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General Chat Thread, Petition to remove Michael Gove in General; For some reason I really hate the idea of setting, and it annoys me it is so prevalent in schools. ...
  1. #76

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    For some reason I really hate the idea of setting, and it annoys me it is so prevalent in schools. I think the reason is I've always felt I fell victim to the unfair side of setting when I moved schools at 15. I was set for atleast a B in Maths buts when I changed school I was placed in a set that was destined to sit the intermediate paper where the highest possible grade was a C regardless of how well you did - needless to say I got a C.

    The fact is when you use setting a line has to be drawn somewhere, you can only fit so meny kids in a class and if you miss the cut based on numbers....

    I think if we dropped the idea that everyone must study certain subject and used effective streaming to match pupils ability and interests with subjects then there'd be no need for setting and kids would naturally perfom better because the are not being forced to sit subject that are no use to them.

    I also think effective use of setting plans, teaching assistants and focusing on individual pupil lead learning, with pupils helping each other, will make setting obsolete. Setting is a product of league tables and teacher lead learning by rote.

  2. #77

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    In many schools setting is a fairly efficient way of allowing teachers to streamline what is taught and who the children learn. It is a careful balance between differentiation, personalised learning and the available resources.

    To some extent it depends on the curriculum, how it is delivered, the teachers and the leadership at the school about whether it is better to set or not to set.

  3. #78

    witch's Avatar
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    I can only go by the recent experiences of all three of my children and myself. Obviously it would be nice to have individual learning plans etc but I dont think that is possible in the current set up. And I know that 'pupil-led' learning is the latest thing but personally if I had been left to lead my own learning, I would have learned very little as I would not have known what to do.
    @tmcd35, I am talking about subjects that were chosen by the students - not subjects that they were forced to learn - specifically those chosen at GCSE and A level. There is always going be differentiation of abilities even within a chosen subject and in a subject such as History, where class discussion and ideas development is a very large part of the student's understanding and advancement in the subject, it becomes very difficult if some of the students cannot grasp the ideas quite as well or as quickly. So setting, even at A level, could be very useful. Personally, I would have been very happy to have been set for A level as I was in an English class with near-geniuses and we went so fast that I felt very insecure.
    Also, whilst the idea of streaming is good, schools tend to end up with streams for sciency, englishy or arty children which can be difficult, if, like me, you are equally good at English and Science (not brilliant though!).
    There are some subjects that children really have to study to a certain level, such as maths and english, and setting helps the children reach their potential in these important areas.
    Last edited by witch; 9th August 2012 at 10:38 PM.

  4. #79

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    but perhaps they could spend Y5 competitively cycling round-and-round the playground or on rowing machines in the hall instead.
    Like your thinking

    But a better one would be to practice penalty taking as we've got the cycling and rowing covered
    Si

  5. #80
    Gibbo's Avatar
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    People are saying that it takes time to be a good teacher. If that's the case why is it OK for a Teaching Assistant to have just two days training and then be left to take over a class for a sick or absent colleague, for weeks or months at a time?

  6. #81

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    If that's the case why is it OK for a Teaching Assistant to have just two days training and then be left to take over a class for a sick or absent colleague, for weeks or months at a time?
    Obviously if what you say is factually correct, it is not generally OK.

    But, for instance, if the TA was the TA for a primary class and their in their last year of qualifying to be a teacher, then it could be preferable to have them take over the class teaching.

    If they'd arrived last week with a O Level in Woodwork and were being asked to lead top set Maths to GCSE then probably not.

    Si

  7. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    The fact is when you use setting a line has to be drawn somewhere, you can only fit so meny kids in a class and if you miss the cut based on numbers....
    I'm all for sets, but yes that's the glaring weakness.. I don't know what it's like, but would hope they are extremely careful/flexible about borderline kids if the two sides do different exams like that (in my day the line was between O-level and CSE).

    But a better one would be to practice penalty taking as we've got the cycling and rowing covered
    Doubt even Jowell's global prominence will persaude them to let girls play on the boys team, and anyway I'm already lobbying to scrap Olympic football and replace it with things we might win like bean counting, bandwagon jumping and of course fibbing.

