Teachers Strike Using children as a weapon

(175 Posts)
Ruimon Sat 12-Oct-13 23:16:58

Teachers should not use children as a weapon for their politically motivated demands. Who pays teachers wages? Why have they got so much time to organize strikes? We have all had to forgo pay rises and reduced pensions due to the last government and the banking scandal, why should teachers be any different.

theretheir Sat 12-Oct-13 23:27:52

Nice try.
In short: no, taxes, unions, they're not.

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Oct-13 23:30:18

I'm getting a mental image of teachers striking Michael Gove, using children as a weapon.

You're right, they probably shouldn't do that.

BackforGood Sat 12-Oct-13 23:35:47

I like that image though noble grin

TheDoctrineOfSpike Sat 12-Oct-13 23:36:03

Ohh, but a toddler in full-on rigid won't go into car seat body position would be quite the battering ram.

ipadquietly Sat 12-Oct-13 23:37:43

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I spent last few weeks busily preparing my arsenal. I've rolled some children into balls to shove in the cannons; I've sharpened little finger nails and toe nails and I'm ready to load the little buggers on my long bow; I've trained others how to optimise their surface area so that they can act as human shields.

After months of planning, I'm finally ready.

Let the battle begin...

Ruimon Sat 12-Oct-13 23:44:08

Keep going guys, it's great, you are just proving the point that many parents in the country regognise. Excellent . Top of the class Not.

I wouldn't use ds as a weapon.

A human shield, quite possibly.

clam Sat 12-Oct-13 23:48:21

Ruimon If you have young children, you should be very glad that the teachers are willing to forego a day's wages in an attempt to safeguard their education in the future, before Gove gets any further in his determination to decimate everything that's good about our schools.

Strumpetron Sat 12-Oct-13 23:48:49

I could fashion a great pair of numchucks from two kids and a tie....

But personally I think what they are really doing is withholding their services because it's the only power they have to try and get fair pay, pension etc.

Arisbottle Sat 12-Oct-13 23:49:06

I have twelve weeks a year in which to plan a strike . Hth

pippitysqueakity Sat 12-Oct-13 23:49:41

Oooh cutting ,OP.

indeed pippity. Luckily I had ds in front of me so no harm done, eh?

Devora Sat 12-Oct-13 23:53:12

Personally, I'm using the strike as an educational opportunity to teach my children about the honourable history of collective activism and the nobility of organised labour grin

TheDoctrineOfSpike Sat 12-Oct-13 23:55:48

"I could fashion a great pair of numchucks from two kids and a tie" is going on my quote list.

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 00:02:19

Devora just tell them to look at how The unions brought the country to its Knees in the 70's as a great example of the nobility of orgainised labour, and then turn the lights out as you leave the room.

Devora Sun 13-Oct-13 00:08:54

1970s an excellent demonstration of the importance of a balance of power. (And yes, I was there, eating cold baked beans by candlelight.) The balance of power between the workers and the bosses is critical to keeping capitalism relatively benign (though some think that's a doomed enterprise). The Right believes this isn't necessary, as the market provides the balancing force.

i think it's pretty obvious by now that the balance of power has swung too far the other way, isn't it? And that the market is a piss-poor regulating mechanism? And that ordinary working people are getting screwed over?

So that's why I support the teachers.

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 00:13:20

Glad I made it TheDoctrine :D

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 00:14:36

I think there is a slight difference between:

a great granny teaching PE, literacy, numeracy, playtime duty, humanities, iCT, PSHE, RE; running clubs, holding parents meetings; being observed and constantly judged; dealing with behavioural needs and disabilities; attending courses; planning at weekends; marking and assessing; running 'sustained and substantial' projects (otherwise they lose out on pension); living in fear of the Ofsted call; having to be bright and enthusiastic every day...

...and a great granny sitting in front of a computer screen in the purchase ledger department for 6 hours a day, five hours a week (with a decent lunch break, and coffee and toilet breaks whenever they feel like it).

HereComesHoneyBooBooDragon Sun 13-Oct-13 00:17:58

Hello ranty person. Welcome to Mumsnet thanks smile

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 00:18:17

Your view is distorted by your leanings, I was there too, and I saw unions infilltrated by all spurious shades of red, men bullied into withholding their labour through mass intimidation, the teaching Unions will go the same way as every union that uses a position of power and responsibility as a vehicle for political ideology ...some workers are more equal than others, at least by going on strike it will hasten the privatization of teaching so some good will come out of it.

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 00:23:35

Umm... ruimon, not all the unions have agreed to strike.

How are they going to 'privatise teaching'? All parents would have to pay the schools to educate their children. That would be impossible for some people.

What are you going on about? No-one's intimidating me; nor any other teacher I know.

coldwinter Sun 13-Oct-13 00:23:45

Some of what happened in the70's was not good. But lets get real. That is not what is happening here. Teachers are striking to protect their terms and conditions. That is perfectly reasonable.

bunchoffives Sun 13-Oct-13 00:29:20

Ruimon your arguments are simply barking. They aren't striking for an ideology but for their terms and conditions of employment.

There is a long and honourable history of uniting to gain and maintain decent employment terms starting with Chartism- that's how we got children out of factories and into schools in the first place.

It is in all our interests to attract the best people as teachers for our children. Part of that is making sure we offer teachers the best terms we can. As a parent I support teachers striking for better pay & conditions.

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 00:37:01

OP what is your suggestion for the teachers then?

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 00:37:38

Being a teacher is a position of responsibility I view it as a proffesion, a career, the ability for teachers to be able to turn children's education on and off like a light switch to " improve their pay and conditions " clearly in any sane society is unreasonable. As I said at the start of this thread many , many people have had to sacrifice pay rises and have cuts in pensions in order to sort the economical mess out. Why are teachers any different? Are they some exalted species that live outside the realms of reality? It,s not about the children as some posts have said its about being against government policy and protecting vested interests. I don,t know why those teachers promoting the strike can't at least be honest enough to say so.

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 00:41:35

Right hold on so teachers should just be martyrs then and teach our children even though they're being figuratively shat on?

