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To think that Gove is correct?

(115 Posts)
Trapper Wed 09-Oct-13 07:59:10

Despite the consistently good GCSE and A level grades, we have been ranked 22nd out of 24 OECD countries for literacy and numeracy. AIBU to think Gove is correct to be challenging the status quo and shaking up education?

YouTheCat Wed 09-Oct-13 08:02:59

All Gove is doing is putting in more bureaucracy. If he was offering more funds that would be a start but he's not. He has no idea.

southeastastra Wed 09-Oct-13 08:04:21

more money, smaller classes, better teaching.

YouTheCat Wed 09-Oct-13 08:04:42

Also where are they getting these figures from? My 18 year olds have never been tested for their literacy and numeracy skills specifically, since SATS in year 9.

SilverApples Wed 09-Oct-13 08:07:10

I've been teaching 30 years in primary.
Does it occur to you that the constant shaking up of the system every term, like some child with a snowstorm, the number of new initiatives that have been introduced by successive governments on an annual basis and the lack of consistency are some of the reasons for the chaos and confusion that reign in so many schools?

PansOnFire Wed 09-Oct-13 08:20:37

YANBU - There have needed to be substantial changes in the education system for some time, not only in terms of the curriculum but in terms of general classroom practice and chosen pedagogy. As a country we work incredibly hard to educate our children but, unfortunately, there are shortfalls and there are so many young people who either slip through the net or really have no idea about the basic fundamentals to most subjects. I think most teachers welcome the changes and are excited about improving things. I've been a teacher for ten years and I finally feel like things are going in the direction I thought they would when I first started.

However, the way he has gone about it is absolutely atrocious, particularly involving exam arrangements of the English and maths students. All he has done is punish schools - he states that early entry for either exam is 'cheating' and has banned it with immediate effect. Nevermind the students who will benefit massively from more than one attempt - how can it be cheating when they have different questions and different boundaries for grades? The worst part about this is that he has put schools in an awful position - students can sit the exam early but only their first grade will count in the league tables. So the decisions is with the school as to whether they allow students go ahead in November and risk the A*-C stats or to make them wait until the end for the maximum teaching input in the hope that it will bump up the A*-C stats. Obviously most schools have gone for the greater good, but it's putting boundaries up between parents and the school, yet again. It's not that most schools don't agree with the changes, fair enough if it's not allowed anymore, but backdating the decision to affect students due to sit the exams in less that 5 weeks? How is that fair?!

He has also scrapped the speaking and listening element of the English GCSE which was a vital part of assessment, particularly for those students who have additional needs and issues with recording their work. Part of the issue with teens that is constantly observed is their ability (or lack of) to communicate. I feel that he should have improved this element, not scrapped it completely. And scrapping it for students who had already been assessed was disgusting. At least allow this year's students to continue with the old syllabus and arrangements.

This has turned into a bit of a rant but it's a complex issue!

Tiredemma Wed 09-Oct-13 08:24:02

He isn't 'shaking up' Education. He is destroying it. None of his plans will improve our rankings- he doesn't have a clue what he is doing.

A bit like HUnt and the NHS. Fucking clueless.

Sirzy Wed 09-Oct-13 08:25:29

Changes may be needed, but goves methods won't achieve anything!

BlackholesAndRevelations Wed 09-Oct-13 08:29:07

Yabu. Silver- I'm impressed and amazed that you've stuck it out so long.

RooRooTaToot Wed 09-Oct-13 09:01:00

As others have mentioned, one of the problems is that none of the new initiatives that have been made (not just Gove) are given a chance to bed in properly and for the kinks to be ironed out before they're scrapped. Each new initiative or curriculum change means rewriting schemes of work to include the new focus and to train the teachers in how to achieve this, monitor how it is going, reflect and revise their practice etc.

I am glad that my school is now using all the international exams and syllabi. It means that we are mostly immune to meddling and can develop our best practice and drive standards up. I am rewriting the KS3 schemes of work at the moment. There are 5 units per year, so 15 schemes in total. Each scheme takes about 6 hours to write and 16 hours to prepare the resources. Imagine doing this every couple of years! It is rather soul-destroying and not good for the children as my time would be better spent on more detailed marking, intervention sessions and further differentiation.

