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to think if you are going to criticise teenagers' historical knowledge, you should at least do some proper research first - Gove, that means you

(64 Posts)
kim147 Mon 13-May-13 21:52:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iPadTypo Tue 14-May-13 13:31:50

Marking my place to read some of the links later on.

Toadinthehole Wed 15-May-13 00:12:35

In the PISA rankings (which simply compare attainment) for 15 year-olds, NZ, Australia and Canada are consistently way ahead of the UK and always have been. Gove is not correct in alleging that UK schools have "got worse". As I noted, they've been bad for some time.

It all ties in with the dreadful pressure teachers are under not to mention the way education is used as a political football in the UK. You don't create a well-run education system that way.

piprabbit Wed 15-May-13 00:31:05

Gove is a bull in a china shop, and about as bright.

cory Wed 15-May-13 07:34:28

Coming from Sweden, where members of my family have been teachers since the Victorian age, and visiting/living in the UK since the late 70s, the one thing that has always struck me is how teachers have been looked down on and regarded as subversive elements by every government of any political shade during these 40 years. Tory or Labour, that aspect never seems to change.

This came as a great surprise to me, coming from a country where teachers are highly respected members of society (or, at least, were until the disastrous free school experiment), and I cannot believe it is the best way to run an education system.

Tales of the awfulness of British schools have been legion in Sweden since the 70s (my mother's staff room took in the Daily Mail and she believed every word of it). I was very surprised when my own children started (state) school in the UK and I realised they were not learning less than their Swedish cousins. Who would have thought it?

cory Wed 15-May-13 07:35:27

correction: "how teachers in the UK have been looked down on and regarded as subversive elements"

CreatureRetorts Wed 15-May-13 07:42:52

We're going to end up in a situation where noone wants to become a teacher - a bit like social workers. Gove has no long term thinking, all short term headlines.

Panzee Wed 15-May-13 08:14:26

We're already in the situation where nobody wants to be a Head.

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 15-May-13 08:28:22

Abuelita- so glad you are on this thread so that I can say congratulations, well done and bravo for your exposé of Gove.

^ he also cited an allegedly dumbed down question on GCSE science paper. He'd used that before in 2009 and Channel 4 FactCheck had investigated at the time. The FactCheck found that the cited question was a small part of a question and that the paper also contained more difficult questions^

This headline-grabbing tactic is habitual now and really gets my goat. If exams need to differentiate between those who can achieve a G grade and those who can't, then there need to be appropriate questions on the paper to do this. Said easy questions then invariably get used as evidence of dumbing down etc. <bangs head on desk>

I know that's probably not news to anyone here, but I just needed to have the rant!

kim147 Wed 15-May-13 08:33:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

limitedperiodonly Wed 15-May-13 08:39:35

cory Sorry I don't follow education threads so you've probably talked about it before.

But you mentioned the 'disastrous' free schools experiment in Sweden. I keep hearing that it's been a success - told you I don't follow education threads.

What's happened? Direct me to links if it's too big to cover.

bubblesinthesky Wed 15-May-13 09:06:34

We once got asked a written (anon) question when we were 14 -

Have you ever had sex? Most of the class answered no

Have you ever used a condom? The whole class answered yes.

Teachers were mystified. They'd conveniently forgotten (if they ever knew) that the previous years teacher who had by that time left had shown us all how to put a condom on a banana as part of the Personal Soicial and Health education classes. This is not a skill I've ever employed since though you never know when I may require it

I'd love to know what Gove would have made of that sample smile

cory Wed 15-May-13 11:03:01

Limitedperiod, afraid I haven't got any links, but there has been quite a bit in Swedish papers about how standards have fallen and the gap in attainment between children from different social backgrounds has widened.

More specifically, there have issues with free schools opening, taking a percentage of children from the existing schools so leaving those underfunded and unable to provide a decent education, but not filling their own capacity well enough to be working efficiently either. So where you had one well funded and efficient school you end up with two schools which are both less than efficient.

Other problems have included free schools failing to cope financially and closing down suddenly, leaving pupils stranded in their final year. And at least one free school, catering for a specific section of the immigrant population, which was found to have good results for boys and unacceptably bad results for girls.

