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General Chat Thread, An Open Letter to Mr Gove about Teaching Assistants in General; Mr Gove has decided to phase Teaching Assistants out of schools. A teacher has written an open letter to him ...
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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    An Open Letter to Mr Gove about Teaching Assistants

    Mr Gove has decided to phase Teaching Assistants out of schools. A teacher has written an open letter to him as to why this is, to put it politely, A Bit Of A Daft Plan.

    Letter to Mr Gove re Teaching Assistants. Please RT. | cherrylkd

    I may be biased, what with my wife being a TA, but Gove is (of course) making sweeping and ill-informed statements without any thought for the consequences. Just for a change, then.

    I thought that if any group of people can sympathise with TA's being underpaid, undervalued and overworked, it must be you lot

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    Hefferzzzz's Avatar
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    I am still astounded by just how many cabinet staff are complete clueless morons without any kind of backgound in the areas that are given complete responsibility for!

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    CAM
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    Dear Mr. Gove,

    Please stop around with our schools every two months by cutting swathes through the core of our school's systems and very ethos and failing to provide anything which makes any vague sense to anyone but those counting political brownie points at Westminster. Whilst it is highly appreciated that the devil called BSF was scrapped by your own hand, the removal of the Schools Support Staff Negotiating Body instead of promoting it, followed by the swift culling of BECTA (one of the most useful bodies for promoting good practice in the field of school technology) has formed the tip of a very worrisome and treacherous iceberg.

    Many promises were made with the creation of academies to almost do what they want with their time, staff and money. But then the freedom for a school to do what they wish with the national curriculum under this scheme was followed by a desire to alter said national curriculum to teach a more technically focused ICT course even though it no longer had to be followed by academies. The same with healthy school meals; academies are free to ignore the years of healthy eating instilled in LA controlled schools. Oh and all the contract and licencing pitfalls that these schools fell into on the way with providers treating schools like open chequebooks ("Oooh...mmm, that just happens to cost the school the sum of your entire academy conversion grant."). Some business sponsored academies have also banned staff rooms on the basis that they are a waste of productivity and that staff should congregate in their department offices instead of actually speaking to each other inter-departmentally. Please tell me why a company that has no business interest in education beyond money should take over a school and tell the people in them how to run it.

    And then there are the attempts to fix exam results. We have had the English Baccalaureate and a hodge-podge mess of subjects that were pulled out of the blue and schools told "You will be judged on this" after the timetables had been set for the next year. It wasn't until the following year that timetables and option blocks were "EBacc compliant" after two year groups had already been scrutinised on their EBacc results without the right timetable structure to support it. After working some ridiculous data wizardry to track this monster of a qualification and faith schools left scratching theirs heads as they lose one timetable slot to RE which doesn't count as a humanities subject, EBacc gets scrapped. Apparently it either isn't good enough or you, Mr Gove, got bored of it. Nope, instead GCSE's will be replaced with....GCSE's. Only they will be labelled 1-8 instead of the familiar A*-G and it doesn't matter if they don't flow with the rest of the national assessment structure because apparently that was supposed to replaced with something else too. Only nobody knows what was supposed to replace it because you never told us. You do know your plan for KS1-3 hasn't been implemented yet? Do you?

    So I leave you with a statement that adequately describes not only the state of the education system right now but the very people running it at the top. "A Unique Learner Number is a number for which it is forbidden to uniquely identify a learner." I bid you farewell Mr Gove, and shall not be voting Conservative when we finally get to decide if you should get kicked out of power.

    Yours most sarcastically,

    Every irate school worker ever.

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    Grey-gear's Avatar
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    Well most people in that are in office because they wanted to be in polties not because they would be the best to fill a role in the house of commons. May be we should stop voting parties in and start voting people into the jobs in house of commons.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey-gear View Post
    Well most people in that are in office because they wanted to be in polties not because they would be the best to fill a role in the house of commons. May be we should stop voting parties in and start voting people into the jobs in house of commons.
    I would like to see a law passed where no-one can be a politician without at least a decade's experience in another industry, to ensure these people understand the world the rest of us live in, and a similar restriction passed that no-one can be a cabinet minister without at least a decade of direct experience in the field they are now responsible for. The Health Minister should have worked in the NHS, the Education Minister in schools, the Home Secretary in military or forces...

