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What do you think of the Education White Paper?

(391 Posts)
Shamster Thu 25-Nov-10 17:35:25

Our head went through the key points at last nights staff meeting and the effect was pretty depressing. Sounds stupid but two of us almost started crying! Just wondered if anyone has read it for themselves, rather than picking up whichever bits each paper decides to highlight according to their leanings. If you have; what do you think?

granted Thu 25-Nov-10 17:43:23

Which bits made you cry?

Didn't seem that bad to me...

Seriously, I'm interested - what bits have you found that bothered you so much that you felt weren't reportd on?

Shamster Thu 25-Nov-10 18:39:50

There were several: what they're taking out of the curriculum and not looking at in inspections: pastoral care and the emotional wellbeing of the children. The fact that they are taking away CVA (context value added) when looking at a schools performance meaning that schools in really deprived areas will be expected to get the same results as those in well off areas. I ight add that our school will actually benefit from them taking CVA away, but there are plenty where this will plunge the school into the 'failng' catagory. This then means that the school can be shut down, staff forced out and then re-opened as an Academy under the control of the nearest outstanding academy. It feels like, either you voluteer to be an academy, or we will force you...
I agree with the paring down of the curriculum but what they propose is so very dogmatic. Reading must be taught using primarily synthetic phonics; never mind real books, enjoying what you read or seeing value in it. Never mind the context of the text, which is as important as the actual phonics. Quiet often, some children simply don't get phonics and need another way in. Teaching should be about individual learning styles and responding to the kids needs, should it not? Shall I go on? Lastly, on excluding children, if a child is excluded then the school must, out of it's own budget, fund an alternative solution and also be accountable as to whether the child gets their required levels. So again, it's not about placing children in the school that will fit their needs, more forcing heads to keep cildren who are not flourishing for whatever reason, or fund alternatives. It goes on, and on...Thanks for being interested though. I think we feel like the outside world really doesn't know what's coming in education as the papers are so set on theiir own agenda. This is the dismantling of State Education and will certainly lead to greater inequality. As teachers, this is what upsets us the most.

Shamster Thu 25-Nov-10 18:41:06

Sorry about rubbish typing! I was on a roll.wink

jackstarbright Thu 25-Nov-10 19:14:45

A link to the Education White paper. For anyone who wants to read it.

I'm going to resist commenting until I've read it smile.

Minx179 Thu 25-Nov-10 22:16:43

I'm up to page 50 so far and find the paper wholly disheartening; there are quite a few contradictions in it. If that's their ideal education system I'm glad mine dc's won't be going through it.

Good luck teachers.

Shamster Thu 25-Nov-10 22:58:50

Thanks. I really want people to know what is about to happen because these changes areimpossible to reverse once they are implemented. It is all about removing responsibility of the government and saving money. Federations and Trusts? I wonder how long it is before we see the Tescos Academy. Poeple need to know.

Shamster Thu 25-Nov-10 23:00:41

Sorry! I can spell honest! I just can't type when I'm angry...

cat64 Thu 25-Nov-10 23:02:55

Message withdrawn

Minx179 Thu 25-Nov-10 23:32:10

Shamster - How do you stop it happening though?

There are lots of problems in the current education system, but teachers are reluctant to speak out publically let alone in their own schools because of the professional repercussions.

Neither do your unions appear to be very effective at supporting teachers or enlightening the public. Not that I'm certain the public really want to know anyway.

jackstarbright Thu 25-Nov-10 23:33:12

Well shamster - I've read it (well I skipped some bits blush).

A few of your points jumped out.

1 You are worried that they are taking away CVA (context value added).

In the report it says "The new floor standard will include an expected standard in both attainment and progression."

2. "Reading must be taught using primarily synthetic phonics"

They say "we will.... support the teaching the systematic synthetic phonics in primary schools".

But if you don't buy into it as a primary method
(and I'm not sure I do either) then training and support
is irrelevant.

3. And on exclusion - they seem to be beefing up powers to discipline pupils and discouraging the use of exclusion unless there is no other option.

Can I ask - is exclusion the only way to move a child to a more suitable school? Seems a bit harsh.

I don't like the reading test at age 6 - it's too early IMO.

As a parent I like the idea of reducing the impact on pupils learning of the KS2 SATs tests (some schools appear to spend a large junk of year 6 preparing and recovering from SATs).

Broadening the subjects required for the GCSE league tables is also attractive.

Whatever you may think of him - Michael Gove has certainly been busysmile.

Shamster Fri 26-Nov-10 17:24:11

He certainly has. No, exclusion isn't the only route to a suitable school but sometimes schools are forced to do this on order to access the extremely rare and very sought after behaviour units. They are should be units that are funded from the lea budget. Ofcourse Michael Gove wants to do away with any LEA funding and give it to schools directly. But schools are only going to be interested in their own situation whereas a strong LEA has an overview which, I believe is as it should be. I am the SENCo in our school, and know that behaviour problems always have a source but I also value highly the expert opinions of the people who are trained to teach the most difficult children. Their set up is different; alternative provison if you like as Michael Gove calls it. The bit worry about is the fact that schools, should they and the experts believe that a unit, or other provision is best for that pupil, will then be forced to take money out of their own budget to cover this. This will be an increadibly expensive move, and having a child off site, but still being responsible for the exams that child does or doesn't get doesn't add up. It is effectively a way of discouraging schools on exclusion. We have never excluded a child permanently might I add, but I'd like to think that should the situation arise, where we were unable to cater for a child and that child was having a huge impact o other childrens learning, and possibly safety, that money would not be the first thing that was taken into consideration in the decision. However, this system will lead to that reaction. We were discussing in the staffroom what to do. We're all up for striking, but general public probably won't be very supportive of this. I don't know what we can do. That's why I'm on Mumsnet. Ideas? We need to get the real message out without being clouded by what each newspaper chooses to cherry pick from these proposals.
Also, there are a few good ideas here but the bad ones cause far too much damage to the system overall. Thanks for reading the actual paper; not exactly light reading! smile

