Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Government must crack the teaching unions


On the left is Mary Bousted, who leads the ATL. On the right is Christine Blower, who leads the NUT. Together they are Blower and Bousted, the directors general of the trade unions to whom the majority of the nation’s teachers are affiliated. It is their task to ensure that teaching remains a highly-unionised, Labour-dominated, Socialist-obsessed profession. In staffrooms across the country you will see more of their posters about teachers’ rights than children’s responsibilities. They are complicit in the chronic culture of poor standards; they ensure that classrooms hold more lessons about global warming than epistemology (if their members know any longer what that is).

After more than a decade of Labour’s education reform and billions of pounds, we were assured time and again that things were getting better and results were improving. But year after year we saw the calibre of the nation’s education qualitatively and quantitatively diminished: according to the OECD's comprehensive world education ranking report for 2010, by the end of the Labour era the UK had fallen to 11th place in Science (beneath Estonia); sunk to 20th place in Reading (way beneath Poland and Belgium); and plummeted to 22nd place in Maths (behind Hungary, just above Slovenia). Impressive, eh?

One really doesn’t need a degree in Posh & Becks Studies to appreciate that education is shackled by a sclerotic culture of excuses and plagued by low standards, arbitrary targets, inaccurate league tables and stifling political correctness. It is so steeped in and constrained by leftist ideology that any attempt to reform it would make the Reformation look like a walk in the park. It will take more than a Thomas Cromwell to annul the unholy union between the NUT and structural Marxism: indeed, Cromwell suppressed only 30-or-so monasteries; Michael Gove has to ensure the dissolution of thousands of state schools in order that his reformation endures.

His Grace said many moons ago that the National Union of Teachers was likely to be to David Cameron what the National Union of Miners was to Margaret Thatcher. We’re not quite there yet, but the ‘threat’ clouds are gathering and strike action is looming. Historically, teachers’ strikes have had very little effect, principally because (unlike miners) the profession is divided across multiple unions of varying degrees of militancy. Usually, only the NUT conference makes the media, because only they tend to generate a story worth reporting. In their leadership, the spirit of Arthur Scargill is very much alive and well. It's no wonder that teaching unions appropriated and adapted the metaphor of the hard labour of the coal-face and popularised the image of their members slaving away at the chalk-face. It's a little harder to sustain that image in the era of interactive whiteboards.

For decades, teacher training and Ofsted’s assessment criteria have conformed to the same leftish ideology. It is by these processes that the teaching profession is inducted into patterns of thought and brainwashed into habits of behaviour which stifle the spirit, extinguish inspiration, discourage individual expression, and ensure that teachers embrace the bland uniformity of the state orthodoxy which they in turn pass on to the children in their charge.

Traditionally, the NUT has been the guardian of this orthodoxy. The likes of the ATL and the NASUWT are nothing but irritating splinters and sects which have hindered the NUT in the pursuit of their educational utopia. Not any more: at long last, the teaching unions are united in their opposition to pension reform, and coordinated strike action looks inevitable. A strike by teachers will only damage pupils' learning and inconvenience busy working parents.

One fully expects the NUT’s ghastly Christine Blower to insist that her members ‘have no alternative’ but to strike. But when meek and mild Mary Bousted of the ATL screeches from the same multi-faith meditation sheet, it may indeed be ‘a warning shot across the bows to the Government’. She intones: “When even the least militant education union and teachers working in private schools vote to strike the government would be wrong to ignore it."

Least militant?

Possibly, in terms of strike action. But Mary Bousted has been drip-feeding her members leftish propaganda for years. Militancy is not limited to Trotskyites or the combative aggression of ‘Everybody out!’; it includes subtle infiltration, ideological induction and political propagation. And on these, Mary Bousted is far from militant. Take this little piece from a recent edition of the ATL magazine:
The Future of State Education

...Meet Angela, a teacher trying to do her job in 2016.

Angela hurries along the academy's corridors past pupils reciting Latin verbs in their blazers adorned with the Sponsor's logo. She checks the clock: 15 minutes to her next lesson — enough time to input the performance data on the Year 11 progress checks, photocopy the Sponsor's materials for the lesson and grab a sandwich from the Coca Cola Cafe? Probably have to skip the sandwich.

She worries about the next lesson. In last week's observation by the federation manager she had been found wanting in the pace and performance aspect of her teaching. She was doing well up until then but the Sponsor had raised the required standards even higher this year to compete with the academy up the road. Everyone was struggling. Today's follow-up assessment would decide whether her Year 8 class could articulate their learning objectives. Another poor assessment would not bode well for her upcoming remuneration appraisal.
She could ill afford a low settlement.

She focuses on inputting the data until a hesitant cough behind her breaks her concentration. Adam again, the trainee she is mentoring. Adam, undoubtedly a bright lad, with a good degree, is having problems. He cannot understand why the pupils won't be quiet when he asks or why they remain unimpressed by his meticulously planned lessons. Angela explains yet again that it is not enough just to tell pupils what he wants them to know, but the familiar puzzled look remains on his face. She is not sure if he will last.

