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    Big report on the BBC just now about the latest school league tables

    "The number of state secondaries in England said to be underperforming has more than doubled amid exam changes.

    Some 330 schools failed to get 40% of pupils gaining five good GCSEs including English and maths, and making the expected progress."


    But a lot of people are saying these tables are meaningless. And since the way they are constructed means the likes of Harrow and Eton are coming bottom, it seems hard to disagree...
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    It's time we taxed private education and used the proceeds to fund state education.

    Given the outcry concerning 'Mansion Tax' however, I doubt this would ever happen.
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    (Original post by shooks)
    Big report on the BBC just now about the latest school league tables

    "The number of state secondaries in England said to be underperforming has more than doubled amid exam changes.

    Some 330 schools failed to get 40% of pupils gaining five good GCSEs including English and maths, and making the expected progress."


    But a lot of people are saying these tables are meaningless. And since the way they are constructed means the likes of Harrow and Eton are coming bottom, it seems hard to disagree...
    losing comparability with previous years is better than persisting with a system that was rewarding school heads for doing things that weren't in the best interest of the pupils.

    It does seem a bit odd that they've kicked out the IGCSE though, which I thought was at least equal to GCSE - this seems to be the main whinge of the private school heads. but TBH the tables exist for the benefit of state school pupils (which believe it or not is the vast majority of under 16 year olds)
    There are non government league tables covering private schools
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    (Original post by shooks)
    Big report on the BBC just now about the latest school league tables

    "The number of state secondaries in England said to be underperforming has more than doubled amid exam changes.

    Some 330 schools failed to get 40% of pupils gaining five good GCSEs including English and maths, and making the expected progress."


    But a lot of people are saying these tables are meaningless. And since the way they are constructed means the likes of Harrow and Eton are coming bottom, it seems hard to disagree...
    I'm not sure what exam reforms they mean considering GCSE and SAT reforms aren't implemented until 2015/16. Also, I've just read an article in The Spectator outlining the excellent progress made under the Coalition government's free schools and academies (which now make up two-thirds of state secondaries) programmes.
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    I believe that England and Wales need to bring back the 11plus and Grammar schools. Students of different academic abilities learn in different ways, and by looking at the statistics it is quite clear that comprehensive schools do not work.
    In Northern Ireland, we have Grammar Schools and High Schools, with an entrance examination which dictates what schools you can apply to. It's quite obvious that the NI Grammar School system works, as NI students consistently do better at GCSE and A Level than those in England and Wales.
    Without doubt, if Labour didn't create Comprehensive schools in the 1960s, the English Education system would be in a much better position than it is today. Students need to be separated into their academic abilities to ensure that they can achieve the best grades possible at GCSE and A Level.
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    (Original post by a320airbus97)
    I believe that England and Wales need to bring back the 11plus and Grammar schools. Students of different academic abilities learn in different ways, and by looking at the statistics it is quite clear that comprehensive schools do not work.
    In Northern Ireland, we have Grammar Schools and High Schools, with an entrance examination which dictates what schools you can apply to. It's quite obvious that the NI Grammar School system works, as NI students consistently do better at GCSE and A Level than those in England and Wales.
    Without doubt, if Labour didn't create Comprehensive schools in the 1960s, the English Education system would be in a much better position than it is today. Students need to be separated into their academic abilities to ensure that they can achieve the best grades possible at GCSE and A Level.
    England still has Grammar Schools and 11 plus
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    (Original post by polpo)
    England still has Grammar Schools and 11 plus
    There are still some, but the vast majority of students go to comprehensive schools. In NI, there are 3-4 'Comprehensive-style' schools.
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    (Original post by A1112787)
    I'm not sure what exam reforms they mean considering GCSE and SAT reforms aren't implemented until 2015/16. Also, I've just read an article in The Spectator outlining the excellent progress made under the Coalition government's free schools and academies (which now make up two-thirds of state secondaries) programmes.
    You have to be joking, right? They changed my English GCSE halfway through the course so our speaking and listening, which we'd wasted several weeks of class time on, didn't count any more. They completely scrapped modular GCSE exams and made it so that the first attempt at an exam was the only one that counted towards league tables, which wouldn't have been a huge issue except it again happened halfway through the course so no one had planned on it happening. It was chaos.

