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S20 – Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Education Watch

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    (Original post by Aph)
    I agree it would be a struggle but that's why it makes people happy!!! Because it brings people together and creates a better sense of community, and that's why makes people happier. If we lived in a colectivist society then technological progress would make happiness, but in an individualistic society it drives people Appart and makes them less happy.
    I mean, this is just way too simplistic, but I can't be arsed arguing the point because you're set in your ways.
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    An absolutely fantastic SOI from the Secretary of State and I thank him for ensuring that this Government is committed to grammar schools and ensuring that every child can realise their full potential.

    (Original post by Aph)
    We shouldn't be teaching imperial units IMO.
    On this point (and indeed on every other of your points in your post), I have to disagree. We use imperial units for quite a few things even today - height, weight etc.- that it's important that they are taught.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    I mean, this is just way too simplistic, but I can't be arsed arguing the point because you're set in your ways.
    I agree it's simplistic. But I just don't see how you can say all progress is good.
    (Original post by toronto353)
    An absolutely fantastic SOI from the Secretary of State and I thank him for ensuring that this Government is committed to grammar schools and ensuring that every child can realise their full potential.



    On this point (and indeed on every other of your points in your post), I have to disagree. We use imperial units for quite a few things even today - height, weight etc.- that it's important that they are taught.
    Something happening isn't a justification for it to happen.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    I agree it's simplistic. But I just don't see how you can say all progress is good.
    Not what I'm saying. I'm saying that scientific progress on average is good, and it's brought fantastic net benefits to us over time.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    lol no, unless you take the absurd view that risk is not itself a cost. The free market thrives on creating externalities, tends to monopoly and there are economically sound reasons for regulation.
    Yes, I'd have to agree. But please keep in mind that Im not arguing for no regulation, im arguing for less / minimal regulation.

    A 100% self regulating market is an utter utopia, but we are treating it like the market is 40% self regulating while it is acually around 80%. That means we could easily cut 40% of regulation if need be.

    Dont get caught up in those percentages by the way. I merely put them in to make a point about my views.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    I agree it's simplistic. But I just don't see how you can say all progress is good.

    Something happening isn't a justification for it to happen.
    True, but in this instance, imperial measurements are a cultural thing. I'd rather have imperial measurements taught along with conversion rates than leaving whole generations unable to understand each other in certain ways. Take the weight of a baby say, people talk about that in pounds and ounces and everyone understands that and can equate it roughly to it being a 'big baby' or a 'small baby' - in metric, that's not so well established. Now you may say that's a minor and potentially irrelevant point, and it is, but it's a small way in which imperial measurements are used. I find it quite interesting that you talk about togetherness above, well surely teaching imperial and metric measurements is about coming together? It's about allowing everyone to understand one another and not, for example, excluding the older generations because they don't understand metric, but do get imperial.
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    (Original post by Galaxie501)
    Yes, I'd have to agree. But please keep in mind that Im not arguing for no regulation, im arguing for less / minimal regulation.
    Some markets are overregulated, true. I'd argue many more are underregulated, especially in financial services etc.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    Not what I'm saying. I'm saying that scientific progress on average is good, and it's brought fantastic net benefits to us over time.
    Yes, I agree it's a good thing but it's brought bad things too, such as media painting the world to be a dismal place filled with dispare...
    (Original post by toronto353)
    True, but in this instance, imperial measurements are a cultural thing. I'd rather have imperial measurements taught along with conversion rates than leaving whole generations unable to understand each other in certain ways. Take the weight of a baby say, people talk about that in pounds and ounces and everyone understands that and can equate it roughly to it being a 'big baby' or a 'small baby' - in metric, that's not so well established. Now you may say that's a minor and potentially irrelevant point, and it is, but it's a small way in which imperial measurements are used. I find it quite interesting that you talk about togetherness above, well surely teaching imperial and metric measurements is about coming together? It's about allowing everyone to understand one another and not, for example, excluding the older generations because they don't understand metric, but do get imperial.
    Yes but I understand both and weren't taught both. And that is very much an appeal to tradition.
    IMO teaching older people metric makes more sense then teaching younger people imperial considering the metric system is the system of science and the future.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    Yes but I understand both and weren't taught both. And that is very much an appeal to tradition.
    IMO teaching older people metric makes more sense then teaching younger people imperial considering the metric system is the system of science and the future.
    Of course and that is through interest, need, or social pressure (i.e. because you hear something enough and want to understand what a pound or an ounce is). However, socially we continue to use the imperial system and teaching older people metric does not make any more sense. After all, you can teach imperial units and conversion between imperial and metric in two or three maths lessons, requiring no extra funding. 'Teaching older people metric' is a waste of time (because some people are set in their ways) and would cost money (how would you go about doing it? Night classes? Leaflets? A public awareness advert?). So instead of keeping everyone happy and letting people use what system they want, you'd force them to learn a system that they have no interest in. You speak about wanting people to be happy, how is your idea doing that?

