to think Gove just does not understand what he is doing to schools and the teaching profession

(296 Posts)
kim147 Sat 18-May-13 22:06:37

Gove at the NAHT conference

Heckled by heads, a vote of no confidence and an inability to listen as he makes up policies and initiatives with no evidence. I hate to think what the future of education will look like with his legacy.

OddBoots Sat 18-May-13 22:09:36

He is either clueless or trying to break the state system bit by bit - I'm not sure which is worse but either way our children are going to be the ones suffering the most.

MiaowTheCat Sat 18-May-13 22:11:19

Oh he understands - he's enjoying the reaction feeding his little PR campaign to climb the political ladder a bit further when he's marked himself out as a "well hard bloke who taught those workshy teachers a lesson or two." Someone on here mentioned he wants the teachers to be his own little miners - it's pretty true.

Got asked today if I was going to go back into teaching once the kids grew up a bit - my reply of "not while Gove's in charge" drew a roomful of pained sighs of experience of the whole Gove Experience.

AnnaFiveTowns Sat 18-May-13 22:14:08

YANBU. I feel truly sorry for teachers and I could cry when I think of the damage he is doing to our children. The man is a complete cunt.

nobodysbaby Sat 18-May-13 22:28:41

He does. He just doesn't give a shit.

uniqueatlast Sat 18-May-13 22:28:42

YANBU. I feel truly sorry for teachers and I could cry when I think of the damage he is doing to our children. The man is a complete cunt.

This. Although I am a teacher so I cry for the children in my care, my colleagues and myself. sad

nobodysbaby Sat 18-May-13 22:32:31

He does. He just doesn't give a shit. I have been a teacher for 20 years and this year, for the first time ever, I have advised someone not to go into the job. It makes me furious as a teacher and a parent.

washngo Sat 18-May-13 22:46:03

Which of his policies would you all say have been most harmful? As a teacher on mat leave and parent with a child about to start reception I am v worried about the damage he is doing.

Purpleprickles Sat 18-May-13 22:55:10

This is only my 7th year as a teacher. I love the teaching part of my job. When I qualified I thought I was set for life and having trained as a postgraduate thought I had finally found my career. Now though I'm wondering how long I'll last.

I feel like we are being pushed away from what is important for the children, we've gone target mad. Children can't be children because they need to make their sub levels of progress, they need to be continually making progress so no time for art/music/PE or maybe heaven forbid reflecting and consolidating knowledge and skills. All children need to focus on is Literacy and Numeracy, so if those aren't your strength then you're buggered. As a teacher and senior leader I'm now keeping notes of every meeting, complying data down to the minute detail, justifying that data, everything to prove my worth and decisions which takes me away from what I should be doing...teaching. And as for the constant negative comments about how utterly shit we teachers are from Gove and his cronies, well don't get me started.

As others have said it makes me very sad and scared for what will become of our education system and children. I say this not only as a teacher but as a parent of a 4yr old starting school in September.

MonstersInception Sat 18-May-13 22:58:09

I left the state sector indirectly due to him. How dismissive he was of that woman and her comment. How arrogantly he tramples on the tatters of our education system - us teachers don't care enough to notice of course, we've all left at three. What a shit.

sparkle9 Sat 18-May-13 23:05:45

I've been teaching for about 7 years and I'm in a leadership position in a primary school. I love my job. I love teaching children and I am very committed to my school. BUT I have recently, in the era of Gove, started to question if all the stress is worth it. First the Local Authorities, then the pensions, then more testing, then pay and progression..... I'm what Gove considers to be a "high-quality" graduate who chose teaching over lots of other possible careers. If I was asked to advise a current undergraduate I would tell them to chose a different career now. The teaching profession and the school system has changed for the worse. Teaching is no longer an attractive career IMO. I don't know how long my love of the actual teaching will keep me working in a job. The teaching bit is constantly being sidelined and pressure makes it difficult to make decisions based on what is actually best for the children. I didn't become a teacher (and school leader) to jump through hoops for Gove's buddy over at Ofsted!

He knows exactly what he is doing, as do his buddies. Morale in teaching has never been so low imho, but the government and their minions just think it's teachers whingeing about having to work. I dread where things will go next, if this government remain in power.

BoffinMum Sat 18-May-13 23:15:31

I am starting to perceive a deterioration in the standard of my own children's schooling, that I can partially attribute to the running round the schools are having to do in relation to this so-called reform. The rest I think may be to do with spending cutbacks.

nobodysbaby Sat 18-May-13 23:20:03

And all those ill-considered, rushed and regressive curriculum changes haven't even started yet.

JoyMachine Sat 18-May-13 23:21:24

He does know what he's doing, it's intentional, to break the teaching unions. Academies are only about destroying the nationally agreed T&C for teaching staff. That was Labour's plan (as they realised they could no longer afford the costs of their education policies) and the Conservatives took up their mantle with glee because it fits their ideology.

<<waves to Remus>> Hope you're well ('tis I...wink)

KitNCaboodle Sat 18-May-13 23:32:23

After 11 years I've recently left the profession I love. Just couldn't juggle family life, work and my sanity anymore. It took me about 3 months to get used to not having a constant tick list in my head.

I will not be going back anytime soon. It makes me sad but low morale and increasing workload and pressure does not make a great combination.

Hello you! Am good, thanks. You?

You are exactly right btw. smile

BoffinMum Sat 18-May-13 23:33:09

True enough, Joy. It's something people have been trying for years, along with annhialating Local Authorities.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 18-May-13 23:38:28

Great bit of thread convergence:

Am I being unreasonable? : to think Gove just does not understand what he is doing to schools and the teaching profession

_Chat : When I find him I will string him up by his ball sack!


nobodysbaby Sat 18-May-13 23:39:15

That's a shame Kit

TeamEdward Sat 18-May-13 23:42:42

After over 10 years in Primary teaching, I left the profession at Christmas. As KitNCaboodle says above, the pressures of school life increased so rapidly under Gove that I could not keep work, home and my sanity intact. Something had to give.
DH works in an Academy that has just had a successful Ofsted inspection. It seems that a good result from Ofsted is only possible if the majority of staff are working 11-12 hour day on site and then continue to work at home.
And as for the children, it makes my heart bleed to see the fun sucked out of learning.

Startail Sat 18-May-13 23:43:58

Purplepickles says it exactly. My DDs go to a lovely community school with lots of art, music, sport and out door activities. The relentless push for three levels of progress and getting Ofsted off their backs means they are fighting an uphill struggle to keep these things.

When I was a teen I thought that exams were all that mattered. Now as a parent I see what we missed out on.

Rural area in the days when many mum's didn't have transport so after school stuff was very difficult and a long teachers work to rule that destroyed anything in lunch hour.

Januarymadness Sat 18-May-13 23:44:48

I am not a Tory basher but it does seem that the people in power are not listening to people who actually work in, and know, the fields they are trying to lead.

It seems to be more about posturing and an unwillingness to back down than to actually make anything better.

Education is not the only victim. Housing, planning, policing, womens services, childcare.... I could go on.

I understand the need for reform but surely best practice would be to listen to people who do the job before identifying changes and efficiencies!

Startail Sat 18-May-13 23:46:54

Fortunately I'm an interested parent not a teacher mum's blush

JoyMachine Sun 19-May-13 00:25:08

Boffin- they'll have LAs next, as once all schools are responsible to/funded by central govt, there's no mandate for LEAs. They're currently allying Social Care to Health (so health will be destroyed next...), refuse, cemeteries, registrars, elections, governance, council tax collection etc all very, very easy to privatise, or bring in consultants. Eradicating LAs has been conservative aim for over a decade hasn't it?

Remus- stressed... moving house at half term, only got 3000 things to do before then grin

The state system is already broken. It is uncompetitive in international terms.

However, I don't see that Gove is going to do anything to fix it.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 06:36:21

Hmm I have mixed feelings.

I think there is a lot of rot that needs dealing with to be frank and it needs vigour,just like in every other sector.Have to say I'm sick of whining teachers(as are a lot of other people). There is stress,long hours and bar raising in all sectors many of which pay a lot less.

However I don't agree with free schools,academies, longer days or shorter hols and I'm a bit hmm re what I've seen of the new curriculum.

<dons hard hat>

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 19-May-13 06:40:11

I thought it was rigour we were supposed to need, not vigour grin

He knows what he is doing.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 19-May-13 06:42:15

Sorry, by he knows what he is doing, I mean he is making his changes knowingly, justto be clear I do not agree with the changes!

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 06:49:09


KatyDid02 Sun 19-May-13 06:50:33

Gove is the reason why I won't take the final step and train to be a teacher, another 9 months and I could easily top up my qualifications and get QTS. Doing the job I do now, I can make a difference to children who are struggling to achieve on a day to day basis by giving them one to one and small group support. Class teachers just don't have the time to do that, they are constantly juggling and when the class are working well they have so much else to do. They could be spending time bringing on the higher ability children but they have paperwork to do instead, masses of the stuff.

scaevola Sun 19-May-13 06:57:19

Teachers have complained about the cluelessness/incompetence/heartlessness of SoSEd for decades.

Perhaps some teachers need to stand for Parliament (as some doctors are planningto do) and do the politicians job?

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 06:59:36

Errrr I don't know any teachers who do their paperwork whilst teaching any ability of children.

How you pitch a lesson has little baring on paperwork.

KatyDid02 Sun 19-May-13 07:01:10

Stuff arrives needing a signature immediately, SMT are waiting for it so teachers sign it, thus temporarily stopping their teaching.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 07:02:21

I'm an NQT and when I started training (five years ago) I knew this was my 'forever' career. Now, not so much. Unfortunately, at this time in the morning, all I feel able to say is:

Gove, for example, is an utter cunt.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 07:02:55

Scaev you could be talking about any top tier of management in any sector.I've had f&f in all sorts of sectors saying the same rhetoric.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 07:03:40

A signaturehmm

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 07:04:48

YY to stuff needing signing. Not a lesson goes by when I haven't got children from the class of an SMT knocking on the door with a request fe books/examples of ict/something to sign/a note to do this/x pupil needs to be assessed. It goes on and on. No teacher is allowed to 'just' teach anymore.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 07:07:05

Surely that is down to senior management time management issues not Gove.

moondog Sun 19-May-13 07:24:13

Love Gove.
I have seen generations of kids who have been utterly failed-can't read, can't write, no concept of intellectual rigour.
'Taught' by people who haven't the first cue how to tackle these things but instead convince themselves that it's ok as they are 'creative' types.

As my hero, Vicki Snider says 'There is more comeback from selling someone a bad burger than there is a bad education'

Gove is taking this issue by the horns and for that I salute him.
Best politician to deal with Education in years.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 07:30:11

See now moondog I don't disagree with you in that something does need to be done, but have you considered te possibility that children were taught better when teachers had more autonomy? Pre national curriculum maybe? I'm not being snarky, it's a genuine question.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 07:34:46

What I find patronising about attitudes like yours Blue, is the implicit assumption that teachers are 'whinging' and unable to see the need for rigour. I too am a high end graduate who chose a career in teaching above other possible careers. I care deeply about high standards in education, that's why it's my career. I make a difference to the children I teach.
Gove's policies get in the way of excellence. That is the problem. He is obsessed with literacy but mainly with spelling, naming parts of speech (which he calls grammar) and getting kids to read Victorian novels. This is lunacy.
Grammar is not about teaching kids to identify subordinate clauses at 11. It is about enabling them to use language in a dexterous and useful way. Myhill has done some really excellent research on grammar in context in the classroom but Gove ignores her advice. Spelling is not actually the most important skill in literacy- it is one of many key skills.

Finally, I'm all for educating children about classical literature but why a dyslexic fifteen year old needs to be able to analyse Brownjng's use if metaphor and link it to Shakespeare's use of iambic pentameter is beyond me. I want the students I teach to leave my classroom loving the classics so that they will engage with literature all their lives. Governments don't want that: they want worker drones. By actively putting them off literature, the curriculum reaffirms to mid and lower ability children that literature is not for them and keeps them in their place. I can get through to some of them but am impeded by the demands of the GCSE curriculum with its bizarre focus on language analysis, inappropriate for many at 15.

I don't think that you can possibly really understand the damage that Gove is doing unless you are trying to deliver his nonsense to kids. His lack of accountability staggers me. He has no expertise, no mandate and ignores the advice of those who do know. He's like some capricious Tudor Prince.

At this point I would vote for pretty much anyone who made a commitment to leave the education system (and the NHS) alone for 4 years. The constant changes (for political ends) are very damaging.

scaevola Sun 19-May-13 07:37:12

Yes, Blueskiesandbuttercups, I think you're right.

In this case though the "playing the man not the ball" is particularly vicious. The policies must be better than I thought for this rhetorical strategy to be the one chosen.

You do realise what this means? The policies are OK and will continue (perhaps with a mildly modified name) as Labour policy. They've already started nicking economic policy. They'll manage the discourse carefully, but the substance will be the same.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 07:38:01

I agree that these things need to be tacked Moondog. You are mistaken if you think that is what Gove is trying to do.

pinkr Sun 19-May-13 07:44:06

He makes mike Russell (Scottish education) look good and he's an odious and devious little man who threatened to 'help'any school who was struggling to implement the ridiculous new curriculum. We have kids sitting an exam in less than a years time and there is still no clear instructions and no teacher i've spoken to knows what the hell is going on!
Sympathies with our English colleagues! flowers

Jenski Sun 19-May-13 07:44:15

Maria33 - great post.

Gove does not know anything about teaching or learning within schools.
I think he wants generations of little business men and women.

