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When did things start going downhill?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by eljefeb90, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    This is for those of us who are longer in the tooth. What prompted it was seeing all the shiny Teach First faces at a local Uni where I now invigilate. I felt like shouting 'Don't do it!!' There are far too many sticks and not many carrots in teaching. I would actively dissuade anyone from joining the profession nowadays. We all know the negatives, but what were the crucial policies that led to the current parlous state of the profession? Ending LEA control, Ofsted, league tables, academisation, performance management, Gove? I don't believe there was ever a Golden Age but conditions were never this bad nor were teachers so powerless to effect changescto better their lot.
    Alice K, Shedman, Compassman and 2 others like this.
  2. dleaf12

    dleaf12 Lead commenter

    The rot started when Govt started marketising schools so that one school has to compete with another for pupils (=funding) based on a narrow view of "success" (exam grades) with draconian enforcement action (=headteacher lose your job) for any school whose "performance data" (=fiction) does not correspond to government "floor standards" (=moving goalposts).

    Thus external pressures feedthrough to internal SLT imposed pressures expecting to see instant changes to the "data" (=fiction). Add to that "performance related pay" (=no payrise) based on pupil "attainment" (=exam grades) related to "target grades" (=fiction) and intelligent people leave in droves just as soon as they can.

    Stop asserting that you can measure the un-measurable. Start trusting teachers as professionals. Remove private un-elected corporations motivated by profit, (or maintaining a revenue-stream in the case of non-profit trusts) from education. Start realising that education is more than exam grades.
    palmtree100, DYNAMO67, cb324 and 8 others like this.
  3. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    My own starting point - when I had a ring side seat to the National Education Service going downwards - was LMS (The Local Management of Schools) under Margaret Thatcher, which swept away the Local Authorities control and resulted in the first way of 'takeovers' of running schools by others. This left schools in my area as little separate fiefdoms with no one body keeping an overall watching brief - except the little private providers of ofsted teams. The winners swiftly sped ahead, and the others had to fight to avoid 'bog standard' or 'sink school' status. The double standards had begun. Ofsted reflected postcode not quality of teaching and certainly not diligence. I used feel as if I was pouring my hard work into a bucket with a large hole in it. Work piled on me and I became drained, dispirited and ill.

    It has continued to be since that time, all about the non-doing aspects of education, missing, as far as I am concerned, the three main elements of what makes a productive teaching and learning situation: the teacher, the student and the learning environment. If you look at your list above e. you can clearly see that the puffed up list of Education Mandarins who are so removed from this, the real coal face of teaching, they may as well be on the moon.

    If we are going to change this situation we need to support roots level work and ofsted inspectors, academy chiefs and non-teaching SMTs are not roots level. What's the phrase, 'Neither use nor ornament'? Time for the pruning shears for them methinks. ;)
    Alice K and eljefeb90 like this.
  4. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    dleaf12 sums it up perfectly and I just read your 'Goodbye Mr.Chips..'post, which brilliantly encapsulated why we have a recruitment and retention crisis.
  5. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    I think teaching was still sensible up until at least 2000-as in the focus was still on children not data.
    Alice K and eljefeb90 like this.
  6. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    As soon as SATs were introduced into primary schools, leading to 'league tables'. This was exacerbated once Ofsted started to use these results as the starting point for judging a school.
    palmtree100 and eljefeb90 like this.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Teaching was still a pleasant occupation until about 2003 - since then it hasn't been
    palmtree100 and eljefeb90 like this.
  8. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I'd put it until about 2007/8 ish with a real downward spiral in 2010 when Gove took over.
    eljefeb90 likes this.
  9. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    There were happier times to be a school teacher in England. It is really difficult to say when it got worse, because it happened slowly, perhaps since the early 2000s, It appears to me that different schools and different teachers have vastly different experiences, which must be due to a variety of factors, including catchment, attainment and management. Primary and Secondary have different experiences, as do subjects in Secondary.
    Data collection and analysis, using IT systems were also bad news. Personal laptops enabled a huge amount of extra work to be taken home. In some schools this became virtually compulsory.
    OFSTED - what can I say, except we didn't always have them and I am certain that they have not raised standards.
    Lesson observations became formal and went from being a non-event into something that terrified my colleagues and myself and generated vast amounts of planning and preparation. Stress levels went through the roof.
    Planning, highly detailed short, medium and long term became onerous.
    Smartboards generated a huge amount of extra work in some schools. One Primary school that I worked at for many years required most lessons to have a Smartboard presentation for all lessons in most subjects.
    Pay for a class teacher has fallen even further.
    Conversion to Academies et al,
    Performance Management was the final icing on the cake!
    In summary, I believe that things started to go downhill after the Millenium.
    Compassman, Alice K and eljefeb90 like this.
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    We started to descend the nursery slopes of decline in the late 80s, with introduction of introduction of the National Curriculum, grant-maintained schools. With the introduction of OFSTED, the downward gradient increased significantly. In the last ten years we have been in free fall!
    eljefeb90 likes this.
  11. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Spot on.

    I remember we used to get an observation or two a year when the HoD would drift in and make a few notes and comments and generally be supportive. Then the observations became more onerous. Where's your plenery?, where's your starter?, you didn't do any group work, you did too much group work, you talk too much, you talk too little etc etc. It became a very formal process including one of the new rising stars in SLT coming and observing you and then getting feedback in front of the Head sat there like judge, jury and executioner. You were then graded 1-4. The rising stars would boast about their 1's and anyone who didn't get one felt inadequate for getting less than that.

    Performance management was always there but done as a supportive process. Once it became linked to pay it became the driver for more discontentment as the requirements to do more work for a measly pay rise up the scale became stronger. Those at the top of the scale (UPS) were told they weren't working hard enough (despite working 60 hr weeks). Those that complained were offered 'support', but we all know what that means.

    The system isn't so much in meltdown it's melted.

    Glad to be out.
    palmtree100 and eljefeb90 like this.
  12. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    Things got worse every time there was a new education secretary wanting to make their mark who dismantled at least one major element of their predecessor's work. What they forgot each time was the number of heads, teachers, support staff and students who had to bear the complexities of the shifting sands of accountability... thus taking time away from what really matters... classroom practice and student learning...

    I only wish education was like in some countries where irrespective of the party in power - that policy remained consistent.
    schoolsout4summer and Compassman like this.

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