    I'll no respond to your final point simply because it is irrelevant; most people don't work in the science industry.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    But...

    That sounds like we are MENT to be putting the economy above ourselves, on the face of it sounding like a socialist ideal until you realise that probably means it's telling people to feed the fat cats before themselves.
    If you want to believe teaching people " common sense" is bad for them why don't you go down yje street and ask people "what do you think is better for you, a recession or a healthy economy" something tells me you're the only one who would pick yje recession.

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    (Original post by toronto353)
    Of course and that is through interest, need, or social pressure (i.e. because you hear something enough and want to understand what a pound or an ounce is). However, socially we continue to use the imperial system and teaching older people metric does not make any more sense. After all, you can teach imperial units and conversion between imperial and metric in two or three maths lessons, requiring no extra funding. 'Teaching older people metric' is a waste of time (because some people are set in their ways) and would cost money (how would you go about doing it? Night classes? Leaflets? A public awareness advert?). So instead of keeping everyone happy and letting people use what system they want, you'd force them to learn a system that they have no interest in. You speak about wanting people to be happy, how is your idea doing that?

    I'll no respond to your final point simply because it is irrelevant; most people don't work in the science industry.
    Again you are saying that we use them so they should be taught, that's an appeal to tradition and I'll ignore all future occurrences of it.

    And I believe that with systems such as this it's important to be standardised. My last point is not irrelevant because most children learn a science until the age of 16 and if they are using both its easy to get confused. And it being the system of science is definitely important, you don't need to work directly in science to need metric. It's the common international system so any person working internationally in any STEM feild need to understand metric far more than imperial.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    Again you are saying that we use them so they should be taught, that's an appeal to tradition and I'll ignore all future occurrences of it.

    And I believe that with systems such as this it's important to be standardised. My last point is not irrelevant because most children learn a science until the age of 16 and if they are using both its easy to get confused. And it being the system of science is definitely important, you don't need to work directly in science to need metric. It's the common international system so any person working internationally in any STEM feild need to understand metric far more than imperial.
    You do realise you aren't representative of the population at large? Funnily enough people are able to work perfectly well in imperial, most people will quote their height in feet and inches, the distance to the next town in miles, and their weight in stone and pounds. They'll ask for a dozen eggs, not 10, buy pints of milk, and have x inch rims on their car which weighs y tons.

    And I'm not sure I've ever heard a British guy talk about their manhood in metric.

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    (Original post by Aph)
    Yes, I agree it's a good thing but it's brought bad things too, such as media painting the world to be a dismal place filled with dispare...
    Yes but I understand both and weren't taught both. And that is very much an appeal to tradition.
    IMO teaching older people metric makes more sense then teaching younger people imperial considering the metric system is the system of science and the future.
    What's the point of investing lots of money into educating the older generations about the metric system. It would be far more useful to teach them something like how to use a computer. I don't believe metric is necessarily. I view it as the Euro of measurements.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    Again you are saying that we use them so they should be taught, that's an appeal to tradition and I'll ignore all future occurrences of it.

    And I believe that with systems such as this it's important to be standardised. My last point is not irrelevant because most children learn a science until the age of 16 and if they are using both its easy to get confused. And it being the system of science is definitely important, you don't need to work directly in science to need metric. It's the common international system so any person working internationally in any STEM feild need to understand metric far more than imperial.
    No it's an appeal to being practical and recognising that society has more than one system of measurement and that in order to ensure that everyone is happy, using both is the best option and it's far easier to teach children imperial units than to expect adults to relearn something they've been using for years. On that point, can you answer for me why you want society to be together, yet advocate the divisive move of not teaching imperial units.

    But they are standardised and it isn't easy to get confused. They'll use metric measurements, obviously, in every science lesson and imperial units would be taught, say, for only two or three maths lessons. No-one can get confused from that and metric will still be given priority, so I don't see what your problem is.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    You do realise you aren't representative of the population at large? Funnily enough people are able to work perfectly well in imperial, most people will quote their height in feet and inches, the distance to the next town in miles, and their weight in stone and pounds. They'll ask for a dozen eggs, not 10, buy pints of milk, and have x inch rims on their car which weighs y tons.