    Academies and free schools are a ludicrous overcomplication to add to a system that ultimately would have worked if it was given adequate funding (to allow better teacherupil ratios, etc). Everyone I know who goes to an academy has seen no significant change in their education - they just wear a different uniform - while their teachers are no longer necessarily entitled to the same quality of pay and conditions as their counterparts who do the same job in a comprehensive. Don't delude yourself into thinking that the academisation process is happening to 'raise standards' in education; it is there purely to strip teachers of their rights to fair pay/conditions. It's forcing teachers out of the profession, and how is anyone going to get a decent education if there is no one left who is qualified to give it to them?
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    I agree with the proposal of the Monster Raving Loony Party that there should be a league table or league table compilers.
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    Whatever happened to the government's promise, education, education, education.
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    (Original post by Rock Fan)
    Whatever happened to the government's promise, education, education, education.
    That was the previous lot.
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    (Original post by shooks)
    Big report on the BBC just now about the latest school league tables

    "The number of state secondaries in England said to be underperforming has more than doubled amid exam changes.

    Some 330 schools failed to get 40% of pupils gaining five good GCSEs including English and maths, and making the expected progress."


    But a lot of people are saying these tables are meaningless. And since the way they are constructed means the likes of Harrow and Eton are coming bottom, it seems hard to disagree...
    Interestingly enough my brothers school was deemed failing however reading the report it turned out that it was because they were failing the better students in not pushing them because teachers were too inexperienced.

    So i'm actually happy with this, it does seem as if it's due to higher standards (rightfully so) than schools getting worse.
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    (Original post by Rock Fan)
    Whatever happened to the government's promise, education, education, education.
    Do better results always mean higher standards? The last government oversaw rampant grade inflation. While Gove made some mistakes (scrapping modular exams being one), he is the first education secretary in decades to actually believe that education should challenge people as opposed to believing that people are entitled to a C grade.
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    (Original post by raineandfyre)
    You have to be joking, right? They changed my English GCSE halfway through the course so our speaking and listening, which we'd wasted several weeks of class time on, didn't count any more. They completely scrapped modular GCSE exams and made it so that the first attempt at an exam was the only one that counted towards league tables, which wouldn't have been a huge issue except it again happened halfway through the course so no one had planned on it happening. It was chaos.

    Academies and free schools are a ludicrous overcomplication to add to a system that ultimately would have worked if it was given adequate funding (to allow better teacherupil ratios, etc). Everyone I know who goes to an academy has seen no significant change in their education - they just wear a different uniform - while their teachers are no longer necessarily entitled to the same quality of pay and conditions as their counterparts who do the same job in a comprehensive. Don't delude yourself into thinking that the academisation process is happening to 'raise standards' in education; it is there purely to strip teachers of their rights to fair pay/conditions. It's forcing teachers out of the profession, and how is anyone going to get a decent education if there is no one left who is qualified to give it to them?
    Under the last government funding per pupil doubled, and outcomes worsened. Academies were intended to answer the fact that there were far too many schools which had been failing generations of children, and too many councils which just watched it happen. The reforms were intended to give parents, who can probably be trusted to care about their education of their children as much as any LEA, a more significant say in the system.

    Giving academies more freedom over staff was explicitly intended to force some teachers out the profession: the bad ones. I think anyone who has ever set foot in a state school knows that there are some pretty hopeless teachers out there. It's pretty much impossible to lose a teaching job and remuneration is based on length of service, rather than quality of teaching. Performance related pay, et cetera, give schools the power to attract good teachers into the profession, at the expense of rewarding bad ones, whether they hold a scrap of paper saying they are qualified or not. If they think that is stripping them of their right to 'fair' pay and conditions, then that just shows the entitlement which pervades that profession.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Under the last government funding per pupil doubled, and outcomes worsened. Academies were intended to answer the fact that there were far too many schools which had been failing generations of children, and too many councils which just watched it happen. The reforms were intended to give parents, who can probably be trusted to care about their education of their children as much as any LEA, a more significant say in the system.

    Giving academies more freedom over staff was explicitly intended to force some teachers out the profession: the bad ones. I think anyone who has ever set foot in a state school knows that there are some pretty hopeless teachers out there. It's pretty much impossible to lose a teaching job and remuneration is based on length of service, rather than quality of teaching. Performance related pay, et cetera, give schools the power to attract good teachers into the profession, at the expense of rewarding bad ones, whether they hold a scrap of paper saying they are qualified or not. If they think that is stripping them of their right to 'fair' pay and conditions, then that just shows the entitlement which pervades that profession.
    For the record, every teacher I have ever had in my STATE school education has been wonderful, thank you, apart from one, who was definitely an anomaly.

    Changing the rules regarding pay and conditions does not attract good teachers - it merely means that academies are free to employ the cheapest teachers possible, which are typically NQTs who obviously do not have the same level of experience as teachers who've been teaching for a long time. While this doesn't mean that NQTs are bad teachers - far from it, they're typically very enthusiastic and innovative in what they do from my experience - they don't necessarily know how to discipline students with poor behaviour, which is a big issue in a lot of state schools, including mine. This is why experienced teachers get paid more.

