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Why do parents have such negative views on MATHS and ENGLISH?

(23 Posts)
RTKangaMummy Tue 22-Mar-05 21:14:32

Why do parents say that PREP SCHOOLS are good because they do NOT have

English and Maths each day?

I do realise that I am being dim but why?

What is the problem with it?

RTKangaMummy Tue 22-Mar-05 21:16:12

on this thread

What is the problem?

soapbox Tue 22-Mar-05 21:16:27

I think most prep schools do have English and Maths each day???

JulieF Tue 22-Mar-05 21:17:15

The problem is not with maths and English, but with the literacy and numeracy hour.

The way it is organised and prescribed by the government is unworkable, takes too much time away from other activities and a whole hour spent on one activity at a time os often too long for some very young children.

A teacher who actually has to do this will be able to explain better than I can.

RTKangaMummy Tue 22-Mar-05 21:17:55

But so why do people quote advantage of prep school as NO maths and english hours?

I don't get what they are talking about

soapbox Tue 22-Mar-05 21:19:15


I don't think it is English and Maths per se that people (only 2 or 3 in a big thread) have issues with but the way in which literacy hour and numeracy hour prescribes how these are taught.

Beetroot Tue 22-Mar-05 21:19:47

Message withdrawn

Ameriscot2005 Tue 22-Mar-05 21:20:27

I suspect they do have maths and English each day, but not necessarily at 9am and 10am respectively!

soapbox Tue 22-Mar-05 21:20:42

When we did English/maths as children it would be woven into lots of different activities, many of them themed around a project.

I think that is much harder to do when you have a literacy 'hour' or numeracy 'hour'.

RTKangaMummy Tue 22-Mar-05 21:20:49

I said people cos I didn't want to accuse memebers if I have misunderstood what they said

Beetroot Tue 22-Mar-05 21:23:14

Message withdrawn

happymerryberries Tue 22-Mar-05 21:23:15

I would have though that it is the concept of the literacy 'hour' set in stone regardless is what people are worried about

JulieF Tue 22-Mar-05 21:23:20

I was one of the people against literacy and numeracy hours and it is based on observations when I was a governor and conversations with teachers.

There are too many stupid rules with regards to literacy and numeracy hours which are in addition to the normal maths and Englisg lessons and as sopabox says, these subjects are often woven into other topics which is probably a better way to teach very young children anyway.

LIZS Tue 22-Mar-05 21:26:03

Don't think it is English and Maths per se but rather a feeling that the Numeracy and Literacy hours are indicative of Govt bureaucracy infiltrating the classroom and restricting the way teachers can teach. Personally I'd welcome a structured, regular approach to teaching the 3 R's, as at ds' school they have a more thematic focus (IB syllabus) and these things tend to become incidental to the Unit of Enquiry, unless the teacher is very careful.

RTKangaMummy Tue 22-Mar-05 21:32:27

Is it not a good idea then to be confident in English and Maths?

At DS school am sure they incorporate it into other subjects like ICT or history

DS was studying GREEKS and his reading book was "GREEK myths and legends"

He was writing stories, poems and doing comprehensions all about Greeks etc.

When he was doing Romans he was doing Maths using Roman numerals

Surely that is cross ciriccular isn't it?

Or do you mean something else?

I am feeling quite dim so am ready to be corrected if totally missed the point

Caligula Tue 22-Mar-05 21:51:14

I think it's the maths and literacy hour they must be talking about too.

Nobody, surely has a serious objection to maths and literacy?!

But the government imposed hour, yes, I do have a problem with. I have enough respect for my DS's teacher to trust her to know how to teach him maths and English without the government telling her to do it in a certain way, and I'm pissed off that the dead hand of government bureacracy stops her using her skills to teach my child and his classmates more effectively. It is just not government's role to tell teachers how to teach, imo.

JulieF Tue 22-Mar-05 21:55:33

Just done a quick google on the literacy hour. The following was published in 1999

Association of Teachers and Lecturers poll on the Literacy Hour

A poll published by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that four out of five teachers said the literacy hour was not helping children with special educational needs and three out of five felt it was not helping gifted children. Three quarters found their pupils could not keep up independent reading for 20 minutes as laid down by the Department for Education and Employment. 38% said their training had been inadequate to help them teach the literacy hour and nearly half said they were not skilled to cover the full range of objectives set out in the government strategy. Two thirds spend more than three hours a week preparing for the daily literacy hour, and 22% spent more than £50 of their own money buying books for it. 69% said the objectives set by their framework were not realistic for their pupils and 74% found the paperwork involved unmanageable. Nearly half those surveyed by the ATL said the literacy hour was not suitable for their pupils’ age group – rising to 61 % of those teaching four to six year olds. The literacy hour drew both positive and negative comments from teachers taking part in the survey. One said, "Children like structure. Children have made huge progress." But another said, "The poorest and youngest find 30 minutes class teaching difficult to cope with."

It seems like nothing has changed this is more recent

RTKangaMummy Tue 22-Mar-05 22:03:10

So you are talking politics then

Ok yes

Don't agree IMHO with most of what politicians do or say

So it is the grey suits that you are against

I understand that

Ameriscot2005 Tue 22-Mar-05 22:21:24

I don't have a problem with Literacy and Numeracy hours. I think they were introduced because some schools were taking the concept of Topics a little too far - they were overly concerned with the information that was being conveyed and losing site of the language (for literacy, that is). For numeracy, with the topic system, there weren't really enough natural opportunities for number work, so it needed some focus in its own right.

Caligula Tue 22-Mar-05 22:31:03

I totally agree that there wasn't previously enough focus on the basics of maths and English, but as with everything in this country it seems, they've gone too far the other way and decided that the best way to deal with it is for politicians to decide what goes on in the classroom. I just don't see how that is a sane idea. They don't tell butchers how to carve meat, or surgeons how to conduct operations, do they? In most other fields, they accept that while they have the right to say what should be done, they don't have the right or the practical expertise to say how those things should be done.

Sauvignon Wed 23-Mar-05 21:52:44

There are plenty of things wrong with the prescriptive model of Literacy Hour (the Numeracy Strategy came after and so had learned from some of the mistakes made with literacy), in the way that it was inspected, managed and therefore taught. However three points to note; (1) it's becoming more flexible now and we are trying to make those cross-curricular links, change the structure etc; and (2) both the Literacy and the Numeracy strategies meant that teachers had to teach everything that was in the scheme - we couldn't skip the grammar that we didn't understand, the measurement lessons that were too messy with lots of water being poured from one jug to another, or the non-chronological reports that we found boring! And finally (3) we know exactly what has been taught before, and how - a huge gain for children transferring from one school to another, and for schools with high turbulence.
In our school, our subject knowledge increased enormously because we couldn't duck the 'difficult' areas, and we're now enjoying more freedom and creativity. I think that English and Maths are pretty fundamental, and we've got to do them properly. Good teachers have always known that they're not just chunks of turgid text extracts/photocopies or endless exercises!

Sauvignon Wed 23-Mar-05 21:54:30

Sorry about my punctuation - I do really know the difference between a colon and a semi-colon. Put it down to a combination of red wine and SATs practice paper marking!

RTKangaMummy Wed 23-Mar-05 21:55:03


Very good points

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