Feenie Fri 26-Nov-10 17:46:35

"Reading must be taught using primarily synthetic phonics; never mind real books, enjoying what you read or seeing value in it. Never mind the context of the text, which is as important as the actual phonics"

Oh come on, Shamster - show me an Early Years teacher who teaches reading using ANY known method, yet doesn't teach understanding or a love of books alongside? Why would any teacher using synthetic phonics neglect to teach comprehension or read stories alongside? Think you are being unnecessarily hysterical there.

I object to the reading test for 6 year olds - or rather, the money that will be wasted administering a tests that will tell teachers nothing they didn't already know, instead of using the money to fund extra teaching to help those same children.

BalloonSlayer Fri 26-Nov-10 17:57:36

I don't get the reading test at age 6 either. (I am not a teacher). On the reading test that I, ahem, obtained, if you can read 0 or 1 word you get a reading age of 6.

I expect this will change but I can't imagine it changing hugely. Presumably it has in the recent past been considered quite within the normal spectrum for a six year old not to be able to read a word?

Shamster Fri 26-Nov-10 18:01:21

Freenie, I completely agree that Early Years teachers use a variety of methods (I taught Reception for 7 years). Some schools I know use the Jolly Phonics method which actually states that children shouldn't take books home until they know all 42 phonemes. Obviously most people use their common sense,and use a variety of methods, but some people do stick rigidly to things too. Maybe I am being hysterical but when a government tells you to teach one thing one way, that tends to be what they look for and as far as I can see, it is limiting teachers freedom not expanding it as they proclaim. How free you actually are to teach the way you see fit tends to depend on how brave your head teacher is in going their own way. That isn't the main point for me; the main point is the damage to the overall state education system.

Feenie Fri 26-Nov-10 18:10:29

Yes, but that obviously means reading books - it doesn't mean keep kids away from all kinds of books whatsoever on pain of death!

I was under the impression that the white paper had promised more freedom in the curriculum. God, I may even have to read it now.

Shamster Fri 26-Nov-10 18:11:31

Reading follows talking. Parents know that children start to talk at different times and the complexity of their sentences differ wildly in those formative years. Reading is the same. Many children can read age 6, but similarly I wouldn't say every child who can't is struggling. Some are simply immature and only some have a very obvious diffculty that your guts tell you will be a long lasting isssue. By the time children get to Year 3, quite often they are fine and if not, it will have been highlighted earlier by the teacher and hopefully, interventions will be put in place. The money spent on testing I agree could be used to provide the help that the teachers will know certain children need.

Chaotica Fri 26-Nov-10 18:19:20

I am suitably depressed. But what can be done about it?

I am already being told by DD's teacher that she 'can't try to read 'sh' because we haven't got to the sound yet' and that she therefore should go nowhere near books which feature ships, sheep or short things...

I'm worried about the reading test at 6, and forcing academies by stealth.

I will not post my opinion of Gove as MN might get sued.

Shamster Fri 26-Nov-10 18:27:07

Read what you like with your child; the more the better. This is the thing about systematic phonics; some people stick rigdly to them at the expense of everything else and it kills enthusiasm. Reading at home is by far, the greatest thing you can do to help your child so go for it. Go as fast as your child wants to, or as slow. If they want a book that's 'too hard' then just read it to them.

Chaotica Fri 26-Nov-10 18:34:33

Shamster - We're trying to do as you advise, although we have to deal with rather accusatory looks at the school. I worry though about the children who don't have either thick-skinned or confident parents, since they really are left at the mercy of the education policy.

Shamster Fri 26-Nov-10 18:37:33

Exactly Chaotica; I worry too. Good luck.

Feenie Fri 26-Nov-10 18:39:10

Chaotica, surely your dd's teacher means reading scheme books - not all books?

Shamster, this is rubbish. No teachers stick rigidly to synthetic phonics at the expense of everything else. That's ridiculous, and actually ery irresponsible of you to insist on.

Dolittlest Fri 26-Nov-10 18:45:17

When I've got more time, I'll come back, but shamster, I also felt (feel) like crying. It's grim. I fucking HATE the Tories and what they are going to do this country under the guise of 'necessary spending cuts'. Bastards!

Shamster Fri 26-Nov-10 18:45:46

Umm, isn't that what Chaotica is saying she has been told. Freenie, I'm sorry if you think I'm irresponsible but I have met teachers and have some friends who are devout followers of this system above all others. They genuinly believe that children can only read when they know every sound. Bit like saying children can only talk to you when they know every word. I do know what I'm talking about and am going off experience. I wonder why you're so rattled by what I'm saying. What am I insisting on? I don't believe that I'm being irresponsible and this wasn't my main issue with the paper anyway.

greattimesahead Fri 26-Nov-10 18:46:35

I wonder how DS would have got on with synthetic phonics; he's 11 now and was already a fluent reader when they were introduced. He's a visual learner with ASD and specific learning difficulties and I've found that those pupils tend to struggle with phonics. He's a fantastic reader now though; he was tested last year and has a reading age of 17.

I'm also very doubtful about the reading test at age 6. The NAS have commented that children with ASD might not co-operate and so the results would be unreliable. I'm sure that could apply to other children too.

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