Why should they provide a service if they aren't being paid adequately for it?

Because that's what it is, a service. Teachers have had their pays slashed and pensions STOLEN.

Like you say, it's a profession and it's very important that our children get a good education - so it is also important that the people doing this aren't being treated badly

BitBewildered Sun 13-Oct-13 00:41:42

What bunchoffives said..

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 00:43:55

I'm not a big fan of strikes, but as a last resort I see why they happen. The best way to get someone to listen is withdraw the thing they need from you.

Children aren't going to suffer because of one strike day.

Devora Sun 13-Oct-13 01:00:35

Are your views NOT distorted by your leanings, Ruimon? smile Of course our leanings distort our views, and our views distort our leanings.

But the lesson of the 1970s is that too much power corrupts: that is why so few people mourned the demise of the unions. But too much power corrupts all institutions and organisations, and that is why we need unionised labour.

I don't support every strike. But in this case I do support the teachers - and suggesting that one can only do that if one is (a) a blinkered over-zealous lefty, or (b) wanting to return us to 1973, is just daft.

creamteas Sun 13-Oct-13 11:51:02

As I said at the start of this thread many , many people have had to sacrifice pay rises and have cuts in pensions in order to sort the economical mess out

Since the global banking crisis there has been no new regulation to stop it happening again. Why is that? One reason is that the wealthiest people have no serious opposition due to the lack of collective organization by ordinary workers. Maybe if more of them were in unions and willing to take industrial action, we would be looking at a very different situation.

Trade union legislation in the UK is extremely restrictive, and strikes are only called as a last resort. It is the last weapon that we ordinary people have and whilst it is inconvenient, I support the right of all workers to take this action.

Poundpup Sun 13-Oct-13 12:26:35

I do not get aggreivated about strike action, unless the reasons to strike are petty. Therefore I believe that you need to understand the reasons for strike action before taking a stance and not necessarily believing what the press has reported.

In the case of the teachers strike. They are upset regarding a number of changes to their terms and conditions.

Pensions. Yes, I agree alongside everyone else they will need to make greater contributions to their pension. That is hard, but due to bad decsions made by our leaders ALL workers who pay into pensions have been effected. However, I do not agree that teachers should have to work until their 67 or 68 until they can retire. I mean, be realistic, what 68 year old could manage a class of 30 kids. I also feel the same about the Police, armed forces, fire service etc. It doesn't make sense. There has been no alternative offered, despite the unions sitting at the table with the government.

Performance related pay. I would love to hear the reasons why performance related pay in schools is a good idea. They are not working with machines but children, and anyone who is a parent knows that children will generally learn when they are ready. That is why some reception children can read as soon as they start school but others will flourish later on. I am worrried that this will lead to the best teachers only applying to work in nice green, leafy areas. How will this benefit society as a whole? I am not advocating that poor teachers should be let off but there has to be a better way. Again the unions have sat down to discuss this but the government does not want to hear their views.

Education is important for society as a whole. Teachers have been bashed a lot in the press, at times completely unfairly, but on the whole I am behind the teachers on this one. Yes, it is annoying to make alternative childcare arrangements but how else can we the people make our leaders listen?

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 12:52:16

At the end of the day ruimon, teaching is a job, just like any other. Any person in employment must have freedom to question their pay and conditions and to take action if they are unhappy.

As I said earlier, moving retirement age for teachers from 60 to 65+ is ridiculous, because of the physical, mental and time-consuming demands of the job. I think it's a cynical move to pay less in pensions in the future as teachers find they are forced to retire early. (I listed the demands on the average, bog-standard teacher in an earlier post.) To imagine that people will be able to sustain the pace in their late 60s defies belief.

soverylucky Sun 13-Oct-13 13:15:57

As I said at the start of this thread many , many people have had to sacrifice pay rises and have cuts in pensions in order to sort the economical mess out. Why are teachers any different?

Teachers are no different to anyone else. What they are doing is what others in the private sector could do - join a union and go on strike as they are legally entitled to do.

I feel very sorry for those in jobs who are not allowed to strike - I know that includes some medical staff. Everyone should have the right to strike.

In a 13 year teaching career I have been on strike once. I won't get paid. If it was just about a day off then I could just phone in sick. I am trying to make a stand against something that I feel very strongly about.

soverylucky Sun 13-Oct-13 13:17:08

I am sorry if my last post does not make sense - I am getting fed up of these threads now. We were on strike in the summer term. That is the only time I have ever been on strike.

BackforGood Sun 13-Oct-13 13:26:07

Great Post PoundPup

keepsmiling12345 Sun 13-Oct-13 13:59:20

The OP's rantings are so simplistic and extreme that I almost couldn't be bothered to post. And then I thought, since OP has clearly decided that only teachers support the strike action, then I should at least post to say that as a parent (and one who is going to have to juggle work and childcare with DD's school closed on Thursday) I have reviewed the reasons behind the strike and support the teachers taking action.

Custardo Sun 13-Oct-13 14:03:52

as workers, if in any job, you unionise you shouldbe able to use your collective power and withdraw your labour to negotiate more favourable terms.

if your argument is that you can't do it - then perhaps the fault isn't with the teachers - whohave excellent unions, but with your own workplace. perhaps you should join a union

chicaguapa Sun 13-Oct-13 14:08:00

I've yet to read a coherent, well-articulated and punctuated post from someone slagging off the teachers. I can barely read the OP's. Is there a correlation, do you think? wink

Pistillate Sun 13-Oct-13 14:15:45

Your view is distorted by your leanings

Same to you!

re performance related pay, this insight into Mr Gove's understanding is helpful

if "good" in his tiny mind means above average, how can all schools be classified as "good" as he requires?

I am quite disappointed that no staff at our school has been on strike - I fully support them, they are being shafted. I am not a teacher. But I have been a public sector worker.

insancerre Sun 13-Oct-13 14:22:26

I work in a private day nursery and am very jealous of the teachers and their ability to even join a union and have them represent their interests let alone be in a position to vote to go out on strike.
So, every credit to them and up the workers!

