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To think that spelling/grammar should count toward NVQs?

(191 Posts)
sungirltan Wed 01-Jun-11 20:37:55

I made a complaint today at dd's nursery about the appalling grammar and spelling in her learning journey. I spoke to the nursery owner, not the keyworker who looks after dd. I love dd's keyworker, I think she is brilliant and I am 100% happy with her care of my child plus she makes a big effort to let me know how dd is getting on and what has been done during the day. She is and all around lovely girl.

Owner was very sympathetic and glad I had brought it up but explained that the college/company who run/assess the NVQs do not check spelling and grammar on the student's written work and that this has been a big problem in the past. One parent hit the roof last year because a card came home which read 'happy farther's day'.

I am appalled. At level 3 of an NVQ you are alowed to open your own nursery - yet nobody cares that you cannot spell/construct clear reports or paperwork.

AIBU to think that if you work in education in a teaching capacity that your written work should be of an accpetable standard? I am not cross with the NN themselves - just the poor, poor standard of support and teaching they are receiving.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 01-Jun-11 21:05:21

YANBU. A good standard of written English is something that should get covered adequately at primary & secondary school, well before anyone gets as far as an NVQ. And, whilst some would say that it was pedantic to mark any exam paper down for spelling, grammar or punctuation, many people will end up in roles where clear communication is important.

TattyDevine Wed 01-Jun-11 21:09:27

I did an NVQ as a hobby (in "professional cookery") and it was NVQ level 3 and spelling and grammar were taken into consideration in our written work.

I got distinction in mine partially because of my spelling and grammar - i.e if it had been bad, then I wouldn't have been awarded a distinction.

redexpat Wed 01-Jun-11 21:11:24

I understand exactly where you are coming from. But I think unless it really interferes with communication, the ability to understand what they've written, then you have to bite your tongue and focus on their strengths. If the document is written on the computer then they have no excuse - spell check!

ninah Wed 01-Jun-11 21:12:08

I don't agree. In a nursery I think rapport with children is far more important than paper skills. Sadly many colleagues who have the former quality in bucketloads are daunted by the vast amount of paperwork that is now required. Seriously, they are great with children but just not confident with written skills, at report time they stress so much over putting words together for the parents. OK, you are teaching 3 year olds, but you are not primarily teaching them to spell. I think there is a danger the qualities of calmness and empathy are being jettisoned in favour of form filling skills.

ninah Wed 01-Jun-11 21:15:01

I bet your dd's keyworker was gutted btw. Learning journals are an absolute pain in the ass to write, you never have enough time, and end up doing it in your own time when you are paid a really shocking wage to begin with

TattyDevine Wed 01-Jun-11 21:15:44

What Ninah said.

And before anyone says "is it too much to ask that they have both sets of skills", well, I think they probably need to be paid a bit more before we can start demanding perfection in every aspect of themselves...

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 01-Jun-11 21:26:47

It's hardly 'perfection' to think that school-leavers should emerge from 12 or 14 years of full-time eduction able to communicate clearly in English. Whatever job they end up doing and however well or badly it's paid, surely that's a reasonable expectation?

Tortu Wed 01-Jun-11 21:27:16

Not everybody learns in the same way and some people really struggle to read and write. Sometimes it isn't the schools who are failing them or their laziness, but just the way life is. In order for a C grade at GCSE to be the average, 50% of the population have to get lower than that.

Every year I teach weak kids who really struggle to scrape a GCSE in English at all, but may have worked extremely hard for that grade. I taught three girls this year, in fact, who will probably all get a D or an E. This is through sheer hard work on both my part and theirs and that grade should be considered a reflection of their determination against the odds.

The majority of girls that I have taught who fit this 'diligent but weak' category go into childcare or hair and beauty. Would I expect them to fill in forms accurately? Dear god no. But do I think they could look after my boy and do a good job? Yep.

