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To expect schools to provide textbooks?

(40 Posts)
Floppityflop Sun 07-Jul-13 17:51:45

Was helping young relative at secondary school with some homework and I asked whether she had a textbook. Her mum said they don't get given textbooks any more and are supposed to use the Internet for homework. Is this normal? How do they know which sources to trust about science at that age? I know schools struggle with money, but seriously?! Is this for real?

Scholes34 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:30:39

It's ridiculous that text books quickly date because the syllabus changes, and no big surprise that it's the exam boards which sell the text books who are changing the syllabus.

The whole approach to secondary school work seems a little disjointed. As a parent, it would be much easier to help your child if you had a better idea of which direction their learning is going in. As someone mentioned down-thread, a booklet to be used in conjunction with an age appropriate web-site would be very useful. I seem to spend a lot of time helping my DCs find useful sources of information for school projects. Wikipedia is too difficult for them to use. Thank heavens for Woodlands Junior School.

FrogsGoWhat Sun 07-Jul-13 19:41:52

Our textbooks are available as PDFs on the VLE.

Parents can choose to print them off if they like, or pupils can save them to their laptops etc.... maybe this is what they meant by "on the internet"?

Hulababy Sun 07-Jul-13 19:46:53

Even when I was at school in the 80s you didn't get to take textbooks home usually. Definitely not at KS3 and unlikely at GCSE. Sometimes in A Level. On the odd occasion you did it had to be brought back within a day or two at most, ready for another class.

Textbooks are expensive.

maddy68 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:48:18

we have the text books in school but at around £20 each we never let the kids take them home. Most stuff they need is provided on the VLE so they can access at home
it is rather assumed they have internet access these days!

CloudsAndTrees Sun 07-Jul-13 19:49:47

My dc only have text books for a couple of subjects, they use MyMaths and the VLE most of the time. They are doing well at school, so it can't be doing them any harm.

Floppityflop Sun 07-Jul-13 22:32:40

Well, maybe it doesn't have to be textbooks, but I don't see Wikipedia as a suitable alternative. I don't think there is a VLE where notes or PDFs are provided. If there is and you can't afford to print things off how are you supposed to revise? I am sure there was always a certain percentage of books that were returned dog eared anyway and it's surely no worse now.

I accept that method of delivery can change but I'm not sure the alternatives are suitable for everyone yet or that the alternatives are authoritative. What if a child uses a creationist source to do biology homework, for example? Is even the BBC suitable for all subjects or is there some inherent bias?

it just seems to me that the students are being left to fend for themselves and, while I wouldn't expect spoon feeding at A level, a certain amount is required at an earlier stage so that students can have an elementary understanding of basic subjects.

BackforGood Sun 07-Jul-13 23:13:54

But you have been told by lots of us that they are not been left to 'fend for themselves' - there is all sorts on their school sites. Sorry, I'm not au fait with all the different names and exactly what they do, but I know my ds has used something called 'moodle' (I think) which has all sorts of work put on it by all his subject teachers and is specific to all the subjects, the current curriculum, and all the year groups at his school. He has done (again, I think the name is) SAM learning, where they log on and do revision / test papers / practice papers in maths. All this is put up the by the school staff, and there to be accessed by the pupils. I know one of the maths ones is self marking, and has a sort of Leader Board thing which eggs the students on to come back and beat previous scores. The staff can see how many times a pupil has been on, and how they are getting on with things. They will also point you in the direction of specific revision guides if you want to buy a text book - but it isn't necessary, it's up to you if you want to do that for some reason.
I suspect there are fewer teenagers without access to the internet than you'd think Floppity, but I'm fairly confident well I know from experience that if a pupil can't access something, the staff will go out of their way to set work in a different way for them, or print something out for them. The point being, that will be for a small minority of pupils, not the same as buying over 200 text books for just one year group.

I suppose if the teacher tells them exactly what website to use for the research and they have reliable service, then it would be OK, but to just "use the internet" is really not goign to work. There are way too many conflicting views and misinformation out there, that the kids would probably all be able to come up with a different answer to any given question (depending on subject) If they are following a syllabus then that needs to be followed not to go off on a tangent and read other opinions and ideas. How will they pass exams if they really aren't sure what to follow.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 07-Jul-13 23:24:50

Generally text books are only used for cover, I would be horrified if staff at our school used them in class. IMO text books = lazy teaching.

BackforGood Sun 07-Jul-13 23:25:14

The only time I can ever think of any of my dc being told to just 'research' something was when they were looking at sources in history. I can't remember what it was they were asked to look at now, but it was a fairly recent event from the news, and the whole point of the homework (and the next lesson in school) was to help them realise that, depending on where you looked for your information, you would get a very, very different version of the same event. It wasn't about the "facts" they were finding, but actually a lesson in how to be wary of believing any bit of information they read on the internet (or indeed newspapers / news websites / etc).

CleverClod Sun 07-Jul-13 23:25:40

DS has text books for lots of his subject. For the few without he's given worksheets ( maybe 1/2 subjects). It's only for English that we've had to purchase a text book, so he can write notes in it.

SprinkleLiberally Sun 07-Jul-13 23:27:27

If we provided text books for every pupil in ks3, it would cost about £6000 per year group for every subject. More actually because one book rarely provides everything. They don't last well and are used more rarely now due to vle and staff PowerPoint. They just aren't the value they used to be so we buy about 60 per year group for school use. At gcse we can't afford to update due to constant changes in the specs though.

maddy68 Sun 07-Jul-13 23:54:08

all schools HAVE to have a VLE so relevent stuff will be on there - move with the times - not everyone learns from a text book smile

trinity0097 Mon 08-Jul-13 04:53:21

It is so hard to buy textbooks that are not linked to a specific curriculum. So schools can't invest in ones that won't go out of date at a drop of Mr Gove's hat! They are also very expensive for what they are! I just put in an order for 12 textbooks, key stage 2 maths, one answer book and it came to about £250! Secondary books all seem to be over £15 each!

I would buy some revision guides to have at home and let the school teach how they like.

Bunbaker Mon 08-Jul-13 06:24:05

"I suppose if the teacher tells them exactly what website to use for the research and they have reliable service, then it would be OK, but to just "use the internet" is really not goign to work."

Which is why I stated in my post that the teachers often provide links to appropriate websites. The children are also advised not to use Wikipedia for research. DD uses MyMaths and the school's VLE and it works very well.

I agree with BackForGood and think there are fewer pupils without access to the internet than you think. DD's school has loads of touchscreen computers available for pupils to use after school and all of our libraries have computers for the general public to use - free of charge.

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