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Oct-13 14:23:43


Why are you not complaining about gove using children as a weapon?

MerryMarigold Sun 13-Oct-13 14:37:34

Yy. I can't actually think of an education minister who's been less concerned about CHILDREN, let alone teachers. I'm particularly worried about kids who don't learn in a formulaic way or have even an ounce of a special educational need.

OP, I'm sure you and your kids are fine. It's time to think about what other people/kids and teachers need out would that be too 'lefty' for you.

MerryMarigold Sun 13-Oct-13 14:40:00

Oh yes, meant to day neither myself nor dh are teachers.

insancerre Sun 13-Oct-13 14:41:42

agree MerryMarigold
Gove eminds me of my old History teacher at the grammar school I went to.
He absolutely hated children and loved to humiliate them and was actually a very scary man. He had no warmth, no compassion, no patience, no funny stories, no personality.
He got off on the authority, I think.

chosenone Sun 13-Oct-13 14:56:16

Yes Ruimon. Tis Gove using children as a weapon! PRP based on the achievement's of students? So everyone races to havr the top sets, and resents the bottom sets or SEN children ? State schools do not/have not been selective therefore have children of a huge array of abilites, children with SEN yet we will be paid based on our success with these students ( against targets that seem to be plucked out if the air!) That is using children as political weapons !

creamteas Sun 13-Oct-13 15:34:50

insancerre Every worker can join a union regardless of your employer. I think Unison represents childcare staff.

If enough of your colleagues join as well, you can then get your employer to recognize the union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

If you contact Unison (or another union) they can help to make this happen.

insancerre Sun 13-Oct-13 15:45:55

I know all that
Have you ever worked in a private nursery?
It's not like we have hundreds of staff- there are 5 of us.
I'm sure it says in my contract that the componay doesn't recognise any union for collective bargaining

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 19:20:34

I'm not quite sure that a day's strike is 'the ability for teachers to be able to turn children's education on and off like a light switch'.

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 19:24:21

And there we have it "one days strike won't harm a child's education" excuse me? Excuse me? And " we don't want to work untill we are 67 or 68" . Numeracey and literacy , right we,ve all seen the results about where we stand. In the rest of the world exams raise standards, there needs to be more focus on teaching standards and less in training colleges , more parental choice and more discipline. The left wing orthodoxy that academic competition is an abuse of human rights holds sway, anyone who favors proper tougher exams and discipline is " shouted down". You cannot fool the populace by trying to protect a system that is failing. These are ideological strikes by the left wing dominated unions to protect their vantage point of being educators. Left=socialism=social engineering=undermine the cornerstones of civilized society, which are every human being able to raise to their fullest potential, I.e. taking proper academic subjects not politically correct children's entertainment, education, choice, law, religion and the family unit. The strike is immoral because it's selfish.

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 19:26:44

What propaganda have you been reading?

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 19:29:30

I can't see anything in your post that is relevant to the teachers going on strike. I see a lot of political wishywashy crap that has nothing to do with teachers working standards.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 19:30:14

I didn't say a day's strike wouldn't harm a child's education (although it won't) I said it's not exactly turning on and off children's education like a light switch.

But there's no point arguing calmly and rationally with someone who is not calm or rational.

Morgause Sun 13-Oct-13 19:30:51

I think t was American strumpetron from the incorrect spelling of "favour".

OP doesn't even make sense when copy and pasting.


creamteas Sun 13-Oct-13 19:32:45

The left does not prevent people from reaching their potential, this is actually what it stands for.

The neo-liberal agenda of the right on the other hand takes resources from the many to give to the few, and ensures that those at the bottom have no chance of success.

Gosh, you are quite, er, cross.

like I said on the other thread you have not returned to, you really need to study how to present a logical train of thought, not string a random series of prejudices and exclamations together and expect them to form a coherent argument others can engage with.

So for the moment, I will leave you.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 19:34:45

'These are ideological strikes by the left wing dominated unions to protect their vantage point of being educators'

As opposed to teachers not wanting the 'vantage point of being educators'??

Does that sentence make any sort of sentence to anyone else?

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 19:34:49

Capital K Marx

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 19:35:05

you really need to study how to present a logical train of thought, not string a random series of prejudices and exclamations together and expect them to form a coherent argument others can engage with.


whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 19:35:24

'sense' not 'sentence'.

It makes no sense.

creamteas Sun 13-Oct-13 19:36:05

insancerre It is difficult, but I manged to unionize a company of 7. Once everyone was a member, they had no option but to engage in collective bargaining

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 19:37:01

It sounds like a load of political buzzwords have been put into a tombola and plucked to form a sentence.


Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 19:38:00

Sorry QFT, Quoted For Truth, or Quite Fucking True as I prefer it.

Whogivesashit Sun 13-Oct-13 19:40:11

OP: you are quite frankly talking out your arse!

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 19:40:47

'It sounds like a load of political buzzwords '

Or a bunch of Daily Mail headlines mixed up a bit.


<<does happy, quite well-educated-dance-despite-being-educated-during-the-education-hating-union-stifled-seventies-and eighties>>

Strumpetron Sun 13-Oct-13 19:42:41

''It sounds like a load of political buzzwords '

Or a bunch of Daily Mail headlines mixed up a bit.'

with a bit of low level Sociology chucked in for good measure.

chosenone Sun 13-Oct-13 19:43:22

Go into a school and see what they are doing, achieving against the odds. If you want to bring left wing ideology into it and clearly you do as you seem to fit tge bill if a narrow minded right wing bigot. Socialism, sharing, opportunities for all. It isnt reallyba bad system in education, compared to survival of thw fittest (wealthiest) and yes compared to many countries education here does not fare well. Neither does teenagedrinking, teen prepregnancies, binge and drug culture, there are a lot of problems in this country and this is reflected in schools.

chosenone Sun 13-Oct-13 19:44:26

Ignore typos. Im not undereducated....just fingers and thumbs !!

plantsitter Sun 13-Oct-13 19:45:00

Not sure it's really worth replying to you as you seem to be raving at this point.