Creativity and expression are being squeezed out of the curriculum, so children have less opportunity to discover their own interests and talents. Let us not forget that the arts i s a massive industry in Britain.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 07:45:25

How can somebody lead a group of people to be successful by alienating them? Surely, one of the necessities of good leadership is to inspire confidence in your workers. To borrow from Ken Robinson, unless Gove is planning to teach all the children himself, he actually needs teachers onside.
Maybe Gove should read Henry V.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 07:47:04

The education system has been broken for 30 odd years. The poor general levels of literacy and numeracy show that through the past generation. All those fluffy wuffy liberal policies.

It says it all that SPaG has had to be introduced in exams, not as a gold standard but in some questions in some subjects.

Parents of course are also to blame; if they didn't latch onto the league tables and give them credence the whole system would be better. I'm for abolishing the tables as a starting point because they have done is create a culture of teaching to pass exams.

Frankly, there is very little in the way of education going on in schools at present.

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 07:47:19

Not a teacher but my opinion is this: Literacy and numeracy are the two most important areas of education and more focus should be put on them. Those two factors, especially literacy, are vital for children to succeed in life.

There are far too many school holidays too. Half terms are so unnecessary and should be scrapped.

Art, PE, music, RE should be encouraged too but becoming fully literate is paramount. So if that is what Gove is trying to achieve, then I agree.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 07:55:13

Art, music and RE are part of being fully literate. If you don't understand why, the education system has failed you too. Do you think they've dropped art, music and RE at Eton?
PE is just as important as literacy as it is the only lesson which teaches you to look after your body: healthy body = healthy mind.
Please leave me school holidays - it's the only time I get to fill in the holes left by my children's education.

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 07:58:41

The fact that he introduces curricululum changes without thinking them through after reading a survey does not help.

Or changes his mind on a policy when bodies such as Universities say that the changes at GCSE / A-level will only lead to confusion.

The fact he's left a lot of teenagers worried that the qualifications they're doing now will be useless and he tells them they're pointless.

But then changes his mind.

The fact that it's all literacy and numeracy (as has been the case for many years) but now it just seems to be that and the creative side is out.

He gives free schools and academies the choice about what to teach but dictates the curriculum to other state schools because obviously unlike free schools and academies, they can't be trusted.

The fact he is ignoring the legitimate concerns of the people who actually have to teach in schools and other education professionals - who are the ones who care for the pupils.

He seems to want every school to become an academy or a free school - so he can basically privatise education.

The fact he does not seem to want to listen or engage with the profession and sees us as the enemy - yet most teachers are actually there to teach - but are hacked of with constant interference and a constant undermining of the profession.

YokoUhOh Sun 19-May-13 08:01:15

Gove-supporters, where is your evidence that literacy and numeracy have reached some kind of all-time nadir? What do you propose to do when your children haven't had a week off in four months, are run-down and ill, and you're forced to take time off work to look after them?

Another Oxbridge graduate teacher here, running a department that Gove would rather didn't exist, because it takes the focus off literacy and numeracy.

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 08:05:37

British children can not spell. They write as they speak. I'm no English teacher but I've lived in the UK for 9 years and I'm continually shocked how many of the English can not read, write, spell, understand their own language properly. You just need to go over to Netmums or live in a town of chavs to witness it.

Eg. Nothing - nuffingk

You're - your

Ad finitum.

This has gone on uncorrected for generations and it's high time somebody took the bull by the horns and put an end to illiteracy in the UK or at least try.

Wishiwasanheiress Sun 19-May-13 08:06:09

I don't believe Gove is the only one not to understand education today or how best to organise it. As a lay person it's incredibly hard to follow changes since my own school days. I'd love to give back and change into teaching but I don't recognise it. It worries me that so many from teachers themselves to business also seem very critical of it at present. It doesn't encourage one to engage long enough to try to see past the shockingly worded "join us!" Website, which is to focused on the "ra ra ra!" and not enough on the detail.

KatyDid02 Sun 19-May-13 08:09:46

Stuff coming in for signatures, time taken to discuss it, decide what to do because X is on the phone and needs to know NOW. It used to be a little interruption not taking long but now it's 4-5 times a morning if you are a teacher who is also on the SMT. It all adds up to less teaching time.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:11:33

Michael McCarthy, emeritus professor of applied linguistics at the University of Cambridge has said so this morning in an interview with The Times. After a 20 year study by Cambridge English Corpus, to paraphrase what he really means, we all speak and write like shit! Ok so he said there is a decline with spelling and grammar today amongst students in his lectures. But he his point out royalty and educated politicians are beginning to speak with demotic accent and grammar and we should all be speaking like Brian Sewell or David Starkey, who use correct English grammar.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-May-13 08:11:48

I'm a parent of a Year 9 DD. I'm not stupid, I was about to do a Ph.D when I became pregnant with DD. my Mother has just been diagnosed with Dementia.

I have given up trying to understand what is going on with DD's GCSE's because I just don't. I thought she was doing linear GCSE'S and doing exams at the end of year 11 but she sat two English papers last Friday. I'm trying to navigate my way round the Care system for Mum which is taking all my energy at the moment and has turned into a full time job for now. I can't believe that I have to some extent given up on DD's education, the thing I have always valued so highly.

I have though. One minute it's modular v linear GCSE'S , then it's Ebacc, then totally new exams to replace GCSE'S , then that's scrapped. It is laughable if it didn't have such serious implications. Surely if you make a change you implement then measure the effect of change, not make up more changes every few months. I'm beginning to wonder about the rigour of Gove's education personally. Like Boffinmum I'm starting to see standards slipping as the cuts bite. It is totally depressing.

ShadeofViolet Sun 19-May-13 08:12:58

Mr Gove

My problem is the 'academies by stealth' regime. All of the secondaries in our area have changed over, either because they are good, or because they have been forced to because they were bad.

I fear that the changes will not be able to be undone.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 08:14:45


So that is a no to evidence then?

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 08:15:11

Yoko business leaders are complaining,you can see it everywhere and I have plenty from my crap 70s/80s education to draw on thanks.Some of the teaching I witnessed during my teaching career was shocking,my blood often boils now with my own dc.

My parents were unhappy about standards all though my education.

The fact they're actually having to push tables and bring in Spag speaks volumes.

As literate adults it's very arrogant and selfish not to want the same for all children.

I don't blame all teachers though.I think this generation has been let down by a succession of previous ed deps,crap policies and poor management.They are now having to deal with a long history of poor education policy and are taking the brunt of the dire need for change in a very short period.

Imvho Gove does care but he knows he won't be in power after the next election,he is trying to rush things through before he goes.

I hate the Tories but think Gove is the only decent part of the party even though I disagree with free schools and academies( to a certain degree).confused

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:16:21


A short video by AQA explaining the system how grades are calculated, how papers and CAUs are tied together.

chicaguapa Sun 19-May-13 08:17:56

DH is questioning leaving teaching now. He probably could be described as a lefty but what he is doing is at odds with what he believes. He went into it to inspire a love of science and learning in DC that they can take with them into further education. He prides himself on making DC believe they can do science and want to go on and study it at A level. Instead he is now driving all the fun out of science, squeezing A* out of DC, when a A/B would be enough to go on and study it and still love the subject

He works at a very successful comp and there is no independent learning or resilience. The DC will get very very good GCSE results, but at the expense of other lifelong skills. They will have had their hands held throughout and have been given everything they need bar the actual answers in the exam. It is known at the 2 sixth forms in the area that DC from this school need more support at A level because of the focus on the high GCSE grades at the expense of everything else. But Gove, Ofsted and the parents want the high GCSE grades, without looking at the bigger picture.

I teach in an adult literacy class and it's shocking that some of these people left school with such a low attainment level in these basic skills. But even as adults, they require a lot of very patient one-to-one attention to progress and it is unrealistic to expect them to receive this in a high-pressured results-based education system.

So Gove needs to make up his mind, does he want sky-high results for the very able or does he want everyone to achieve and make education more holistic? Because by putting the emphasis on those at the top getting the A* grades, this isn't going to improve things for those who struggle academically.

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 08:18:24

PE is important. According to my teacher friend few teachers are willing to teach it along with RE, Music, etc.

Surely those are subjects that should also be encouraged at home as well as at school?

If educating about healthy living is important, why isn't breastfeeding in the curriculum? It's basic human biology and a basic life skill.

YokoUhOh Sun 19-May-13 08:20:45

How interesting that David Starkey has popped up on this thread. He might be adept at The Queen's English but it doesn't stop him being 'misunderstood and misquoted' (after the 2011 riots, on Newsnight) and a failure in front of a class of students who themselves were failed by the education system.

If everyone were to treat the English language à la Starkey and Sewell, we'd all still be conversing in Old English and reading Beowulf.

Pompoko Sun 19-May-13 08:21:43

Would'nt an easy way to raise school standerds and improve exam results while keeping schools fun, engaging, productive, simply make class sizes smaller? A teacher will be able to tailor each lesson according to the students learning ability and level. That is impossible when dealing with 30 odd students.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:22:25

I didn't realise Old Norse was currently in the MFL melting pot grin

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 08:22:44

BoneyBackJefferson, I think I supplied my own evidence to show that literacy and numeracy should be pushed. As I said, I'm no English teacher.

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 08:24:34

So how exactly is Gove encouraging those pupils who struggle with literacy and numeracy?

Is he providing extra resources? Smaller class sizes? More time so children can consolidate the foundations of numeracy and literacy?

No - he's just telling the teachers they're crap and giving them more tests to do.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-May-13 08:29:23

Thank you Hollyberrybush, have watched it. I still don't understand exactly what her year group are doing though. I know she's the year supposed to be taking Linear GCSE'S , so why did she sit two English papers last week when in Year 9?

Even more annoying is she was told she could move up a set in English, said she didn't want to as liked the teacher, then next minute was told she had it sit the Foundation paper as the teacher couldn't teach both Foundation and Higher. Clearly I need to go in and find our how the hell it all works but I am up to my eyes in meetings with SW and Nursing homes and working out how to finance Mum's residential care with fees like telephone numbers.

I know there are and have been issues for some time in Education but to keep changing it randomly is not the answer.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 08:31:35


you provided information that is not based on facts or careful study (annocdotal evidence) but no empirical evidence (measured, unbiased, and replicable).

"business leaders are complaining"

I am reminded of the old adage "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys" everytime that business leaders complain.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:31:52

I don't see that class sizes are the problem, per se. The Victorians appear to have managed with far larger class sizes than we have today - mind you they weren't forever having to deal with ill mannered, unruly, ill disciplined children who have the attention span of a gnat, off their faces on sugar, Ritalin, red bull and spouting "I have rights" every thirty seconds..

It all comes back to home life I'm afraid. If you aren't preparing your child for school adequately, if you don't instil discipline and are the sort to perpetually undermine any sort of authority, habitually question any decision and applaud answering back for the sake of it, then you are doing your children a complete disservice when it comes to the real world of work.

Parents are the biggest challenge teachers have.

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 08:32:37

Kim147, I agree, more tests are not the solution.

How would you go about reducing teacher to pupil ratio?

Wouldn't shortening holidays provide extra time to teach RE, PE, art & music, etc? Perhaps Friday could be made a half day too?

Purpleprickles Sun 19-May-13 08:33:21

To reply to a post by Blue earlier. I think the thing that really riles teachers is the image that we are 'whining' and the perception that we are lazy and don't care about standards. We do, we want our pupils to succeed to the best of their abilities and to have aspirations of greatness in their life, their aspirations of greatness I would add as thank god we are still hanging on to being a society of individual humans and not clones. The majority of us are working really hard to provide a high quality education for our pupils, the majority of us think about our pupils constantly, evaluating planning, lessons, teaching strategies to ensure the needs of all of them are met.

However because on mass we disagree with the way Gove is implementing his policies and the way he continually criticises us we must be whinging and lazy. I really feel that if people who believe this lie to be true spent a week in a school they would realise what a devious lie this was. Gove is trying to convince the non-teaching public how worthless we are for his own political means.

lecce Sun 19-May-13 08:34:08

Spidersandslugs, you can't teach literacy in a vacum, you know. Pupils need to be interested to write well - there needs to be some context. What do you envisage - hours of spelling and punctuation worksheets? What would be the impact of that on independent thought and creativity? And you are seriously misinformed if you believe those are woolly skills that have no bearing on what students could achieve at university and in future careers.

Hate Gove and he knows exactly what he's doing.

dolallylass Sun 19-May-13 08:34:33

Lovely to find a group of like minded people. The man is dangerous. He's a true politician only interested in beating his own drum, which sadly has a crazy nonsensical tune. Teachers should be worshipped from my experience and they have my complete support.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:34:54

I know she's the year supposed to be taking Linear GCSE'S , so why did she sit two English papers last week when in Year 9?

That would be the WJEC? they do two papers. Everything has gone linear with the exception of English, Maths, Science - there is a resit opportunity in November 2013, and again Summer 2014 for those subjects alone - the department is frantically banking exam papers to concentrate on the CAUs. Although it's fruitless as the boundaries will raise again this summer, and continue to do so until 2015 when the new qualifications come into force.

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 08:37:39

Yes, BoneyBackJefferson, I do believe I provided my opinion! As biased as it is, I am still entitled to provide an opinion which doesn't mean that it's invalid.

lecce Sun 19-May-13 08:40:19

WJEC papers haven't been sat yet. The EGCSE was last week for English. Or, could it have been CAs?

Growlithe Sun 19-May-13 08:41:53

He knows what he is doing.

This thread is mostly being commented on by teachers. There is IMO a reason for this. It's because parents aren't getting the full facts presented to them via the popular media.

