Education Quandary: 'As a teacher, my wish for 2009 is for the Government to get off the profession's back. What would others like to see happen?'
Thursday 08 January 2009
Over Christmas, I spent a lot of time contemplating the miserable state of education: the SATs mess, the uncertainty over diplomas, the huge number of children who leave school without basic skills and and the sky-rocketing mental and physical health problems of today's young people. It left me sure, like you, that the one thing we now need more than anything else is for the Government to leave schools alone.
Last year, I worked for the Department of Children, Schools and Families and was shocked by the people I dealt with. Emails were ignored or answered weeks afterwards. Standards of grammar and literacy were hair-raising. These are the people whose working lives are dedicated to aiming a debilitating stream of targets, directives and paperwork at over-stretched teachers.
A decade ago, there was a need for the Government to get a firmer grip on schools, but those days have gone. My wish for 2009 is that the Government realises that its main job should be to make sure classrooms are stocked with high-quality, well-trained, well-paid and well-supported teachers. And then to step back and let them get on with it.
I want to see more investment in adult education. I work for an FE college in local care homes and my subject is reminiscence. A couple of hours a week of reminiscence, which includes music, poetry, prose, reading aloud, singing and sharing anecdotes from our lives (I'm 77) revives older people, even those with dementia, and restores self-esteem. But as they are all in receipt of benefits, they pay no fees, and that's the problem.
Joyce Morris, Lancashire
Teachers are professionals, and should be allowed to deliver learning with more flexibility – less, not more, "top-down" ideas. The six new areas of primary learning as advocated by Jim Rose last week – including human society and the environment – may allow for this. I would like to see an end to teaching children citizenship studies, well-being studies, media studies and all the other "studies", when most of them cannot write a decent sentence, let alone speak a foreign language, or understand basic maths.
Barney Sinclair, Devon
Next Week's Quandary
What are the advantages of streaming children according to their ability compared with mixed-ability classes? We are looking at secondary schools for our elder child, but no one seems to be able to tell us which system is better, and in our area all the schools appear to do it differently.
Send your replies, or any quandaries you would like to have addressed, to email@example.com. Please include your postal address. Readers whose replies are printed will receive a Collins Paperback English Dictionary 5th Edition. Previous quandaries are online at www.hilarywilce.com where they can be searched by topic.
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is urgently s...