Teachers are striking over their own working conditions which quite obviously directly affect the children they teach.

Not only that, but they are striking over the fact that Gove seems to think he can disregard the opinions of many extremely learned, experienced teachers in deciding the new curriculum. Years of expertise about how learning happens and how children thrive is being ignored. I never really know what people mean about a strike being 'political' - what else would it be?- but I think teachers are demonstrating that this government's ridiculous treatment of teachers is at the detriment of our children's education.

I'm not a teacher, not that it matters.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 19:48:41

I'd say teacher bashing is not really that helpful for education either.

But then these teachers are getting a bit above themselves what with our shocking wish to 'protect our vantage point as educators'!

Not quite sure what Ruimon thinks we should be doing if not educating and also who might educate kids if not teachers!

Perhaps we shouldn't bother with these hotbeds of radicalism known as schools at all and just shove all the kids back up the chimneys.

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 19:49:10

ruimon" we don't want to work untill we are 67 or 68"

I said no such thing. I'm sure that most teachers would love to work until they're 67 or 68. The problem is that the job is physically and mentally exhausting. You teach a class of tigger-like 4 year olds for the day (half inside, half outside), break up arguments, plan the work, assess the children continuously, clear up sick/wee/poo, TEACH them; and then attend a staff meeting... when you're 68 years old.

You have to keep going all the time when you're a teacher. You can't just sit down and let the kids get on with it.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 13-Oct-13 19:50:26

Hello OP

You mention parents having choice in one of your posts.
We are lucky in this country to have as many as we do, so I'm sorry I agree you are talking out of your ass.
In fact as far as the law is concerned it is your responsibility to make sure your child receives an education, so you can choose to do what you wish.

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 19:50:37

performance related pay, err we have nothing to fear have we????

thecatfromjapan Sun 13-Oct-13 19:51:43

The thing I wish we'd kept from the 70s was the closing of the gap of inequality between the highest and lowest earners in the country.

Lots I don;t miss.

But I do miss that.

I'm a leftie. I don't recognise your description of leftie aspirations (or lack of), Ruimon. I think it's an (old) stereotype. I'd have thought the Blair years would have killed it stone dead. But no.

Anyway, welcome to mumsnet. Today is (un)officially "Ranty Pants Day", so you have picked a marvellous day to pitch in. smile

thecatfromjapan Sun 13-Oct-13 19:53:31


Only someone without children could not understand what is so bizarre about the notion of "performance related pay" when it comes to teaching.

Seriously. You don't even have to be a teacher to realise it is a wholly bizarre notion.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Arisbottle Sun 13-Oct-13 19:57:30

I am a teacher which four children of my own, a stepson and another on the way.

I don't think PRP is bizarre, difficult yes but not bizarre.

Ruimon Sun 13-Oct-13 19:58:37

All we have to do, is look at the educational systems on the globe that work and copy, there still exists in this country left orthodoxy that needs weeding out and exposed, children have been let down for far too long by poor systems it's time for a total revamp.

chosenone Sun 13-Oct-13 20:01:53

Why were you worried about PRP???.... kids themselves will take over the baton anyway Ruimon (Secondary) have their GCSE specs messed around with, EMA being taken away, parents not being able to take them on term time holidays etc THEY are actually getting angry, writingletters to Govt. Maybe Gove will show how much he cares then. Left wing oiks raging against the machine and not staying in their place !

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:07:05

The main reason why it is bizarre Arisbottle is because of the complexity of human beings and the ways in which they learn/perform in exams.

Maybe you can judge somebody's ability to churn out cars on a production line or on how much double glazing they sell but what if a student who should get A grades becomes terminally ill or has to miss school to look after a disabled parent or just refuses or is unable to do any work at home? What if they panic and misinterpret the question.

There is a huge link between academic performance and wealth and academic performance and parental education. These are better indicators than the school a student attends but are far beyond a teacher's control.

You also cannot compare schools with schools easily. It's like comparing the death rates in a hospital that specialises in cardiac surgery and one that specialises in allergies. It's not the cardiac surgeon's fault that more of his patients will die in a year than an allergy specialist.

But if you start judging people in compex jobs as if they were selling double glazing they won't want to work with risk any more.

Poor old cardiac patients. Poor old schools with high levels of deprivation.

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 20:10:10

But this is performance related pay based on criteria for pay progression decided by the headteacher (and governors)!

Each school is to set its own pay scales -
make the targets impossible to achieve; reduce your salary budget.


whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:10:31

'All we have to do, is look at the educational systems on the globe that work and copy'

You just end up revealing your ignorance Ruimon. Schools don't work in isolation from the rest of society.

thecatfromjapan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:11:48

Fair enough, Arisbottle.

My feeling is that the natural non-linearity in child development is going to make it stressy for teachers and profoundly susceptible to subjective judgment - and even caprice and prejudice.

Ruimon, my feeling about copying "the best" education systems around the world is that there is less agreement as to what constitutes "the best" than you might think (a problem also with PRP, I worry). Also, education is inevitably part of a holistic system. For example: states may have education systems embedded within cultures that function to produce strong academic results (for some). The same educational set-up moved into a different state, with a different culture, might produce quite different results.

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 20:12:20

ruimon Can you explain the left wing orthodoxy that is prevailing in schools? I really don't see schools as political institutions at all. teachers leave their politics at the breakfast table in the morning.

cory Sun 13-Oct-13 20:13:25

One likely result of PPR is that headteachers and teachers will be less happy about teaching children like my dd: interested and hardworking but with a chronic health condition likely to affect both her attendance and performance. Even when schools aren't allowed to select pupils there are plenty of ways in which you can make a pupil and her parents feel unwelcome. So yes- people like me have everything to fear.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:15:37

''All we have to do, is look at the educational systems on the globe that work and copy''

Actually, highest on the table is Finland which is one of the leftiest countries there is.