I hadn't seen a teacher friend for a while and we went for a drink a while back for a catch up. She had attended the NUT conference in Liverpool. She outlined some of the points around the changes to the curriculum, the changes to testing around pupils knowing key facts with little emphasis on analysis skills, and the forcing of underachieving schools to become academies (and the suspicion about into who's hands those budgets are falling). Also once they are academies the probability of non qualified teachers being used.

All these changes had actually largely passed me by. I couldn't understand why they haven't been headline news. In Thatcher's day we did hear about the miners, it was never off the TV, and being reported in all the press.

Yet this, it's been done by stealth. You may know all about it if you read the broadsheets daily, or if you are a teacher yourself. But the parents of the children who will be mostly failed by these reforms do not read broadsheets and are not teachers. They do not know the implications of all this, and no one is telling them.

For example, I watch BBC Breakfast News every weekday. They often have pieces about stuff going on in schools. But it is mostly frothy stuff. They mentioned one proposed change to the curriculum shortly after I saw my friend. It was how beneficial the introduction of gardening onto the curriculum would be. FFS.

The thing is, there are too many changes being brought in at the same time, and even if they are hearing bits, most parents won't have put it all together. This needs to be done. The teachers need to get the parents fully up to speed on this, and on board.

Teachers may be Gove's miners, but the miners were providing coal which could be more cheaply obtained abroad. We can't let a well educated workforce become a commodity like coal, for which the future employers in the UK have to look abroad.

Inclusionist Sun 19-May-13 08:41:54

I agree- halve the class sizes in Primary. I don't think any other 'reforms' would be necessary.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 08:43:46

Spiders, your 'evidence' is anecdotal. I think that's the point.
Spag tests at 11 will not raise literacy standards, have you seen the test papers? My son's y6 teacher had no idea what he was doing - if they want to raise standards of writing accuracy, they need to train the primary school teachers delivering it. Slapping in a seventies style multiple choice test in January for children to take in May has achieved nothing.
If leaders really gave a crap about literacy for example, they would organise a cross party strategy on literacy in consultation with literacy experts and experienced practitioners, implement it and commit for 15 years. Then measure results and tweak.
There are brilliant people in education but their expertise is sidelined by the "Well, I'm not a teacher and I've never set foot in a modern classroom but..." experts.
I think education is very emotive because people know that their children's futures are so bound up in the education they receive and that the gross inequalities between schools maintain a depressing system of class privilege which is fundamentally unjust.

Parents, work with good teachers. There are a lot of us out there; we do know what we're doing (most of the time wink ) and we do want the best for your kids. It's why we get so frustrated - we care smile

TheFallenMadonna Sun 19-May-13 08:45:08

Maths, English and English Language are the only subjects which will have resits in November. Not Science. Not English Literature.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 19-May-13 08:45:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AThingInYourLife Sun 19-May-13 08:46:39

"Literacy and numeracy are the two most important areas of education and more focus should be put on them."

No, no, no, no.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-May-13 08:48:19

Thank you for helping HollyBerryBush, I've just looked at the timetable we had through . She sat AQA Functional Skills English Level 1 Reading and Writing and seems to have had a controlled assessment. I feel really bad for not knowing and not having spoken to the school but everything else went very pear shaped .

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 08:49:35

He basically whats kids to learn list if facts...dates of battles, (who the fuck cares when the battle of crecy was!?) because that's the way he and his cronies were taught at Eton and Harrow.
It'll be compulsory Latin next.
Oh well, there is always HE.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 08:50:10


I didn't say that you couldn't have an opinion, I was asking for evidence to back it up. Providing two outtakes from a different forum is not evidence.

FoundAChopinLizt Sun 19-May-13 08:50:33

I think being in Gove-rnment has gone to his head.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 08:51:42

Oh it's absolutely NOT how they are taught at Eton and Harrow. No problem with some kids accessing Latin if they want it.

Purpleprickles Sun 19-May-13 08:52:07

Chica I completely agree with your points about holistic education v the perceived high flying results. I teach in Early Years and I love the ethos that all aspects of the curriculum are important. We are able to approach subjects like maths through such fun and practical ways. I look at my class now and they are so resilient with fantastic problem solving skills. They are the kind of children business leaders want to employ (just a little too young) but if education continues to go the way it is I would bet my salary they won't be by Year 6. That won't be because of crap teachers, it will because the demands of even higher standards of SATs results, the relentless 3 sub levels of progress regardless of the child's actual ability, home life etc and the threat of becoming an academy if you get a bad ofsted will have lead teachers to narrow the curriculum to get the results. All of us would agree that a high standard of Literacy and Numeracy is essential but not all pupils can achieve the same as they are individuals with individual brains, needs, environments and experiences. So does that mean if you aren't highly literate and numerate you are a failure? Not in the EYFS curriculum but in KS1 and 2 sadly yes.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 08:52:44

Inclusion I don't agree re class size.Small class sizes won't make poor teaching better,far from it.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 08:52:59

Smaller class sizes.
More focus on sen and early interventions.
No formal learning til year 2...ability to move children round to other classes based on ability...abolish decking reading schemes (if anything puts kids off reading its these IMHO)

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:54:32

wynken functional skills are not GCSEs, at level one, it could be that the school is just banking things - which some schools do do. We do it, but don't use functional skills (I know nothing about them)

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 08:59:05

Badvoc re more focus on Sen,what about the able and more able don't they get anything or extra focus?hmm

Exactly how do you teach reading without the structure of some kind of scheme with 30 kids in a class?

Tanith Sun 19-May-13 09:00:10

I agree, Maria - not at all how the big Public schools have taught their children.

Much more like Mr. Gradgrind in Hard Times, with his insistence on Facts and stifling of creativity and imagination.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 09:00:23

And why should able kids suffer the disruption of being shunted out of classes?

KatyDid02 Sun 19-May-13 09:01:07

Talking of tests, what were the year 9 exams last week and next week all about? DD was doing past GCSE papers for some of them.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-May-13 09:01:45

Thank goodness, she said they were and i was too flat out in Mum Hallucinating Crisis to query it. I don't even know what level 1 is, DD told me it is the Foundation paper. Things are starting to calm down so I'm going to leave it this term then start afresh in September and try to get to grips with what exactly she will be doing. Then find out all over again for DS who is 5 years younger so no doubt it will all be different again.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-May-13 09:03:48

Katydid I think they might be Year 9 SATS? They were mentioned at parents evening in respect of science a couple of months ago.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 09:06:10


Children from difficult homes need literacy skills and numeracy skills. They also need to make progress. I agree with more early intervention and smaller class sizes in early years and a more holistic approach.

But, these kids need rigorous schooling because they won't get it from home. Letting a kid from a difficult background underachieve is a false kindness.

Learning isn't always fun. We need to help kids understand that too.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 09:07:53

This focus on academic achievement can really be left till ks2 IMO

BoffinMum Sun 19-May-13 09:09:46

None of this is really about raising standards, it's about privatisation, only we can't buy shares.

If you wanted to raise standards in things like English and Maths, you could do this for a fraction of the money that has been spent on academy conversions. I would be keen for this to happen, but I think the current initiatives mitigate against improvement.

The harsh reality is that people have a very rosy view of standards pre-1979, however. Half the country had appalling standards of teaching under the old 11+ system, unless they were fortunate enough to attend one of the very few technical schools.

KatyDid02 Sun 19-May-13 09:09:50

Wynken, I wondered that but then I wasn't sure if they used GCSE papers for them so wondered if they were "just" school end of year exams. So far she's had two maths papers, two English, geography, art and has French, german and history next week.
As for foundation and higher papers, I've got no idea, probably the foundation as she said that everybody is doing the same paper regardless of what set they are in, that seems a bit odd to me TBH.

BoffinMum Sun 19-May-13 09:14:03

I mean, if you want kids to have excellent spelling and grammar, bring out a free national teaching pack, designed by English teachers and authors, that makes teaching it a lot easier, and promote its use heavily. The BBC effectively tried to do something like this for the whole curriculum with an initiative called BBC Jam, but was blocked by the publishing industry from actually launching. Heartbreaking, really.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 09:14:27

Coming from a personal anecdotal perspective. Our last head stifled any creativity in hot pursuit of literacy and numeracy to the point all school trips were banned hmm and there would have to be a stated case for a day out on eg a geography field trip (bit difficult to sample coastal erosion in London). All very worthy I'm sure. twat

Our new Head is much more arty farty and everyone is lugged off to the theatre, galleries, seaside and so forth - the children don't stop talking about it - a lot of them have parents who never venture off the home estate and haven't done so for three generation - but their imagination is fired up to write about something they have seen. They talk about their trips all the time.

I live 20 minutes outside Charring Cross, some of these children have never been on a train, never been up to London, never even been to the seaside. It's not all because of restricted finances, some parents can't be bothered.

It's not all classroom based and neither should it be. Education should be about new experiences, accessing new horizons and using those experiences in conjunction with class room learning.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 19-May-13 09:16:04

Katydid we could probably do with getting a Year 9 support thread going somewhere ?

ComposHat Sun 19-May-13 09:16:10

He understands fair well what he's doing, he is an ideologue in a job where an ideologue is the most dangerous thing you could be.

He seems hell bent on forcing his own particular vision of the education system onto a generation of children and teachers, regardless of the consequences.

I think it is the danger of having a journalist in power who then gets the opportunity to put into action their ill-thought out ideas that were nursed in isolation from reality.

Ehhn Sun 19-May-13 09:16:16

There is so much wrong with the system... Poor spelling and no grammar lessons as it is considered boring and therefore too hard to teach. Creative expression is valued in terms of spelling/grammar, rather than considering a deep knowledge of spelling/grammar enhances creative expression. On the other hand, government inspired emphasis on grades that kill independent thought and learning. Teachers are so trapped by red tape and paperwork that things like school trips becomes a health and safety issue and science experiments are cut back - sometimes to zero. I have a pupil who is in year 9 whose science knowledge is less than what I knew in year 7, and he has never done any experiments. Then I was at the Cheltenham literary festival last year, where there were fantastic talks on literature, politics and history. A cheap day out with tickets going for £2-£5 for students. All schools attending were private. State schools have to spend so long justifying the cost and time out of the classroom and struggle with having the correct teacher-student ratios that it becomes a bureaucratic nightmare.
So... Yes to better grammar and spelling, but yes to freedom for teachers to make good decisions about their students' learning - we all want our students to learn and love the subjects we teach, as well as become competent and effective communicators of what they have learned.

Ehhn Sun 19-May-13 09:19:45

*government inspired emphasis on grades kills blush (that'll teach me to read through what I've written...)

Inclusionist Sun 19-May-13 09:25:15

Blue research shows that the single thing that makes the biggest difference to how well a child achieves is how much interaction they have with a teacher. Not a teaching assistant- one seminal piece of research actually suggests that increased interaction with a teaching assistant reduces a child's teacher interactions and actually slows their progress.

How could each child's teacher interaction time not be increased by being in a class of 15 instead of 30??

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 09:58:20 my post.
The more able children should be able to go up a class or two if they are able for phonics and maths etc. (my sons school do this)
And unless you have a child with sen. Please believe me, you have no idea how fucking dire the current "provision" is.

moondog Sun 19-May-13 10:00:15

Yes Inclusion re high rates of student interaction and also the wealth of research indicating myriad teaching assistants make things worse.

moondog Sun 19-May-13 10:03:02

Direct Instuction The only model that guarantees measurable rates of student response across all abilities.

Also the most successful teaching model ever employed-not that anyone will ever have told any of you that.

Tanith Sun 19-May-13 10:08:40

Badvoc, acceleration (promotion to an older class) isn't recommended by the National Association for Gifted Children.
They recommend that children stay with their peer group whenever possible.

spidersandslugs Sun 19-May-13 10:12:33

Ideally, creativity, spirituality, healthy living, etc should come from example rather than being taught exercises. However, 1 hour a week each for RE, PE, Arts & Music lessons is not a lot to ask for. Is this not the case already? (Genuine question).

I agree that teachers are overworked & there is far too much paperwork to do & targets to reach. (My dsis is a teacher).

There is just far too much bureaucracy in the UK. Teachers should just be able to teach, literacy and numeracy primarily.

Purpleprickles Sun 19-May-13 10:26:10

Maria I think you misunderstand me. I totally agree that all children need a good standard of literacy and numeracy and I am not saying that children from disadvantaged backgrounds can't achieve that. I work in a school in a very deprived area and our results have been above national average in the last few years. Our children are achievers. However I don't see any sense in pretending that all children are going to be strong in literacy and numeracy. Yes we would hope they would be but some will have strengths in other areas, such as Art or DT and my concern is that at the moment we don't have a curriculum that also recognises the importance of these strengths. We need practical people in society as well as academics and although I'm not advocating a dumming down I do feel we need more rounded curriculums to support the learning of all interests and needs.

As for you comment about learning not always needing to be fun and children need to know this. That makes me sad. I'd never suggest that every lesson should be a circus act of entertainment but when learning to a child becomes something forced and onerous then imho you have already started to turn them off learning and that is something as a teacher I would hate to be responsible for.

BatmanLovesVodkaAndCherryade Sun 19-May-13 10:30:12

I'm sorry Ehhn, but ALL the schools attending the Cheltenham Literary Festival last year were not private. Both the school I teach at, and my children's school go every year, as do other schools in the catchment where I live.

Gove worries me. Too much, too soon.
Yes, some areas of education could be changed for the better (less emphasis on targets, smaller class sizes, Ofsted either abolished or able to demonstrate Outstandingness themselves). NOT learn every historical date ever, in a Europe-centric curriculum for 8,9,10 weeks without a break.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 11:43:13

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 11:54:35

Thats a brave post Blue, but i wouldn.t be surprised if you get flamed for it.

