to think Gove does not get it about education (KS2 SATS)

(169 Posts)
kim147 Wed 23-Jan-13 18:16:30

He's just said A-levels mean too much assessment and not enough deep learning. Which is why he's changing them.

Obviously he's not been in a Year 6 classroom from January onwards with all that pressure on Level 4s sad

moonstorm Wed 23-Jan-13 19:04:51

I agree.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 23-Jan-13 19:10:47

The only "deep learning" my Year 6 daughter has done so far this year was over the Christmas holidays, when we bought her a tricky electronics kit and she learned to solder.

I am very happy this week, because they have made a decision about who will have a go at the Level 6 maths paper, which means that she is now in a group that is actually learning some new stuff. It's nice to see her engaged again.

However, she's crawling up the walls with the monotony of the preparatory work for the SPAG test sad.

ravenAK Wed 23-Jan-13 19:13:07


In fact, I can't think when I've seen a thread title B less U...

tiggytape Wed 23-Jan-13 19:21:44

Both parties seem pretty wedded to SATS (Labour had a long time to scrap them but in fact just added Year 9 ones to the list they inherited).
When they then scrapped the Year 9 SATS, Ed Balls said he wouldn't scrap the Year 6 ones as they make secondary schools accountable.

I agree though that the pressure on the children to perform has definitely increased as has teaching to the test. But then all the time parents place so much emphasise on league table positions and worry that the school they've been allocated 'only' has 20% level 5's or whatever, schools have to fight to keep the numbers up and pressure pupils to do so.

It as been a long time since my A Levels so I don't know about 'deep learning' but I do know it is bloody odd to keep resitting elements of a qualification until you get the desired score. It does make the whole thing seem a bit ridiculous and devalued which reflects badly on those who are genuinely clever and would get top grades under any system. I thought that was the point of abolishing modules?

Absoluteeightiesgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 19:24:53

but I do know it is bloody odd to keep resitting elements of a qualification until you get the desired score

Not sure where you are getting that from.
Students certainly cant keep re-sitting exams until they get the right score.

Absoluteeightiesgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 19:35:15

IME I have found that a sigificant number of year 6 students regress quite badly in Year 7 because of the fact they are taught for SATS and league tables. We have to go back to absolute basics with them across most subject areas. League tables have been the worst thing to happen to primary education. Utterly pointless and serve no purpose at all. Hate them with a passion.

gordyslovesheep Wed 23-Jan-13 19:38:40

YANBU the man is clueless sad

Flisspaps Wed 23-Jan-13 19:39:33

You can take the (KS2 SATS) out of the thread title, and it'll still be absolutely right!

Absoluteeightiesgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 19:43:39

You can take the (KS2 SATS) out of the thread title, and it'll still be absolutely right!
Amen to that

TwllBach Wed 23-Jan-13 19:46:26

Gove is a sweaty badgers left testicle.

I can say that with complete objectivity because I don't live in England.

kim147 Wed 23-Jan-13 19:59:46

I just laughed when I heard that.

A-levels - I tutor GCSE and A-level students - lots do retake of modules. Looking back "in my day", it was one exam at the end.

But then he said there's too much focus on assessment and not on deep learning and I just thought of year 6. I've worked in a school where we did SATS papers all Spring term.

Startail Wed 23-Jan-13 20:00:21

Despite being a life long Conservative, I find it totally impossible to disagree with the OP.

Grove is unreasonable every time he opens his mouth.

Even if I agree with changing A levels back to the old formate, I doubt that sound bite loving idiot has consulted anyone or thought it through.

Stixswhichtwizzle Wed 23-Jan-13 20:03:33


wonkylegs Wed 23-Jan-13 20:05:01

I thought not having a clue about the area of policy you were government minister for was part of the job description .... Well that's what they are doing a fine job of leading us to believe.

DoodlesNoodles Wed 23-Jan-13 20:15:09

You can't trust a guy who fiddles the taxpayer

BackforGood Wed 23-Jan-13 20:26:02

Don't need to break it down into details about SATs or A-levels tbh, OP.
This bit was enough for most people to agree YANBU I'd have thought :

to think Gove does not get it about education

mamaduckbone Wed 23-Jan-13 20:35:21

YADDNBU. Utterly clueless waste of space, completely out of touch. I started looking at the spag sample material this week and I've never seen anything more likely to put a child off learning for life. Dreadful.

pointythings Wed 23-Jan-13 20:36:29

TwilBach You're going to have the Sweaty Badgers Anti Defamation League after you...

As for Gove - he gets together experts to pull together education policy, they say things he doesn't want to hear, he ignores them and does what he wants (which is to relive his 1950s style education)

He doesn't have a clue about anything except his own political advancement, nor does he care about anything else.

Joiningthegang Wed 23-Jan-13 21:47:03

The man is a complete tosser.

How much does he actually know about educating children and young people and how much is "oooo i've got a freat idea" which incidentally is never a great idea, not backed by evidence or experience

What a total knob

Joiningthegang Wed 23-Jan-13 21:47:27

Freat =great btw

Joiningthegang Wed 23-Jan-13 21:48:54

And he wants mary seacole off the curriculum - she was amazing (google her) - glad to say my sons school seem to ignore the tosser man as much as they can.

Feenie Wed 23-Jan-13 21:54:48

Don't forget our massive bibles he donated - anyone actually use the unwieldy things for anything??

At least even he balked from writing the foreword in the end. Tosser.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 23-Jan-13 21:56:00

I find it amusing that both the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' conference, and the University of Cambridge have also said that his A level plans are ill conceived. I wonder if he expected that...

ravenAK Wed 23-Jan-13 21:57:02

I fell over our Goble this morning. HT has it propping his office door open.

