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 Post subject: Mike to Patricia (3)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 11:09 am 

Just wondering, if it is within forum rules, whether we can extend our discussions to include education reforms.

With the revolting John Prescott disagreeing with Labour party proposals, along with 58 backbenchers, to introduce what is termed a two-tier system, is there a need to change the existing system, and if there is what would be an ideal alternative?

My thoughts:

I think every LEA should follow the same system.

I think that there should be no choice available at the primary level, children should go to their nearest catchment school or their nearest religious school and follow a national curriculum. I believe that communities have been fragmented and that schools should be the centres of communities. I also believe that the transportation of large numbers of children between 8.00-8.30 a.m. and 3.30-4.30 p.m causes road traffic problems and increases road traffic accidents.

I think that selection should be made at KS3 rather than KS2 and that the choice should be based firstly on what the student wants to do. If they want to follow an academic route they would need to demonstrate a proficiency and desire to do so, further education and higher education would then provide an existing route for them to follow. If they want to follow a vocational route then a system should be created to allow this and suitable provision should be made to extend vocational training to a trade of choice in the same way that the academic routes provides a choice of degree.

This is not a two-tier system, the quality of the academic teaching and the vocational training would be focused on outcomes and achievement.

I would suggest a system of "holding back" (if that is the right expression) students who have not achieved basic skills levels in numeracy and literacy, not allowing students to proceed past the KS3 level for one year to allow them to catch up. This system of "holding back" already exists within the 'A' level system where students who do not pass the AS level in the first year re-sit it in the second year then proceed to A2 level in the third year.

I think the system of "holding back" at this age will help to clearly identify students with SEN at the specific and general level, and money that is currently waisted can be used more effectively to help students integrate into the system.

How does this link to 11+? It would mean the end of 11+ selection for ten year olds. I think a lot of people agree that imposing great pressure on ten year old children to pass selection tests is inappropriate. I, as a tutor, work with a system, but that does not mean that I agree with the system.



Don't forget to buy the goose fat for your roast potatoes, a lot of stores will run out of it by next weekend.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2668
Dear Mike

This is a 'hot one'......will take me a week to understand and a week to make a comment!!![LOL]

To any one reading the Mike/Patricia threads.

I have already stated on the No 1 thread that these discussions are actually open to anyone. If any one wants to reply why dont you open a new topic under exams or general topics [ or something else should forumadmin wish to add yet another section]


 Post subject: Education Reforms
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:18 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:31 pm
Posts: 1170
Dear Mike,

You are free to discuss the Education Reforms. Would you like a separate section created for these discussions?

Kind regards,

Forum Admin

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 5:36 pm 
Hello Patricia

Agree, anyone with an opinion on the reforms or any ideas how the education system can be changed please contribute. The more people who contribute their views the better.

Hello Admin

Please don't add another link, most postings go off topic too quickly and some of the links have not been used since the site was split.



 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:33 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Mike,

Just a few comments as I haven’t got much time.

In brief, you want an improved comprehensive system identical in all LEAs. In KS4 pupils could choose between academic or vocational studies, and there would be a possibility of holding back for sudents who haven’t achived basic skills level.

In principal, this seems quite good, and may be (I am not a specialist) an improvement to the actual comprehensive system. More quality voacational studies is probably a good thing, and the system of holding back looks like a good idea.

In my view though, the main problem of the actual system is not its sctructure, but the difference in the quality of different schools. There are very good comprehensives where students achieve even better than in grammars. But there are also very bad ones. How would you address this problem?
And also, something makes me laugh (not a snide comment, just laughing). You system relies on quality education for every pupil. How would you realise this considering your opinion of teachers?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:27 pm 
Hi Catherine

I think vocational training will draw back into the education system many qualified teachers who have left it. The number of teachers that would be required at the academic level would be less, therefore the system would be able to employ the best teachers. This is a simple case of supply and demand.

I would like to emphasise that I do not think all teachers are bad teachers nor do I think all tutors are good tutors. Remember, I did agree with one of your postings on the matter.

Schools are bricks and mortar, it is not the quality of the schools, nor is it the socio-economic differences between schools that are important. It is the quality of the teaching staff, their commitment to teaching and most importantly the ability of the headteachers and governors to implement discipline within the schools.

If people who are employed by the education system cannot perform their roles within the organisation, like every other industry, I would remove them and replace them with someone who can do the job.

I have made a point in a previous posting that there has been a dumbing down of education in this country, leading to skills shortages. It may be necessary, as in the health system, to bring competent people into this country to supplement the work at the management and consultancy level of the education system.



 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 3:10 pm 
I too have read Mike's comments elsewhere and wasn't actually going to make a contribution as I am a secondary school teacher. Vocational training in some cases is merely used to get disruptive children out of the classroom so that some learning can go on. I don't know why vocational training would attract more good teachers into the classroom. There are some children in school who fail from the moment they enter at the age of 4. These are the children that later become disaffected because of the constant reinforcement of failure throughout their school life (but not all do, so I don't think blanket generalisations are useful). I wonder why we are keeping children in school if they clearly dislike it so much. I don't believe that vocational training is going to make a blind bit of difference, as these children have given up on school. They could go to college, but then if they continue their disruption, how is a college going to cope.

I fail to see why children need to study subjects such as Shakespeare, which has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the majority of our children. It also serves to put them off for life.

I understand that we need to focus on outcomes and achievement, but often this concentration on outcomes is not the best for the child. Some children are unable to achieve in the conventional sense and are thus seen as failures by the system. I feel that league tables have a lot to answer for, as schools are blindly focussing on outcomes at the expense of everything else. GNVQs examples of qualifcations being used to boost a school's league table position without considering what is best for the child.

I teach at a secondary school, so you could say that I was one of these useless teachers who dumbs down the subject that they teach - sorry about that, but I didn't know that I was responsible for the syllabus provided by the exam board, or indeed the pass mark of a gcse. By the way, there is no difference between teachers at grammar school and those at comprehensives - the grammar school teacher just have an easier job. If you start with selection, by golly you should be getting good results at the end.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 4:05 pm 
Hello guest who is a secondary school teacher

I agree with much of what you say.

The point I was making about giving choices at KS4 i.e vocational or academic and the impact that it would have on the academic staff is that there would be less demand for academic staff, therefore the less able teachers would either need to re-train to acceptable standards or would be selected out of the system.

I believe that many qualified teachers would be attracted back into teaching if the system was more acceptable to them. I seem to recall a statistic some years ago that suggested that there are more qualified teachers not teaching in this country than those who are.

There are pre-sixteen places already available in further education colleges for students in this area and I agree with you that many of these places are taken by disaffected students. However, my opinions on offering choice, is to offer choices to all students. I was not advocating a two-tier system whereby less able students followed a vocational route. I would suggest that many able students would choose a vocational route rather than an academic one. Likewise many less able students may choose the academic route and thrive within it.

The academic route for many students is a debt ridden route with no guarantee of an income at the end of it. The increases in students attending Universities has had a dumbing down affect on the value of B.A. Hons degrees. There was a time when industry was falling over themselves to employ graduates, this is no longer the case because there are so many of them.

The vocational route then becomes the more attractive route because students would be able to work towards a trade that would give them a real future.

If the government offered a real alternative to an academic route I think many students would take it.



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