    Performance related pay simply encourages even more teaching to the test, which leaves far less time to actually explore the subject in question, in favour of rote memorisation and exam technique, which benefits no one's education. It also opens the door to bullying by senior staff, who can then threaten to withhold pay increases by judging a teacher's performance to be inadequate.

    Furthermore, the setting of students into abilities makes comparisons between teachers impossible. A teacher who is given a top set class will not have to do much to ensure that they learn the syllabus, in comparison with a teacher who has to teach a class of lower ability pupils, many of whom will have SEN and/or behaviour problems preventing them from learning effectively. The measurement of achievement using graded assessments cannot possibly take into account the context the data is coming from.

    The fact that generations of children from the same area consistently underperform is not solely the fault of the schools there; it is a consequence of wider issues such as socioeconomic deprivation and low aspirations. If these were adequately tackled then pupils' performance in school would improve as a result - in fact under this government child poverty has increased substantially. http://www.cpag.org.uk/child-poverty-facts-and-figures

    As for your assertion that 'entitlement' pervades the teaching profession, I would argue that everyone should be entitled to fair pay and conditions, irrespective of the sector in which they work. Teachers are already expected to put a significant amount of their own time into doing work for school - some work over 60 hours a week in total - and it is simply unjust to expect these same people, whose jobs carry such responsibility and stress, to lose the incentive of having a good pension to look forward to at the end of their working life, for example. If we're trusting them to educate our children they need to be rewarded for it, not punished.
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    (Original post by raineandfyre)
    For the record, every teacher I have ever had in my STATE school education has been wonderful, thank you, apart from one, who was definitely an anomaly.
    Well clearly you went to a batter school than I, well done. For the record, I'm not hating on teachers. My mum, sister and quite a few of my friends are teachers. It's a career I would definitely consider, if I weren't in my current job. Just, some of them are a bit pants, and teachers I know accept this.

    I mean, if all teachers were wonderful, we probably wouldn't have schools where the significant majority of students fail to get 5 decent GCSEs. I know background is tremendously important, but many in disadvantaged areas do manage. The sort of problem academies were set up to address.

    Changing the rules regarding pay and conditions does not attract good teachers - it merely means that academies are free to employ the cheapest teachers possible, which are typically NQTs who obviously do not have the same level of experience as teachers who've been teaching for a long time. While this doesn't mean that NQTs are bad teachers - far from it, they're typically very enthusiastic and innovative in what they do from my experience - they don't necessarily know how to discipline students with poor behaviour, which is a big issue in a lot of state schools, including mine. This is why experienced teachers get paid more.
    They are free to do so. But if they value their reputations, the quality of their teaching and their attractiveness to parents, then they will not use that freedom to simply keep the wage bill down.

    And I mean, no one is stopping an academy headteacher paying an experienced teacher more, in view of the benefit they bring to the school. And indeed, they do. It simply gives the freedom to schools to reward the most effective teachers.

    Performance related pay simply encourages even more teaching to the test, which leaves far less time to actually explore the subject in question, in favour of rote memorisation and exam technique, which benefits no one's education. It also opens the door to bullying by senior staff, who can then threaten to withhold pay increases by judging a teacher's performance to be inadequate.
    You realise performance-related pay is not simply related to pass rates? Although if grades did go up I think there would be some benefit to someone's education. But heads have discretion over the remuneration of their staff, they don't have to base it on exam results alone, and indeed that is not advised.

    As for bullying, you realise most (i.e. almost all) jobs have pay which is not simply determined by length of service? That sort of bullying is illegal, but I don't see why teachers especially need to be protected.

    Furthermore, the setting of students into abilities makes comparisons between teachers impossible. A teacher who is given a top set class will not have to do much to ensure that they learn the syllabus, in comparison with a teacher who has to teach a class of lower ability pupils, many of whom will have SEN and/or behaviour problems preventing them from learning effectively. The measurement of achievement using graded assessments cannot possibly take into account the context the data is coming from.
    Yea, I feel this is a straw-man, for the reasons above.

    The fact that generations of children from the same area consistently underperform is not solely the fault of the schools there; it is a consequence of wider issues such as socioeconomic deprivation and low aspirations. If these were adequately tackled then pupils' performance in school would improve as a result - in fact under this government child poverty has increased substantially. http://www.cpag.org.uk/child-poverty-facts-and-figures
    I realise this, but even within similar areas there is a wide range of achievement. The point of academies and free schools is that no parent should have to settle for a sink school. This is why so many have been set up in relatively disadvantaged areas, and standards in schools have risen over the course of this parliament.