The clock above her head clicks over and the changeover bell screams out — the data will have to wait; she could fit it in between planning tomorrow's lessons and kicking out time. Last time she had stayed in five minutes after, it had cost the school £200 in charges. Wistfully she recalls her earlier days in teaching, was it really only five years ago?
This is not only crass and simplistic, it is blatant propaganda. Yet Dr Bousted insists that it is ‘a realistic snapshot of what education will be like in five years' time thanks to the government's plans’. She lies about the intentions and deceives her members by insisting that taxpayers' money ‘will line the pockets of shareholders rather than be spent for the benefit of pupils’. She insists that the Gove reforms will ‘severely undermine teachers' professionalism and control over their work’, when, in fact, the reforms liberate teachers from state control by making schools autonomous. She complains that pupils ‘may be taught by untrained and unsupported teachers’ (where he she been for the past decade?). She decries a ‘rigid curriculum of facts and figures’, seemingly oblivious to the fact that free schools will be...err...free to formulate their own curricula with far fewer rigidities than are presently imposed.

She opines: ‘Within this parliamentary term, we are in danger of creating a lost generation — students who may be disengaged by a curriculum of facts and figures, who find limited and marginalised opportunities for vocational learning.’

Right.

One has to wonder how many schools Mary Bousted has visited over recent years, and question her knowledge of the past three generations of children, let alone the one to come. ‘Disengaged’ is nothing new, and youth unemployment reached record levels under her beloved Labour: it is not a coalition creation.

But it is on pay and conditions that ATL militancy is perhaps most apparent. Mary Bousted is of the view that the abolition of a national pay scale will make it ‘much harder for teachers to move between schools and around the country’.

This is nonsense: by giving headteachers and governors control over pay, it will liberate them to attract staff to problem areas and retain them. It is hard enough being a teacher in inner London without having to worry about how you can simultaneously afford to pay a mortgage and raise a family. Schools will be free to pay support staff and part-time workers what they need to in order to suit local economic circumstances. And Dr Bousted is implacably opposed to bonuses and performance-related pay, propagating the lie (again) that pupils' raw attainment in national tests or internal assessment will be the only measure of pupil progress or teacher performance. Has she not heard of CVA? And how’s this for fear inducement: ‘Once you take the local authority out of the picture there is no safety net for schools or pupils that fall through the cracks.’ Has she not heard of the ‘Pupil Premium’? Does she seriously believe that SEN children will be thrown into the gutters by this government? Does she have any idea of what the Prime Minister has personally experienced with his son, Ivan? Leaving children to 'fall through the cracks' is not a remote possibility.

But, nevertheless, she trumpets her ‘wake-up call’ because ‘the vision laid out here is bleak’. She declares:
The profession must wake up to the scale, ambition and purpose of this government's education plans. It must realise that the government plans for education are of a piece with its plans for health. Both will become the province of 'any willing provider'. The consequences, for students and for staff, will be incalculable.

We know that you will be accustomed to tolerating the latest education initiative while getting on with teaching your pupils, but believe me, this is more than tinkering around the edges — this is the end of state education. There will be no way back if the coalition's reforms go through.
The end of state education? That doesn’t sound militant at all, Dr Bousted. No, not at all.

52 Comments:

Blogger The Scrapheap said...

In your comments on the OECD report, you neglected to point out that, in the recent OECD/Education International conference on education, the United Kingdom was invited as a top 20 country yet Sweden, much beloved of Mr Gove, was not, as it is not a top 20 country

15 June 2011 at 11:34  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Bring back the disciplined, hardcore, three R's curricululm on which a sensible and thorough further education used to be based. Boot out the stupid prizes for all, education by osmosis, soft touch, leftist BS. Any teacher that has a problem with going back to basics, sack their useless, unionista arses.

15 June 2011 at 11:45  
Anonymous Gareth said...

You really won't be left with many teachers, then ;)

By the way, do you really expect a government to 'boot out prizes for all'? I.e. to make results data for the country drop considerably on their watch? Give me a break.

15 June 2011 at 12:06  
Blogger MrTinkles said...

Oh dear...your grace is usually spot on but I'm afraid this is a bit below your usual standard. Not sure it would get a GCSE "C" - even a dumbed down one. Got to work now, so just two quick comments...
First, an inaccuracy. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the proposed strike action, it is not "right in the middle of crucial GCSE and A-level exams" - GCE and GCSE exams finish on 27th and 28th of June respectively. I'm guessing the "Spirit of Arthur Scargill" will be turning in his grave (although, that's more likely his body...hmm, let's not go there...) as he would have suggested that early June, when the exams are busiest, would be exactly the right time for the strike.
Secondly, you (quite rightly) criticise OFSTED, league tables etc. - I would add GCSEs and the national curriculum in general and cite them as not fit for purpose; if the purpose is raising standards. Just a thought, who introduced them - Blair? No wait; it was the previous Tory administration. They were no better then.

