Michael Gove may have left the Department for Education but his Gradgrindian spirit lives on.
It’ll be “Fact fact fact” all day every day if the Conservatives win the election in May. Times tables will be recited to perfection. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be spot on. Headteachers could be removed from their jobs if a single number, comma or full stop goes astray.
So in keeping with the demands of Dickens’ censorious headmaster, here are a few “facts” the government might like to keep in mind.
If Headteachers are removed, they will have to be replaced. There is […]
Continue reading Government Gradgrinds On
A little-known secret: being a school governor can be fun.
Yes, it’s a commitment. Giving up your time to read and sometimes write policies. Analysing data on progress and attainment. Working out which children are not doing well and why.
Yes, it’s a responsibility. Setting the school’s budget and its curriculum priorities. Helping the head teacher resolve tricky staffing issues. Dealing with sometimes anxious, occasionally angry parents. Even eating school lunch with the children in order to prove to a mother that the food isn’t as bad as she believes.
I’ve done all the above – and much more […]
Continue reading In Praise of School Governors
On one side a shabby council estate, on the other side a pitch-dark park. Not the kind of street I particularly enjoy walking along.
Not the kind of place either that small children should be unsupervised at 8.45 on a Saturday night.
But that’s where I came across them. Three boys involved in a vicious fight.
I heard them before I saw them, a string of F***s coming from the older one as he smashed the little one’s head against the park railings, adding the occasional furious punch to the guts.
At a rough guess I’d say they were aged […]
Continue reading Reporting child abuse is only the start
England’s teachers are unhappy? Miss, Sir, join the crowd.
From the young unemployed, half of whom say they regularly feel depressed, to nurses suffering low morale in the NHS upheaval, not to mention the growing numbers of working families struggling to make ends meet, these are not happy times.
At least the teachers questioned in a National Union of Teachers survey of the profession have jobs – better than minimum wage ones at that. So why should we care if, like millions of others in these economically gloomy […]
Continue reading But what about the kids?
Why is Education Secretary Michael Gove setting children up to fail?
His highly prescriptive, not to say idiosyncratic approach to what’s learned in schools (to be formally announced later this week) amounts to a random list of musts and shoulds that have little relevance to real children’s lives – nor to how they learn. Of course every effort should be made to get children reading fluently and, just as importantly, to enjoy reading and understand what they’ve read. How learning poetry by heart for classroom recitals (i.e. learning by rote) […]
Continue reading Phailed School Policy?