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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:12 am 
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Posts: 19
Hi,

My son sat the 11+ at a North London superselective school, although he did well it was not good enough and although he is on the waiting list it is unlikely he will get a place to start in September.

His second choice of school, where he has a place, is his current primary school which is becoming an all-through school from this September. My son will be part of the first Year 7 cohort (120 pupils) and the school will expand as each year passes. This school is a faith school and not an academy or free school.

I attended numerous parent meetings about the school expansion programme and it all sounded great, I had concerns about staffing and raised these with the school. I was told that secondary qualified subject-specialist would be recruited and indeed a handful of these have been recruited.

My son attended the induction day last week and he received a booklet with the staff list. To my amazement there
are 6 teachers from the primary school (mainly year 5 and year 6 teachers) who are listed as being teachers of core subjects like Maths, English and non-core subjects of French, Humanities, PE and Art. These primary teachers will continue to have their own primary class and will teach at certain subjects at the secondary part. For example there are 2 maths teachers on the staff list, one is a secondary school maths teacher and the other maths teacher is the current Year 6 class teacher the same pattern applies to English. The school have said that these teachers have been on training courses at a local secondary teaching school and are therefore able to teach at KS3 level now.

In my understanding you need to be a subject-specialist/graduate in the subject you teach at secondary level. I am concerned that my sons start in Key stage 3 will be hampered by teachers who've never taught at Key stage 3 level , are unfamiliar with the curriculum and who may not have the subject knowledge required.

I would be grateful to hear whether anyone has come across anything like this before and what is the best thing for me to do about this.

Looking forward to hearing your views,
thanks
mumthree


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:45 am 
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I do know that in our primary school, we have a teacher (currently teaches all subjects) who is able and qualified to teach Maths to GCSE level. I think this is to do with having a degree in Maths and then having done the teaching qualification subsequently as well as other professional training courses. She has certainly worked with all the high achieving mathematicians in the school and has done some work in the high school too. So it may not be a bad thing at all and may bring the levels up throughout the school.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:53 am 
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Pretty much anything goes these days - and how far it goes depends very much on the category of school.

You say it is a "faith school". Can you tell us if it is voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, community school or academy? Or is it independent? This affects who you take up your quality concerns with, if they prove to be founded - which they may not be. I shouldn't think there is much you can do until you actually see if these teachers are any good at teaching the subjects they have been given. A qualified teacher is a qualified teacher and unqualified teachers are a distinct possibility in many categories of schools too now in some guise or other.

You shouldn't have been promised "secondary school teachers" maybe (whatever it means) but there's probably nothing technically wrong with what they are doing.

For a qualified teacher (primary or secondary) with a high grade maths GCSE of their own, teaching to KS3 should not be difficult if they prepare well. If they're rubbish at maths, that is worrying though. Do you have any experience of the maths teaching of the one that you are worrying about?

There's a new national curriculum this September. They might be more familiar with it than teachers who have been teaching the old one for donkeys' years.

I wouldn't worry yet. It is annoying though when you are told one thing and then another happens - it does raise your suspicions and perhaps unnecessarily so.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:07 am 
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Thank you for your replies mystery and kenyancowgirl.

The school is a voluntary aided CofE school.

Subject-specialists were mentioned in all the updates on the school expansion project over the last 12-18 months and it was never stated that primary teachers would be involved in teaching at the new secondary phase. These new teaching responsiblilties are going to be in addition to them having their own class of Year 5 or 6.

The maths teacher has been satisfactory so far, I taught my son the level 6 topics as although he was entered for the level 6 test he was only given 3 lessons on the level 6 topics.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:14 am 
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A through- school is quite a novelty in the maintained sector I would guess, and starting a new secondary (which is effectively what is happening) from year 7 upwards will always involve some teeming and lading of staff because there are not enough children in the secondary school to justify a load of full-time staff in each subject.

What can you do? I don't think you can complain about anything unless and until it turns out to be bad for your son's education (and others too maybe), and then you have to go through the internal complaints procedure and then onwards and upwards.

If you want your son to go somewhere tried and tested at secondary level, get on as many waiting lists now as you can, and appeal too.

What are they doing about a building for the secondary school?


Last edited by mystery on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:17 am 
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I qualified as a primary school teacher in the 1980s and have taught in the state sector at every level up to and including A level; and am now doing some masters-level teaching too. Once you are a qualified teacher you are allowed to teach in any school as long as the school is happy to employ you. This is not new. When I worked for the hospital education service they preferred primary teachers as they felt their skills were more transferrable and we had to teach the entire curriculum from KS1-GCSE. I have taught A level languages as I have language degrees. I consider that my teaching qualification equips me to teach anything I feel knowledgeable enough about - which in my case includes Science to KS3, English, several languages and Biology to KS4 and two languages to A level. If someone has the correct background, why not?

The only issue I have had was teaching in a special school where I felt well out of my depth with no additional qualifications to work with children with a range of severe cognitive difficulties ranging from severe autism to deaf/blindness. Shocking that someone like me could go and do that, to be honest, and I don't think the children were well-served; but up to A level - the results suggest I did OK.

Remember that academies and free schools are now allowed to do what the independent sector has always been able to do and employ unqualified teachers. Even Labour now does not support the idea that all persons employed as teachers 'must be working towards qualified teacher status'.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:46 am 
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Yes, I agree.

Voluntary aided schools are "maintained" - they received their funding dollops from the local authority, not central government, so they are (not yet) supposed to put adults who are not working towards QTS in total charge of classes. It is very grey though.

It must be very hard for worriedmum to know how this new secondary element to the school is going to develop ... . But there's risk with any school that you choose.

Do its longer term plans sound good worriedmum? Is it going to be 11 to 18? Do they have all the necessary permissions? Does it have a good headteacher with a good track record at secondary? Similar for the Governing Body?

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... ed-schools

These publications show you what a maintained school should do when it changes its age range and who can do what.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:34 pm 
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One of my DC's had a science teacher who was one of the best they have had (year 7 & 8) who was from a primary school (at that time she was still teaching one day a week at the primary) - she has since gone back. I felt she was well equipped to be a year 7 teacher & actually made the transition easy for them. I do understand your concerns, though.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Tbh they learn so little in Key Stage 3 that I would not worry v much - very different during the GCSE years though. This is not because of the academic content of GCSEs - very far from it - but rather the teacher needs to have experience of how to play the ridiculous game that leads to high grades in these turgid exams.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:28 am
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God this school mularkey is so complicated - Gove what have you done?!!! In my humble opinion I wouldn't be keen on sending my dc to a school as described - I like a bit more stability. I also reckon that most teachers want to be either a primary or secondary teacher because they feel able to work better with kids of those ages. For example I would only be interested in primary as I think I could hop between year 1 and year 6 kids. The thought of teaching a year 2 and then straight on to say year11 would freak me out. So what I'm saying is, just because someone is qualified to teach all ages, doesn't mean they will want to, or be any good at it.


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