Feenie Wed 23-Jan-13 21:57:16

Don't think he cares - he has pretty much said so sad

kim147 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:59:38

Goble grin

TheFallenMadonna Wed 23-Jan-13 22:00:14

Well, no, he doesn't care. Obviously he knows better than School Leaders, Universities, Teachers, everybody really who has an actual understanding of education rather than a conviction that things were better "in my day..."

Feenie Wed 23-Jan-13 22:00:32


SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Wed 23-Jan-13 22:01:38

As a secondary teacher the following annoys me:

I get year 7 class new in September for English - I will run an assessment to give me an idea of their reading and writing levels. Their SATS data will help, but I want to know them for myself. I will give Child A a 4b - a solid grade, a good grade, nothing to be ashamed of in year 7.

Then will come the snotty email - I think you'll find my child was a level 6 in their SATS - why have they dropped to levels? They are bright so they are easily bored. You are understimulating them - I would like intervention, your curriculum plan, a reading list... remark their work.

Bah. They are a level 4 because a level 5 has to mean something - it means consistency and detail and nuanced work. Your child has been taught to a test for a year, then given the summer term as easing time, then the holidays, then they've got the big event of starting a new school. Yes, all that probably is going to affect their results. Your child might be a 4b now in writing, but it might changed under a different set of AFs. And also - the levels don't correlate directly from primary to secondary! (Let me do my job)

Right, sorry. Rant wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. I am just tired of getting the same snipey emails every year.

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Wed 23-Jan-13 22:03:29

Actually, the post above made me realise - I was channelling my latent rage against Gove... but then how dare I presume to know more than him. I am merely a spoke on a cog on a wheel on a machine of his great Edumacashun factory. I know my place.

BeanJuice Wed 23-Jan-13 22:06:11

I'm not that bothered really. Doing my A levels at the moment and having exams what feels like every five minutes isn't that pleasant

blackeyedsusan Wed 23-Jan-13 22:09:29

ds has echolalia... at some point, when the head teacher is raving about the bible (waste of tax payers' money) gove sent out.... (it is a very coe church school!) there is going to be a little echo from the front row... "bloody Gove"

marriedinwhite Wed 23-Jan-13 22:09:43

I think he's brilliant. I think he's putting the rigour back into the system and might make state education worth having. smile

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Wed 23-Jan-13 22:12:26

He was (one of) the reason I left state education.

Fridgedooropen Wed 23-Jan-13 22:15:39

He thinks he knows better than everyone about everything ever, which is why he is so annoyingly willing to make public pronouncements on so many subjects. And yes, he is fairly blatant in his contempt for staff in the system now.

Euphemia Wed 23-Jan-13 22:16:39

I am so glad that education is devolved in Scotland and that git BORN IN EDINBURGH BY THE WAY has no influence here.

No SATs in Scotland: P7 is full of useful learning and FUN.


Feenie Wed 23-Jan-13 22:23:50

Rigour, my arse.

ravenAK Wed 23-Jan-13 22:27:14

<feels the SparklyAntlers's pain re: year 7 levels...>

Good post.

(rigour, my arse, seconded).

pointythings Wed 23-Jan-13 22:29:03

marriedinwhite would you please define rigour'? Gove hasn't, so far.

I see my DDs in the UK state system learning to do things I wasn't even touching on at the same ages in the Dutch system (which was considered pretty 'rigorous' back then). Their ability to research, read critically, think independently and pull together reasoned argument is amazing. Their skills in maths are far beyond what mine were at their age - and I was considered highly able. My DDs are at state schools, BTW.

All I see from Gove is a blind ideological drive to recreate his own experience of education. Yes, there are schools which do not serve their pupils as well as they should. Yes, there are always things which can be done better.

But Gove is throwing out the baby with the bathwater in his wholesale ripping up of the entire system in favour of his untried, untested and uninformed ideas. There has been a lot of research into what works in education - Gove ignores it all, despite the fact that it has been shown to work in other countries.

My DD1 is going to be one of his eBacc guinea pigs. Give has refused to run trials of the new qualification because he is a megalomaniac convinced it will all be fine. That tells me he does not care about the children, only about his own grand schemes.

Complete twazzock

pointythings Wed 23-Jan-13 22:29:56

Feenie, you just said in three words what I took a whole lengthy post to do. I'd take my hat off to you, only I'm not wearing one grin.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Wed 23-Jan-13 22:30:18

he doesn't know but he thinks he does, and he has a bit of power. its dangerous.

Feenie Wed 23-Jan-13 22:32:33


YorkshireDeb Wed 23-Jan-13 22:32:48

marriedinwhite are you taking the piss? Michael Gove is a complete dick. Fact. X

TheCrackFox Wed 23-Jan-13 22:35:30

He is an arse, no doubt about it and makes me glad that I live in Scotland.

gordyslovesheep Wed 23-Jan-13 22:38:16

wow Marriedinwhite how long have you worked in education?

17 years for me - state education has is faults but it's good on the whole you know grin

marriedinwhite Wed 23-Jan-13 22:39:20

I interview under 40's daily, often with three masters degrees, who can't string together a grammatically correct sentence or work out a simple formula to make an excel spreadsheet do sums - let alone convert them to a pivot table. Thank God for Gove I say. I want the next generation to be as well educated as it is well qualified. We have had to pay to get that for our children, in London at least, I hope our dc will have more options for their dc.

Feenie Wed 23-Jan-13 22:47:35

Can they use apostrophes correctly, though? wink

kim147 Wed 23-Jan-13 22:49:40

married Gove wants to stop ICT teachers doing Excel and to do programming instead.

Schools teach Excel.

gordyslovesheep Wed 23-Jan-13 22:51:32

oh dear - prepare to be bitterly disappointed then Married - do all your candidates share the simplistic world view or does Gove have a secret super hero cape ;)

ravenAK Wed 23-Jan-13 22:52:23

Although, to be fair, my state educated 8 year old is pretty shit hot at Excel & can string together a grammatically correct sentence.