' The Nordic strategy for achieving equality and excellence in education has been based on constructing a publicly funded comprehensive school system without selecting, tracking, or streaming students during their common basic education.[1] Part of the strategy has been to spread the school network so that pupils have a school near their homes whenever possible or, if this is not feasible, e.g. in rural areas, to provide free transportation to more widely dispersed schools. Inclusive special education within the classroom and instructional efforts to minimize low achievement are also typical of Nordic educational systems'

thecatfromjapan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:15:57

I'm only bothering to post on this thread because it's cold and wet and I'm putting off walking down the road to buy some biscuits.

In my heart of hearts I know that this is just a "Today I put on my Angry Pants" thread.

smile Hope everyone's day gets better, and ends with feelings of love and contentment for all of you (for all of us).

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 20:18:29

Ruimon, I would be more than happy to consider an application for you as a PhD student where you can develop this thesis of yours using all the available evidence. Perhaps you can publish a book on the back end of it, and a few journal articles. Work with think tanks and education philanthropists to change the world. Show the rest of the education sector where they are going wrong. That kind of thing.

Or you can spend your life reading the Daily Mail and believing every bit of unsubstantiated crap ministers want you to believe.

Guess which route to wisdom I chose??

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:18:46

'Teachers, who are fully unionized, follow state curriculum guidelines but are accorded a great deal of autonomy as to methods of instruction and are even allowed to choose their own textbooks'

So, what do you think Ruimon, shall we copy the Finnish system?

I'm in favour.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:20:42

And this:

'during the first years of comprehensive school, grading may be limited to verbal assessments rather than formal grades. The start of numerical grading is decided locally. Most commonly, pupils are issued a report card twice a year: at the ends of the autumn and spring terms. There are no high-stakes tests.'

Shall I repeat. Finland is TOP of the league tables.

ipadquietly Sun 13-Oct-13 20:21:37

It would be a little difficult to emulate Finland's education system seeing that its total population is half that of London; and about 2/3 of the country is populated by reindeer and bears.

thecatfromjapan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:21:48


I want to run away to a Nordic country ...

Seriously, though, while there is much I think sounds lovely in the Finnish system, it has to be said that I would worry about adopting even that - or expecting to produce the same results in this country.

Finland is small, it shares its money around its population more - through common goods, and it is very homogenous, compared to Britain.

I know i sound like an idiot, but I think Britain's schools deal with a lot of challenges, pretty well on balance. The obvious example is the shifting population of London, where children with little or no English are accommodated and taught. That's just one example - but it points to what schools in Britain are trying to do, and trying to do quite well.

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 20:22:21

We'd have a few problems copying Finland because they spend vast amounts of time cross country skiing and scoffing free lunches of things like salmon and home made meatballs.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:22:21

Best of all:

'The respect accorded to the profession and the higher salaries than the OECD average lead to higher performing and larger numbers applying for the positions, and this is reflected in the quality of teachers in Finland.'

maillotjaune Sun 13-Oct-13 20:23:06

I'm not a teacher but support them striking. I trust the teaching profession as a whole much more than a politician who happens to have the job of education secretary at the moment. Despite being a leftie that applies to Labour governments too but I am more suspicious of cabinets full of millionaires who have no experience of state schools.

Btw I work in professional training and although we have an element of performance related pay, NONE of it is related to student performance in exams because there are too many factors outside the lecturer's control. Feedback from students affects us, but you can hardly ask a class of 7 year olds whether they felt adequately prepared for KS1 SATs...

BoffinMum Sun 13-Oct-13 20:25:42

I think PRP should only relate to factors under a teacher's direct control - attendance, self-directed CPD, volunteering for extra duties, taking on extra responsibility, etc.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:26:32

I know, thecat. But Ruinon said ''All we have to do, is look at the educational systems on the globe that work and copy''

Finland is at the top of the numeracy and literacy tables yet has a system which uses all of the strategies that Ruinon is criticizing.

It just shows how little he/she understand and that actually her or his arguments are entirely ideologically based and don't refer to any evidence at all.

whendidyoulast Sun 13-Oct-13 20:27:44

Hmm.. s/he seems to have gone awfully quiet since that was pointed out.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 13-Oct-13 20:30:06

All we have to do, is look at the educational systems on the globe that work and copy, there still exists in this country left orthodoxy that needs weeding out and exposed, children have been let down for far too long by poor systems it's time for a total revamp.

Paragraphs, syntax and punctuation - think about them.

thecatfromjapan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:33:02

Please stop with the Finlandphilia. It's making me homesick for somewhere I've never been.

whendidyoulast sorry, if that sounded as though I was jumping on you. It was intended more as picking up your point and running with it. I do get your point. And it is funny that those who froth espouse the need to borrow examples from across the globe are inevitably confronted with the example of finland. grin

Boffinmum This is a serious question: Is it likely that PRP will be limited to performance in those areas? That does sound fairer to me.

DiamondMask Sun 13-Oct-13 20:33:08

Personally I like that left orthodoxy called Inclusion of children with additional needs. Gove seems to want them all elsewhere.

chicaguapa Sun 13-Oct-13 20:33:48

I've figured it out. I think the OP is the man himself. grin He has come on mn to wind up all the parents before Thursday. It's the only explanation.

Maybe this is what his speeches are like before they are toned down and rewritten.

He is also preparing sound bites about how he feels sorry for all the parents and children that have been let down by the teachers.

BackforGood Sun 13-Oct-13 20:45:36

You're probably right chicaguapa grin

Morgause Sun 13-Oct-13 20:49:44

I think you're right chicaguapa the man himself regularly draws ideas from his arse just like the OP seems to be.

Deecam18 Sun 13-Oct-13 21:58:20

Totally agree with Poundpup

MerryMarigold Sun 13-Oct-13 22:28:29

I think OP may actually be a DM journalist. All the signs are there...

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 09:14:56

Catfromjapan, I don't know, but I think some teachers are very worried they will just be assessed on arbitrary targets for pupils they teach, and nothing else. Which means that if you teach pupils from chaotic homes or whatever, where results are unpredictable, you're potentially doomed basically.

(For example, I had an A* student who forgot the exam and went shopping once. We had many teachers combing the local area but couldn't find her. It happens).

