that, at 9 pm, I could get my coat out in order to go home in the winter. No chance of paying into a pension and, although I spent many hours preparing material and marking, at home, no payment for that. So here I am thinking what a b. fool I was. I, like other FE teachers, had experience and skills to get me work anywhere else in the world and to have worked without all this. But, I loved teaching and that was the problem.
     
    Jamvic likes this.
  17. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    Yes, 3. We went from a head, a deputy and 4 assistants to a head, deputy and 1 assistant.
     
    Jamvic likes this.
  18. thyr

    thyr Occasional commenter

    In the "real world ", let's say a manufacturing business, you have management (SLT), staff (teachers) and product (pupils with qualifications). The raw material to make the product is the pupils at Y7.
    If they're no good or not up to standard can we send them back and ask the parents to please make some better ones?
     
  19. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    Apologies for the late reply, but whilst I have no issue with your post, in fact it makes my earlier point for me.

    It is the huge deficit that had been run up previously that is the problem, not the government or lack of money (at the time). Therefore the way the school was managed before was clearly at fault, and thus the management of that time must take the blame.

    I don't deny that more money would have helped mitigate the situation, and I'm sorry you went through it. But as in real life industry, if you have a budget to do a job and exceed it, or waste it, what incentive is there to use it properly if you know that you only need ask and there will be more? None - which is why throwing money at failure is the wrong way to encourage success.

    Two schools fairly locally have similar sizes and similar demographics. One is "good" and has no deficit. The other is "good" but is struggling with funds. In my opinion, this is simply bad management, and I think that before long the students and teachers there will suffer and the school will begin to fail. The headteacher is an incompetent nitwit and if he did not have an excellent deputy it would probably be failing now. (I have taught at neither so have no axe to grind).

    Management, not money, I believe to be the main problem in poor schools.
     
    install likes this.
  20. NoseyMatronType

    NoseyMatronType Star commenter

    I was fortunate enough to dodge most of the bullets that were fired at teachers during Gove's tenureship. But my understanding from reading threads in the Workplace Dilemmas section of this forum from way back is that he did a lot of damage during his time in office and that the fall-out from his incompetence reverberates right down to the present day.

    The narrative is that cash-starved schools used the increased managerial powers that Heads and Deputy Heads were granted by him not to identify and remove incompetent practitioners but as a pretext to get rid of the older, experienced and therefore more expensive ones. This is one of the reasons why schools have been haemorrhaging staff, an exodus prompted by the fact that those with transferable skills who can see the writing on the wall and are young enough to get out have been doing so.

    Consequently, schools in many areas have been struggling to recruit teachers with relevant degrees in subjects like, say, Physics or Mathematics, to teach GCSE and A Level. Younger ones are cheaper to come by (if they can be tempted into the job) and more compliant.

    A further reform Gove introduced, one that I experienced first hand, was to ‘toughen up’ the GCSE and A Level courses due to concerns that they were ‘easy’. But what has happened with some subjects was that the courses were simply crammed with superfluous, additional content that is almost impossible to get through in two years. So teachers like myself were forced to cram from day one, causing the pleasure of teaching sixth-form classes to evaporate.

    The need to rote-learn far too much means that the more important skills of analysis and logical and lateral thinking fall by the wayside. For my subject and board, no course-designated textbook was published for more than three years. I was able to cope because I am very experienced and write my own notes anyway. But specialists without that know-how will have struggled. I walked away from teaching at the end of the last academic year partly because of this, as Year 12 and 13 lessons had become joyless, even though the results were impressive right up until the end.

    Gove was also someone who advocated the 'English Baccalaureate'. What a shame it was, then, that the model of the IB was not used as a template for the aforementioned reforms. Again, for my subject, there wasn't a great deal of content and there was a lot of flexibility when it came to the IB syllabus that I once taught. The terminal examination had questions that were open-ended, a veritable canvass for brighter students to paint on, especially those that were capable of thinking outside of the box. The contrast with the new A Level courses could therefore not be more striking.

    And the academic effects of Gove's reforms have been nonexistent: the boards that examine are anxious not to lose their ‘customers’ and simply mark these allegedly harder terminal papers more generously. But the effects on the students themselves have been profound, and it is the brighter ones that suffer the most because of the amount that they have to learn and the all too frequent testing that they have to endure. Where I was, too many of the cleverer ones were self-harming or becoming crippled by anxiety, and this was not because they were lacking in resilience or part of a ‘snowflake generation’. They were simply getting overwhelmed by the new curriculum because they are well-motivated and conscientious.

    Additionally, if any teacher fessed up to drug use either back then or now they would be out of the door very quickly. I suppose that it is a different matter if someone is working directly with children but it was Gove who once presided over a system where the professional standards are higher than those that he is being held to.

    I have now left the 'profession'. But recently, out of curiosity, I went for an interview. What was most palpable during the brief time that I spent at the school was the atmosphere of oppression and dreariness. For example, the very first person to address us with a managerial role mentioned Ofsted in the second sentence they uttered, and the characters who interviewed me came across like reluctant masochists or self-flagellants, dutifully rehearsing litanies crammed with the jargon of Eduspeak and cover-your-back, paranoid policy making, having already been cowed by the same bureaucratic language of micro-management themselves. The 'successful' candidate would - after having navigated this process - have then been lumbered with sixth-form sets that were far too large. The experience therefore couldn't have been more off-putting.

    In summary, for me, Gove is ideologically driven in all the wrong ways and therefore utterly unsuitable for any kind of high office, regardless of his past drug use. The harm he did to teaching and teachers has been profound and lasting.
     

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