Your recruitment process seems to be in need of a 'rigorous' overhaul, marriedinwhite...wink.

Tweasels Wed 23-Jan-13 22:58:07

Feenie grin

And absolutely everything that pointythings said.

I'm sorry marriedinwhite but you couldn't be more wrong.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 24-Jan-13 07:24:26

The Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference (leading independent schools) has called his A level plans "rushed and incoherent". They did not use the word rigorous. Nor did the University of Cambridge. Hmm.

And yes, if you want schools to teach Excel, then you are backing the wrong horse for sure.

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 07:31:02

Perhaps you should write the new curriculum for us married. At least you have some sense of forward thinking & technology. Most of Gove's ideas have come from a 1970s teaching manual. X

hackmum Thu 24-Jan-13 08:09:34

Well, he's right. There is too much assessment and not enough deep learning. What is baffling, as the OP points out, is that he doesn't apply this to the rest of the education system. The pointless new reading test for six year old is a fine example.

I don't understand how Gove's mind works at all.

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 18:15:30

married there are a lot of people out there who were not taught useful things like grammar, spelling, times tables and so on. However, the teaching of those things is now the norm in schools - and not because of anything Gove has done.

As I've said above, there is always room for improvement - but Gove's slash and burn approach to education risks wiping out the gains that have been made. He is implementing all his ideas - whatever their merits - in a mad rush, without looking at the evidence and without proper trialling. GCSEs were introduced after long and in-depth testing, and even then there were teething problems. If Gove is so confident that he is doing the right thing, why can he not implement his ideas in a steady, sensible way that does not uproot existing good practice?

I don't have to read past the title to agree.

He's a total idiot.

Mind you, I know bugger all about KS2 sats. grin

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 18:29:41

YABU... education in England is way too dominated by the views of the teaching unions. Gove is trying to redress the balance. Thank God someone is!

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 18:32:40

Evidence for that, Catriona100?

LivingInAPinkBauble Thu 24-Jan-13 18:35:29

SATs are the reason I hope I never teach year 6. Every school I have been in starts teaching to the test. At least ks1 is teacher assessment.

Gove is a [insert word here, too cross to narrow it down!]

cardibach Thu 24-Jan-13 18:35:36

Seriously Catriona? Because from where I stand (23 years as a teacher and Union member) the Unions have very little say in anything and are pretty much ignored by policy makers. GOve is a twat. Fact.

cardibach Thu 24-Jan-13 18:36:34

Also, even if the Unions were listened to - who do you think knows more about teaching? SOme ex teachers who work regularly with actual teachers? Or a little oik who has no training or experience in the field?

Feenie Thu 24-Jan-13 18:40:58

Yep, evidence please, Catriona - sounds like a lazy soundbite to me.

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 19:55:51

are you all saying that the teaching unions do not have views on how education should be delivered (and what it should entail) or simply that the views do not find their way into government policy and then onto the classroom?

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 19:56:46

(but, no, I don't intend to write a research article to back up my assertion).

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 20:16:18

You don't need to; just citing one would go some way to demonstrating that your statement has some basis in reality.

Or you could give us an example of a government policy influenced by the teaching unions to the detriment of pupils' education?

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 20:30:58

Personally I'd rather education policy was made by people who were actually - er - teachers than by someone whose training is in journalism and whose heart is in his political career.

Unless you buy the idea that the teaching unions have an agenda that includes holding back able children and teaching to the lowest common denominator, of course.

marriedinwhite Thu 24-Jan-13 20:37:39

Well your last sentence is precisely why we moved our dd from a top 100 comp to the indy sector. Too many excuses about behaviour; too many declarations that behaviour was exceptionally high. Assault, theft, intimidation, etc., form no part of my definition of high standards of behaviour. Teachers making excuses, teachers keeping their eyes closed, teachers not standing up for the difference between right and wrong, teachers talking clap trap, teachers dragging all children down to the lowest common denominator. PSHE is a compulsory subject. It will not be taught to a child of mine by a teacher or head who makes excuses for criminal behaviour.

Thank goodness we had the means to pull her out. It made my skin crawl yet it still got "outstanding". I will respect state education when those in it have learnt the difference between right and wrong.

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 20:42:49

So you're slating the entire state sector based on your one bad experience? Sorry, but you've just lost what little credibility you might have had in my eyes. This is the sort of 'evidence' Give likes to use.

marriedinwhite Thu 24-Jan-13 20:49:50

One bad experience of a top 100 outstsanding school. If that's what's outstanding then God help the majority.

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 20:55:34

I went to a restaurant once, & had a really rubbish meal.

Thank goodness I can afford a private chef!

This eating out business - not for me, thanks.


The plural of anecdote isn't data.

My BIL was miserable at his public school; assault, theft, intimidation & teachers turning a blind eye, yep, he recalls all of the above. Dh (who chose not to follow him) did very well academically & was happy at a very ordinary comp.

As pointy says, you really can't extrapolate from your dd's experience (which does sound unforgivably crap) to a generalisation about state education.

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 21:01:11

But that's just OFSTED saying it's outstanding, married. Neither of my children are at an OFSTED outstanding school - but their schools are very, very good. No violence, bullying and misbehaviour ruthlessly dealt with, no excuses for poor performance or behaviour. Teaching is differentiated with provision made for everyone - I have two very able DDs and their schools have bent over backwards to ensure that they are challenged and taught in accordance with their abilities. In the case of DD2's primary that has meant bringing in work and teaching support from the local middle school (when we still had one).

Your experience is still of one bad school - which just happened to be good at giving the inspectors what they wanted to see. There are schools like that, but that doesn't mean that schools which haven't got the 'top 100' or 'outstanding' label must therefore all be much worse than this one. There are a lot of schools out there which don't make the 'outstanding' grade but are just quietly getting on with the job that matters - of teaching the children.