FreyaSnow Sun 19-May-13 12:06:45

I disagree with many of the points on this thread about what should be taught in school. Primary school was a huge disruption to our family life as teachers took my kids to museums/cinema/beaches etc, had dress up days and did creative writing etc, so I ended up spending our family time and money teaching literacy and numeracy at home; we are on a low income and I am not grateful for the 'opportunities' these trips supposedly provide for my kids. If you want to take kids out and do fun creative stuff, have your own kids and stop making me do your job of teaching.

That aside, I think teachers are right about Gove. Whatever changes he thinks need making, the pace of change is too rapid. DS is in year 10 and some of his controlled assessments that he has already completed will no longer count towards his GCSE because the requirements have changed mid course. The pace of change needs to be very slow, so that teachers, pupils and parents fully understand what is happening and have time to prepare without a whole load of stress. The stress pupils and teachers are under is ridiculous and I expect many good teachers will leave because of it.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 12:14:42


Thanks for your clarification. I agree with everything you've written.

I guess my 'learning isn't always fun' comes from the frustration of dealing with some perfectly able secondary school kids who find making an effort boring. Obviously, I try and make my lessons varied, engaging and challenging but at some point, no matter how great someone's ideas or how creative their use of metaphor, if they refuse to engage at all with punctuation, they're on a hiding to nothing. Focussing on commas may seem boring for many 14 year olds but if you are at a level 6ish for everything else and still can't use commas, maybe it's time for some more targeted punctuation exercises.

At an older age, a certain amount of self-discipline is useful. Without it, you get stuck at level 4 and endlessly reading 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid', and that really is boring. Self-discipline is hard and sometimes kids think it's 'boring'. Kids love to moan but they also love to achieve. I am really aspirational for the kids I teach and I don't think they'll tell you that I bore them.

I stand by my statement that learning is not always fun. I bet climbing Kilimanjaro isn't 'fun' the whole way up, but I bet the grinding bits are quickly forgotten once you're standing on the summit. grin

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 12:21:13

I think there should be more focus on early intervention and continued intervention. It's all too easy for children to be left behind as it's all about progress and not about consolidation and ensuring understanding.

Intervention by qualified, trained teachers with expertise in dsylexia, dyscalcula and other issues that are barriers to learning. There are so many barriers to learning that are outside of the control of teachers - home life has a lot to answer for, attitudes to education, stress and pressure.

It's true to say many pupils are not seen as individuals but as data - as levels. I think many children are stressed out by education - some schools drum their level into a child and continuously push them to the next level - without the consolidation or developing their other skills.

We look back to the "old days" but the sad fact is many adults (of all generations) struggle with numeracy and literacy. We don't really care about adult education in this country.

Schools are treated as a political football and it's the fact Gove refuses to engage with education professionals that really pisses me off.

And I've lost count of all the changes and soundbites that he comes out with and then backtracks on. He's all talk and spin.

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 12:26:32


Is that really how you want kids to be taught?
Wow. Just wow.

Purpleprickles Sun 19-May-13 12:32:49

Maria I think we have the same ideals and I know personally I would moan continually climbing a mountain!grin

I agree there needs to be self discipline and I do think at an older age there should be and that this is s concept pupils can understand more. However I think it depends on your teaching style doesn't it and knowing your pupils and ways to get through to them. I have recently experienced a colleague brow beating year 6 children over SATS and trying to use the word failure as a motivator. For some of these children this was a motivator as we have one group of who pupils for whom culturally "failure" isn't an option but for other children all this did was cause them unnecessary worry and stress. Equally I sat A-level German thousands of years ago. I'd got an A at GCSE but found the A-Level so hard. My teacher continually tried to motivate me by making learning all about not failing but I couldn't understand it and really needed additional support not threats. So I failed because I gave up. Not the right attitude but I felt of the teacher had no faith in me then why should I? I suppose I'm very wary of the one size doesn't fit all approach to teaching which my own school exp and also recent work exp have made me more sensitive too. Hence my learning through fun ideals!

Purpleprickles Sun 19-May-13 12:34:35

Sorry one size fits all not doesn't fit!

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 12:39:42

No failure in my classroom. Mistakes are the springboard to learning grin
I've moaned up mountains (or even small hills) but I've also appreciated being dragged (good humouredly) to the top. Kids appreciate not being given up on but I do agree that there's a balance. I don't really believe in fear of failure as a primary motivator. Anyway, if you've tried your hardest, that is no failure. What more can anyone do?

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 12:42:29

Poor you with your German A-level teacher. Sometimes I feel like some kind of motivational coach near exams. You have to believe in the kids you teach or how will they believe in themselves?

Unfortunately though, for Gove and his cronies, trying your hardest IS a failure if it doesn't hit the magic number of 5 Cs. It's heart-rending to watch pupils who had no English at all a few years ago, and who often have parents who are not literate even in their first language, hit a Grade D and be derided for not getting the C. And to be told as teachers that we have failed those pupils is just soul-destroying.

MiaowTheCat Sun 19-May-13 12:51:41

Quite sad how many people seem to devote so much of their time spitting vitriol and hatred at the people running themselves ragged trying to do their best for the kids really. ANY profession would be pissed off by having thousands whacked off the value of their pensions - if YOU YOURSELF would waft by happily on a cloud of serenity at being told to work longer for less... THEN you can criticise on that ground.

I was at SATs marker training yesterday - what struck me walking into the venue was just how utterly and completely destroyed almost all the full-timers looked. They really looked like they had absolutely nothing left to give (sorry dear full-time colleagues - I'm honestly NOT saying you all look like shit!). I've marked for years, and the training's always at this point in the school year - but it's the first time I've seen it look that bad and that was utterly frightening to see. I think that's the vision Gove and his odious henchtwerp Wilshaw have though - get the new shiny bubbly teachers out of college, work them utterly to the bone until they snap for peanuts and then chuck them away for someone else they can destroy and discard too (and in the wonderful world of academies - you don't even need to get 'em out of college either... because let's face it - you're not going to get/pay for James Dyson teaching D+T with the army of unqualified teachers are ya?). Quite where all the discarded teachers go - I don't know.

I'm one of the ones Gove allegedly wants in - very good degree from one of the top universities, excellent academic record, good literacy skills when I'm not dossing about on the internet, knows where to insert an apostrophe (sideways up Gove's arse)... but there's no way on this earth I'd go back to full-time teaching in the world he's trying to create. I'll chug along doing tutoring, test marking and, if things carry on the way they are - probably home educating my two.

As for what's wrong in schools - my little list:
- Inclusion without the resources to back it up. Yes the idea is fantastic, but in a lot of schools the extra adults and extra equipment is NOT in place so it does just become a cost-saving "let's close the special schools" situation (I've seen some places it works amazingly - I've seen some where it's doing neither the child with needs, the other kids in the class, the parents or the teacher no favours whatsoever)
- Behaviour - sorry but there's no way that a class of kids should be having to vacate their classroom on a twice-daily basis (used to happen in one school I taught at - they had to evacuate into my teaching area so I knew exactly how often it was happening) for one child with no support in place for them to smash the room up.
- Quit fucking changing the curriculum - guys, it's like dogs pissing up a tree to mark their territory. We get that you're the new big cheese in the Department, we get that you want to show us you're the boss man - we do not need another shiny 357 page curriculum document (at least we've scaled it back from the 10 ringbinder National Curriculum) for you to get your photo on the front. It only ever makes textbook publishing companies a bit richer. Back off for a few years - let people find their feet and find the best way of delivering a certain set of subjects.
- Fucking dress-up days. The parents hate them, the teachers find them a fucking pain in the arse (apart from the resident compulsory over chirpy sycophant in the staffroom)... we can introduce a one-week topic on addition without having a "come as your favourite mathematical symbol" day. Likewise - writing poems about your favourite fruit for Healthy Eating Week - it's boring, it's shit, it teaches nothing about healthy eating and there are only so many minutes you can wax lyrically about a strawberry.
- Quit with the constant swamping of schools with every additional thing society needs - the number of hours in the day are NOT elastic... if you want us to teach cookery, family budgetting, the importance of helping little old ladies across the road, breastfeeding or whatever else... you need to take something away... and to be honest - I'd rather my kids left primary school able to read, write and add up rather than have a good latch.
- Modern Languages - to do this properly in primary needs resourcing and probably some specialists around. There are far too many schools that completely ignore what their staff actually learnt themselves at school and do things like insisting on whole-school French - when they have staff who have never ever learnt French at school themselves (this happened to me - told I had to teach French, but in my school I'd learnt Spanish - apologies to the entire country of France for my appalling pronunciation written very faintly phonetically on the back of every single teaching resource I ever had for the subject... I'd have done a cracking job teaching Spanish but wasn't given that leeway, or any access to resources to teach French properly so I had to fudge along 2-3 lessons ahead of the kids).

Maria33 Sun 19-May-13 12:56:14

Maybe Miaow could take over as Education Minister.
Loved your post smile

burntoutteacher Sun 19-May-13 13:00:21

Brilliant post miaow!

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 13:12:47

<bows down at miaows feet>

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 14:25:43

Quite miaow.
Blue...your last post is vile.
My son is dyslexic.
The school have done nothing to support him.
I can assure you that no money or time has been diverted away from your precious child/ren because of kids like my son.
My son is now no longer on the sen register (thank fuck) due to interventions my dh and I have paid for and done ourselves at home.

alistron1 Sun 19-May-13 14:55:04

Education was at its best during the 50's and 60's before politicians got their grubby hands on the 'secret garden' of the curriculum. Since then education has been a political football, and with the introduction of academies it is now a cash cow.

Yes, lots of jobs are difficult and stressful, but it is ridiculous that for most teachers the 'teaching' part of their job is what they spend the least time on. Meaningless paperwork excercises, constantly looking out for OFSTED, ever changing goal posts and curriculum are making the job unbearable and are having a damaging effect on generations of children.

Gove is indeed a cunt.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 19-May-13 14:59:24

Blue. You are so right.

I am just lucky my DD is severely disabled and gets an expensive school place or she would be in the same boat as those poor able children having to go up a class with their reading.

Nehru Sun 19-May-13 15:00:16

I think she means kids with behavioural difficulties

that is how i read it

cory Sun 19-May-13 15:00:27

"Fine I sympathise if you have an Sen child but subjecting others to a shed load of disruption when Sen parents argue for inclusion for their kids is simply unfair."

So where exactly do you suggest children with SEN should go? Surely even you must be aware that there aren't enough special schools even for the parents who are desperate to get their children into them? Are you as a taxpayer happy to pay for more special schools? Do you think most taxpayers are? Or what do you propose should be done?

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 19-May-13 15:06:55


Just a quick note to remind you of our lovely talk guidelines. We will remove any posts which we think are disablist/sexist/racist and so forth.

Many thanks,


Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 15:10:39

The dyslexic kids are ok then?
Because they don't cost any money or time?
In all my years on MN, that is the worst post on education I have ever read, and that is fucking saying something!
People actually believe this shit, don't they!!?
That kids with sen/sn get all the funding and all the time and resources!?
Do me a favour...spend a bit of time on the sen/sn boards and then- maybe - you may get an idea of the truth.
There is no money.
There are no resources.
There are no specialist teachers/TAs.
Where do all these pesky sen/sn kids go?
Special schools are being closed left right and centre.
Parents have to go to court in some cases to get their kids into them! tell....what's should we do with them?

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 15:11:16

Bit too late.
Blues post was disablist as you well know.

Viviennemary Sun 19-May-13 15:16:53

I think that labour governments have been equally as guilty of making changes causing teachers a lot of stress. And in any case were the acadmies or centres of excellence not Labour's idea. I agree Gove doesn't understand but he is not alone.

longfingernails Sun 19-May-13 15:23:51

Gove is the best thing to happen in education for decades.

Headteachers of bog standard comprehensives now have to compete, and compete hard, to have a chance of attracting parents who are naturally gravitating towards academies and free schools. They might not be happy about it, but they know they have no choice.

Bad teachers are quitting in droves as they know their brand of low expectations, lack of respect for intellectual rigour, and aversion to performance related remuneration is no longer welcome.

For too long, the unions and their cronies in the Labour party/LEAs have held back the potential of our pupils. Their failure has blighted generations. Now LEAs are effectively being neutered, and frankly, the louder the likes of the NUT, NASUWT and NAHT squeal, the better!

For the first time in decades I am optimistic about the future of our education system.

((nominates miaow for post of the year))

Unfortunately good teachers are also quitting - if you think only bad teachers are leaving then you are very naive indeed.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 15:33:00

I'm sure I have read on here that 50% of newly qualified teachers don't make it past five years... they can't all be bad teachers, surely?

Not only is Gove not helping teachers to do the best job they possibly can, he is also stoking the flames of the idea that teachers are workshy, lazy and uncaring, thereby encouraging the public not to give a shit what he does to the education system.

Like a poster said upthread, all the changes he is making to education aren't really making headlines at all. If they do, they are in relation to how they are affecting teachers, not the children.

cory Sun 19-May-13 15:33:18

Is there any reason to believe that you will attract better candidates by making a profession seem stressful and unrewarding, longfingernails? And is there any way you could improve the standard of teaching except by attracting good teachers?

As far as I can see it, this has been the mistake of every British government at least as far back as the 80s: they seem to see teachers as annoying obstacles on the way to their educational vision.

cory Sun 19-May-13 15:35:17

Also, an essential part of a good educational system would seem to be children who respect their teachers and parents who support them. You don't get that by treating teachers according to the Gove/ Wilshaw/ Woodward pattern.

finickypinickity Sun 19-May-13 15:46:47

*There is no money.
There are no resources.
There are no specialist teachers/TAs.
Where do all these pesky sen/sn kids go?
Special schools are being closed left right and centre.
Parents have to go to court in some cases to get their kids into them! tell....what's should we do with them?*

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you have written.