The Swedish parents and teachers/ex-teachers I know say there has been a general drop in standards and this seems to be borne out by the international league tables, where Sweden is no longer at the head. The top position is held by Finland which has a more traditional state system.

But obviously when politicians go and visit from the UK to talk about free schools, the people they will meet are the people who organised them from the start: they will be talking about how wonderful they are and what a success their experiment has been.

soverylucky Wed 15-May-13 11:14:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noblegiraffe Wed 15-May-13 11:16:01

soverylucky you mean like this cartoon? grin

Abuelita Wed 15-May-13 11:18:24

Toadinthehole - the "fall" of the UK in PISA rankings between 2006 and 2009 was due to there being more countries taking part in PISA. The actual scores in Reading, Maths and Science were slightly lower but this was statistically insignificant. The UK was at the OECD average in Reading and Maths, and ABOVE average for Science.

It's not possible to judge UK's PISA record before 2006 because the 2003 and 2000 figures were flawed. The OECD warned that the 2000 figures should not be used for comparison but it didn't stop the Government and others from doing so. The UK Statistics Watchdog ruled in Autumn 2012 that the Government had been misusing the data.

I wrote about it here:

International rankings present a mixed picture. The Pearson report (2012) number-crunched all the available figures and concluded that the UK was 6th in the world. It has to be said, however, that Pearson's methodology has been criticised.

In PIRLS 2011, the score of English pupils rose and was significantly above 31 other countries including New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.

In the Trends in Maths and Science Survey (TIMSS) 2011, English 10 year-olds significantly outperformed forty-two participants which included Germany, Sweden, Australia in Maths although the performance of English 14 year-olds fell putting them among average instead of above average performers.

In TIMSS Science performance of English pupils (10 and 14 year-olds) in Science tests remained high although their position at the top has fallen since 2007 when they were top of the European league at ages 10 and 14.

On the other hand, UNICEF (2013) wrote that the UK was 24th out of 29 developed countries for “educational welfare”. This low ranking was caused by the large percentage of 15-19 year-olds who were not in education, employment or training.

League tables come with a warning: jumping to conclusions about a country’s education system based solely on league table rankings could be misleading.

For more details see faq "Is the UK tumbling down the international league tables?" here:

soverylucky Wed 15-May-13 11:19:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soverylucky Wed 15-May-13 11:20:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Abuelita Wed 15-May-13 11:23:45

cory - the Academies Commission (2013) looked at the available evidence about Sweden. Its findings are summarised in the faq "What does a January 2013 review of evidence say about market intervention in education in Sweden and Chile?" in the link below. Look under "International Comparisons".

Hullygully Wed 15-May-13 11:25:42

You couldn't make it up

Oh wait...

Abuelita Wed 15-May-13 11:33:17

If you enjoy cartoons, then this one about a new Mr Man character might appeal:

I posted about Mr Gove's latest speech in which he misrepresented a revision task which asked pupils who'd been studying the Weimar Republic for several lesson to summarise the main events in a simplified Mr Men format which could be read to younger pupils. Gove said it was an example of infantalised teaching.

But it wasn't teaching, it was consolidation. The author of the lesson plan, Russel Tarr, defended his plan by quoting Einstein,

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

Ilikethebreeze Wed 15-May-13 11:39:42

Agree with Boulevard. Cabinet reshuffle. Someone is made in charge of prison for example, and is suddenly expected to know all about them, and comment knowledgely on them 4 days later.
I remember a few years ago, there was a politician, who had about 6 different cabinet posts in 2 years. How on earth was he supposed to keep up with all that lot.
I appreciate some of them are very very clever, but it is indeed a failure of the system.

limitedperiodonly Wed 15-May-13 12:59:36

Thanks cory. It's what I suspect will happen in Britain but any criticism is portrayed as whingeing.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 15-May-13 18:50:13

I wish we had a genuinely intelligent satirical news programme in this country, like the US Daily Show. They would mercilessly rip apart this goon's "statistics"

ravenAK Wed 15-May-13 18:59:16

Abuelita, you are now officially my heroine.

Thank you for your excellent work on this.

nobodysbaby Wed 15-May-13 20:38:42

Abuelita, thank you so much for this. I just wish the opposition or even the press would do what you do!

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