What is really needed is more teachers, more classrooms and smaller class sizes. As well as students learning better during the actual lesson, the teacher has more time to mark work in more detail and create more personalised learning. In one class I have 34 pupils for a 50min lesson. This gives me about 1 min per student during the lesson to check their learning, help if they're struggling or to extend my highest thinkers. Frequently some students don't get that 1 min because of others needing 5 mins. In a class of 18 that I have, I am able to get round every student every lesson. They benefit. I'm lucky that as a core subject SMT allow us to be slightly over-staffed so we can have smaller KS4 groups, but would make a massive difference to KS3 classes too.

Also agree that it is wrong to bring in changes that affect the current exam cohort. Students become anxious and risk not doing as well, teachers get confused about what has been changed and have very little time in which to change the year 11 curriculum and parents get angry at the schools as they think we are being incompetent or disorganised, as we have to say "no, this doesn't count now. I know we told you that it did, but now it doesn't".

Not all changes are bad, but Gove is disadvantaging pupils for his own interest. The cynic in me says that he wants this current cohort to do badly, so 2015 results are better and he can claim the credit (as others have done before him).

<and breathe>

marriedinwhiteisback Wed 09-Oct-13 09:08:44

I agree with you OP but this will not go well. Mnet hates Gove and the UK education system hates excellence. Gove has provided consistency where there was none from 1997-2010. He has removed the wriggle room and that's the issue for many in education because there will be more clarity and effective assessment of performance as a result.

There are also imo many issues in the training colleges who shouldn't be churning out teachers at primary level who confuse the x and y axes and who refer to children reading "allowed" and indeed "there was a lot of children away yesterday".

We found the standards, not least those around behaviour at secondary level, so poor and so shudderworthy, we transferred our DC to the independent sector: one at 8 and one at 13.

If gove brings back excellence and rigour then I shall apaud him because nobody else has championed those concepts during my lifetime and I am 53.

Worried123456 Wed 09-Oct-13 09:32:19

I read that as AIBU to think Gove is inept. That is much more accurate. The man is a danger to education. He leaps on new ideas, plucking random elements from different sectors and cannot see why it won't work. Oooh, Let's do this like private schools and that like they do in Japan and that like they do in France.... He ignores any sort of research and blindly does his own thing without listening to anyone that's ever taugh.

I've been teaching for 15 years and there have been so many changes in this short time. Nothing is ever taught for long enough to see what impact it has long term; that's the problem. Closing the special schools and not allowing mainstream schools (mine, anyway) the support to cope is another issue. Having a massive class with no TA is not good-this is why people put their children into private schools. Before someone says, 'I was in a class with 40 children and no LSA in the 80s and it was fine'... You have to accept things are v different now. The marking now is very time consuming, children need clear and effective differentiation for every lesson, teachers are now observed a lot which is stressful, APP and the equivalent takes hours... I could go on.

I can see the new curriculum (primary) coming in next year and hours spent rewriting planning, then the Tories being voted out the year after and an entirely new curriculum being written (on the back of an envelope) the year after.

That is a depressing thought.

angelos02 Wed 09-Oct-13 09:36:20

Something has to change. When average kids are getting A's left, right & centre. When I was at school only 2 kids got all A's at A level and they both went to Oxbridge. Getting an A should be reserved for exceptional, brilliant students.

IShallWearMidnight Wed 09-Oct-13 09:40:54

married in white - how in earth is changing a syllabus half way through the course providing " consistency"? Current Y11s are suffering because Gove has dumped part of their English Language course, which very many schools spent a lot of time on in Y10, leaving more work to now be done in Y11. How does that help anyone except Gove who can show rubbish results in 2014 which miraculously improve in 2015?

NCHammerTime Wed 09-Oct-13 09:41:39

Marriedinwhite - how can removing the requirement for teachers to be qualified be a step towards increasing "excellence and rigour"?

I agree with the calls made above: smaller classes, fewer new initiatives, and more focus on improving existing structures rather than routinely tearing them down in order to make room for flimsy, temporary replacements.

One more thing: this government, the media, and many people on this site are rightly very critical of bad teachers and poor quality teaching practices. How on Earth do you expect to attract better applicants while steadily declining working conditions are pushing high quality graduates away from the profession? And how are gifted and dedicated but struggling teachers supposed to improve, when the steady stream of new initiatives means that many of them are having to run as fast as they can just to keep up, rather than channelling their time and energy into making real headway with their professional development?