15 June 2011 at 12:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Let’s study Dr Bousted’s fictional teacher in action.

1. There is nothing wrong and everything right about pupils learning Latin.
2. Why shouldn’t business sponsor schools? Entrepreneurs know that reading, writing and arithmetic are vital skills.
3. Why shouldn’t Coca Cola and Pepsi sponsor the school café? They are already working in African nations by sponsoring and paying for the education of young, promising, footballers – and thereby giving an opportunity to escape poverty.
4. Then comes a devastating admission from her: ‘She was doing well up until then but the Sponsor had raised the required standards even higher this year to compete with the academy up the road.’ Here, she implicitly admits socialist education has failed and the influence of academies will raise standards in the state schools.
5. Next comes a further devastating critique of her socialist ideology and her members: ‘Another poor assessment would not bode well for her upcoming remuneration appraisal.’ In other words, PUPILS EXIST FOR TEACHERS AND TEACHERS DO NOT EXIST FOR PUPILS. Every parent will find that outrageous.
6. Adam ‘cannot understand why the pupils won't be quiet when he asks or why they remain unimpressed by his meticulously planned lessons.’ The reason for that is obvious. Socialism through the instrument of the Human Rights Act 1998 (by banning corporal punishment) has made pupils the master and the teachers the cowed.
7. That phrase she writes ‘kicking out time’ where does one here that in the adult world? Bars, pubs and clubs. In other words, one gets the sense that decades of socialist pupil managemnet methods has produced and entire generation of pupils who behave like boorsih drunks.

The most preposterous remark she makes is this: ‘Within this parliamentary term, we are in danger of creating a lost generation — students who may be disengaged by a curriculum of facts and figures, who find limited and marginalised opportunities for vocational learning.’

That is the height of bovine stupidity. Children need a grounding in facts and figures as reference points to use when they go on to study subjects in more depth later on. For example, if they learn their times-tables they do not need to waste time by using calculators and use the time to meditate on complex problems with an unbroken train of thought: that requires basic knowledge and mental discipline.

15 June 2011 at 12:18  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Tinkles,

His Grace thanks you for drawing his attention to examination dates: he has corrected. The substantive point is, however, unchanged: striking teachers damage the education of children.

15 June 2011 at 12:23  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Reading, writing, arithmetic followed by intense study of a chosen proffession, is what is required.

All the socialist cultural bollocks needs the heave ho.

15 June 2011 at 14:08  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Professionals, professionals, professionals ....

They want to run public services in their own interests and not the public interest.

You so rightly quote Harold Macmillan:

"We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts."

This is what the Big Society really has to contend with.

15 June 2011 at 14:11  
Anonymous Michael Fowke said...

Let the teachers go on strike. Then the kids might learn something about socialism.

15 June 2011 at 14:26  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Mrs Busted says in her article:

‘Michael Gove also wants school days to run from 7.30am to 5.30pm, sites to open on Saturdays and to increase terms to a total of 40 weeks a year.’

But that is MARVELLOUS!

This will save parents on pre-and-after child care costs; daily suppress anti-social behaviour incidents and redirect police resources to serious crime.

The payback to taxpayers is potentially enormous.

Gove and his staff’s initiative is clearly a vote winner with pupils who want to study;
parents who want to study with their children on Saturday mornings (and in the evening discuss what has been learnt like all good parents); and address the biggest complaint from voters: anti-social behaviour.

Gove and his staff cannot put a toe wrong.

15 June 2011 at 14:29  
Anonymous Gareth said...

Your Grace - what teaching do you imagine occurs after the exams have been taken? In this age, the test is everything, the knowledge required to pass the test is of no importance. If you don't believe me, teach a class and introduce your lesson with the phrase: "this will not be on the test." See if any of the students are still there six seconds later.

15 June 2011 at 14:32  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Of course a third of all Primary schools are Faith schools so lets see if those “god fearing” teachers heed the strike call, or perhaps God is a socialist, ergh Mr Singh?

15 June 2011 at 14:37  
Blogger Bartleby said...

I'd take issue with your statement that 'historically, teachers’ strikes have had very little effect'.

My teachers (possibly mostly NUT) were on strike on and off from 1984-86, coinciding with my A-levels. We had no mock A levels, no career guidance, interrupted class marking and many lessons cancelled with the result that huge numbers failed and had to resit a year later. I came top of my Maths A level class with an E (mind, the teacher himself only had a D) and top of English with a C. The entire school failed or scraped many subjects and previously academic children had to accept that careers in medicine etc were over before they began.