I just love that word inclusion which really means shove a child with SN into a roomful of other children and see how he copes because you dont have an alternative and there is no extra money.

Gove is no worse or no better than any of the other political idiots that dabble in education for a few years before moving along but something has to change as far too many children are leaving school illiterate and teachers have to take some responsibility.

MiaowTheCat Sun 19-May-13 15:49:59

Inclusion's fine as an ideal - and I used to do a lot of work in a school which had it implemented absolutely amazingly... but I've also seen far too many schools where the kids are just viewed as problems to be contained - because there haven't been the resources to put anything into place. Then it's not fair on the school, it's not fair on the child in question, or the rest of the class, or the families, or the teacher or their family (as they cope with their parent being run ragged trying to do more than one person is capable of).

Yes, I think there are some weak teachers out there, and I cringe when I see classroom signs done with apostrophes creeping into plurals (yes I make typos on here before anyone starts - it's the internet and my keyboard's had so much crap spilt on it over the years half the keys don't work properly because of red wine related reasons). They need weeding out - but the whole teaching profession I think tends to suffer from "oooh new, shiny" overdose and forgets just how amazing some experienced teachers (who inevitably have a healthy dose of cynicism as they've seen the shiny new idea cycle in and out of fashion five times previously) can be.

To be honest - I don't think it's the "bad" teachers that are quitting, but the ones who really put in the hours and cared deeply about the kids who simply can't take any more... ie the "good" ones. You don't get burnt out and disillusioned as easily if you're going through the motions and not really giving much a shit.

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 15:52:11

This "Mr men" mock of "Mr Gove" sums it up for me to be honest

MoreBeta Sun 19-May-13 16:00:15

I first participated on MN on an eduction thread. My children were just entering school.

Having read and participated in a fair few education threads and argued with quite a lot of teachers on them I have come to the conclusion that there is a mismatch between the types of people who chose teaching as a profession and what modern life now requires.

My feeling is that teachers are the kind of people who like autonomy to direct their own work, like to have freedom on how they deliver and what they deliver. They do what is necessary to do the job and not a 9 - 5 day.

Unfortunately that is not how business works and frankly that is why most/many teachers so despise and hate targets and inspections and accountability. Frankly, many teachers I have met are totally unemployable in a commercial business environment. I can see why teachers hate Gove but also I can see whay so many teachers are out of step with what modern life requires.

Whether it is making teachers work a 'normal' working year that fits in with the working life of parents or getting teachers to deliver the basic skills that business requires from education (ie reading, writing and arithmetic) none of it will work until teachers attitudes change. The chasm between teachers' attitudes and what is required from eductaion is vast.

Gove is just saying how life is and teachers hate him for it. Teachers unions exploit that unhappiness from teachers for political purposes yet the majority of teachers dont even vote for strikes. Parents resent teachers going on strike and business loses money when they do. The country grinds to a halt and the hard left love it because it gives them the kind of power that only a General Strike would deliver.

In the end I think teachers unions will have to be broken, some teachers will leave the profession. I dont even think the Labour Party are particulalry supportive of the teaching union position.

Change will happen. Teachers will be much worse off for it and not all the change wil benefit children. I would lke to see a positive engagement from teachers with reform programmes. All the unions do is oppose and they will in the nd be ignored and reform will be driven through - probably over the summer holidays when teachers can be starved out.

cory Sun 19-May-13 16:04:52

I don't think Gove is just saying how life is. In his suggestions for a new history curriculum he seems to be harking back to some kind of imagined Golden Age which is very far from how life is (and arguably far from how it ought to be).

wherearemysocka Sun 19-May-13 16:08:00

I get the impression that there are a number of people who care less about education standards than they do seeing teachers ground down and demoralised. We had it with the school holiday debate too - some people just seem to hate teachers and what we apparently represent. Longfingernails seemed positively giddy about teachers being miserable.

It's no coincidence that the countries Gove admires so much for their education systems also seem to have cultures that value and respect teachers.

Nehru Sun 19-May-13 16:09:36

his obession with history is

" this is how I learned it at my middle class school and it didnt hurt me"

he has no idea about kids who are very unintelligent and how to teach them

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 16:10:31

Whether it is making teachers work a 'normal' working year that fits in with the working life of parents

But it shouldn't be about teachers it should be about children.

Education is for children, not to give teachers jobs. I assume that means you want your child in school from 8 - 5, Monday to Friday, every week of the year? Your five/seven/nine year old could cope with that?

cory Sun 19-May-13 16:10:37

"It's no coincidence that the countries Gove admires so much for their education systems also seem to have cultures that value and respect teachers."


A society which respects teachers will rear children who respect teachers and want to learn from them. And will also make sure that teaching attracts some of the best candidates around.

Nehru Sun 19-May-13 16:11:52

at our place we have one long day - the kids are impossible to teach on those days. esp in summer

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 16:14:25

I get the impression that there are a number of people who care less about education standards than they do seeing teachers ground down and demoralised. We had it with the school holiday debate too - some people just seem to hate teachers and what we apparently represent.

This is what I tried to say upthread.

People don't want teachers, they want babysitters.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 16:18:14

miaow and beta have both summed it up.

I agree to a certain amount of accountability and target setting, however the amount of time on paper shuffling within teaching now is horrendous. Teaching to exam passes rather than a broad education, wrong on so many levels. The one thing I have found with some teachers, as beta pointed out is that they do not move with the times. They are quite institutionalised, those who have always been teachers and never worked in any other environment. Most of them I too wouldn't employ (I do tell them this every day in the staff room, that now we are an academy chain, they must evolve with it or be forced out). I don't agree with all of the changes but some are warranted.

The closure of special school in pursuit of inclusion, again so wrong on so many levels. The support was never put in place for these children. Some posters choose to latch onto the 'SEN' as all encompassing, it's not difficult to make the distinction between a child with a learning disability and a child with a behavioural problem who choses not to engage and become violent and disruptive

This is the most recent set of published statistics by HMG and it's not difficult to see where the problems lies in the classroom.

•There were an estimated 5,740 permanent exclusions from primary, secondary and all special schools in 2009/10.
•There were 279,260 fixed period exclusions from state funded secondary schools, 37,210 fixed period exclusions from primary schools and 14,910 fixed period exclusions from special schools.
•The average length of a fixed period exclusion in state funded secondary schools was 2.5 days, for primary schools the average length of a fixed period exclusion was 2.1 days.
•The permanent exclusion rate for boys was approximately four times higher than that for girls. The fixed period exclusion rate for boys was almost three times higher than that for girls.
•Pupils with SEN with statements are around eight times more likely to be permanently excluded than those pupils with no SEN.
•Children who are eligible for free school meals are around four times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion and three times more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion than children who are not eligible for free school meals.
•Nearly 900 children are suspended from school for abuse and assault every school day.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 16:23:11

More up to date stats re primary schools

More than 2,000 four- and five-year-olds were excluded from school last year for committing acts of violence or disrupting lessons, according to figures published today.

The statistics add to growing evidence of poor and often violent behaviour creeping into the primary school classroom, with* 89 children being excluded each day across the country as a result of assaults on either staff or other pupils*.

Boys were far more likely to be excluded than girls, the figures showed – 590 of the four-year-olds were boys, compared with just 80 girls.

Often the exclusions were for assaults on teachers or fellow pupils. The number of primary school suspensions for physical assaults on children rose from 9,030 to 9,160 in a year. For assaults on adults, the figures rose from 7,230 to 7,830.

A survey by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers revealed that two-thirds of teachers believed parents were failing to support schools in tackling poor behaviour. Chris Keates, its general secretary, said: "Parents must understand that their responsibility for their child's behaviour does not end at the school gate. Too many pupils come to school not ready to learn. Sending children to school on time with basic equipment and clear expectations of how they are expected to behave is a critical part of the job of all parents."

Children on free school meals were four times more likely to be excluded, and pupils of black Caribbean origin nearly three times more likely than the average. Not a single Chinese pupil was permanently excluded.

wherearemysocka Sun 19-May-13 16:26:27

Maybe the teaching profession does need to involve, maybe the holidays should be rearranged, maybe PRP could work, maybe there should be a greater focus on certain subjects.

I'd be far more willing to engage in debate about any of them if I felt that they came from proper research and study, a consultation with business leaders, academics, education experts and teachers. Instead Michael Gove seems to have come up with them on the back of a fag packet so he looks tough on those lazy arse teachers to Daily Mail and Telegraph readers.

wherearemysocka Sun 19-May-13 16:27:15

I mean evolve, not involve. Duh.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 16:29:39

The current education system we have is just a part of 'no one fails' and '50% to university' drive. Drop the bar low enough and nearly everyone can step over it. The bar has to go back up.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 16:30:49

Badvoc no need to get your knickers in a twist or for the ridiculous hysteria I simply meant if you don't want your dc shunted out of classes why is it ok to shunt others out.My kids would hate working with older kids.

And sorry but in our schools the money and time is diverted to those with behavioural problems and SEN which is fine(didn't actually say it wasn't), however I object to other children being punted out on top to even bigger classes when the kids in our school that throw chairs and need help are already getting booster classes and smaller groups.

cory Sun 19-May-13 16:35:50

"Unfortunately that is not how business works and frankly that is why most/many teachers so despise and hate targets and inspections and accountability. Frankly, many teachers I have met are totally unemployable in a commercial business environment. I can see why teachers hate Gove but also I can see whay so many teachers are out of step with what modern life requires. "

Surely what modern life requires from teachers is that they should teach children, not that they should function in a commercial business environment? Or have I missed something?

If teaching by targets is the best way of getting children to learn, then fair enough. If this has been proved, absolutely fine.

But to do something if it has not been proved to be the best way for your particular task, just because this is how a different job, which is more valued by society, is performed seems plain silly to me.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 16:37:26

And how on earth thinking that is disablist is beyond me.confused

cory Sun 19-May-13 16:40:58

To object to an autistic child getting the 1-1 that is his only chance of learning anything at all seems about as clever as objecting to my dd being allowed to use her wheelchair to go on outings when the other children had to walk.

They didn't need a wheelchair because they could walk. She didn't need 1-1 because she could learn in a larger group. The autistic boy in her year couldn't.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 16:43:57

Errr who has objected to 1-1.The fact that our school has 2 full time floating teachers for SEN and struggling children,tiny groups for literacy and maths is great however suggesting able kids should be punted out away from their friends on top is wrong.

If it isn't fair for one set of kids it isn't fair for another.All kids deserve to have lessons pitched at their ability.

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 19-May-13 16:46:08

I don't think it's a negative that most teachers wouldn't fit into corporate environments.

I don't want my children taught by drones. I want them taught by creative, independently-minded, well-educated, kindly individuals who are motivated by something other than money (by which I do NOT mean that they shouldn't be properly paid!) and who have little time for the Philip Greens and Sir Alan Sugars of life. That mindset is not a business mindset. If the world is becoming more corporate, that is not a reason for teaching to follow suit.

dribbleface Sun 19-May-13 16:47:11

Give is to the education sector what Truss is to the childcare one. Very worrying times. sad

AnotherAlias Sun 19-May-13 16:47:25

not touching SEN thing with bargepole - my nerves aren't up to it, but having seen the quality of the contributions from the HTs at the conference, I'd urge anyone with a bit of nouce and capability to volunteer as a school governor - your skills are needed, I fear. (though if you were sympathetic and informed about the needs of SEN children, that would be a massive bonus).

lljkk Sun 19-May-13 16:48:46

Lots of targets means lots of paperwork and lots of paperwork means lots less contact time and energy for hard thinking how to help individual children. So it's a bit of a no-brainer for me.

Has there even been a more controversial Ed. secretary than Gove? The only thing I can say in his favour is (apparently) he is part of the big faction pushing for social liberalism within modern conservative party (e.g.., gay marriage).

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 16:49:33

Perfectly sympathetic and informed thanks.hmm

chicaguapa Sun 19-May-13 16:55:25

This YouTube video is going round all the teachers at DH's school. It's depressing and shows the climate teachers are working in and how demoralised the DC are too. I wonder what Gove would make of it.

MiaowTheCat Sun 19-May-13 17:02:45

In my last school we had two types of TA hours... sometimes delivered by the same TA, sometimes by different TAs. We had class-TA hours for being a floating teaching assistant for a particular class and doing whatever within there, and we had SEN-TA hours for the X hours a week of statemented support a given child got. So while I had the same TA in my class for 15 hours a week (hypothetical figures as I forget the exact make up of her time - just that she was driving me up the wall by Friday afternoons as she wasn't an easy woman to work with), we had a situation where she had 10 hours of that time allocated to supporting a statemented child 1-to-1 and then 5 hours of it being a TA to do whatever was needed within the class as a whole (oh and 20 minutes a week display help time - hah hah at doing that in 20 minutes) - I had the whole thing timetabled out to cover myself with a clear trail that the statement hours were being covered.

So while the parents might have the idea that Mrs X works with Freddie - it wasn't the full picture - but I made sure he got 100% of his statemented hours (yep, I did excessive paperwork to arsecover on that front).

As for why I used to teach - I got a buzz out of seeing things click together and working with the kids (plus enough comedy howlers from them that my retirement income's secure if I ever wrote them in a book), I'm shite in an office environment (I couldn't take the one I worked in seriously when some prat was drafting a five page memo on the definition of a flip-flop to clarify the dress code), and I got to legitimately play with glue and glitter and a key to the art cupboard (plus all the dried on PVA to peel off glue pots I could ever dream of - my classes were all told that the PVA-peeling was mine - all mine!).

