Who do they think they are?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by stevetrom, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    An elected government decides that it is in the best interests of the countries 11 year olds that they all take a common test to try and assess their comparative levels.

    An unelected group (the NUT & other unions) feel that they are so important that they should disrupt the intentions of our elected government.

    Just who do they think they are?
  2. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    They are the people who actually do the job of teaching, or at least they try to when they aren't having their students jumping through the hoops that the government "experts" (many of whom have as much experience of teaching as most tenor horn players do of playing principal cello in a symphony orchestra) think they should be doing.

    The SATS exams are like many of the government targets - useful for people to make comparisons which don't show the full picture - they don't feature the value added aspects of a school's curriculum (such as what the musical life of the school is like - something I would have thought is quite important to people on here), they don't show from where the school starts out (if the school is in a deprived area and achieves good results this is, in my opinion, more impressive than a school in a traditionally excellent academic area who achieves the same thing) and they don't always give a good indication of what the teaching is like - it is quite normal in some schools for there to be a few weeks of "Practice SATS" so that students get used to the ideas of exam taking, they are "trained" in how to do well in those specific tests, rather than being taught a wider curriculum which will be of far more use in later life. The musical equivalent of this are those people who have played 2 pieces and a study for 2 years, then gone into a room and played to an examiner, achieved Grade 8 and then announce to the world that they are a great performer, despite the fact that they can only play 2 pieces and a study at that level.

    Many students are put under a great deal of pressure when it comes to SATS, both from schools and their parents. Not all of them come out of this time well. Suffering obvious signs of extreme stress (along with lack of sleep through worry and not eating properly) is not necessarily something I would suggest we want to see in our 11 year olds. These observations are taken from my own experience in schools.

    One final thought - we didn't elect our current Prime Minister, yet he seems to think he has some kind of influence upon the way we should all lead our lives.
  3. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Don't really know to much about it Mike, how do the parents feel? Steve (possible a parent) feels strongly about it. Should they have a say whats right/wrong for there children instead of a union?
  4. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Please see the election thread. We don't live in America, in the UK we vote for the party not the person. It is up to that party to appoint a leader, not the electorate.

    Otherwise, regarding SATS I agree completely.
  5. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    Whilst you may chose the person because of the party, you don't have to. You may chose a person who has been a committed local MP despite their politics. I am sure there are plenty not far from me who voted for Norman Baker (LibDem) simply because of his record of actually attending and asking questions - lots and lots of them!

    Come the election, you will be asked to place an X against a person, not a party.
  6. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Does anyone else think we have too many election threads at the moment;)
  7. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    I was referring to the role of Prime Minister.

    Clearly, you will vote for a person in your constituency but you are not voting for a Prime Minister. As an electorate we have no say as to who that would be other than through the choice of governing party.
  8. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    Personally, as a teacher, I think the government scrapped the wrong set of SATS tests, but that's another issue entirely and I wonder if many secondary core subject teachers would disagree!!

    I am a member of the NUT. I didn't vote on this issue because it didn't affect me as I am a secondary teacher (and I didn't open the ballot paper in time! D'oh!).

    Just as an extra point to this issue of unions - I voted against the strike in 2008, but I still went out because that is what the majority of teachers in the NUT voted for and nothing would make me cross the picket line of my own union. If I disagreed with an issue that strongly I would withdraw my membership, as I have known a couple of members to do over the strike in 2008.
  9. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    but it will affect 1000's of students (and parents) and they didn't get a vote at all

    on the one hand teachers ask to be treated as professionals and remind us that they always put students first.