    Edit: Eeek! Conscious just caught up with where the last one mostly came from but I'll leave it be - the predictably dismal turn in the Tia story.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 10th August 2012 at 07:58 PM. Reason: ::eek::

  8. #83


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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Labour want all children to move on and prepared to sacrifice high achievers a bit but not too much as they don't want to lose the middle class vote as well.
    At least where I live "a bit" is somewhat of an understatement. Through Labour there were constant examples of trying to dilute the scum (for want of a better word) with good/better people. Our middle class village was meant to get a secondary school but Labour put a stop to that and decided to try to send us all to the worst school in the county. Our parents all fought it and got us all in the 2 schools we were usually sent to (all the schools in question are around the same distance away).

    We eventually got a 600 place secondary school in our village but I was past uni age by that point, and only because the church and a PFI paid for it. Under the Tories free schools we are getting another. Did I mention our village has more than 25,000 residents, 8 primary schools, shipping iirc 1500 kids off to schools in other towns.

    Under BSF the plan was to take good schools and mix them with bad ones, it didn't matter if that meant shipping kids half way across the county...

    So as I said, "a bit" just doesn't cover it for me.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 10th August 2012 at 09:45 PM.

  9. #84

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Maybe remove the s word - it would help your argument considerably
    Si

  10. #85


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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Maybe remove the s word - it would help your argument considerably
    Si
    I can't think of a better word for a class of people where the majority of girls go out to become single mothers so they can get a flat and the boys become drug dealers. iirc the 5 A-C rate was around 18%. Almost everyone I knew who went to that school is either dead, in prison or a dealer.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 11th August 2012 at 11:58 AM.

  11. #86

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Problem with that thinking j17sparky, is that you are saying that the kids are scum. No, they aren't. They are in difficult areas, with difficult prospects being held back by a significant drag factor - their parent(s) and the areas they are in. By introducing better performing kids, you introduce a impetus for the existing kids to improve themselves.

    The same concept works with introducing new buildings etc...

    I currently (until the end of the month) work in one of the most difficult areas in the country, grade-wise. The school used to get about 15% 5 A* to C grades. BSF came along and put in a new building, and they also restructured staff at the same time. Last year they hit 40%. Personally, I think this number will dip again next year due to the tightening up of the league table rules.

    To claim the kids are scum though is wrong - it shows a degree of misunderstanding of the problems they face and it is kinda sad to see still happening.

  12. 2 Thanks to localzuk:

    GrumbleDook (11th August 2012), witch (12th August 2012)

  13. #87


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    The thing is though the area isn't that bad. It's got some rough bits but overall it isn't as bad as parts of Middlesbrough.

    Yes it is the parents who are to blame but regardless that doesn't change the fact they end up just like their parents. Why is it fair to send kids, whos parents care enough to drag themselves out of that situation, back into it? Surely that's a much worse act than my use of the word scum, which was the point of my post.

    IMO diluting a bad area with a few good people does not bring the bad up, it only drags the good down.

    I don't know what the solution is for these schools/areas but it certainly isn't fair to sacrifice entire generations of kids in the hope that the experiment works.

    Just as an added point I now live in this area. My sister worked in one of the primary schools, and so does one of my mums friends. Regardless of who's fault it is even kids as young as 5 are an absolute discrase to society; addicted to drugs at primary age etc etc.

    Not their fault but then it isn't other kids fault either so why punish them?
    Last edited by j17sparky; 11th August 2012 at 08:03 PM.

  14. #88

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    Please excuse the rant but after my experiances in education as a student I find some comments on this thread inaccurate, so I have written about my experiances when I went through education with qualified teachers.

    Reading through I saw a statement about how qualified teachers could see if children needed to be taught differently than others through their training, where as un-qualified teachers were unlikely to. From my own experience of being a student at what was/is considered a very good Primary school back in 1985 ish, I was considered unable to learn maths and English when I was in year 3, however I was programming BBC B`s and using algebra all the time at home. My parents came in to see how I was being taught and realised that the methods used were not suitable for me. After a large argument my father was allowed to come in for one year and take me out of lessons to teach me maths and English. By the time I finished Primary school I was furthest along in the maths books they gave you and considered good at English. The school teacher`s who were teaching me Maths and English were both qualified teachers, my father was not. However because the teachers had done their teaching course they knew the correct way to teach someone and any other way was wrong. The irritation I suffered at the hands of “correct” teaching methods would have caused me to be diagnosed with ADHD nowadays.