    And I'm not sure I've ever heard a British guy talk about their manhood in metric.

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    Yes but they aren't converting between the 2 there. Although most people I know quote their hight in cm, their mass in kg, the area of a room in m^2 and the amount of ingredients they need in grans or ml.

    Also that isn't uncommon...
    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    What's the point of investing lots of money into educating the older generations about the metric system. It would be far more useful to teach them something like how to use a computer. I don't believe metric is necessarily. I view it as the Euro of measurements.
    I hope you are joking.
    (Original post by toronto353)
    No it's an appeal to being practical and recognising that society has more than one system of measurement and that in order to ensure that everyone is happy, using both is the best option and it's far easier to teach children imperial units than to expect adults to relearn something they've been using for years. On that point, can you answer for me why you want society to be together, yet advocate the divisive move of not teaching imperial units.

    But they are standardised and it isn't easy to get confused. They'll use metric measurements, obviously, in every science lesson and imperial units would be taught, say, for only two or three maths lessons. No-one can get confused from that and metric will still be given priority, so I don't see what your problem is.
    I see no point in keeping imperial when metric is globally accepted. We are in a transition system and are doing perfectly fine, all the oldies will be dead in 20-30 years at which point the is no need at all for metric st trying to preserve it is pointless.

    Metric is useless in maths. Maths is a tool for science essentially so should be all in metric.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    Yes but they aren't converting between the 2 there. Although most people I know quote their hight in cm, their mass in kg, the area of a room in m^2 and the amount of ingredients they need in grans or ml.

    Also that isn't uncommon...

    I hope you are joking.
    I see no point in keeping imperial when metric is globally accepted. We are in a transition system and are doing perfectly fine, all the oldies will be dead in 20-30 years at which point the is no need at all for metric st trying to preserve it is pointless.

    Metric is useless in maths. Maths is a tool for science essentially so should be all in metric.
    Please tell me where you live so we van have an "unfortunate nuclear accident" or do you live in Brighton or something?

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    I'll be replying as Shadow SoS for the Home Department and Public Services, which includes education.

    (Original post by Saracen's Fez)
    [field=S20 – Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Education]

    As our population continues to grow we are educating more and more children, and to reflect this increase in children in the education system, the Government must increase education spending, as has been reflected in the Budget with an increase of £0.6bn on capital spending, in order to fund more equipment and facilities for schools.
    Any increase in education spending is welcome!

    Increasing number of grammar schools
    To ensure that we continue to produce the best and brightest young people, we need to be able to give those children the right environment for them to thrive. As a Government, we will be increasing the number of grammar schools around the country to ensure that no matter where someone is located, they will be able to have the education they deserve. However, that doesn’t mean we’re leaving other children out in the cold. In fact, with an increase in grammar schools, class size in other schools will be slightly reduced, and teachers will be able to spend more time helping those less able, doing so at a pace suitable to them, rather than it being too fast for the less able, or too slow for the abler. Some of these will be from schools converted into grammar schools, and we will also look at building new sites where it is suitable to do so.

    We will aim to build 50 new grammar schools across the country by 2025, with a cost target of £17m each, totalling £850m. We will also have to ensure that we continue to incentivise people to want to become teachers, in order to be able to meet the rising demand.
    New schools are needed, however with statistics from the (rl)Department of Education showing that existing grammar schools have far fewer pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds than the non-selective schools near the existing grammar schools, with some having almost entirely middle class students, with the Sutton Trust finding that on average 3% of pupils in grammar schools are entitled to free school meals, in comparison to 18% of pupils, on average, in the area of the grammar school being entitled to free school meals. and over a tenth of grammar school pupils come from outside the state sector, predominately from fee-paying schools parents from these disadvantaged backgrounds can't afford to send their children to.

    Additionally pupils who then go to secondary moderns instead of comprehensive secondary schools tend to fare worse than their peers who go to comprehensive secondary schools. Grammar schools do nothing it would seem but create a two tiered education system.

    I do think I speak for everyone in my party however that we all welcome efforts to get more people training as teachers and then actually teaching, especially male teachers for primary schools where something like one in four primary schools doesn't have a single male teacher.

    Reducing tuition fees for STEM degrees
    At this time, more than ever, this country needs graduates who are highly skilled in sectors that matter most to the economy. The STEM skills gap is something which we would like to tackle by incentivizing the best of our students to choose a STEM degree by reducing the tuition fee cap for these degrees to £6,000 per annum, with the Government making up the remaining £3,000, which is estimated to cost the government £0.3bn per annum. This will have a huge effect in ensuring our country continues to be the best at everything we do, and to help grow our economy.
    As we have shown TSR Labour by large supports reducing the tuition fees, some of us want a 100% reduction! However I see no reason to oppose this when it would be part of something we would hope to achieve ourselves.