Oh, and if children aren't learning right from wrong at home then there's only so much teachers can do however hard they try. They have the children 6.5 hours a day, a lot happens in the other 17.5 hours. That isn't about making excuses, that's about placing a proportional share of the responsibility where it should lie - on parents.

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:01:59

Yes but married, an outstanding school is basically a measure of the test results children in that school get in maths and English. It has nothing to do with behaviour, or the ethos of the teachers. I am proud to say I teach in a school which is not outstanding but I'd like to think it's a hell of a lot better than the one you describe. X

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:06:29

And catriona100 of course unions have an opinion on how education should be delivered, as do most teachers I know & a hell of a lot of parents. Unfortunately, when Michael Gove is coming up with his shiney new never been tried before ideas (!) he doesn't think to ask unions, or teachers, or parents whether they're good ideas before deciding to plough ahead with them. X

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:10:37

Actually, Pointythings, I wasn't specifically thinking of those things. However, i think it speaks volumes that you picked them out. Surely not the first time you have contemplated (and rejected) those possibilities.

What i was thinking of was the policy documents I just saw on the NUT website. Many related to schools as a workplace (which it is, although i hope no one sees them as the schools raison d'etre?), but there were others which makes the NUT into a liberal pressure group.

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:12:53

Most of Michae Gove's ideas relate directly to the (first class) education he recieved in Scotland in the 1970s and 80s. (i recognise the policies as the sort of thing I also saw in action in the same place at the same time)

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:14:50

Which suited him - but does that mean it's good practice for everyone?

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:17:07

Exactly! Education has quite rightly moved on a hell of a long way since the 1970s. The answer to educating children for the future does not lie in teaching methods almost 50 years old! X

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:22:08

but it doesn't lie in the way things were done 10 years ago either. In fact, before this conversation goes any further, there needs to be a consensus on what teaching is meant to achieve.

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 21:25:56

Well, it's a union's job to look after the welfare of teachers. Before you ask - no, I'm not a teacher, just a parent. But I have friends who used to be teachers, and I've seen at first hand the amount of work they had to do. 3 hours at home following a full school day (not a child's school day, you can add an hour at either end to that), plus between 40 and 60% of all weekends and holidays were spent in marking, lesson preparation, communications with parents and running extracurricular activities. Methinks these are people who need a bit of protection from someone prepared to look after their interests, especially with all the teacher bashing rhetoric currently 'gracing' the tabloids.

I recall Gove going on about how dreadful the teachers' 'work to rule' was, and how it should be easier to sack people who are doing this. I mean, what? Sack people for adhering to the terms of their contracts of employment? With nonsense like this coming from the Secretary of State, it's no wonder the unions are getting more assertive. They need to. At my DDs' schools, not a single parents' evening, not a single after school activity, not a single drama or music production has been scrapped as a result of this 'strike'. It's business as usual. Either Gove doesn't understand what a contract of employment is (unlikely), or he has an anti-teacher agenda.

I'm also very worried about the way he ignores anyone who isn't a yes-man. Only this week, Cambridge University advised him that they do not agree with his plans to remove AS levels out of the A-level qualification as they find that AS levels provide them with useful information about potential students. This is a top university going directly against what Gove is saying. Is he going to listen to them? You tell me.

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 21:27:47

Heh, good luck with that one catriona.

I think the conversation can proceed if posters wish to discuss the issues raised, tbh. You aren't chairing it, you know.

I attended a very good grammar school in the 80s, & received an education very similar to Gove's. Education has indeed moved on since then, which is good news for the vast majority of children.

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:29:08

catriona But Gove does not listen - there is no consensus and he pushes ahead with his own agenda based on his schooling.

He has so many people just asking him to slow down - I have lost count of all the changes to education since he came in. Academies, free schools, GCSE changes, losing BTECS, EBaccs, loss of the arts, A -level changes, massive curriculum changes, etc etc.

But little consultation

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:29:30

Ooh, I like that idea. On a training course I was told that the top 10 highest paid jobs did not exist 10 years ago - we are teaching children to do things that have not even been invented yet. I believe the only way to do that is by teaching them to be thinkers & problem solvers, give them confidence & adaptability. I don't think it actually matters one jot what the content of the curriculum is, as most adults will admit they don't remember/use most of what they learnt at school anyway. X

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 21:30:49

Catriona I thought the Rose review was a pretty good start. It seems to have been binned.

And Gove isn't looking for consensus, he's looking to impose his own ideals on the system. I am absolutely in favour of an evidence-based review of education so that we can reach a consensus about what should be taught. This would need to include:

- experts on learning - the methods, the psychology, the environment
- business leaders - contributing on what is needed in the modern workplace
- representation from further education
- teachers and other professionals who are at the coal face
- parents
- economists

And probably a lot of other categories I've missed. But Michael Gove doesn't want this - he has form for ignoring the people he himself has appointed when they don't say what he wants to hear. I don't trust him.

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:32:22

pointythings, I don't see a problem with viewing schools as a workplace, and therefore taking care of its members as employees because that's what a union is supposed to do. But their remit does not extend to deciding what is taught in schools and how its taught.

(And I have friends who are teachers too. Sometimes, I am not sure if you are answering criticisms that I have not made or you are responding to other posters?)

marriedinwhite Thu 24-Jan-13 21:33:30

Links arms with *Catriona100*.

Teachers work a bit less hard DH and I Pointythings with a lot more holiday and a lot more job security. At the school we removed dd from we were exhorted for money almost weekly - and I mean hundreds if not thousands not a few quid here or there. They did absolutely nothing to make us want to give it and that included striking at 24 hours notice and cancelling some very important key milestones in the lives of girls who had been at the school for nearly seven years. That was the final straw. No apology for the disappointment, no apology for the inconvenience - not the sort of people I want moulding my child.