    At secondary school I did GCSE Music. Our qualified music teacher basically did karaoke with us most lessons for 5 years, mainly ceceils `bouncing back to me`. In KS4 we got given a one page sheet with all our homework’s on for 2 years. We had to write a 30 page assignment on events in music history, in 10 year blocks. About two months before exam leave the teacher left and we got a new (recently qualified) teacher. When asked where our coursework was we pointed to the now 20x30 page assignments we had done, to be told they had nothing to do with the coursework and never had. We should have being doing 2 compositions and working on two performance pieces on whatever instrument/vocal we chose along with learning the requirements for the hearing exam. Luckily I had done piano lessons for years, along with a couple of others in the group however everyone else did karaoke. The new teacher managed to pull everyone around in two months and cover an entire 2 year curriculum in time for exams, getting us reasonable grades.

    While I was in secondary I was selected for a project being run by the council to design and build a public bench and bins to go in the local park. About 10 of us were selected to take part including two of the schools bullies and some considered by the teachers to be low achievers (put there to get them out of ‘their’ classrooms). The project was led by someone from a design agency (not a qualified teacher). Everyone worked well together, the project got designed and built on time (with quite a fancy design and surprisingly strong/industrial). We all learnt a lot of new techniques and in two weeks we learnt more than we had in an entire year and everyone was friends by the end.

    While I was doing KS4 I was involved in a project at the local primary school (not the one I had gone to), walking across the playground I heard all the kids f*in at each other and me, and one even decided to grab my leg, and get themselves dragged about 20 meters across the playground until they let go. Something had changed a lot in education in the 5 years I was at secondary.

    In 6th Form (a different school to the secondary I was at, as the secondary didn’t have a 6th form) I was doing Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Design. My normal Maths teacher was the head of maths (a qualified teacher); my further Maths teacher was a different teacher. In the first lesson of maths with the head of maths he stood at the front, coffee in hand and announced that by the end of the course only 1/2 of the group would be left, and he didn’t care which half. At first I was getting very high grades, until he overheard me talking to a friend about my secondary school, on hearing which school I went to (it had a bad reputation) he commented on it something like, so that’s where you’re from. From then on all my grades were low, he ignored me when I put my hand up/went and stood next to him to ask questions at one point he decided that the discussion at the other side of the classroom about which hole to put it in required his advice more than me and my friends asking genuine maths questions. As head of Maths he told me I was no longer allowed to go to further Maths lessons with the other teacher. I went to the next one to see if he had discussed it with the teacher; my grades were still high in further Maths. The head of maths came along during the lesson, ordered me outside and then shouted at me for 5 minutes, then raised his hand as if he was going to hit me and paused. I’m assuming that he was waiting for me to react and get myself thrown out for hitting him, I didn’t, I just stood there and stared at him for about 5 silent seconds, until he realised that half the 6th form were watching him through the 6th Form block windows. On reporting this to other staff I was told to see the Head teacher, the head teacher avoided meeting me at all costs, at which point I gave up and decided I could not carry on at the 6th form. I wrote off an entire year and went to college instead. The school actually contacted my parents to say how I would be bad wherever I went and that I should stay with them, they actually convinced my parents, until I got them to talk to a careers advisor (forgot where from) who helped convince them it was my choice. I needed to get the Head teacher to sign a form to allow me to leave, I took the forms to her, and she was in her office. She told me she was busy (looked like she was drinking coffee) and I should come in the next day (I didn’t ever have to go back in once I had the signature). Rather than argue I came back the next day, she signed it and I was out the door in less than 2 minutes. After seeing the results of the year I was in when they had taken their A levels I was glad to have left, their highest achiever scored lower than then most of my group at collage.

    Another incident while I was at 6th form happened while I was in physics class, what looked like a year 10 chasing a year 8 with a fence post, knocking them over and beating them with it right outside the classroom windows. When asking the (qualified) teacher why he wasn’t going out to do anything he just said as soon as he went out they would run away so there was no point.

    While I was at 6th form I took part in a voluntary classroom support role for year 7 ICT. The ICT teacher there was really good and I learnt a lot of good teaching methods by watching him. From there I was asked to take part and start up an IT teaching session at a local primary school which currently had no IT equipment. Two of us (both students about 16/17 at the time) went and took two donated acorns with us. We got given 3 students each and spent two hours a week teaching different students how to use computer mice/keyboards, then moving onto Grannies Garden (with no teacher supervision and we were based in a corridor). The report back from the Primary school was very positive about our input. I realise that teaching IT to 3 primary students is a lot different from teaching large classes, but at 16/17 and with no teacher training we were getting the basics right.