I have an IQ in the top 5% of Mensa members and, safe from the NUT, ultimately secured a First in mathematical economics, but you try telling that to employers who only want to hear what your A-level results are and where you went to University.

The teaching unions have been damaging people's lives for years and nothing short of vouchers and free schools will alter that.

15 June 2011 at 14:39  
Anonymous Luikkerland.com said...

Once again, little understanding of reality and the Leftist place from which the Tories now come. Worthless opinion all wrapped up in super-inflated self-worship.

15 June 2011 at 14:59  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Professionals, professionals, professionals .... sayeth Dodo

Agreed Dodo, maybe I should have defined my meaning with the word trade. As you quitely rightly point out, we have little use for an overabundance of legal experts, climate change experts, or even medical experts.

They all tinker with the symptoms of what ails our society, why remaining to be the cause.

15 June 2011 at 15:02  
Blogger OldSouth said...

The uproar in Wisconsin was designed, by the Obama White House and National Education Association (and the AFL-CIO) as a warning to any who dared attempt to dis-establish the unions from the school districts.

In the end, though, and this has not been widely covered, Governor Walker prevailed, and the legislation was confirmed by the state's Supreme Court, complete with an official scolding of the lower court that had issued an injunction against the implemenation of a properly enacted piece of legislation.

In other states, including OS' Tennessee, similar legislation has become law. The rules have changed, and the unions no longer rule. A new sobriety has descended upon all parties as a consequence.

It matters who governs, and those who take on the unions will have to summon up real courage when the threats against their homes and persons begin. Until this problem is confronted, however, no progress will be made.

15 June 2011 at 15:06  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Trust Graham Davis to be deviant again. In fact MOST teachers are members of a Union for legal protection.

The pitiful personnel policies in schools mean teachers need lawyers to protect themselves from a) false accusations from dysfunctional children b) persecution from dysfunctional department heads and management.

No other working environment has the plethora of knives and violence endemic in State Schools, and nowhere else does one individual face 30+ inmates some with peculiar family and mental states.

So teachers need Unions for LEGAL Protection to pay Lawyers, that is as much as most teachers want.

Unlike Civil Servants who have Non-Contributory Pensions, teachers pay into their pensions and very few make it to retirement with many invalided out. They have a 3-year pay freeze and now cuts to pensions administered by Crapita.

There are reasons to strike, MPs get iffy about their expenses and IPSA but have the best pension scheme in the OECD.

15 June 2011 at 15:06  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Add to this Cameron's disdain for Schools - His kind of people BUY School Places and noone can have a place on Academic Ability without Paying Fees.

No Grammar Schools is Labour Policy adopted by the "Conservative" Party which hitherto made empty rhetoric on the subject but closed more Grammar Schools than Labour. It was Keith Joseph who introduced GCSE; and Kenneth Baker that imposed the National Curriculum; Thatcher who privatised Exam bOards; Major who abolished Part-tIme Degrees and Polytechnics.

Education in Britain is CRAP but that is how the English Middle Class want it, so they can BUY PRIVILEGE and not have the indignity of their dimwit child going to Secondary Modern....so it is Comprehensive + Private Tuition.

Teachers are stuck in the crap pile that the Department of Education and Institute for Education created.....you make it sound as if they like the urban jungle.

Besides teachers are being ruthlessly purged at present with expensive older ones replaced by cheaper, and ask why Private Equity is buying up Supply Teaching Agencies which cream off 60% Supply Teacher salaries.

15 June 2011 at 15:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Voyager

Comprehensives and public schools only?

No.

The Conservative revolution in education is introducing Free Schools - so that our children can escape the madness of the socialist comprehensive.

15 June 2011 at 15:18  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis

God loves conservatives.

15 June 2011 at 15:34  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The Conservative revolution in education is introducing Free School

but FREE Schools discriminate on grounds of parental income restricting access to those <£16,000pa. They are being set up to deal with lower ability ranges and vocational training.

Parents with academic children will need to PAY for private education

15 June 2011 at 15:59  
Anonymous Historian said...

The NUT are fair game for those on the political right but in tarring the ATL with the same brush your Grace fails to note the very real differences between the two. The ATL (and I declare an interest here being a former member) are the arch-moderates in secondary education who have never previously engaged in strike action. The government should beware and take serious notice of the effects of their education policies when the moderates start manning the barricades.

15 June 2011 at 15:59  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Academy and free schools will be allowed to reserve places for children entitled to free meals under a new admissions code published by the Department for Education.

It gives those schools – but not other state schools – the right to take children whose families' annual income is £16,190 or below rather than those from better-off families.

The current code forbids all state schools from choosing pupils based on their family income. Academies and free schools stand to gain financially over other schools.


Pupils

15 June 2011 at 16:06  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

D. Singh said...

God loves conservatives.

But do conservatives really exist?


Voyager you are not a teacher by any chance, you talk like a man who knows?