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:34:42

Ooh yes pointythings - the rose report was brilliant. Wish they'd have stuck with those ideas a bit longer. But as always the government throws out all previous ideas - bad and good - so we never actually move forward we just keep going round in circles. X

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jan-13 21:35:59

The private girls school I went to was one of the nastiest bitchest places I ever had the misfortune to have any dealings with. Frankly pastural care was non existant. I have worked with severe EBD children in a special school who were kinder than the bitches girls I went to school with.

However going to school does not make someone an expert on education. I am sure that there are good private schools, but I have never had experience of them. All I know is that my son's state school is lovely.

Back to the thread. I feel that some of Mr Gove's ideas have merit, but he is pushing through a lot of change too fast. However many of his ideas are ill thought out out and not backed by research.

I would rather he had a royal commission on what to replace GCSEs with so we get it right. Our education system is changing in that the school leaving age is being raised.

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:37:14

ravenAK - i know I am not chairing it, and I wouldn't want to. I was going to try to say what schools should do, but then I realised that there isn't even consensus (in this thread/ in the wider world) about what schools are there for. Everyone thinks they know, but whatever I could write down, there would be a huge number who would say, "that's not right".

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:40:50

married - you're still basing your judgement of the education system on one school.
catriona - I'd be interested to hear what you think schools are there for. X

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:45:36

I agree ReallyTired that it would be far better for Gove to go slower. And I agree with the poster who said each successive government throws the baby out with the bath water. Ultimately, government changes so frequently that very few big, electorate-voted-for ideas make it all the way through to the classroom and get a chance to stay there long enough to make a difference.
So, schools (and teachers with them) get bashed back and forth implementing new policies that they don'y get a chance to make work before the next one comes along.

I think Gove is going hell for leather simply because he doesn't see himself as Education minister in two and a half years time. He probably doubts that there won't be another labour/ "progressive coalition" in power by then.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 24-Jan-13 21:46:03

The education that Gove received was reserved for a minority of children. Between 20 and 30% of pupils took O levels. The rest took CSEs, or, like my dad, left school with no qualifications at all.

I genuinely don't understand why people think only of the minority education when they hark back to the halyon days. I did O levels at my comprehensive peobably at more or less the same time Gove did his. Did he not notice what was going on with everyone else? Does he really think every child got the eduction he did?

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 21:46:49

For what it's worth, I do think the teaching unions' remit extends to providing a voice for teachers re: what should be taught in schools.

Alongside all the other interested parties in, for example, pointy's list.

What I've yet to see is any evidence for your assertion that 'education in England is way too dominated by the views of the teaching unions'. You've yet to provide an example.

But I do agree with you that defining 'what schools are for' is a near-impossible task. I don't even think there IS one set of answers common to all schools that wouldn't just be a list of meaningless 'bullshit bingo' mission statements tbh.

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:49:15

Yorkshire - i think schools exist/ should exist to train children as a population into a future, effective workforce on behalf of their country, Britain (or maybe just England and Wales).

ShipwreckedAndComatose Thu 24-Jan-13 21:50:13

Catriona, you appear to have contradicted yourself!

I completely agree with you post about successive governments ping ponging education policy and the reason forbGove's speedy reforms.

Surely this leaves no room for unions to have any influence over teaching? They may say what they feel should be happening but the reality is that teaching style is dictated by Government through Ofsted

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 21:51:00

See - why do you think so many people will disagree with that catriona? Sounds pretty straightforward to me. X

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:51:16

TheFallenMadonna - are you sure about that? Only 1/5th or a 1/3rd took O levels and the rest did cse? i'd believe only 1/5th did highers, but o levels???

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 21:54:06

Yes - O Levels were for the top 20-30%, depending on which year you look at.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Thu 24-Jan-13 21:54:20

Fallen is spot on about o levels. they were for the top 20% only.

Paceicularly tough on the middle ability who were made to 'double enter' GCE and CSE exams because they were boarder line for a C grade.
That resulted in a lot of exams for be student following double sets of syllabus

Catriona100 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:58:58

Whilst successive governments implement and then cancel out each other's ideas, education has evolved. I don't think anyone disagrees that it has changed dramatically since the 1980s (when I was at school) into what it is today??

i could list some changes and we could debate whether they are for better or worse, but it has changed. Apart from the NC, SATS and league tables, it seems to me that the rest of the changes have come from the teachers and what they are taught at teaching college. Plus pressure from the teaching unions.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 24-Jan-13 22:01:04

I disagree that that should be the sole reason for schools Catriona. Education is more than training. For all students, education is more than training.

And yes, I am sure. What did you think happened in the education system you would like to see us return to?

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 22:01:44

What are the rest of the changes? Can you give a couple of examples of things you think are different that are teacher or union driven? X

ShipwreckedAndComatose Thu 24-Jan-13 22:01:49's driven by Government policy, ousted and exam boards

I should know, I've been subjected to it for the last twenty years..

ShipwreckedAndComatose Thu 24-Jan-13 22:02:44

'Ofsted' sorry...random predictive text!!

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 22:06:05

You could list some changes to back up your assertion, yes! What a good idea...

To be fair - I've been teaching for 14 years. If I didn't have the occasional opinion on what I do all day, I don't think that would be particularly praiseworthy.

Very little of what I do comes from anything I was taught on my PGCE, mind you. Most of it was of very little practical application...

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:06:44

"Apart from the NC, SATS and league tables, it seems to me that the rest of the changes have come from the teachers and what they are taught at teaching college. Plus pressure from the teaching unions. "

LOL - seriously grin

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 22:07:41

married my teacher friends were working about 14 hours a day on weekdays, 4 hours a day on weekends and similar every day during school holidays. You and your DH may be 100 hour+ a week merchants and this may be fine for you, but it is not reasonable for you to expect everybody to work those hours. How do your salaries compare to what a couple of secondary school teachers earn? I don't need to know the figures, just whether it's substantially more or less...