    Unfortunately the people with the power to pass such a law are the people with a vested interest in not doing so
    @CAM - superb. +rep

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    korifugi's Avatar
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    Oh, I sympathise alright - Wifey to be is a TA and I support four different schools.

    Not a single one of these schools would be able to carry on without the dedication of the TAs.

    Who will listen to pupils read?
    Who will help little Billy calm down when he's having a bit of a bad day so the the teacher can carry on with the lesson?
    Who will help create resources, displays and worksheets?
    Who will provide first aid and a reassuring hug to Sally, who's just skinned her knee during PE?
    Who will help with school trips, that stir the minds and imaginations of the pupils?

    The education system does need work - the curriculum is outdated and needs to be brought up to the times. What we need is someone that knows education to be in office, not someone who has a desire for power.

    I also fail to see how putting 4 million people on the dole will save the country money? Yes, the education system costs money - but it's an investment; an investment into the future, giving future generations the tools they'll need to be able to make it on their own.

    Seriously - someone needs to give Gove a blummin' wake up call.

    Now, what were the rates for hiring @Sunnyknight ???

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    Sunnyknight's Avatar
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    @korifugi

    Gove is a little high end. I only do the low end - mid table jobs.

    However, for petrol + £40,000,000, i'd do it.

  8. Thanks to Sunnyknight from:

    korifugi (13th June 2013)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Mr Gove has decided to phase Teaching Assistants out of schools
    Just to avert panic, can I just point out that the Treasury and DfE are considering it, there is nothing decided yet (unless you have other sources of information?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Gove is (of course) making sweeping and ill-informed statements without any thought for the consequences. Just for a change, then.
    I completely disagree! The sweeping statements are totally well informed and history is Mr Gove's adviser!
    In the late 19th century we didn't have teaching assistants, coursework or local authorities and the country was great! We need this country to be great again and the way to do this is to make sure that the privileged kids get a good private education and that the poorer ones can be servants and navvies. People need to know their place!
    Students should think themselves lucky that we're not getting corporal punishment back which is what Gove would really be after if it wasn't for those pesky lib dems!

    /sarcasm

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    Hefferzzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korifugi View Post
    Now, what were the rates for hiring @Sunnyknight ???
    No good, he is currently face down on his keyboard fast asleep.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Just to avert panic, can I just point out that the Treasury and DfE are considering it, there is nothing decided yet (unless you have other sources of information?)
    Just a poor choice of words on my part - although to be fair, even when Mr Gove does "decide" something, he still usually changes his mind a fortnight down the line.

    A lot of the time it feels like he announces three unpopular policies at once so that he can scrap two and still force something stupid through to a chorus of "it could have been worse."

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    He won't read it. Apart from anything else, it's not in Latin.

  14. Thanks to pcstru from:

    sonofsanta (13th June 2013)

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Reminds me of something Bruce Scheier wrote recently.

    Schneier on Security: The Politics of Security in a Democracy

    He was talking about national security but the motivations encouraging politicians to act seem universal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Schneier
    Overestimating the threat is better than underestimating it. Doing something about the threat is better than doing nothing. Doing something that is explicitly reactive is better than being proactive. (If you're proactive and you're wrong, you've wasted money. If you're proactive and you're right but no longer in power, whoever is in power is going to get the credit for what you did.) Visible is better than invisible. Creating something new is better than fixing something old.

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    Has anyone noticed how the Network Manager is described as a TA in this letter? Though the teacher is very complimentary of her I must say. Either the teacher believes all support staff are effectively classed as TAs, or this is a school where there is no NM as we know it and the role is just added to a TA's responsibilities - which as it's a special school and they tend to be smaller, I can imagine might be the case.

    Nice that a teacher (a Senior Leader, no less!) mentioned someone with IT responsibilities though...

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