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 09:19:51

We have an excellent education system in this country, which consistently performs highly in international test results. I posted this on the school strike thread, if you are reading this, GoveyBoy or cronies, in response to a poster saying that the Canadian system was terrific and the English one was more or less not fit for purpose.


You are only looking at one data measure, and internationally it is recognised that PISA is only one test, and part of a much bigger picture. However PISA tests tend to be the only ones lay people have heard of, as they are mentioned in the media of OECD countries more often.

The TIMSS tests (maths and science) and PIRLS tests (reading) are a lot closer in content to European curricula, whereas the PISA tests favour the type of curriculum approach used in places like Korea. PISA tests are taken by OECD countries, TIMSS and PIRLS are taken by any countries with the resources to sit them.

(There are endless additional smaller differences between the two forms of testing but if I list everything here MN will probably explode or you will all die from boredom).

In TIMSS and PIRLS tests, England is consistently in the top 10 and generally outperforms Canada by a small margin.

TIMSS maths

PIRLS reading

From the data, therefore, we see that England performs better in such tests than Canada, and is consistently in the top 10 internationally.

(Interestingly, there seems to be a vast difference between Quebec and Ontario in the science results. I wonder what is happening there? Two tier education system?)


BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 09:24:30

The absolute fundamental basis for the teacher strike is this. Increasing fragmentation of the maintained education sector in England will result in a raft of unintended consequences, which will have profound and lasting negative results for both children and the economy as a whole.

If that is not worth striking about, then I don't know what is.

MerryMarigold Mon 14-Oct-13 10:20:39

Bravo Boffin. How do we get ordinary people to understand this though?

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 10:35:38


There are several international comparison tests, not just the ones Gove talks about.

At the moment it's like Gove is going onto a price comparison website, picking the most expensive quote in the list, and saying, "See? Insurance is really expensive! Take over the insurance companies! We will tell them how to sell insurance!"

What he hasn't done is sorted the list so you can see the lowest prices, or work out which offers the best value to customers like you, when you take everything into account. If we were to do that with the English education system, then most customers would be thinking, "Well that quote is in the top 10, and the customer service is supposed to be very good for most people, so let's go along with that one".

Incidentally I am not sure whether he knows he is doing this, or whether he just doesn't understand how to read figures properly. Many of us are starting to suspect the latter, as he has said some things in Parliament that suggest he misunderstands basic GCSE type statistics - in fact he regularly looks a bit silly when the numbers come out.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 10:48:27

More translation:

In this country we have a high reliability electricity system, which means practically all of the time the power supply works, unlike parts of the US, or Africa, for example.

What we also want is a high reliability education system, so when you send your child to school, you know it's going to work, wherever you are in the country, and whatever background you are from.

Since the 1990s we have taken a number of steps towards developing a system like this. The National Curriculum means that wherever your child goes in the country, he or she is likely to be learning similar things at similar times, for example. We have also accepted that SEN children need extra funding, and buildings need maintaining to a similar standard across the country. Teachers now receive compulsory ongoing training throughout their careers, and so do heads, to keep them up to date.

The steps taken since 2010 risk undoing a lot of those changes. Parents will know longer know what to expect from their children's schools, and on some cases children will fall foul of a system that emphasises test performance at the expense of child development. Parents can expect to:

a) find it harder to get places in local schools
b) end up paying a lot of money out of tuition outside school, so their children can keep up with testing requirements, and
c) see increasing mental health problems amongst their children.

MerryMarigold Mon 14-Oct-13 10:51:35

c) is very, very worrying Boffin

Thankyou! I feel more equipped for playground gossip time!

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 11:32:58

We are already starting to see the effects of some of these policies in the sector - waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have zoomed up in some areas, for example. (While there is an 18 week upper limit for treatment if your child has a physical problem, if it's a mental health problem there is no time limit for starting treatment, which is rather scandalous in my opinion).

TeamEdward Mon 14-Oct-13 11:54:37

BoffinMum, I <3 you.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 13:23:18

Finland isn't perfect either - loads of their schools have major mould problems! wink

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 13:23:51

Finland isn't perfect either - loads of their schools have major mould problems! wink

Ruimon Mon 14-Oct-13 15:23:16

Just had a quick look through, some of the comments are condesending and kind of prove my point. Facts are facts are facts guys. the leadership of the N.U.T. Is very concerned about inroads to the organization being made by " the left" socialist teachers alliance etc etc, bit like militant tend. And labour a few years back.They have a wider agenda please wake up. The strike is about protecting the interest of teachers pay and conditions Just had a look at the pay scales and the final salary pension scheme. I think it all stacks up very nicely and so it should good teachers deserve it. Poor teachers do not deserve to get the same pay as good/excellent teachers. Therefore p.r.p. is a must. I,m sorry but striking for the above reasons at this point in time is I believe immoral when the people who pay taxes, who pay teachers are just having to make sacrifices ( no wage rises pensions reduced etc etc) BUT ask the teachers to face reality and SOME of them those driven by the left call for strikes, it's the same old sorry recipe for disaster, only this time it involves our children's education. The law needs changing A. To make it a requirement of striking teachers to inform the management that they are going on strike and B. allow supply teachers to cover striking teachers, or even allow parents to cover striking teachers. Oh and why i are the strike nd rallies not being called during the school holidays, .............because it wold nt affect the education of the children would It?.....

was it a bit like marking homework?

Ruimon Mon 14-Oct-13 16:02:26

That actually made me laugh, by the way the general secretary used to be in the socialist alliance and earns a reported £154,000 a year.

Strumpetron Mon 14-Oct-13 17:25:13

It really does sound like the OP is a college kid writing an assignment on the critic of something.. I'm not even sure what but something..

Ilovemyrabbits Mon 14-Oct-13 17:36:08

Wow, Ruimon, do you know what a strike is meant to achieve? It's a disruption of labour. It's planned to have maximum impact. It won't work if you ensure people can cover for you and there is no adverse impact on service. I despair.