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 17:08:47

At ours the statemented kids have completely different assistants.

4DoorMini Sun 19-May-13 17:08:57

Well, I will stick my neck out.

I've been a governor in five schools and my children between them have attended four others. So I have direct experience of nine schools in my city. I feel this is more than 'anecdotal' experience. In all of them I have regularly witnessed a poor standard of literacy from teachers and headteachers. Children's reports and newsletters are littered with errors. Marking contains errors. Presentations for prospective parents have errors in them. As a governor, when I've brought these matters up I'm told that there is no-one in the school with a firm grasp of the rules of grammar, spelling, how to use an apostrophe, the fact that it's 'could have' not 'could of' - and so on. I've been told it doesn't matter. I once gave a headteacher a few lessons myself.

How is children's literacy going to improve when there is not the expertise with schools to bring about improvement?

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:19:17

How do you know which children have statements?

AnotherAlias Sun 19-May-13 17:30:19

Here's a timesaving idea for teachers - when I went to school none of our work was EVER displayed on walls ever and (honestly) we didn't suffer because of it.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 17:32:28

Because they've grown up together.hmm

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 17:34:36

Well would you mind telling that to OFSTED/ESTYN alias? because I'm pretty certain I don't spend time sticking things on the walls for my own personal benefit, and I'm also pretty certain that if I tried telling an inspector that I didn't have stuff on the walls because I couldn't see the benefit, I would be given short shrift.

It's like people think teachers make things up to give themselves a hard time.

moondog Sun 19-May-13 17:35:02

Maria, that is how they are taught (I pay for them to be taught like this)
They learn very very fast, and they love it, which then leaves oodles of time to do things like paint, draw, swim, walk, cook, climb trees....

Displays are a total waste of time, designed largely for one set of adults to impress another set with their busyness.#
Kids certainly couldn't care less-most is put way out of their sightline for a start.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:35:51

That's a fair point 4doormini.
I have certainly seen some shocking grammar and spelling in my time as a gov.
Teachers dont really teach anymore.
They spend their time filling in target sheets for each child, make IEPs that are pointless and aren't SMART, attend CAF meetings.....all things that a dedicated admin staff/Senco/social worker could and should do.

FreyaSnow Sun 19-May-13 17:36:17

4doors, some teachers won't have the knowledge to teach grammar, spelling and punctuation. They will have the ability to learn enough to teach it, as they have had the ability to learn how to teach various other topics that have been introduced over the years.

Like other posters, I don't want my children to learn in a business environment or to be in school for more weeks or longer hours. My children are not poorly behaved, but I think they would be if they were put under the stress of longer periods of time in school.

AnotherAlias Sun 19-May-13 17:39:49

fair point Twllbach about a lot of the nonsense going on in schools not being down to the 'real' teachers.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:40:57

Gove wants us to emulate the Japanese and south Asian countries in our schools.
He is quite clear about how much he admires them.
As I said before, thank for for HE!

moondog Sun 19-May-13 17:43:24

Aye, well we are being left eating dirt while those kids from the Indian subcontinent and SE Asia roar on ahead/

Dancing around picking daisies and expressing yourself isn't so cute when suddenly you are 32 and semi literate with an inability to sit still for 5 minutes.

MoreBeta Sun 19-May-13 17:46:05

TwllBach - " I assume that means you want your child in school from 8 - 5, Monday to Friday, every week of the year?"

When they were nursery age that was what happened and because both me and DW worked. They developed well and enjoyed it. Now our children are in school 8.15 - 5.15 every day. They do sport and homework and drama and clubs after school. Yesterday DS1 played cricket for his school and today DS2 is singing in the choir in the Cathedral. Thsi morning they both did some homework.

Being at school doing something useful is better than sat on iPads at home alone or wandering about the streets when we are working. This is real life. Me and DW value the effort their teachers put in to enrich their lives.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:47:37

My kids don't so that at school moondog....
If yours do, maybe think about moving them!? smile
Ds1 is 9 - in the past 2 weeks he has been on a 4 day residential trip, been chosen for the school play, taken part in a photographic lesson and his work will be displayed at an exhibition, did a fantastic science experiment that involved marshmallows (and then eating the marshmallows!) and has been learning about Judaism which has led to a very interesting discussion at home about the holocaust.
And I am very happy with all of that ^^

moondog Sun 19-May-13 17:49:21

I'm more than happy to pick daisies and twirl in the moonlight-once the real work is over.
smile smile

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 17:52:04

There is no way I want my kids in school that long Morebeta or taught by teachers who have taught those hours.

My kids don't sit on IPads or roam the streets come 3.30 they do all manner of things such as ride their bikes,play,play the piano,make believe,drawing,using their own creativity,their homework.....If kids have no time to create they won't learn how to.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 19-May-13 17:52:23


I know ... there's this obsession with Displays, and changing them frequently. Personally, I think less clutter on the walls would be good.

Another Ofsted - things must be seen to be done, not good enough to just do them (well)

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 19-May-13 17:53:10

sorry that was nonsensical - I meant the Ofsted obsession with things being seen to be done

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 17:54:34


We don't do displays anymore. We do working walls. Which are walls littered with targets, WAGOLL (what a good one looks like), examples of how to do maths, examples of good English, lists of conjunctions, adverbs etc.

This was an initiative several years ago from above. Or somewhere. A school I know insists the teachers change the wallls regularly with new examples, show the new weekly targets, have lists of children at so and so a target so the child can see exactly where they are compared to everyone else etc.

There is so much time spent on bureaucracy and such a prescriptive way of teaching. It's always this is what OFSTED expect, this is what they are looking for - not will the children enjoy this, learn something - no, it's the fear of OFSTED and the constant demand for outstanding. Can you be constantly outstanding? At what cost?

I work in many schools as a supply teacher and I see so much stress with colleagues who fear OFSTED despite being perfectly good teachers. If teachers are afraid and under stress, what does that do to our children? Look at what happens in year 6 with SATS. Look at the pressure children are under.

moondog Sun 19-May-13 17:55:24

Jamie, that is the Emperor's New Clothes aspect to the whole thing.
Illusion of activity, illusion of end product.

Ofsted reports mean bugger all and I pay absolutely no attention to them, in the same way as I pay no attention to the computer engineered 'reports' I get for my kids.
Utter drivel.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:58:20

I don't even look at the displays.
Feel bad now....

moondog Sun 19-May-13 17:58:28

I like the idea of a working wall.
I like the idea of specific examples of things to be taught.

I work with many teachers in many schools and amongst them are outstandingly brilliant people.
Teachers don't have a harder time than anyone else in other jobs.
We are all harassed by those at managerial levels.
You want to try out the NHS.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 18:03:03

"I feel this is more than 'anecdotal' experience."

Sorry but that is still 'anecdotal'


"Whether it is making teachers work a 'normal' working year that fits in with the working life of parents or getting teachers to deliver the basic skills that business requires from education (ie reading, writing and arithmetic) none of it will work until teachers attitudes change."

the curriculum is set by the government, teachers teach to that.

gove's 'normal' day for teachers would be 8 till 6, why?
because that allows parents to drop them off befores work and pick them up after work. Like most of gove's initiatives it has no basis in fact or research.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 18:10:38

MoreBeta I worked in a nursery for a short time and you're right, there were wonderful, bright children who were there from 8 - 6, Monday to Friday and developed beautifully. You are also right in saying that children are better off doing something productive than roaming the streets all day are stuck in front of the tv.

For what it's worth, I think the six week holiday is too long and that a rejig of the holidays is needed, because in my (limited) experience, some children slide back over such a long period.

I also know, though, that I was in a class of five year olds on Friday who were shattered. They've worked hard all term and their brains are growing and they're constantly learning new things ad being stimulated but now they're ready for a break because they're tired. That's not how life is in the working world, but they're five and not in the working world yet. It's inconvenient for working parents, I understand that, but a lot of parenting is inconvenient for working parents. Education is not provided to enable an adult to work, it is (idealistically) provided to educate a child. It should be child centred.

I was in a year six class for most of this half term and they have been pushed and pushed because of SATs and exams and they are tired. They are exhausted by the time they leave school - be that to go and do after school clubs as many of them do or not.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 18:11:52

I also resent the fact that somehow my attitude is to blame. I want the children I teach to learn. What's wrong with my attitude?

Fillyjonk75 Sun 19-May-13 18:21:15

Gove is a particularly dangerous example of an extremely confident idiot. He has no knowledge or experience and bases his policy on badly carried out commercial surveys and anecdotes. He doesn't listen to any criticism from people who do know what they are talking about. Worst of all, he doesn't actually care about education. He cares about forcing through change for its own sake so he can demonstrate he has Done Something, left a legacy. He is a career politician of the worst, most deluded kind, with prime ministerial ambitions. Thank god he looks like and comes across as a buffoon, or we would end up with a second Thatcher.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 18:27:55


I suspect our attitudes are to blame as we want to teach and not babysit for two - three hours doing "Fun" activities.

MiaowTheCat Sun 19-May-13 18:31:04

I know schools where there are so many working walls that MY OWN brain starts to fizzle with sheer sensory overload from it and I want some "bone fucking idle and not working at all" walls to give me a break from the sheer bombardment.

Mind you I may have a chip on my shoulder on that one since my last classroom was an open plan corner of a corridor and I would have just loved ANY FUCKING WALLS rather than having to share my one wall with the entrance to the bogs!

Someone's mentioned the term-length thing... little kids CAN'T just keep on slogging on for weeks and weeks and weeks like adults might - by about week 5 in a term they're seriously flagging, and if it's a 7 week or so term then the poor dears are absolutely exhausted and they NEED a break to recharge or it's a futile exercise trying to teach them much at all!

Gove's basically doing all of this angling for a promotion - he's progressed from his previous pattern of thinking back to his own schooldays in the shower one morning and then promptly opening his gob to the media with the daft idea of the day to actually attempting to implement policy - wish he'd bugger off back into the shower or get promoted somewhere he can cause less damage!

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 18:32:43

Gove's children will not go to State school so he does not give a shit how much damage he does.
Except that if he stuffs the poor then he an his rich chums will have their elite perks protected for a few more years without the proles being educated enough to get uppity.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 18:34:17

Thing is Boney if I thought primary ages children would benefit from it then I would wholeheartedly jump on the band wagon. As it stands, I have no issue with children doing activities, learning instruments, playing sports etc and I think it makes them rounded individuals.

It annoys me, though, that people are saying children need to fit around the working day. Why? To make the lives of those that work the mentioned hours easier? What about all the workers that don't work Monday - Friday, 9 - 5? It stinks of wanting to please the chosen few without actually considering those that are at the heart of it - not teachers, but children.

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 18:36:02

We don't do displays anymore. We do working walls. Which are walls littered with targets, WAGOLL (what a good one looks like), examples of how to do maths, examples of good English, lists of conjunctions, adverbs etc.

The school I last taught at was downgraded from outstanding for very silly things. For one our displays were too pretty because we still dared to display children's work (how dare we) on a certain amount of boards in classes instead of making every display about how to learn better. In spite of every spare surface containing VCOP etc.

The major reason for the downgrade happened to be because Ofsted's few day visit consisted of them viewing around 10 minutes each of an approximate total of about 4 lessons (barely looking at children's work books or viewing lessons). One of those lessons happened to have a severely special needs child have a kick off due to poor home life situation. Ofsted chose to judge the children's behaviour rather than the magnificent behaviour measures put in place by the staff. Also you cannot be an outstanding school if you dare to exclude a pupil which is why so many heads are reluctant to!

Gove and OFSTED are piles of shit.

hackmum Sun 19-May-13 18:36:36

I think he does understand and doesn't care.

The great unfairness about his attitude is this: since the 1988 Education Act, teachers have had very little control over what and how they teach. They're bound by the national curriculum, and they're at the mercy of Ofsted, the examination boards and to a lesser extent the strictures of the local authority (for those still under local authority control). They can't say "f* off* to Ofsted because if they do they'll get a low inspection grade, and parents will stop sending their kids to the school, they'll get less money and so on in a downward spiral.

Teachers are so disillusioned they are leaving the profession in droves - I think something like 25% of people who do a PGCE don't even become teachers, and many more leave in the first five years.

Now I do agree some teachers are poor - I think you get crap people in every profession. Others are very good. If you want to maintain a consistently high standard in the teaching profession, you need to simultaneously raise the standards to get in (not necessarily the academic qualifications, but certainly you need to make the PGCE rigorous and tough to pass, like the law exams) AND you need to give teachers a whacking great pay rise. Then you need to give them the freedom to do the job they were trained to do, rather than burdening them with paperwork, breathing down their neck all the time and changing the curriculum and tests they're supposed to be teaching to just because you have some half-assed, ill-thought-out idea of what you think will work better, because it was how you were taught 40 years ago.

happilyconfused Sun 19-May-13 18:36:55

It is good to drive up standards but it is awful to see good teachers leave. We lost two outstanding teachers this year who decided to take early retirement and have been struggling to find suitable replacements since. Another leaves this summer. Very sad.

We want to attract people into the profession who want to teach and enjoy doing so.

Gove needs to get to grips with the parents who fail to support schools and who undermine the teaching staff. If we want to rival Singapore the we all need to turn into tiger mummies!

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 18:37:17

It annoys me, though, that people are saying children need to fit around the working day. Why? To make the lives of those that work the mentioned hours easier?

That exactly is the point of the suggested hours... to make it easier for those who work. People forget school is meant to be a place of education not a fucking childcare service.