And as has been pointed out many times, you are still panning the entire state sector based on your one bad experience. BTW I agree with the poster above who said your DD's school sounds as if it must have been appalling, you have my sympathy.

Catriona sorry if it feels like I'm having a go at you. I'm trying to multitask and address too many things at once, which according to recent research means I am doing them all badly. Apologies if it comes across as personal, certainly not my intention!

I'd hate to think that school was only there to create a better workforce, though. Certainly that is an important criterion as we need to raise our children to be able to cope in the world of work, but it can't be the only one. Schools - and parents - also need to teach children to read and think critically, to innovate, to research and to learn - no matter what area of work they are in. My degree, for example, is in prehistoric archaeology. Am I working in archaeology? Hell no - there isn't a lot of work in the field, at least not of the kind that gets you a mortgage and a pension. However, my studies have taught me to learn - no matter the field that I am learning in. Because I have had a high quality education, I have good learning strategies which benefit me every day.

What we don't want is to raise a generation of workers who are only fit for the shop floor, who will never think critically about their working environment even if it is poorly managed and inefficient, who will only ever 'know their place' and aspire to nothing. That way lies the end of British ingenuity and innovation. Schools have a place in creating the thinkers and inventors and daredevils of the future, not just the workers who keep the economy ticking over.

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:09:53

Catriona - so much comes from OFSTED pressure driven by Government policy.

Teachers do what they are told. I have lost count of how many initiatives I have seen in primary over the last 12 years - and most of them come and then go to be replaced by the next big thing.

And of course each initiative includes loads of materials, training courses and handouts.

I used to work in the NHS. We had a little thing called evidence based practice and trial projects to see if the policies worked.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 24-Jan-13 22:13:19

Really, please give an example of what you're talking about.

'Cos at the moment you sound like the "what did the Romans do for us?" sketch.

marriedinwhite Thu 24-Jan-13 22:26:25

I know a lot of secondary teachers who do a couple of hours two to three times a week and perhaps put in half a day at the weekend. All without fear of losing their job. I reckon I put in 45 hours a week but I do that for many more weeks of the year than a teacher, for about the same money. I have colleagues who put in 55-60 hours but they don't do things as fast and seem to fanny about a lot.

My MIL reckoned teaching knackered her because of the overwhelming demands. My BIL thought it was a breeze and has done a teaching to commerce switch and is thinking of going back to teaching because he's gobsmacked at the pressure he's under and the cut throat, critical environment and negotiating with adults

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:30:03

OK - you are now trying to wind teachers up. Deliberately?

Feenie Thu 24-Jan-13 22:31:58

Yep. It's happened before.

marriedinwhite Thu 24-Jan-13 22:32:53

Not in the least bit deliberately. Saying it as I have found it and as I believe it to be the case.

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 22:35:58

OK, married - so you think teachers should 'fear for their job' for working their contracted hours? And as I've said, my teaching friends were working 65-70 hours a week during term time, plus 25 hours a week during school holidays. How is this not enough? That makes a 55 hour working week averaged over 52 weeks. Well beyond the working time directive.

The teachers at my children's schools work similar hours.

pointythings Thu 24-Jan-13 22:37:36

Feenie some people just persist in buying into the 'lazy teachers in cushy jobs' myth. Ignore, ignore, ignore. I'm going to, clearly married has a problem with the entire teaching profession based on one bad school experience. We should stop engaging with people who have nothing constructive to say.

Feenie Thu 24-Jan-13 22:38:25

Sage advice, pointy wink

ravenAK Thu 24-Jan-13 22:42:12

Very good advice.

Unfortunately, years of year 9, set three, on a Friday afternoon have made 'engaging with people who have nothing constructive to say' a kind of terrible compulsion...

<sits on hands>


kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:42:42

I'm not going to feed Married.

Feenie Thu 24-Jan-13 22:42:49


ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 16:04:21


Absoluteeightiesgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 17:28:42

married I do not believe for one second that you know "lots of teachers". That is standard lie rolled out by those who attempt to back up the ridiculous claims spouted out by those who do not have the faintest idea.
If it is that cushy then get your application in and sit back and enjoy the lifestyle.
Seriously. What an idiotic post

VestaCurry Fri 25-Jan-13 17:33:04

It's appointing idiots like this that makes me question Cameron's sanity.

Harriet35 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:43:54

Teachers unions are only concerned with teachers pay and giving them an easy life. Kids that misbehave should be kicked out of mainstream education at the first possible opportunity, the emphasis should be ENTIRELY on kids who want to learn and get on in life, not on troublecausers who hold the whole class back.

Gove is to be applauded for having the balls to make radical changes to education and for being prepared to buck the NUT and other unions. If teachers don't like it, they know where the door is.

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 17:49:51

Trouble is, that door already has 50% of the profession using it within 5 years.

What about the child who misbehaves at the moment in my class because his mum is dying of cancer - or the child who does so because her father has just been sentenced to ten years in prison and cannot cope because she is, after all, only nine?

Any more asinine suggestions?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 17:53:19

wow, Harriet that really is quite a heartless post sad

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 17:54:39

Where would they go once they have been kicked out?

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 17:55:31

Like she cares!

Absoluteeightiesgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 17:56:16

Feenie you are spot on.
Harriet you are showing a quite staggering lack of intelligence in your post. Well done.

cory Fri 25-Jan-13 17:59:39

Harriet35 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:43:54
"Teachers unions are only concerned with teachers pay and giving them an easy life. Kids that misbehave should be kicked out of mainstream education at the first possible opportunity, the emphasis should be ENTIRELY on kids who want to learn and get on in life, not on troublecausers who hold the whole class back."