MadamMemoo Wed 01-Jun-11 21:29:01

I did my TA NVQ and spelling and grammar were definitely taken into account. In fact I had to have a GCSE in English and maths to do the NVQ in the first place.

ninah Wed 01-Jun-11 21:31:17

tortu you are so right, and I have colleagues like this.

hairylights Wed 01-Jun-11 21:36:02

Dyslexia aside, yanbu. The abysmal spelling and grammar of some of my staff astounds me, as they all have degrees.

sungirltan Wed 01-Jun-11 22:16:56

of course the practical childcare skills are more important than the reports!! i don't dispute that for a second and neither have i suggested i do. however, what i am trying to say is that the examiners are doing these students a disservice by not encouraging correct grammar and spelling and or marking them on it. written communication is still communication!

also (prepares for flaming), i don't want dd learning to say things like 'i was sat on the floor playing' because she hears her keyworker say it or even worse 'can i go toilet?' (dh!!!)

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 01-Jun-11 22:20:09

Sloppy spoken English, you can't legislate for. If you're delegating care of your child to someone else and you're not in a position to interview nanny candidates to see how correctly spoken they are, then you have to accept they'll pick up a few phrases here and there.

thumbwitch Wed 01-Jun-11 22:21:06

YANBU - I was always really hard on my students (degree level) for bad spelling and grammar. It looks so unprofessional, so if you're after a professional qualification, it's a good idea to be able to write properly, IMO.
Dyslexia does make a difference of course - and was taken into account - but in the end, too many people are not taught well enough, or just don't care enough (you can't tell just from reading which it is!) these days and yes, it DOES affect the way I view their professional capabilities.

sungirltan Wed 01-Jun-11 22:38:34

thanks thumbwitch. i'm not asking for phd level english or received pronunciation - just a reasonable level. i can't control everything but i do care.

sunnydelight Wed 01-Jun-11 23:26:37

I do see where you are coming from, but as the parent of two dyslexic kids I am heartbroken when I know people assume they are thick when they look at their writing.

thumbwitch Wed 01-Jun-11 23:31:54

Sunnyd, it is hard - I do try to remember to think about people being dyslexic when words are mis-spelt, but sometimes (e.g. the example above "farther's day") it's difficult. Is that a dyslexic sort of mistake or just bad teaching?
I don't know enough about dyslexia to know - are they always left spelling badly? or do they work harder to make sure that things are spelt correctly? And if things that they read are spelt badly, does it affect their understanding of the words? Sorry for being a bit thick myself here, I am genuinely interested.

ninah Wed 01-Jun-11 23:32:12

you need mary poppins not these nursery oiks hmm

Birdsgottafly Wed 01-Jun-11 23:34:23

Judging grammer and spelling would change the nature of NVQ's, they are what they say, a judge of the holders ability to do that job, not their gained educational standard. Also i don't think you can open your own nursery with just an NVQ level 3, i thought that you would need management level or employ a manager?

Birdsgottafly Wed 01-Jun-11 23:38:09

thumbwitch-when we read we don't process every letter so even if something is spelt incorrectly or the person doing the reading cannot 'technically' read, then they can interpret the meaning.

My DD (a supervisor) has no proof reading skills so cannot check things but her manager is really understanding and allows me to help or helps her herself.

sunnydelight Thu 02-Jun-11 00:28:41

It varies hugely thumb, in fact my 12yo's spelling isn't too awful but he got some very specific intensive help for a year which helped massively. My 17yo on the other hand kind of slipped through the system so by the time we finally got him into a supportive school it was really too late to do much with the basics. Even spellcheck isn't foolproof as he won't be able to reliably choose between options which don't seem very different to him. With a scribe he can get 95% in an English exam, without it will be 50%. He spells very phonetically so "farther" would be quite possible (my all time favourite example of his spelling was the RE assignment where Thomas "torched the howls in Jesus' hands" - you get the picture!).

wickedwendy1 Thu 02-Jun-11 00:55:33

NVQ = Not Very Qualified

thumbwitch Thu 02-Jun-11 04:15:53

thanks sunny - it is an area that interests me but I don't know much about, so your info is very helpful! I did smile at "torched the howls" and yes, I got it. grin

sungirltan Thu 02-Jun-11 08:38:12

sunnydelight - i did not at any point suggest i thought dd's keyworker was 'thick'. i do not think dd's keyworker is 'thick' but quite the opposite. i am dyslexic, so is dh.

i do not think any of the montessori staff are oiks either.

i'm not upset with the keyworker any any of the nursery staff. i just think that nvq students are let down by this approach that anything too academic will put them off getting a vocational qualification. theres a fine line between making a qualification accessible and just making it a crap qualification sad

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