    Teaching children to code
    It is imperative that children are given the skills and techniques to code, so that in the future they are able to take advantage of greater opportunities, and to give them a good grounding should they wish to continue with Computer Sciences from A levels and beyond. The Government will continue to closely monitor the new curriculum for Computing to ensure that children are given these opportunities and look at the current specification as ever evolving to suit the needs. We will also call out to all non-state funded schools to urge them to ensure they offer Computing from a young age, and offer it at least at GCSE level where possible.
    Most primary schools now teach the very basics of coding, things such as scratch, which builds a very basic understanding, I would suggest that the Government does not go nearly far enough here, sometimes as Lord Heseltine said we must intervene before breakfast, before lunch, before tea and before dinner, and I think if we want the UK's tech industry to keep up with the likes of China and the USA we need to put coding on the national curriculum starting from Key Stage 2 and building up to allowing students to take it further at GCSE level if they wish to. However saying this, what is being proposed is of course a welcoming first step.


    Mile a day at school
    With more and more young people becoming obese, and many being referred to the mental health services, it is ever more important for children to maintain a good level of exercise to help with their health. In all Primary Schools, 15 minutes will be set aside in the timetable for every pupil to run 1 mile daily. This will be compulsory for all children, however, schools will have flexibility when it comes to children with genuine reasons not to run, as well as reducing the distance for the younger children so they complete it. Similarly, for older children who are not able to run 1 mile straight away, they will have the opportunity to start at shorter distances and build this up. In schools which have already done this, it has been a large success and rolling it out across the country will be extremely beneficial to the health of a large number of children, and should help relieve a small amount of stress on children’s health services. This will also help them when it comes to maintaining a fit body as leave primary school and grow up.
    While talking with aph about this I defended this part of the SoI on one part, that teachers can use common sense to allow students to not take part if they can't do it for whatever reason. However I also said I disagree with this policy, and I disagree with it because I don't think this is the right way to go about this kind of proposal. I do fully support having additional breaks in the day for students, anyone who has sat through two/three hour lessons know most students lose concentration after 45-60 minutes, however going for a daily run I am not convinced will solve this when there is already such a big problem in some schools at getting pupils to even take part in PE, with less athletic students often sitting out and refusing to take part for many reasons. I would ask the Government to reconsider and allow schools to have greater control on how they go about doing this, if just for the fact not all schools have the space to run a mile without having to leave the school and run along potentially busy roads.

    Greater access to private tuition
    The Government recognises that some pupils do not get all the help they need whilst they are in school, whether it be due to SpLDs or because of difficult circumstances for teaching. This is why the we would like to make it easier for students, and their parents to access good quality private tuition. We will introduce a scheme whereby tutors can sign up as a tutor, and will be vetted to ensure they have the necessary checks completed, as well as are of suitable quality, for pupils. The tutors will be able to set their own fees, within a set range dependant on their skills, qualifications and experience. The Government will take a small percentage of their fee which will cover the cost of maintaining the scheme, and the vetting process.

    The aim is to be able to have this system integrated between tutors and teachers, so that after the pupil has signed up and selected his school, with their permission, the teacher will be able to leave notes for the tutor – for example about what topics need more covering, and what’s being done in class – to make the private tuition more productive, and so progress can be tracked easily.

    Most importantly, we will ensure that there are suitable safeguards to ensure that communication prior to meeting is appropriate.
    While not the worse idea I have heard I would say this fails to address the biggest issue of access to private tuition which is many parents simply can't afford it, even if they are working 40+ hour weeks doing multiple jobs. Because of that I can't support this section of the SoI.

    Introduction of basic life support lessons
    It is imperative that young people have the ability to help others in situations where immediate medical help is needed, but not readily available. The Government will ensure that each school has a suitable number of teachers who are already first aid qualified, to be trained to be able to provide these lessons. These lessons should include teaching about basic first aid and ensure that children understand how to perform certain things which could save someone’s life. These would be given in the final year of Key Stage 3, and if needed, can be continued into Key Stage 4. We will work with all schools for whom this may present certain difficulties with. We aim to have on average two teachers with First Aid Instructor qualifications to be able to offer these lessons, dependant on the size of school, in around 3,500 state funded secondary schools. This would cost the government approximately £200 per teacher, costing about £1.4m in total.
    I think this is a good idea, but it might be better suited as part of a larger program which incorporated basic life skills as a whole, rather than just one element, although certainly an important one that is overlooked in our education system currently.