I am not a teacher or a loony lefty, but I can see the damage Gove is having on our children's education and it's frightening. Lord knows how this mess will end, but the teachers of this country have my support til Gove is out, no matter how much it might inconvenience me.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 17:55:04

Whoever it is has a fairly basic writing style, to say the least, and practically no punctuation. I blame the teachers. wink

pointyfangs Mon 14-Oct-13 18:55:57

every union Secretary of State for Education that uses a position of power and responsibility as a vehicle for political ideology

There, fixed that for you.

Now learn to use paragraphs, correct grammar and punctuation, proper syntax and spelling and then we might take you a little bit more seriously. It would also help if you actually addressed the points being made by other posters instead of just carrying on where you left off ranting in your last post.

BTW you seem to be labouring under the misconception that everyone who has answered you is a teacher. It isn't so.

Strumpetron Mon 14-Oct-13 19:09:16

I'm not a teacher I'm a worker and part time student so I still experience teachers from the other side wink

Ruimon Mon 14-Oct-13 21:22:54

Oooh lots of supercilious comments which will of course be ignored, I would just like to say, and of course I don't mean to upset anyone, but some manners could be shown to the parents and give them some notice, that teachers are not going to turn up on the day. Why do teachers assume that there's someone to look after all these children at the drop of a hat? Do the teachers who do not inform that they are striking have any idea of how the parent or child feels being treated like this ?
Sleep tight everyone.

pointyfangs Mon 14-Oct-13 21:25:45

OP, the strikes were announced in early September at the beginning of autumn term. Any parent worth their salt would be able to plan more than a month in advance. I was - what's your excuse?

You still have not addressed any of the points made by posters on this thread which challenge your ludicrous and badly worded assertions.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 21:27:35

Ruimon, in all the schools I know, head teachers work out which classes can be covered, and which can't, and send letters home a few days in advance.

Ruimon Mon 14-Oct-13 21:37:50

Boffinmum that's great if that happens , but I know of parents who have been informed that they will be told on Thursday morning if there are enough teachers to open the school. I really don't think that is on at all.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 21:55:53

Well, they can pull the head up on that, frankly. Yes, it's fine to strike, but it's also important to be as reasonable as possible. Never hurt to ask the staff nicely what they are planning to do.

MerryMarigold Tue 15-Oct-13 10:51:10

Ruimon, in my vast array of FB friends, I do not know of ANYONE who is being informed on Thursday morning. We were given almost 2 weeks notice in both our schools. It must be quite rare, and yes do blame the head for that, or even the few teachers involved, but don't tar the majority or even the reasoning behind the strikes.

noblegiraffe Tue 15-Oct-13 12:14:27

I don't believe it. A head who did that would just be setting themselves up for a big bunch of unauthorised absences should the school be open.

warwick1 Tue 15-Oct-13 12:42:01

I would give up ruimon' now that the bullies are out you will not get a fair hearing you will just get abuse.

Elibean Tue 15-Oct-13 12:43:48

Maybe Ruimon is confusing the fact that teachers are not obliged to let the Heads know until the morning of the strike. So Heads may not say they are 100% certain.

But in reality, all the schools in our area have teachers who have given a couple of weeks' notice to their Heads and parents. Some schools have decided to close regardless (probably to protect the anonymity of those striking) and others, like my dds', is open to certain classes.

As for my children - they are not, do not look like, feel like, or think of themselves as, weapons shock They are primary aged, but even they understand the basic principles behind the strike.

Elibean Tue 15-Oct-13 12:44:52

ps not read whole thread - only OP and last few posts

OrmirianResurgam Tue 15-Oct-13 12:47:53

Children as a weapon? Aren't they a bit squishy?But I suppose my youngest could act as a sort of attack dog .....

OrmirianResurgam Tue 15-Oct-13 12:50:28

There has been a sign up in our school saying exactly which classes will be affected and which won't. It's been there over a week. They also sent a letter home with the pupils and a text. No-one can honestly say they didn't know.

chicaguapa Tue 15-Oct-13 13:01:03

I thought the strike was always a threat but could be averted at any time by the government agreeing to engage in talks with the unions? I'm not sure at what point it became a definite. Presumably when the government decided to stick two fingers up at the teachers and parents and told them to (figuratively) go fuck themselves. hmm

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 17:04:57

I think a massed Reception class Plasticine missile offensive outside No 10 will do more good than democracy seems to have done. wink Like small suffragettes. grin Or we can send some of the little blighters into a Cabinet Meeting to tie Ministers' shoelaces together under the table. grin Or organise a massed teen sleep- in on the benches in the House if Commons, with kids laid end to end.gringrin Now that is what I call using kids as weapons. gringrin

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 17:06:30

Would it be going too far to get some very large year 13 girls to give Gove a forcible full body wax??

JuliaScurr Tue 15-Oct-13 17:46:11

Boffin! Stop that!
<faints clean away>

pointyfangs Tue 15-Oct-13 17:52:27

You can borrow my DDs, Boffin. They're very well behaved and creative, and DD1 has been to the Houses of Parliament so knows her way around.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 18:08:21

I could also turn DS1 (15) onto them and get him to lecture them on computer gaming. They'd weep with boredom.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 18:09:10

Julia, he probably doesn't have body hair. He is all white and doughy like the rest of them.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 18:16:30

Oh yes, unleash a KS2 orchestra on them as well. They will be begging for mercy.

soul2000 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:50:44

Boffin. in an earlier post you made the point,that to just look at one set of results was inconclusive. I think you are right about that,because some tests will favor some pupils from different education systems.

I think the biggest problem is that Gove will be using just one set of results to push his agenda though. His agenda is to have a revolution, when what is needed is evolution.

I suggest that kenneth baker was not the most popular education secretary. However even Baker has come up with backing for U.T.Cs, and
it was his idea for perhaps the greatest vision as to how vocational education could work. I am talking about the "BRIT" school.

The problem with Gove is that he is totally intransigent and will not listen to anyone, who can see that his ideas are from a time when the "SUN NEVER SET ON THE BRITISH EMPIRE".

We need ideas for the 21st Century not from the 1950s to compete in the future.
On another post i have said the most academic pupils are by and large getting high quality educations.