And where exactly should they go? Is the government prepared to fund sufficient numbers of referral units? Or shall we just let them wander around feral on the streets to be used by any criminals or drug dealers out there? Or are we about to discover any uninhabited continents to deport them to?

Euphemia Fri 25-Jan-13 18:05:26

Harriet Statistics have shown that 40% of UK prisoners have been temporarily or permanently excluded from school.

What do you say to that? "Good!"?

ReallyTired Fri 25-Jan-13 18:37:03

I think that teachers need to be part of any educational reform. Afterall many teachers have postgraduate qualifications in education and many years of experience. Many teachers are parents as well and have a vested interest in state education.

Careful research is needed so that decisions is made on what WORKS rather than gut feeling. I would like more funding into educational research and the results fed back to the teaching community. It could answer questions like.

What is the best age to introduce ablity streaming (if at all!)
Does synthetic phonics really work?
What is the optimum class size?
Is single sex education better?
How to identify children with weak interpersonal skills and best ways of helping them so they don't become bullies or distruptive.
What is the best way to help EBD kids?

Or prehaps teachers have interesting ideas for research proposals.

The govenant need to make the decision to back away from educational policy just like they made the Bank of England independent.

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 18:42:08

Definitely - am sick of having to implement stuff on yet another political whim. It's disgusting; our children deserve better.

Harriet35 Fri 25-Jan-13 18:42:38

Euphemia, I don't think that is relevent at all. I think they'd be criminals whether or not they were excluded from school. Some people are beyond help.

Schools should offer non-academic courses far earlier than they currently do, things like building, hairdressing and catering should be taught in secondary schools instead of trying to teach academic subjects to kids who couldn't care less. But kids that misbehave should not be allowed to affect the education of others. The onus has to be on the people that obey the rules and those that do not should have to face the consequences. That goes for society in general, not just schools.

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 18:52:40

It's not as simple as that, though, is it, Harriet? Children can suffer different circumstances at different times - supposing that your dc lost a dear relative, or something else, and were misbehaving - would you want them sinbinned? These children don't ask for things to happen to them you know.

pointythings Fri 25-Jan-13 18:54:15

Harrier I agree with you up to a point. It is a problem when disruptive children spoil things for everyone else.

However, throwing those children on the scrap heap helps no-one - they need well-funded, well-organised professional help from a young age so that they can turn their lives around. However, that costs money. Services like that exist in Scandinavian countries, where educational outcomes are much better and far fewer children are 'lost' - but taxes are a lot higher there.

I'd argue that the investment is worth it, as it will save a fortune in the long run because keeping people in prison is incredibly expensive, but not everyone agrees.

I'd also agree with providing high quality vocational education for children whose aptitudes aren't academic. At the moment children whose talents lie outside the realm of the academic are more or less written off because the education system isn't geared to supporting them. That needs to change - but again, that costs money.

Personally I would happily pay higher taxes in exchange for an education system that supports everyone and which supports children who have difficult lives, but it wouldn't play in elections here.

Absoluteeightiesgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 19:01:06

Harriet here is something to consider.
Tell me..... What would you recommend for a girl who up until half way through year 9 was hard working, high achieving and an all round delight.
Fast forward to year 11
Dad has committed suicide. Mum has turned to alcohol. She has three younger siblings who she now has to take care of. She now smokes. She doesn't do homework anymore. She truants. She is argumentative. She is becoming disruptive. She is depressed. She refuses to engage. She is dating an arse. She has admitted to smoking pot with BF. SS are involved.

Please share your pearls of wisdom

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 19:37:55

It's the old debate isn't it?.

Harriet believes children are born bad and group up to be criminals and therefore should not be allowed to infect the rest of us decent hardworking types.

The rest of us know better.

Harriet35 Fri 25-Jan-13 19:45:09

I don't believe children are "born bad". But I don't believe that badly behaved children should be allowed to disrupt the education of well-behaved children.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 19:46:35

Oh...ok then.

We will intervene before they behave badly to stop them going bad...

That'll work.

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 19:49:28

Nor does anyone, Harriet - but neither do they believe that they should be chucked onto the scrap heap automatically if they do, because we usually know there are reasons.

Please could you answer the question regarding your own dc?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 19:54:52

The first school I ever worked in had a zero tolerance to drugs policy... Until the middle class boy got caught with can ibis in the toilets.

Then the governors would not permenantly exclude him, realising that one of their own was the misbehaving one.

Policy changed. And rightly so. Because everyone realised the issue was far, far more complex that simply saying 'out with the badduns'

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 19:55:33

Ibis = cannibis

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 19:56:08

Cannabis <reaches for wine>

LOL at Goble
"League tables have been the worst thing to happen to primary education. Utterly pointless and serve no purpose at all."

I would so agree with this -and the op's original statement.

pointythings Fri 25-Jan-13 20:09:46

Where can I get some canned Ibis, Shipwrecked? grin

Plus what you said.

Harriet35 Fri 25-Jan-13 20:11:39

I don't believe that all children would misbehave due to the loss of a loved one. It's usually more of an excuse than a reason. And regardless, the interests of the many other children in the class outweigh the interests of the one disruptive child.

YorkshireDeb Fri 25-Jan-13 20:16:08

Harriet I completely agree that there should be more non academic courses available for children whose talents may lie in areas other than maths & English - but this is a very anti-Gove suggestion & I thought you liked him? I flatly refuse to believe children are beyond help. You speak about them like it's somehow their fault - the vast majority if children with behaviour difficulties are that way because of adults! And they rely on other adults (who thankfully have different opinions to you) to help them turn things around. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong - but you were one of the 'good kids' at school? You can't even imagine the shit that some of those 'bad kids' went home to every night. X

Euphemia Fri 25-Jan-13 20:16:08

Good grief, you're a heartless one, aren't you? I hope you're not in any position of influence over young people's lives at all.