    Increase basic financial education lessons
    Growing up, many students do not have the necessary skills for them to be able to make sound financial decisions when they go into further education, either at 16 or 18. This causes many young people to make irresponsible decisions with their money, which may cause problems for them in the future. We will introduce these lessons into the school curriculum for children who are in the final two years of Key Stage 3. It will be up to individual schools to decide when these take place, however, there will be a minimum of three hours teaching per term, including topics about managing your money, budgeting, saving, and include other topics which the children may need more information about.
    I think this is much the same point as what I said above, rather than have lots of separate things one larger course of life skills should be introduced to teach pupils life skills such as budgeting, basic first aid, some knowledge on the different religions in the Country, how to write a CV and such.

    Teaching metric and imperial measurements
    The metric measurement system is the one which is primarily taught in schools, however, in some lessons for example Geography, and also on many occasions in real life, we use the imperial system. All children will be taught both systems of measurement as well as simple conversion techniques, for example 30cm = 1ft. The metric system will be taught as it currently is, and the imperial system with the conversions will be introduced in the final year of Key Stage 2 due to simple multiplication and division needed for some of these conversions, and so that the children have had sufficient time to become comfortable using these multi-step methods. This will also help build upon mental arithmetic skills of the children.
    With every increasing technological use I don't really see the point of this personally, a simple google search will answer any conversions needed, however saying that I do not see the problem with it being taught either. Some might see this as lack of opposition, but I think this is honestly unoffensive, and will benefit at least a few people while not putting the rest at a disadvantage.

    Introduce basic economic concepts at a younger age
    Too many young people do not really know the effects of changing monetary policy, and due to this, can make decisions which do not benefit the economy as a whole when they get older. We will introduce basic economic concepts into the GCSE Maths curriculum so that when children leave school, if they have not studied Economics, they have a better idea of what is happening when the interest rates are changed. This will be a very small part of the curriculum, but will include basic information about supply and demand, and also Monetarism. It will be compulsory for exam boards to include one question about this in the GCSE Maths exam for which under which this will be taught.
    I am very cautious of demanding exam boards have to have questions on anything, especially if the exam boards then don't have a question on it, what happens to the grades of all the students? I think it opens up a can of worms we might want to keep closed. As for the actual bulk of this section, I don't see an issue on the face of it, but we must be careful it doesn't become a one sided political lesson teaching purely say neo-liberal economic concepts, and not also Keynesian concepts. Because of this I think it might be better placed to have economics briefly covered in compulsory citizenship style classes where more time can be spent looking at it from different angles to make sure it is not politically bias.

    Improved monitoring of faith/religious schools
    We need to ensure that quality is consistent across the education system, as well as ensure that pupils are not being negatively influencing young people, like what happened in the Birmingham school. We have a duty of care to these children, and even one negative incident like this is too many. Due to this, we will work closely with Ofsted to ensure more faith schools are inspected on more frequently, and without notice. We also recognise that it’s mainly individual teachers that we need to look out for, and so will be reviewing the process for hiring teachers, not only looking at their criminal record, but ensuring their views are not too extreme, which could put children at risk of having these views forced on them.
    As others have said Ofsted doesn't exist but I know you have replied to that already. I would say that I would want to know how you would tell if someone was too extreme, and would would count as extreme. I think it is a very sensitive area to go into, and if the cause of worry is individuals and not whole schools surely improved whistle blower avenues along would be just as effective. Finally we must be careful to not discriminate against faith schools, it can be a fine line, and I hope the Government takes that into account.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    You do realise you aren't representative of the population at large? Funnily enough people are able to work perfectly well in imperial, most people will quote their height in feet and inches, the distance to the next town in miles, and their weight in stone and pounds. They'll ask for a dozen eggs, not 10, buy pints of milk, and have x inch rims on their car which weighs y tons.

    And I'm not sure I've ever heard a British guy talk about their manhood in metric.

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    You're right of course. Most of us use feet!
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    (Original post by Aph)

    I hope you are joking.
    Not really
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    Some markets are overregulated, true. I'd argue many more are underregulated, especially in financial services etc.
    In fact, I would argue that it is not merely about the amount of regulation but also about the fact that it is often in the wrong places.

    Anyway, the currently unofficial Libertarian Party will submit a bill detailling some of this in the coming days.
 
 
 
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