In my limited experience as a parent x4 and a school governor I don’t recognise Cranmer’s description of schools being full of lefties, mind you my experience was in monocultural, middle class South Cambs so perhaps my view is limited.

Harking back to the “good old days” when your life chances were decided aged 11 by a single test is as pointless as it was unfair. Leaving aside the ideological obsessions of many who post here, I am interested to know which countries have the best overall academic achievement and what structures they use?

15 June 2011 at 16:38  
Blogger English Viking said...

Why is education compulsory?

Why should I pay for other people's children to be 'educated' (ahem), when the system is so utterly ruined?

PS Why are socialist women so ugly? The pair look like lesbians to me. See how their lefty-liberal greed has contorted their features?

15 June 2011 at 16:50  
Blogger English Viking said...

Davis,

One's chances were not decided by the 11+ but by one's ability to pass it.

Trying to educate thickos to University standard has left us with semi-literate/numerate graduates from such illustrious establishments as Derby Poly. We should have taught these people to be brick-layers and plumbers, and then we wouldn't have had the pathetic excuse for mass-immigration, either.

15 June 2011 at 16:54  
Anonymous Katharine Birbalsingh said...

It is all so depressing.

15 June 2011 at 17:31  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

. It will take more than a Thomas Cromwell to annul the unholy union between the NUT and structural Marxism:

Structural Marxism?

You may call it structural if you wish, but what exactly do you mean by structural, in this context?

Could it be that the word you were looking for was Established, as in establishment sponsored Marxism?

Do you really think that our educational system is one of the worse in the known world because of solely the actions of Trades Unions like for example The NUT, or perhaps our reality has far more of a conspiratorial nature, to say the least?

After all, how could anything as vitally important as the education of our future generations be allowed to become, and also remain at the mercy of a bunch of indoctrinated Marxist thugs?

That is without some kind of CONSPIRACY, witting or otherwise, between the very heart of the establishment, our elected politicians and Trades Unions Leaders.

For the people simply want the BEST education their punitive tax payments can afford. Indeed when has this ever not been the case?

The Truth is This.

In life as in education, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

Therefore the people who are actually writing the cheques get what they ordered or they send it back for a refund. It this is not possible,as in the case of education, they can then design a new one the next time which is closer to the required specification.

We don't get the education we want for our children, because we don't order the product or write the cheques, the government does.

If the Establishment that runs the government were not getting exactly what they have ordered they would be asking for their money back.

Therefore if the education system is rubbish at best, then tuff luck because your children are getting precisely the type of so called education your own establishment desperately needs them to have.

Which is not fairly, very, or remarkably close to the lowest possible standard the powers that be can get away with, it is the lowest possible standard that they think they can currently get away with. This until they can think of a method or excuse to make it a whole lot worse then it already is.

The trades unions are puppets of the establishment partly because it is the establishment that conspires to ensure Trades Union funding, using a variety of dodgy methods, but mainly because it is the establishment which dictates what the current MARXIST ideology is going to be using its almost complete control over the future thinking employed at the top of our top universities.

All of this helped along by institutions such as The RIIA, where much of this kind essential medium and long term planning is done.

Therefore

To cut the story short.

If the people who really control your education system wanted people to be cheaply and well educated, they would be.

The proverbial THEY do not want to educate your children either well or cheaply. Which is the real reasons why you are powerlessly poor, as well as becoming more so every day.

Also why your children will be happy if they end up with absolute Zero, as well first receiving an education that will be all but completely worthless to them.

It is difficult to be sure about much in this world, however you can be absolutely assured of this.

No single or group of Trades Unions, could ever have pulled off this particular Crime of The Century all by themselves.

15 June 2011 at 17:35  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

First the RCN, and now the ATL. Trotskyist fronts these are not. Opposition to the Coalition's fourth Blair term of slash and burn is the truly moderate position. As opposition to the first three Blair terms of slash and burn would have been, if any party had had either the sense or the decency to have articulated it.

If Michael Gove really wanted to do something about exams, then he would bring back O-levels in place of GCSEs. But that would entail denouncing the Prime Minister who made the change, formerly the Education Secretary who closed so many grammar schools that there were not enough left at the end from the record ever to be equalled. Can you name her? I think you can.

15 June 2011 at 17:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Voyager you are not a teacher by any chance, you talk like a man who knows?

No. I am not and would never want to be. I know many, I have seen many, and I know why so many look to get out and teach overseas.

South Cambs must be nice...try teaching in cities like Bradford where English is not native and the birthrate is skewed towards Urdu and Bengali - and where women teachers face especial problems....and where violence against teachers is commonplace...and where Tower Hamlets ranks higher in league tables.

Or try North Yorkshire with its Grammar Schools and monoculturalism with long queues of teachers desperate to get in.