What is your training, out of interest?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 25-Jan-13 20:18:22

Didn't you know that long legged wading birds in a tin as all the thing this season! grin

I have some if you are interested wink
<looks left and right in shifty way>

Absoluteeightiesgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 20:29:42

You're lovely aren't you.

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 20:30:12

I don't believe that all children would misbehave due to the loss of a loved one. It's usually more of an excuse than a reason. And regardless, the interests of the many other children in the class outweigh the interests of the one disruptive child.

Yeah, Harriet, you're right. Fuck 'em - get rid, I say.

hmm hmm hmm

I hope you're not in any position of influence over young people's lives at all.

Please, God.

Feenie Fri 25-Jan-13 20:30:52

grin @ shipwrecked.

Absoluteeightiesgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 20:35:34

You know what.... Ordinarily I try not to rise to ignorance but in this case Harriet I will make an exception
I find your attitude truly appalling.
If this message gets deleted then so be it but are really are quite vile aren't you.

pointythings Fri 25-Jan-13 20:39:10

<puts dunce cap on harriet as she is obviously beyond redemption>

Using the death of your father as an excuse - really? You're a piece of work, you know that? angry

ReallyTired Fri 25-Jan-13 21:10:15

I feel that children with behavioural problems need a nuture group type enviroment to help them resolve their issues and return to mainstream as soon as practical. If a child really can't cope with mainstream schooling then ideally a transfer should be managed rather than the child excluded.

Children misbehave for all kinds of reasons. Often their background is truely horrific. I have not yet met a truely evil child who is beyond help.

Ideally all secondary schools would have a nuture unit with councelling, support from social services, school nurse and small group teaching with view to helping these children back into the classroom. I know that many secondary schools do have such provision already.

kim147 Fri 25-Jan-13 21:28:15

I work in a school with a lot of children who misbehave. I do supply there - and I'm sure you remember how supply teachers are treated. It's a tough school and a lot of the children have real issues.

I do feel really sorry for those children who behave well. My DS is shocked by the stories I tell him (his class got 1 verbal warning in the whole week). I get frustrated by the behaviour and I don't know what the answer is.

What the answer is not is kicking them out.

VestaCurry Sat 26-Jan-13 01:46:02

Harriet, do you have some special insight (professionally) on child bereavement? hmm

fassit Sat 26-Jan-13 02:48:34

home school....

EchoBitch Wed 30-Jan-13 00:35:50

I also don't believe that ALL children would misbehave due to the loss of a loved one.
But some children will find it hard to find their way when/after they lose a parent.
I am old and i am still finding it hard to 'get over' losing my Mum.

I am not a child and i can process my feelings but a child will need support and help and teachers who can give that child a break.

seeker Wed 30-Jan-13 00:57:58

What about the children who misbehave because they are"terribly bright, you know"? Out the door no quarter given?

echt Wed 30-Jan-13 06:37:39

Somebody upthread referred to a training session where it was stated that the top 10 highest paid jobs didn't exist 10 years ago.

This is an urban myth. It's an excuse for disregarding content and deferring to processes, e.g. thinking skills. At some point you need to have something to think about, e.g. content/knowledge. The same goes for generic problem-solving. Unless it's grounded in a real situation, e.g. maths/technology, then it means little. A bit like separated study skills units/courses; bollocks. Teach the study skills which apply to the subject.

Google "OldAndrew" for a systematic demolition of this shite.

YorkshireDeb Wed 30-Jan-13 06:44:29

That was me echt. I'll take your word for it that it's an urban myth. Obviously you can't teach all thinking with no content - but I do believe that all content with no thinking is equally insane & does not prepare children sufficiently for their adult lives. I've also done courses on philosophy for children, where research projects have shown that by helping children to be better thinkers, they will be far better learner a than if they are just fed a diet of dry facts. X

mummytime Wed 30-Jan-13 07:00:03

Has anyone noticed all these changes have to come in by 2015, the date of the next election?

YorkshireDeb Wed 30-Jan-13 07:51:45

. . . And if there is a change in leadership at that point, don't be surprised when they declare all of these new initiatives are a load of crap, scrap them & try to come up with their own selection of shit groundbreaking ideas. It happens every time we get a new government. X

echt Wed 30-Jan-13 09:14:00

Too true, Yorkshire.

Education Secretary is where they break their duck, fucking children, teachers and schools around. Then they ponce off to greener pastures.

To call them arseholes would be to dignify them, as an arsehole is useful.

YorkshireDeb Wed 30-Jan-13 10:09:40

To call them arseholes would be to dignify them as an arsehole is useful. Genius! X

kimorama Wed 30-Jan-13 11:42:16

Some say Gove is angling for Tory leadership. He is thought to be to the Right of Cameron I dont see him as a leader

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 30-Jan-13 11:51:36

Schools should offer non-academic courses far earlier than they currently do, things like building, hairdressing and catering should be taught in secondary schools instead of trying to teach academic subjects to kids who couldn't care less. But kids that misbehave should not be allowed to affect the education of others. The onus has to be on the people that obey the rules and those that do not should have to face the consequences. That goes for society in general, not just schools.

Harriet, the following is true. I know a bloke who was kicked out of school at 14 for being like you describe. He had no dad. He was in trouble all the time. He liked one teacher, and the teacher tried his best with him, but before they could reach any kind of mutual understanding, the school had thrown him out. He was fourteen with no qualifications. Luckily for him, back then (he is fifty-ish now), he was able to get a job as an East End barrow boy - it wouldn't have been possible now. He came to love the sea and worked all over the world on ships. During this time he became interested in marine wildlife, and he has just finished a PhD. He is a respected environmental campaigner.

Was he born bad? Should he have been written off? His qualifications would have been a darn sight easier for him to obtain if his school had believed in him and he had been given a chance.

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