    I consider myself lucky, if I had gone through school without my parents taking any notice I would have left primary school unable to write or do mental arithmetic. In secondary school that would have put me in all the bottom groups and the only subject I would have had a chance at would have been music, which I would have struggled with at exam time due to the first music teachers lack of preparing us (if I hadn’t being doing piano lessons). I would have never made it to collage/6th form due to lack of qualifications.

    Apart from the teachers I have mentioned above I got on with all the other teachers who took me for lessons; however I was luckily enough that they were all genuine people, and even looking back now I cannot think when they tried any psychological tricks on me and none of them told me I was useless or threatened me with failure.

    I had a couple friends go through the PGCSE training route, one of which was doing ICT as her subject. I had to help her do her flowl project on traffic lights for her course as she couldn’t even work out how to use flowl, let alone the traffic light sequence (even though she is a driver). She passed her course with flying colours and became a qualified teacher, she’s only spoken to me a few times since, every time I felt like I was being talked down to and she was trying various psychological tricks out on me.

    Recently I have seen teachers talk down to students regularly, in a raised voice, tell them how they are only going to be good for flipping burgers at McDonalds if they didn’t get better grades etc. And this was actually considered a valid teaching method.

    I don’t know much about how primary schools teach nowadays, however at the moment I believe that the majority of primary school teachers are qualified, the intake for our school this year has more than 20 students who need scribes for exams because they are unable to write. Something is going wrong somewhere.

    Talking to a (qualified) teacher a couple of years ago was an eye opener for me, she said that when she first started teaching she always did all her preparation and made sure it was up to date. Then a year in she saw that other teachers weren’t doing that, they were just using the previous year’s lessons plans and had been since they did their teaching qualification x years previously. Because everyone else was doing it she stopped making new lesson plans and just kept using the old, now out of date, material.

    I`m definitely not saying all teachers are bad (in fact most of mine were good), however as some might have suggested above, they are definitely not all good and, in my experience, unless you have firsthand experience of what goes off in the bad teachers classrooms your unlikely to properly find out, or believe it. The information that my parents were told was heavily filtered to protect the school and its teachers bordering on lying.

    I believe a way to improve teaching methods and materials would be to get curriculum leaders who have extra frees could prepare and run a course for their department, once a year on the latest developments in their subject, and all department members could update their schemes of work etc. while on the course. It wouldn’t even mean more non-contact time for them they could run it for say 2 weeks in the big 6 week holiday that they are being paid to work in. Of course they would have set start and finish times and it would be mandatory to be in the building during this time (rather than working from Barbados etc.) otherwise no one would turn up. A further one week could be used to allow staff to update all other staff on new teaching techniques, particularly the NQT`s could run a few to keep the older staff up to date with modern techniques.

    Behaviour wise a lot of teachers nowadays seem to be trying to use psychological tricks to get students to do what they want them to do. After a while though the students see through this and rebel. A non trained teacher, who is genuine and not trying to trick the students into learning, one who still holds an interest in the subject and is positive might have better luck with these students.

  15. #89
    Gibbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Problem with that thinking j17sparky, is that you are saying that the kids are scum. No, they aren't. They are in difficult areas, with difficult prospects being held back by a significant drag factor - their parent(s) and the areas they are in. By introducing better performing kids, you introduce a impetus for the existing kids to improve themselves.
    I used to work in a school that was equidistant between a very posh estate and a very rough one.

    Where did all the bad kids come from? The posh estate. The worst offenders were the spoil brats who got anything they asked for from mummy and daddy.

    And I was dragged up on a rough council estate in South Yorkshire. But me and many of my mates managed to better ourselves without any difficulty.

  16. #90

    JJonas's Avatar
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    Well he has not been reshuffled

    0941:

    The Spectator's Fraser Nelson tells the BBC that with Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne staying in place, the three most important jobs in this government aren't being changed at all. "David Cameron doesn't think his government is that badly broken, it just needs a massage," he says.


    0937: Breaking News

    Number 10 advises that Education Secretary Michael Gove and Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will continue in their current posts. The prime minister wants "strong reformers" to continue their work.
    BBC News - LIVE: David Cameron's Cabinet reshuffle: Live
    Last edited by JJonas; 4th September 2012 at 10:53 AM.



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