I have a stellar first class degree in a core curriculum subject from a really good university, 7 awards for academic excellence in that subject, loads of experience of working with children in education, and have wanted to be a teacher since I was in primary school myself. I should have started my PGCE in 2012, with the aim of spending my entire working life in secondary schools, teaching the subject that I excel in. Unfortunately (for me and for all of the students who would really have benefited from having somebody so committed and enthusiastic as their teacher), I've read the writing on the wall and decided to make other plans. I very much doubt that I'm alone in this, and it doesn't bode well for the teaching stock of the future...

kim147 Wed 09-Oct-13 09:43:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparklekitty Wed 09-Oct-13 09:46:20

Interestingly if you look at the countries above us many of them don't start 'formal' education till around 7. Gove seems to think that making education more structured and 'formal' that it will raise standards.

I don't think theres anything wrong with wanting to raise standards, however, Gove has absolutely no clue on how to go about it. His reforms will result in more stressed, unhappy children and lower standards. I'll put money on it!

NonnoMum Wed 09-Oct-13 09:46:35

Do you think there in any coincidence that they release these type of surveys around the time of industrial action?

AngusOg Wed 09-Oct-13 09:46:37

Mnet hates Gove and the UK education system hates excellence

Gove is the minister for Education in ENGLAND and the UK is not a synonym for England.

Thank you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Oct-13 09:47:29

I'm not sure whether he's correct necessarily but it is worrying that today's young people are not as literate or numerate as their parents or grandparents. Being purely logical, revisiting some of the old methods of teaching literacy or numeracy has to make sense.

FreckledLeopard Wed 09-Oct-13 09:52:19

I don't know the detail of Gove's proposals. I have heard his speeches etc and like what I hear. How exactly the soundbites translate in practice is another matter.

Fundamentally, though, I have little faith in the English state education system. I was privately educated. DD spent her primary years at state schools and then moved to an independent school for secondary. During the primary years I received letters home with poor spelling and grammar. The literacy skills of TAs were almost uniformly poor. My cousin has become a primary school teacher with a clutch of 'D' grades at A-level, a degree from an ex-poly and very poor spelling and grammar skills (confuses 'lose' and 'loose', 'your' and 'you're'). To my mind, this is a reflection of the lowering of standards in English schooling. Teachers who forty years ago wouldn't even have been bright enough to take 'O-levels', now taking degrees and teaching at primary schools.

I do think that teaching has been dumbed down, standards have fallen and grades have artificially risen. The fact that schools could choose the exam boards and thus choose easier papers. The fact that many public schools insisted that their students take the hardest and most rigorous exam papers.

As I said before, I don't know enough about Gove's approach. Nor do I think one man can miraculously undo years of falling standards. But I'm glad he's trying to do something.

NK493efc93X1277dd3d6d4 Wed 09-Oct-13 09:54:26

Married in white - spot on! Kangeroo (sic) was in one of my DC's spelling tests last year.

angelos02 Wed 09-Oct-13 09:56:33

I think how a child does at school is probably about 80% parenting, 20% the school anyway.

NonnoMum Wed 09-Oct-13 09:56:59

Freckled, you sound super bright. Please could you become a teacher.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Oct-13 10:00:01

I don't know about English, but many, many people before Gove have discussed the issues with maths education and tried to come up with solutions (Labour were piloting double maths GCSE, one focusing on numeracy and one pure maths).

Unfortunately Gove has seen there's a problem and decided to ignore expert advice (including the Tory commissioned Vorderman led review of maths education to pursue his own agenda of reviving O-levels, or as close to O-levels as he is allowed to get away with. Many, many experts and professional bodies have warned him of the dangers of his rushed through changes, and his tinkering that have meant different GCSE requirements every year for the last few years and for the coming years.

He is even messing about with A-level and getting rid of AS, a move condemned even by Cambridge University. And he is changing A-levels before GCSEs so the kids sitting the new A-levels will have sat the old GCSEs meaning that they won't be joined up at all.

However poor our results are, however much things need to change, I can't support Gove. The man's a danger to education.

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