One has the feeling Schools reflect society just as the ideologues used them to change society - Schools, Media, Politics - the axis of infiltration - making prisoners of the majority

15 June 2011 at 17:53  
Anonymous MrJ said...

It is good to be reminded by Voyager (15:13, 15:59, 16:06) of the antecedents and informed of the mischief now happening. Unhappily the situation described was allowed to develop because of the feebleness of the universities and of Conservative Party policy even before Heath's Great Betrayal [European Communities] Act 1972. A longer retrospect could trace the problem to about 1911 (if not before). At this stage the malign influence of persons such as Mr Maude will be seen to have been more of the same.

15 June 2011 at 17:53  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Why is education compulsory?

To keep children off the streets after they were banned from chimneys and factories...

The real question is why The State thinks it owns children. Germany makes home-schooling illegal

15 June 2011 at 17:54  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Too depressing for words ... it almost makes one wish for a dictatorship, providing the 'Dictator' understood the proper usage of the apostrophe, and was insistent that everyone else did so too.

15 June 2011 at 18:15  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Home Schooling, Home Schooling, Home Schooling. It is still legal. Hit 'em where it hurts.

15 June 2011 at 18:32  
Anonymous Gerard Tibercross said...

So what's wrong with the sponsor's logo as a school badge? That's pretty much what we had at my school in the 60s. The badge quartered the arms of the families Loyola, Xavier, Gonzaga and Cosca and carried the motto "Ad majorem Dei gloriam". I suspect Your Grace has twigged the identity of the sponsor. And the sponsor had an agenda, and this agenda was several hundred years old, to produce "Catholic gentlemen".

It is rather a shame that today's schools are not interested in producing ladies and gentlemen, of any particular faith or none.

While I was at my highly selective Jesuit grammar school kids who had been at my local primary school with me were at the local secondary mod which produced young ladies and gentlemen who may have had not quite the same intellectual attainment but came out of school equipped for life. They were educated. They were educated by excellent and dedicated teachers.

Crap schools are created by crap teachers.

15 June 2011 at 19:09  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"A longer retrospect could trace the problem to about 1911 (if not before)" MrJ said

I would go back so far as the Great Schism of 1054 since which the Neoplatonic God of cosmic harmony and correspondence, compatible with the Christian God has suffered greatly.

"The wild dance of shadows thrown by the stars on the wall of Plato's cave" wrote Arthur Koestler, "was settling into a decorous and sedate Victorian waltz. All mysteries seemed to have been banished from the universe, and divinty reduced to the part of a constitutional monarch, who is ket in existence for reasons of decorum, but without real necessity and without influence on the course of affairs.

15 June 2011 at 19:09  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Crap schools are created by crap teachers.

Actually I think Crap Pupils deserve Crap Teachers. The raw material is so low grade in so many establishments that it is the proverbial sow's ear.

15 June 2011 at 21:58  
Blogger IdiotZoo said...

I simply must object to His Grace's approach to those defending the educators. Whether Labour or Conservative UK governments have a bad habit of using education as political football, and a particularly nasty habit of doing so while not listening to teachers. The current education plans are based on ideology, not evidence and completely ignore what most educators with real world experience will tell you.

This year we celebrate 200 years of church schools. Is His Grace happy the coalition are happy to take religious education out of the curriculum? It isn't in Gove's great oxymoron the Ebac.

15 June 2011 at 22:19  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms IdiotZoo,

If you complain that the present proposals are based on 'ideology', you appear to have a deficient grasp of what education has been based on for the past three centuries.

And do acquaint youtself with the facts. Mr Gove is NOT removing Religious Studies from the National Curriculum: it remains part of a school's statory obligation to provide a minimum number of hours per annum, as with PSHE and Citizenship.

15 June 2011 at 22:29  
Blogger Owl said...

To sum up, the general feeling is that the education system is crap for various reasons.

Somebody is trying to do something about it, which is good.

In the days when we had real schools, my two brothers and my sister went to a secondary modern where they received a very good education and managed their lives quite well.

I went to an English grammer school where I was given a very good education in which, at that time, it was expected that I actually had to spend some of my free time learning and discipline was a matter of "of course".

The system worked very well.

The 11+ was a very good guide to which kids would benefit from a more advanced education and those who needed to take it a bit slower.

In our sixth form we had many pupils who came from a secondary mod. and who developed later, so to speak. They were not in anyway restricted or on the crap heap.

Youngsters starting at a comprehensive are often entering the crap heap.

If, in our history, we have a school system that actually worked then we should use it. The current one is a disaster, especially for the children.

15 June 2011 at 23:07  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Darwinism goes right to the heart of what is very wrong with our education system, especially as far as the study of REAL science, and theology are concerned.

Trying to make sense of life the universe, and as much of everything else as may lie within the compass of ones attainment, while genuinely believing yourself and your fellow creations to be nothing more then incredibly lucky, over evolved brownish colored slime, is not a useful place to start.

Intelligent design may be light years away from the teachings of The Holy Bible, or any other book of knowledge or sacred text. There again, it may not.