Arisbottle Sun 19-May-13 18:38:34

The thing that puzzles me is that according to MN teachers are lazy, illiterate and universally dumbing down education. All our children have awful standards or literacy and numeracy. Yet every MN child is on the G and T register, sitting level 6 CATS and on there way to Oxbridge.

Arisbottle Sun 19-May-13 18:39:14

Their - I could blame auto correct but everyone knows that as a teacher I have appalling standards of literacy and grammar so there is no point.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 18:40:49

Near here there is a big Tesco warehouse which is mainly night shift.
Should the schools be open at night to fit around those working parents?

Or the medics working Sunday nights in A&E : when should their kids be at school?

The lights are only on today because of parents who work Sundays and nights : will the school day fit around them?

Or is it just desk jockeys who get the pleasure?

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 18:41:09

arisbottle Don't worry - all new teachers are constanntly outstanding because that's an expectation on all job adverts nowadays.

But of course, if everyone's outstanding, who willl stand out?

burntoutteacher Sun 19-May-13 18:41:30

Attacking teachers for whining is exactly what Gove (and indeed our esteemed leaders) want. They did it with pension cuts and they're doing it again, pitting public sector workers against independent. It's bollocks.

On an entirely irrelevant and childish note...Gove looks like a tapeworm.

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 18:41:38


GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 18:55:22

I complete agree burntout.

Every time I hear a person not in the teaching profession moan about teacher's I ask them how they would feel if the same circumstances surrounded their job. Those who bitch usually have no idea just how much teachers invest (life and money) into their jobs; It's Usually an amount which is not matched by those who bitch about teachers funny enough.

burntoutteacher Sun 19-May-13 19:04:28

Thanks Glass.

Also as aside, I had a thread on here last week (hence my name) about leaving the profession for the very reasons that have been outlined here. I can't blame Gove entirely though because labour introduced many of the policies that have made it inpossible for me to stay on, the most significant being the complaint/blame culture that is rife. I am constantly defending myself against complaints and statements written about me from children. Bloody CHILDREN writing formal complaints relentlessly ( and don't get me started on the basis of these complaints)

That said, the path that Gove is embarking on is more sinister IMO and one that makes me go a bit cold.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 19:10:23

It is sinister.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 19:18:25

Burt it isn't as what teachers are experiencing is what everybody else has been experiencing for years multiplied and without the support of unions.

All sectors have higher levels breathing down their necks, the bar repeatedly raised,consistent changes,wages frozen,more responsibility but no extra money,reduced conditions,very little job security......

infamouspoo Sun 19-May-13 19:19:18

Gove ever been a teacher? Thought not.

burntoutteacher Sun 19-May-13 19:21:36

Which politician was it that used to slabber on about teachers having it easy and then did a documentary with her in a classroom for a week. Got eaten alive.
Was it Anne Widicombe?

kim147 Sun 19-May-13 19:22:11


It's the fact he's making changes in education which have not been thought out and will affect the children in our care. He does not use evidence to support the changes but relies on anecdote.

Believe it or not, teachers actually care about our pupils and want to give them a decent education. Gove is ignoring all the professionals who think his reforms are damaging.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 19:23:04

*Burt it isn't as what teachers are experiencing is what everybody else has been experiencing for years multiplied and without the support of unions.

All sectors have higher levels breathing down their necks, the bar repeatedly raised,consistent changes,wages frozen,more responsibility but no extra money,reduced conditions,very little job security......*

But it isn't about comparing the job of a teacher to the job of someone else. It's about creating an effective, efficient system for the education of children.

It shouldn't have anything to do with the working lives of teachers compared to the working lives of others.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 19:23:37

Not sure why the bold didn't work there...

joanofarchitrave Sun 19-May-13 19:23:55

'I do tell them this every day in the staff room, that now we are an academy chain, they must evolve with it or be forced out'

Terrific! You sound like the boss I had in a (private) hospital who stood in a meeting and told us 'You are all overhead'.

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 19:24:06

It's a shame that you and so many other's have chosen to leave the profession. In my view, especially so because in my experience it is the very cream of the crop that are spreading their wings.

I worked in a primary for three years alongside some amazing teachers. Four of which had been working at the primary since and before my time at the school as a child. All four of those were thankful to have joined the profession many moons ago so that they may retire now with very little impact on their pensions. One of those retired early last year and the remaining three are all taking early retirement this year because quite frankly they can't be bothered with the hoop jumping that doesn't benefit the children.

The willy nilly complaints are a definite downside to the job now! In fact I think I'd say increased responsibility for teachers. They are responsible for everything now.

Far too many parents listen to how little Johnny was told off for being a naughty boy and come in to question complain that a teacher wasn't willing to put up with the bad behaviour and completely undermine the educators completely. They are usually the same parents who also pop in to ask the teachers to deal with the fact their little darlings are being bullied on Facebook (in spite of the child actually being four years shy of the age of eligibility) etc... oh and let's not forget the very same educators don't work long enough hours (in spite of being up to 1am frequently and losing whole Sundays) so they should now babysit 8-Midnight so those parents can earn some wonga and get free childcare.

None of this even touches on the Gove's or Labour's policies. But what on earth would a teacher have to moan about aye?

BoffinMum Sun 19-May-13 19:24:59

Longfingernails, not true about the competition, in fact many parents are avoiding academy chains and free schools like the plague, as standards are not high enough. In time this may change, but at the moment, it's a serious problem.

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 19:27:09

Post riddled with mistakes... obviously Shouldn't apply to any new teaching positions. My excuse is that it is a Sunday, the holy day of planning wine

moondog Sun 19-May-13 19:30:08

What evidence do you have for that Boffin?
True about teachers being expected to do jobs that families should be doing-but aren't.

I want my kids to go to school to be taught academic skills first and foremost.

cory Sun 19-May-13 19:34:02

But it isn't about comparing the job of a teacher to the job of someone else. It's about creating an effective, efficient system for the education of children.

I care about my children and their education.

Ensuring that teachers don't have a pleasanter life than other people comes very far down the list compared with wanting to ensure that my children are taught in an atmosphere that is conducive to learning.

cory Sun 19-May-13 19:34:57

Forgot the This and Absolutely and Spot On Twllbach that should have accompanied my previous post.

cory Sun 19-May-13 19:36:41

moondog Sun 19-May-13 19:30:08
"What evidence do you have for that Boffin?"

It's certainly been the case around here: when the local secondary became an academy the next school along had a huge list of parents trying to get in there on appeal, others sent their children out of the LEA.

MrsGeologist Sun 19-May-13 19:37:33

A few of my friends are teachers, and the amount of work they do leaves me gobsmacked.
One was telling me her HoD (in a very good, successful state school) wakes up at five am, goes to bed at eleven pm every day. About four/five hours of that isn't work, and by not work, I mean not school work. She has two kids, so that's spent attending to them. Then she works all day Sunday too.
More than once I've heard "if you spend so much time doing work, you're disorganised", but this is an experienced, fantastic head of department in a school with very high standards. Disorganised, she is not, yet she spends most of her time away from her own kids, in order to do the best she can for other peoples' children.

My friend has a similar work pattern (doesn't get up as early, as she doesn't have kids as well was work to sort out over breakfast) and it is just her life. She doesn't do anything, but her work, and she gets paid a frankly, insulting amount of money for the work she does. Most people wouldn't put up with it, and many don't, hence the mass exodus of teachers from the profession.

Sorry, this is all a bit garbled, but as a non-teacher I take my hat off to teachers. I couldn't in a million years so the job they do, and Gove and the rest of his shit stain party is just making it even worse.

The losers in all of this will not just be the teachers, but the children too.

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 19:37:53

Cory -

A teacher being happy in their job is essential to your child's learning atmosphere. Many teacher's are becoming increasingly unhappy. So actually perhaps you should care about how pleasant the teacher's lives are seeing as teaching is pretty much a lifestyle rather than a job.

TwllBach Sun 19-May-13 19:42:13

I thought cory was saying that she wasn't full of teacher hate, Glass grin

aamia Sun 19-May-13 19:49:18

I love the sheer idiocy of wanting ALL schools to be 'good' (fair enough), where the criteria for 'good' requires results to be above the national average. FFS it's an AVERAGE! So by its very definition, somewhere around half the country will have lower results than that!!!!! How stupid is he?

cory Sun 19-May-13 19:49:45

Add message | Report | Message poster GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 19:37:53
Cory -

"A teacher being happy in their job is essential to your child's learning atmosphere. "

Yes, that was actually the point I was trying to make. Some posters on this thread seem primarily preoccupied with making sure the teachers don't have too good a time. I don't believe making teachers feel unappreciated will ensure that my children have a better learning experience.

If you read through all my posts on this thread I think you will get my point.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 19:51:53

People who feel valued and secure in their job do it better.
Whether they be teachers, bin men or checkout girls.
Which bit of basic employer relations does Gove think does not apply to teachers?

GlassofRose Sun 19-May-13 19:52:18

Ah okay in that case I'm sorry for misunderstanding.

It does seem that some posters and some people in general just dislike the idea of teachers having holidays and shorter hours. However what they usually fail to understand is although the teaching hours are short and holidays vast... the teacher's are spending a good deal of that working.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-May-13 20:05:13

Asian kids do well in Asian schools. Asian kids do well in UK schools. Maybe it isn't the Asian schools we should be seeking to emulate.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 20:09:07

Sadly that is a generalisation too far.
Muslim girls do not get sent to school in parts of Asia and they are not encouraged to do well here.

Indian subcontinent kids : big ethos difference between the religions
Chinese kids : generally good work ethic
South east Asian kids : varies between countries and religions.


By "good" what I assume is meant is good by the standards across the developed world.

The UK is a post-industrial economy that relies on having a highly-educated workforce comparative to other countries. Not having this is the equivalent of an agricultural exporter without farm workers.

There is plenty of anecdotal and statistical evidence that the UK's education system (and yes I do mean Scotland too) is, internationallly speaking, no better than average, and in many respects a good deal worse. This is something everyone should worry about. The poor quality of UK schools is the reason why a good number of expatriates, including myself, continue to live abroad.

If I were Gove I'd be scrapping the paperwork league tables, and slimming down the national curriculum etc, and using the considerable resources freed up to provide professional development to teachers and empower them to do their job. And then I'd leave them to get on with it, just as most professionals are expected to do. However, if I were a teacher I wouldn't continue with this pretence that schools are doing just fine, they just need gvt to get off their backs.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 20:14:13

nope, "good" means above average in the subjective Ofsted grading : it is statistically impossible to do what Gove is telling schools to do.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-May-13 20:20:46

Sorry, talkin you are correct, I was being lazy. But you get the gist. Upthread someone said that there has never been a permanently excluded Chinese pupil in a UK school.
Well, if that's what Chinese schools are working with, then it's no wonder if they do better than us.

A teacher can only do so much, yet it always seems to be us getting the blame. Parents need to take responsibility for their kids, and kids need to take responsibility for their learning too.

As an aside, if Gove is so concerned with back to basics and proper numeracy, how on earth can he justify his bizarre inclusion of Roman numerals into the primary maths curriculum? <cough> Latin obsession

Tubemole1 Sun 19-May-13 20:25:39

I got a quote from Einstein.

"Everyone is a genius. But if you just a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole live believing it is stupid."

My brother is s clever, intelligent, but not academic. So he failed all his GCSEs. If he was given a more vocational path at 14 his career path may have been much improved. By the government telling kids you must pass this test or that exam to be worth something will marginalise many of them and not inspire any confidence.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 20:25:55

Interestingly though the Chinese approach to schooling in China is wall to wall rote learning - another reason that the top party officials get their kids into boarding schools here - so they learn creativity and thinking skills.

A friend is doing ESOL work with a Chinese girl trying to get into a boarding school and she is clearly bright but has zero analytical skills.

All the studies of global competitiveness contradict each other because they all seek to promote agendas.

Finland is great at bringing everybody "up" to a level, but dire at helping the brightest excel.
Singapore is great at creating high levels of numeracy and literacy but dire at analytical skills.
etc etc

BoffinMum Sun 19-May-13 20:37:08

Lots of articles in quality press, as well as admissions data. Suffolk is a particular hotspot for the free school problem, and Downhills the best example of distrust of academy chains.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 19-May-13 20:38:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 20:39:21

How can people choose not to send their kids to Academy schools?
If your school converts and there are no spaces anywhere else, that's that.
Half the Secondaries in England are Academies now.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 19-May-13 20:44:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 20:48:27
pointythings Sun 19-May-13 20:51:45

I think the elephant in the room in this country is the huge disparity between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. There is an enormous cohort of people who feel that education gets you nowhere, because there is so little social mobility in this country. The UK equivalent of the American Dream is dead - in order to move from an environment of social and economic deprivation you have to be very driven, very gifted and very fortunate. I'm sure that there are still families on very low incomes who manage to overcome the barriers, but those barriers are getting higher, not lower.

Meanwhile these people see the privileged hand out internships to each other's children that they could only dream of but could never afford to take up. They see a government of people who have, by and large, grown up never wanting for anything and being offered the best opportunities on a plate.

In this world, is it any wonder that whole swathes of parents turn off, don't see the point of education, won't support it in the home, because everything their children might aspire to is so far beyond their reach? I don't condone that attitude, but I can understand it.

Until we have investment in really high quality vocational education for those children whose talents don't lie in the academic arena, until we stop trying to compete in the race to the bottom for which country can turn out the cheapest, most exploited workforce in the world, we will get nowhere.

We should look at what good schools, private and state, are doing when they turn out well rounded individuals who have the skills to function in the global workplace and roll that out nationally. We should address those factors that drive the extreme inequality of opportunity in the UK. There is a reason why aspiring Chinese/Singaporean families send their children here, we should capitalise on that.