The pupils who are being "SHAFTED" by the system are mainly the poor and those of lower academic potential. Micheal Gove is just going to make it worse for the pupils who need helping. I have never liked "UNIONS" because politically i am on the opposite side to unions and the "LETS BRING THE TORY'S DOWN" nonsense. This is different because Gove needs to be stopped.

AuldAlliance Tue 15-Oct-13 18:53:39

Boff, just out of curiosity, does Scotland ever feature in such tests?
How does it compare to England?
<<hi, BTW. choc olives needed, Madame?>>

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 19:11:17

Auld, I'll have a look for you.

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 15-Oct-13 21:48:17

I'm NUT and a parent to school age children and I'm out on Thursday. I don't like the changes to pay and conditions (who does?) but I'm striking largely because I hate what Gove is doing to the education my own DCs will be getting.

I'll be losing £61 that day. Worth every penny to show my displeasure I feel.

I need to RTFT but are there any MN teachers going to the rally in London?

choc olives coming right up.

Boffin, my ds 13 also strains my acting very interested talents to their limits. I don't fucking care why the warhammer space marines have epaulettes...

BecauseYoureGorgeous Tue 15-Oct-13 22:05:16

I don't accept the notion that they're using the children as a weapon.

BecauseYoureGorgeous Tue 15-Oct-13 22:10:21

It's hard to imagine how they can take industrial action without impacting children. How would you feel if, say, the army came in to teach the kids? Would that make it ok to have a strike?

BoffinMum Wed 16-Oct-13 13:42:04

Auld (can you email me, btw? Lost your email a/d)

Scotland did not take the TIMSS/PIRLS tests in 2011. In 2006/7 they did a bit worse than England. It must be all that Irn-Bru in the water <ducks>

2007 TIMSS results

2006 PIRLS results

In the 2009 PISA tests they were marginally better than England.

PISA 2009

slug Wed 16-Oct-13 14:38:54

It's funny isn't it. When the financial markets crashed and when it was revealed that bankers bonuses were at times coming close to the GDP of small island nations, the argument was that in order to retain the talent (those that managed to crash the system) it was important to reward them. Otherwise they might leave.

Yet the argument does not appear to apply to teachers. 'Standards are falling' the propaganda is (though I strongly dispute this) Let's punish the teachers by cutting their pay and conditions.

I think the lesson from this is, that in order to maintain fantastic pay and conditions, we should do our jobs to the least most of our ability, totally trash the system, leave thousands in poverty and jobless. If not, we may take our skills elsewhere.

<<no longer a teacher, couldn't cope any more>>

<<supporting the strike>>

BoffinMum Wed 16-Oct-13 15:37:22

Some of us have already left. I earn double what I would have done as a classroom teacher now, for half the hassle. Their loss.

creamteas Wed 16-Oct-13 19:12:39

I also could earn a lot more elsewhere, but stay in education (HE) because I believe in it.

Oh and just to really annoy the right-wingers, we have just had a strike called for the 31st October. And I will be striking grin

Elibean Wed 16-Oct-13 19:43:21

Good point, slug.

ipadquietly Wed 16-Oct-13 19:45:07

This strike isn't having a lot of impact - it hasn't even hit the DM today. shock

Much more focussed action is required. An indefinite strike by all unions would be the answer.

JuliaScurr Thu 17-Oct-13 12:44:19

<applauds ipad>

tiggytape Thu 17-Oct-13 13:17:08

ipad - my daughter said the same thing this morning. She is not a teacher though but a primary school child.

Her suggestion is that teachers should strike for a fortnight "because one day isn't that disruptive at all and I haven't even missed any worst lessons yet!"

chicaguapa Thu 17-Oct-13 18:56:36

It's because they're not in a strong position today because of the Free School story. So they're probably not putting out any press releases and trying not to draw attention to education.

cricketballs Thu 17-Oct-13 20:35:12

a brilliant written article here on the reasons why we are striking

thegreatdivide Wed 26-Mar-14 17:10:22

teachers holding parents/kids to ransom again

spanieleyes Wed 26-Mar-14 19:34:12

I don't think I'd get much if I ransomed the children I teach, no one would want them back grin

LineRunner Wed 26-Mar-14 19:36:59

I support the teachers.

Not Gove. Not Laws.

Fruityb Wed 26-Mar-14 19:57:26

As I read all these posts, surrounded by coursework, my laptop endlessly whirring away and the stack of marking I have to work on; I am smiling at the supportive posts.

Teachers are not using kids as a weapon, the purpose of a strike is to bring people's attention to it. I certainly do not intend to be teaching when I am 68!

I love my job, I don't like the work/life unbalance I have to say! I knew what I was getting into, absolutely, but working with ever changing conditions, ever changing grade systems, ever changing GCSE specifications and the constant fear of the OFSTED call is a nightmare. You can almost hear the collective sigh at lunch time on Wednesdays when we know we're good for another week.

The reason most people have been irritated is because they have had to sort out child care, which they would normally get for free eh!

thegreatdivide Wed 26-Mar-14 20:24:08

agree that OFSTED have gone off kilter a long time ago

rabbitstew Wed 26-Mar-14 21:28:15

When it comes to using children as weapons for politically motivated demands, Michael Gove has a lot to answer for. As a parent, I'm getting incredibly fed up with all the bad will, uncertainty, stress, expense, dismantling of systems and general destruction he leaves in his wake. My children deserve more stability than this.

AmazingDisgrace Wed 26-Mar-14 23:03:59

Ruimon do you ever tweet as @Toryeducation? just an idle thought..

cory Fri 28-Mar-14 07:54:34

I did kind of wave ds around to emphasise my chanting during the march against the Iraq war, but I never thought of using him as an actual weapon. He'd make more of an impact these days. Then again, I can't get him off the ground. Bugger, there's always a snag. [snag]

Spaniel, you can have him for ransoming if you like. Mind you, I am not making any promises...

BreakingDad77 Fri 28-Mar-14 13:28:15

I would be interested to hear the views on the striking from people who have worked in the private sector and then gone into teaching and those who went straight from university.

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