The point is that Intelligent Design Theory, and religious faith must be treated as completely different issues, preferably taught by people who are committed to the truth, not to any particular religion based conformity.

For a single loving and forgiving, creator of everything, may very well not be the entire, or even the essential truth of the matter. Reality may be almost infinitely more complex, there again it may be a little more simple then we might be imagining.

The details, of precisely what begat what, whether people should be worshipping a creator or not, or which particular God, or creator should be considered the most high, can be worked out later when more scientific evidence appears.

However first the principal that Intelligent Design has vastly more scientifically verifiable evidence backing up its role in the coming into being of something so mind- blowingly complex as a simple plant cell or the mysteries of human consciousness; more scientific evidence then the followers of The Church of Darwin, have managed to accumulate in favor of their entire dogma for the last 150 years. This in spite of trying extremely hard, at great expense, to find any at all.

The only thing worth knowing about Darwinism, or evolution by natural selection is that it is scientifically proven clap-trap from its very start to very finish.

In other words over 150 years further on, and all our greatest scientist have come up with, as evidence to prove the reality of Darwinistic evolution, has proved the exact opposite.

When Darwinism finally goes the same way as the great CO2=MMGW scam, as people start to understand quite what a gigantic money making establishment sponsored scam, CO2=MMGW really was.

They might start to ask questions like, why has Evolution by natural selection been exclusively taught in our schools and great universities for now over 100 years?

Why was an extremely expensive museum in South Kensington built in honor of such an extremely silly man who promoted an even more silly and utterly unproven, counter intuitive, and completely discredited theory?

Why is Evolution by natural selection still being forced upon our children's minds, without any opposing theory being allowed? This especially as the establishment themselves have known Darwins theories concerning the origins of all species were proved to be utter nonsense by the early 1980's, if not much sooner.

My advice

Keep The Holy Joe's, and seven day nut-jobs, as far away from the debate as possible, and hopefully the young may start to unwind their own programming by listening to the available scientific FACTS. Then make up their own minds, as to whether they are more then a little bit more spiritual then a combination of incredibly lucky, but formally perfectly lifeless chemicals.

16 June 2011 at 00:17  
Anonymous Stefan said...

Your Grace,

I am supporting the strike because, as a teacher in an independent school, the Coalition wishes to take my pension away completely.

16 June 2011 at 00:22  
Blogger IdiotZoo said...

"And do acquaint youtself with the facts. Mr Gove is NOT removing Religious Studies from the National Curriculum: it remains part of a school's statory obligation to provide a minimum number of hours per annum, as with PSHE and Citizenship."

Which many schools simply do not do. RE specialists are losing their jobs across the country because schools will logically put their resources into those subjects that ate part of the criteria for measuring school success. That many schools do not provide the statutory curriculum isn't denied either.

Perhaps His Grace would care to familiarise himself with the work being done by the National Association for Teachers of Religous Education (Natre), or perhaps they're just another group of professionals who's objections should be discounted!

16 June 2011 at 07:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to an English grammer school

Howler !

16 June 2011 at 07:23  
Blogger IdiotZoo said...

The trouble with debates around education is that everyone has an opinion, and considers themselves an expert. There are bad teachers, there are those resistant to change and I'm quite sure there are plenty of militant "everybody out" union types (usually NUT). However the vast majority of teachers are committed, very hard working experts in their field - educating young people.

My wife and a great many of her friends are teachers. I've seen first hand the level of commitment and work it takes to do the job well.

These are people for whom any strike action is painful, and a very hard decision. However they also have to stand up for what they believe is right and ensure their own future isn't under threat regarding pensions, workload, professional support and indeed what they teach.

16 June 2011 at 07:39  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms IdiotZoo,

You previously stated that Michael Gove had removed RE from the National Curriculum. His Grace said this was not so, but you have not acknowledged your error. Now you say 'many schools simply do not (teach it)', which is quite a different proposition, and nothing at all to do with Mr Gove. Any such schools are in breach of their statutory obligations and open to legal challenge. If you would care to make His Grace aware of just one of these 'many schools', he would be happy to assist you in bringing action against it. Ultimately, it is a matter for Ofsted, though any teacher or parent may raise concerns with the school's governing body.

Doubtless you will not bother to do this because you appear to be writing a little hysterically. And your sarcasm does you no favours at all.

For your (prejudiced and impoverished) information, His Grace is very, very well aware of the work being done by the National Association for Teachers of Religous Education, and he is also fully and intimately acquainted with the work done by the Culham Foundation (which you don't mention, so perhaps you are not). When you facetiously pronounce: '...or perhaps they're just another group of professionals who's objections should be discounted!', you really show yourself to be incapable of reasonable or rational discussion on the matter.