Michael Gove knows all this, he just doesn't care. I don't even think he particularly wants to create a nation of low wage slaves, I reckon he is looking to be party leader after David Cameron and then Prime Minister. Nothing else matters to him at all.

pointythings Sun 19-May-13 20:53:33

SuffolkNWhat I can't tell you how delighted I am to hear that.

Unfortunately the secondary in my town (Mildenhall) is going Academy - jumping before they're pushed on the back of last year's poor GCSE results, which were mostly due to Gove's political manipulation of grade boundaries. sad

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 20:54:59
Breckland : school capacity 500. Number on Roll - not given. Hmmmm.

MerryMarigold Sun 19-May-13 20:58:20

I know quite a few teachers and they all, without fail, hate the man. My dsis, after 15 years in the profession and NEVER encountering anything like it, completely unfairly, got a level 4 from OFSTED (which she did get overturned).

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 19-May-13 21:32:59

^Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 19:51:53
People who feel valued and secure in their job do it better.
Whether they be teachers, bin men or checkout girls.
Which bit of basic employer relations does Gove think does not apply to teachers?^

This. ^^

But of course, that goes against basic Tory (and most business) ideology, which is that people work harder when they are afraid of losing their jobs. They don't do a better job, of course, but then Tories don't want an educated populace by whom they would be threatened. They want people educated enough to be a good and competitive little workforce, and no more. Same reason why they want medical staff and academics (traditionally two of the most educated and hence bolshier sectors) ground down by exhaustion and overwork. It's not in their interests for people to feel valued and secure, or to have too much time to think. I'm not saying that Gove necessarily sits down and thinks all this through - but he's a product of a particular political mentality, and it ain't in our interests.

moondog Sun 19-May-13 21:33:44

That's not a good enough answer, 'Boffin'.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 19-May-13 21:34:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 19-May-13 21:37:09

Excellent post, pointy.

He is an odious man. I am so pleased my DC are almost at the end of their education.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 21:41:35

Sadly my ds2 is just starting his sad

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-May-13 21:44:55


I agree wholeheartedly that extra activities make children more rounded, If I didn't I wouldn't be in the job or be so happy to give up whole weekends for them.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Sun 19-May-13 21:48:08

Maybe Gove is the reason some people choose private education. Their DC get an education uninterrupted by the ideologies of the incumbent Politicians.

pointythings Sun 19-May-13 22:05:06

Suffolk I'm wondering whether you're one of DD1's teachers now... grin. Fortunately she likes all her teachers. gringrin
I also have nn envy concerning you, wish I'd thought of that one!

SuffolkNWhat Sun 19-May-13 22:11:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pointythings Sun 19-May-13 22:16:13

I'm not looking to change schools at the moment, DD1 is happy at MCT and doing very well, but I will be keeping an eye out just in case! DD2 is still at primary in Yr5, since having gone two-tier nothing much has really changed for us. DD1 is at the site of her original middle so that has been good for her (though understandably not so good for others) and DD2 still has over a year at her very lovely primary school and them we'll see.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 19-May-13 22:17:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CouthyMow Mon 20-May-13 07:18:09



I doubt he means anything of the sort.

If he has any sense at all, he will want the UK education system to be superior to its peer group. At present, the pointers are that it is in fact worse, and given the way teachers in the UK are treated, I'm not surprised.

hackmum Mon 20-May-13 09:09:36

I do sometimes wonder if he's a bit thick, despite the Oxbridge degree, the glittering career etc.

At the NAHT conference at the weekend, heads were trying to tell him what he was doing wrong, and what kind of pressure they were under. But he seemed absolutely adamant that he was right, and they were wrong. Now if I were in his position, I'd think, Well, these people are at the top of their profession. Between them they've got hundreds of years of teaching experience, and they're all telling me the same thing. Maybe I should listen to them?

He reminds me of the story of the proud mum watching her daughter dancing in line with a group of other girls and insisting, "She was the only one in step."

BandersnatchCummerbund Mon 20-May-13 09:34:01

Not so much thick as crashingly arrogant.

Jux Mon 20-May-13 10:17:12

He's looking at his place in history, the guy who 'saved' British education. Tosser.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 20-May-13 10:35:22

grin at hackmum and the dancing anecdote!

I've seen the description "evidence-free reforms" used to describe Gove's all-out attack on education. Somewhere along the line he has become convinced that he is the only person - probably in the whole of the UK - who really knows what's right for our children's education, and that he is right to make policy with no reference to evidence, expertise or other people's opinion.

If I had a DC just about to start school, I would emigrate.

mummytime Mon 20-May-13 11:29:19

You have to think he has something wrong when the Checkout staff at Sainsbury's tell me what a bad job they think he is doing.

Tanith Mon 20-May-13 11:38:43

Truss is the same re: evidence-free.

She has visited more French Early Years settings than British (and only a handful in any case). None of them are childminders. Yet she's Minister for Early Years!!

BoffinMum Mon 20-May-13 15:28:51

Interesting article by Steve Richards in the Guardian today saying that the Conservatives have come to office very early in their political careers, and have therefore not thought things through sufficiently well. I think there's a lot in that observation.

I come back to something I say a lot - the UK education system isn't completely knackered, it's actually about as good as we would expect give the amount of resource put into it, and aspects of it are even admired internationally (eg our primary education and its cross curricular work).

However we are in the process of serious amounts of money being diverted away from teaching and learning and being given away as professional fees to cover academy conversions as well as the setting up of free schools. Over £9 billion pounds and rising, last time I looked. This is not a good situation. We can't afford it. To give an indication of what that means in practice, we could halve primary class sizes for two years for that. Or put 5-10 extra teachers in every secondary school.

Secondly, we are painfully aware that in this highly diverse country, there is a rift between the achievement and attainment of rich and poor, and yet we are in the process of making that worse via removing certain benefits, failing to tackle the housing crisis, and failing to address low paid work. Again, this may have some sort of useful impact at some vague point in the future (I am not convinced, but it is a possibility), but at the moment, once again, this is not a good situation as far as the next ten years in education are concerned.

We need to calm down, consolidate what's happened already, and focus on immediate improvements to the quality of teaching and learning, rather than structures. Spend money in what goes on in the classroom, and things will get better. This means focusing on teachers, and focusing on getting children ready to learn, as well as motivating kids to engage and higher and higher levels because there is a virtuous circle for them.

Nothing else matters.

Routinely sniping at the very people involved in education on a day to day basis, namely pupils, teachers and parents, is not going to be the answer. This much I know.

Talkinpeace Mon 20-May-13 17:25:02

Where is the evidence that the UK system is worse than our "peers"
and if it is, what makes you think Gove has any of the answers?

pointythings Mon 20-May-13 18:18:13

I luffs you, BoffinMum.

SuffolkNWhat Mon 20-May-13 18:19:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pointythings Mon 20-May-13 18:20:34

The PISA survey has the UK twenty-somethingth in everything. Another survey has us sixth. Everyone has statistics they can cherry pick.

Problem with PISA is that its founders admit that it is not an accurate ranking because it does not compare like with like - countries are, for instance, free to exclude the results of children with SEN, and many countries do. The UK does not exclude, so will always look worse. There are other inconsistencies too.

But Gove likes to use PISA as a stick to beat teachers with, as ever.

hackmum Mon 20-May-13 18:30:13

I (mostly) agree with Boffinmum. If you look back at the "golden age" of grammar schools, very few children actually left school with five O-levels. Secondary moderns in many cases were offering a substandard education - there's a great first-hand description in David Kynaston's Austerity Britain of a teacher trying to cope with a hugely disruptive secondary modern class.

We actually expect a lot - perhaps too much - from our education system. We expect teachers to deal with a massively diverse population - bright kids and slow kids, kids from advantaged backgrounds and from deprived backgrounds, kids who can barely speak English, kids with a variety of special needs such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism etc, as well as children with severe behavioural problems. It's not easy or cheap to devise an education system that can satisfactorily meet the needs of all those children.

Gove's way of dealing with it seems to be to insist that we teach all children long division and the names of all the kings and queens of England since 1066. Which, as a way of solving the problem, seems to be so way off the mark as to be borderline insane. I would just like to put him in front of a class of 30 12-year olds in an average comprehensive for a week and see how he gets on, I really would.

Schnullerbacke Mon 20-May-13 19:04:29

I'll add my 2 cents worth as a parent....

I'm really worried about these changes. I help out in my daughter's class with reading every week and what I see despairs me. Bearing in mind that there are only 18 in her class, I feel the teacher has hardly any time to make a real impact. They do the register, 10 mins of this and that, then its assembly time, then break, then 40 mins of this and that and then lunch time comes around.

My daughter is progessing ok although I feel that more could done. But already that level of competency between the lowest and top set in class is massive. I read the new proposed curriculum for Y1 - its crazy! How are teachers going to find time teaching all this? I bet its all in anticipation and preparation in sending kids to school until 5 or so.

BoffinMum Mon 20-May-13 22:43:32

1963 Half Our Future report here tells you what the 'golden age' of education really looked like for half the country.

Do we really want to go back to a system that wrote off half of young people before puberty?

Look at the Charley's Schooldays film for a very rosy tinted view of the tripartite system.

Think about female education for a start. We have made monumental strides since the days when 50% of girls spent their days learning to do housework and typing instead of studying languages and science to age 16, for a start. This was still going on after the Tories came into power in 1979, as the National Curriculum didn't kick off until the period 1991-1993. Now we have a much more level playing field, with girls studying very similar academic programmes to boys, and getting university places on the back end of this.

Tubemole1 Mon 27-May-13 22:37:39

Things that annoy me about school:

dressing up days
calling a describing word a "clap clap" word and other stuff that makes no sense.
Calling a sum, a number sentence. Wtf?
all the equality teaching shit. My kid has friends of all kinds of different heritage and doesn't need to be told who to love or hate.
The lack of creative arts in Y1. where are the paintings, construction, ART?
PE being cancelled, often.
Too much focus on three Rs. I really mean it. The curriculum is too fookin narrow. It's dull.
A lack of variety in after school clubs. ooh, ballet, football, karate, piano...dull. What about photography, gardening, garment design, creative arts including sewing knitting etc., using DJ stuff, computer based design...

The day needs to be longer, to five o' clock, and a more diverse primary curriculum is needed. Also agree need to knock 6 week hold on the head. This would aid continuity in learning between years. Kids are being hothoused! Its ridiculous!angry

Tubemole1 Mon 27-May-13 22:46:33

Also, I have teacher friend (primary school) who hates Mr Gove. She also ignores OFSTED reports because she says they only see 2 days of the school and what is presented is not always typical of the school. She says these inspectors can never have a true picture of a school in just two days. She says she regularly updates her parents on their children's progress and her head keeps an eye on her, and the parents will soon know if something is up. Her class parents are happy with things and that's all she can hope for.

WafflyVersatile Mon 27-May-13 22:48:25

I think he understands that he wants to privatise education.

janey68 Mon 27-May-13 22:58:30

I think he knows exactly what he's doing . As a parent it's a real worry.
My SIL is a teacher and although she really likes the actual job of teaching, she's utterly sick of the constant changes and the criticism of the profession. I take my hat off to her: I couldn't do her job and it worries me that excellent hard working people like her are feeling as they do

SuburbanRhonda Mon 27-May-13 23:07:52

Gove makes me shudder every time I see him on TV.

He is going to bring our education system to its knees and then become Prime Minister and fuck up everything else that hasn't already been fucked up by his mates.

mercibucket Mon 27-May-13 23:41:02

tubemole1, what on earth kind of school are you describing? a 'clap clap' word?? a 'describing word'? is this the 1980s?

Just marking place...

gobbin Wed 29-May-13 00:24:30

Tubemole you should be grateful your child's school is offering any extra-curric activities. The way I feel at the end of the day these days I'd rather be going home.

Maybe you could rally some creative, talented parents to come in after a day's work and lead the activities? Can't see why they wouldn't be jumping at the chance...

Gove is a twat and history will prove him to be so, in time. We're not much better off in Wales with Leighton Andrews, but at least he did time in a classroom.


I note the scare-quotes. By "peer" I mean countries similar to Britain, ie, developed countries rather than countries composed entirely of aristocrats. It appears that Britain doesn't compare particularly well to them.

As I mentioned here I'm delighted to be proved wrong on this point, but the evidence from surveys, plus the opinions I've canvassed from teachers indicates that state education in the UK needs significant improvement.

I am delighted to be proved wrong on this point because I live in NZ, am homesick, and remain here primarily so my children can be educated in NZ schools. It is unpleasant, because if my judgement is incorrect, everyone in my family loses.

Abuela, who seems to be regarded as something of a guru on Mumsnet had something to say, but vanished off after a few posts.

BoffinMum Thu 30-May-13 18:13:55

Ah, that would be the NZ where immigrants have to pay school fees then, while nationals get credits subsiding school places in a relatively expensive and well resourced private sector. Easy to get good results when school places are resourced 3x or 4x as well.

BoffinMum Thu 30-May-13 18:14:39

Ah, that would be the NZ where immigrants have to pay school fees then, while nationals get credits subsiding school places in a relatively expensive and well resourced private sector. Easy to get good results when school places are resourced 3x or 4x as well.

Tubemole1 Fri 31-May-13 19:32:46

Further to my earlier post, have just learned my primary school teacher friend has quit teaching because the workload was too much. She was part time and a mother, but couldn't cope. She never had any complaints about her professional performance but her stress levels were such that she couldn't continue.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 31-May-13 19:33:48


The man is utterly clueless. And frighteningly powerful.

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