    As for your assertion that 'entitlement' pervades the teaching profession, I would argue that everyone should be entitled to fair pay and conditions, irrespective of the sector in which they work. Teachers are already expected to put a significant amount of their own time into doing work for school - some work over 60 hours a week in total - and it is simply unjust to expect these same people, whose jobs carry such responsibility and stress, to lose the incentive of having a good pension to look forward to at the end of their working life, for example. If we're trusting them to educate our children they need to be rewarded for it, not punished.
    I don't believe their rights to fair conditions and pay are being eroded anyway. It's mostly union guff, with nakedly political ends. For many pay is likely to go up. If a poorer teacher decides their pay isn't going up quickly enough, and seeks a different career, I can live with that.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Well clearly you went to a batter school than I, well done. For the record, I'm not hating on teachers. My mum, sister and quite a few of my friends are teachers. It's a career I would definitely consider, if I weren't in my current job. Just, some of them are a bit pants, and teachers I know accept this.

    I mean, if all teachers were wonderful, we probably wouldn't have schools where the significant majority of students fail to get 5 decent GCSEs. I know background is tremendously important, but many in disadvantaged areas do manage. The sort of problem academies were set up to address.



    They are free to do so. But if they value their reputations, the quality of their teaching and their attractiveness to parents, then they will not use that freedom to simply keep the wage bill down.

    And I mean, no one is stopping an academy headteacher paying an experienced teacher more, in view of the benefit they bring to the school. And indeed, they do. It simply gives the freedom to schools to reward the most effective teachers.



    You realise performance-related pay is not simply related to pass rates? Although if grades did go up I think there would be some benefit to someone's education. But heads have discretion over the remuneration of their staff, they don't have to base it on exam results alone, and indeed that is not advised.

    As for bullying, you realise most (i.e. almost all) jobs have pay which is not simply determined by length of service? That sort of bullying is illegal, but I don't see why teachers especially need to be protected.



    Yea, I feel this is a straw-man, for the reasons above.



    I realise this, but even within similar areas there is a wide range of achievement. The point of academies and free schools is that no parent should have to settle for a sink school. This is why so many have been set up in relatively disadvantaged areas, and standards in schools have risen over the course of this parliament.



    I don't believe their rights to fair conditions and pay are being eroded anyway. It's mostly union guff, with nakedly political ends. For many pay is likely to go up. If a poorer teacher decides their pay isn't going up quickly enough, and seeks a different career, I can live with that.
    I fail to see how being sponsored and partially run by a business/charity helps 'raise standards'. Some heads of academy chains are being paid what appears to be an obscene amount more than they ought to be - out of taxpayers' money - for administrating a few schools. http://www.theguardian.com/education...-200k-salaries Surely this extra money would be better spent on improving teacher to pupil ratios if educational outcomes are to be improved as a result?

    There is also a cap on how much a teacher can earn - I believe once a teacher reaches Upper Pay Scale 3 or whatever it is called now, they are no longer entitled to any further pay increases (besides to keep up with inflation, which hasn't happened for the past several years due to public sector pay freezes) unless they take on extra responsibilities. So it isn't like teachers's pay can rise and rise indefinitely; there comes a point where the increase in pay plateaus. This is due, as I said, to them having reached a certain level of experience, measured in years of service, because what other measurement could you use that can't be abused? I'm aware that this is not the case for most jobs - perhaps it should be.

    With exam results being the focus of so much scrutiny due to league tables, it is unfortunately very likely that a headteacher will have little incentive to do other than reward teachers who become adept at teaching to the test, with little regard to how well they actually prepare their pupils for the real world (eg. encouraging them to ask questions and think creatively, which are both very important skills that are difficult to test in exams) or aid their social/emotional development, which can't be adequately quantified.

    And if academisation is designed to improve standards, why on earth are good and outstanding schools being encouraged to become academies? The 'improving standards' mantra would hold weight only if it were just failing schools which were being converted, but this is simply not the case. Quite the opposite. One of the best schools in my region, previously a good/outstanding comprehensive in a relatively affluent area, has recently become an academy for no apparent reason. What was the point of that if not to transfer ownership of publicly owned property into the hands of the private sector, as has happened throughout the public sector (for example via PFI)?

    If educational outcomes have improved, it is merely as a side effect. The majority of the people in government have no real stake in facilitating the improvement of state schools, as most were privately educated and will want the same for their own children. I would suggest that they are instead trying to redistribute wealth and services away from public ownership and into the private sector, where they will become available as lucrative business opportunities for those able to invest in them. I'm aware that this sounds rather far fetched, but it is the only conclusion I can draw from this based on the evidence at hand, and this conclusion is far from uncommon.

    Yes, trade unions are politically motivated - that is one of their main functions - but they are at least democratic and act in the interest of their members, unlike the political system we have at the moment, which is not representative of the population and is full of people there purely for their own personal gain rather than the betterment of society as a whole. Given the choice I will almost always be in favour of the most democratic side in an argument, which in this case is most definitely the teaching unions.

    I'm sorry I have turned this into something so political, but I couldn't explain my position fully without doing so.
 
 
 
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