16 June 2011 at 07:49  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

Ah ,a "vocation"where pensions are the most important matter.Few seem to realise that the secret world government wants children stupid,just like bertrand russells "scientific society",for stupid children grow into stupid adults,which are easier to control and exploit that educated ones,which is also the reason for the onslaught and suppression of the white race,thier eradication and eventual dispossession as they stand in the way of rothschilds nwo,and schools are a necessesary first step,can we not see the results every day?communist indoctrination is all that schools are about these days,frankfurt,from start to finnish.viking,yes what a couple of hounds these two are,as queer as a box of monkeys.Does any-one suppose that the MPs will strike when thier pensions are cut?

16 June 2011 at 08:23  
Blogger IdiotZoo said...

You're quite right, of course. Gove hasn't removed Re from the curriculum. He has significantly sidelined the subject and the steps taken towards the Ebac mean schools are less likely to offer the opportunity for children to study RE beyond the statutory obligation you refer to.

It's not for me to name the schools here, partly because I can't be sure of my information, and also because there is hopefully going to be a legal challenge.

I take your point about my writing being somewhat 'hysterical'. I hope you'd normally find me a fairly rational sort. However something I perceive as an attack on teachers is something I tend not to treat quite so rationally being, as I am, closely connected with the profession.

I do apologise for any unhelpful contributions. But I have hoped His Grace might show a little more ;o)

16 June 2011 at 15:48  
Anonymous nimblehippo said...

as an RE PGCE student I am acutely aware of many of these issues. On the subject of RE within the curriculum, most schools will take the legal requirements seriously till 16, then abandon them. As for the ebac destroying RE, i would have to disagree. The ebac is designed to do what private schools have done for years- make sure that pupils who should go to university have the right subjects to do so. I do not think the RE GCSE syllabuses studied by the majority are as academic as History (Geography i am not in a position to comment on). If anything I would argue that GCSE short courses have sone more to damage RE, by giving schools the opportunity to study RE to half a GCSE level. RE A-level however I think is a cracking subject to have and would complement any career choice.
Some teachers go on about pupil choice, but i have 2 responses -
1. EBAC isn't for all, it should be the target for those considering university
2. Why the obsession with pupil choice? There is still plenty of opportunity to pick other subjects, and seeing as the state pays for the education, i think it has a right to encourage pupils to study subjects that will make them more useuful contributors to society, and the state is in a better position to judge than pupils who often make short sighted decisions.

On unions - teachers are a mixed bag - i am not union affiliated due to my politcal issues with unions ( i am not alone, but have been advised against this purely for legal support) I don't want to add any weight to a large body who don't represent my views. My main gripe as a young teacher is that teaching rewards experience over ability. Your salary goes up just for keeping going. Therefore an adequate or worse teacher who has been there for donkeys is paid much more than a brilliant newly qualified teacher - that is not meritocratic - they are doing the same job. This also causes big issues regarding final salaries and pensions

Most teachers don't want to strike - one simply has to look at the turnout, but many don't want to be scabs (there is talk in my school of a number still coming in) but there is genuine concern about pensions - many feel they are being picked on for political reasons. The worst bit though was when i was told by one colleague that they were doing this for me! It is always difficult to change things that are in place, but teachers pensions as they are, are not sustainable. As the votes show, the problem is that like student politics, in teaching it is the millitants who hold the power due to moderates being somewhat apathetic.

One thing that Ms Bousted missed out "Angela smiles as she remembers that now classes are set, so only one lesson needs to be planned rather than two or three to cater for mixed ability groups as it used to be." As for Adam, he seems much more 2011 than 2016 - amongst trainee teachers, discipline is the thing they find hardest due to lack of detterents for bad behaviour.

16 June 2011 at 16:48  
Anonymous chevron said...

YG, "Mr Gove is NOT removing Religious Studies from the National Curriculum: it remains part of a school's statory obligation to provide a minimum number of hours per annum."

Very true, except "academies" are freed from the constraints of the National Curriculum. And thus the majority of schools, now becoming "academies", will focus on the subjects that count towards their league tables, rather than the subjects that don't, unless their Headmaster is enlightened enough to realise the value of continued RE study.

We expect an awful lot of qualified RE teachers to be looking for work elsewhere ...

16 June 2011 at 22:32  
Anonymous chevron said...

Ah, seems I jumped in a bit late on that :) I ought to have read the further discussion before weighing in myself.

16 June 2011 at 22:34  
Anonymous Blaydon said...

In the late 19th century there were 2 unions formed, primarily for teachers in Grammar Schools - for Assistant Mistresses and for Assistant Masters. In the late 1970s they merged to form AMMA (Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association). In 1993 they became ATL. They seem to have come a long way from the days of upholding a Grammar School style of education.

Many, perhaps most, teachers join a Union mainly for legal protection. It is the militants who spend Easter at seaside conferences to pursue their socialist agenda. But the more insidious militants are to be found among the ranks of those who train teachers.

17 June 2011 at 14:01  

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