    Then they vote to strike.
    I am a 'professional' and I have never even thought about going on strike, and who does a strike affect most? the students who get one chance at education.
  10. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    Back to the original point.
    We managed to rid ourselves of the KS.3 SATs (thank God), only to see schools introducing their own replacement tests! Why?
    Teacher assessments should be trusted and are an important part of monitoring and assessment.
    As I have just taken early retirement after 30+ years as a secondary school teacher, I have been able to see the tests from the point of view of a teacher, a parent and more recently, as a grandparent.
    I honestly believe that children are being tested to the point of burn-out, and schools now tend to teach them what they need to learn to pass the tests, rather than the broad curriculum that they would really benefit from.
    I have visited many primary schools in my role as Transition Manager, and I have often seen yr.5s, already being coached for the tests in yr.6.
    As a parent, I have always believed in allowing children to remain children for as long as possible.
    As a teacher, I have encouraged my students to hang on to their childhood for as long as possible, as you are an adult for a very long time.
    These may be old-fashioned values but I believe that the fun is being taken out of learning, for the sake of statistics and league tables that rarely reflect the knowledge that a child gains.
    General knowledge is being watered down to the point that some graduates only have a subject-centred education, rather than a real 'knowledge' of the world.
    This is not an attack on the education system, just a middle-aged man saddened to see the enjoyment of learning taking a back seat to the pressures of percentages and tabling.
  11. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I have no problem with your (very well informed) opinion, my problem is with unelected Unions forcing their 'opinions' on to the whole educational system.
  12. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    Ok ... here's my point. I came out of university in 2003 £16k in debt. I had to use the loans system to pay my way through (and yes, I had a part time job). My starting salary was £17.5k. My friends I lived with at uni with did a year less than me and had higher salaries in the private sector, and started work a year before me. I know things are slightly different now with the recession, but that was certainly NOT the case in 7 years ago when I came out of uni.

    So say that goes on for a few years. Where are your best graduates going to go? Into teaching, or into the private sector with the higher wages? Therefore, who is going to be teaching your kids in the long term if schools cannot compete with the private sector? So in the long term, that will be more of a knock-on effect that a student missing one day of education.

    Put it into perspective for a minute - in my Year 11 tutor group only two students haven't missed a day through illness or holidays or appointments or anything like that since September. The ones who have missed one day are not going to suddenly fail their GCSEs.

    However like I said, I understand the NUTs position, but I did vote against the strike myself as I didn't think it would be effective and all it has done has create bad feeling.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2010
  13. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    We didn't get a vote on whether we wanted them in the first place!! ;)
  14. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    how many 11 year olds do you know who would willingly vote to do any tests, never mind SATs? ;)
  15. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    I have never taken SATs in my life but I have done many tests. Since year 5 I have sat an 'end of year exam' where I have been tested on everything I have studied in every subject. This has proved to be really helpful as it gets us use to exams and still gives us a broad curriculum.
  16. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Probably, perhaps we should have a seperate thread to vote on it :rolleyes:
  17. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    How have you managed that?!

    Obviously I don't know how old you are, but it was only a year/two years (?) since they scrapped the year 9 SATs.....and they still have them in year 6 and year 2 right? Or at least, even if they don't, they surely must have done since you've been to/at school! It wasn't that long since I was at school....not really.....

    *she says, trying to convince herself that she IS still young.....just*
  18. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    One thing that I didn't mention was that I was also NUT rep for around 25 years in my last school and from memory, we did vote on the SATs issues and the majority voted for a boycott.
    I felt that the majority of parents were not aware of the amount of pressure put upon their children, particularly in KS.1+2.
    All parents want their children to achieve well, (usually to achieve above their own educational qualifications) but rarely do they appreciate the stress that the pupils/students are under to accommodate that.
    Why should a 7 year old need to be 'tested', other than by the traditional teacher assessment and parental monitoring?
    Children are indeed assessed regularly within the system (my last department up-dated tracking monitoring every six weeks, as well as the students having self-monitoring systems and home contact reports!)
    Children are assessed at the end of key-stages, as well as SATs at 7 and 11. GCSEs, AS levels and A levels - then they go on to do their degrees! Then work!!!
    No wonder society is seeing a decline in behaviour from adults, as it's the first time they are able to have fun.;)
  19. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Wise words Mark.

    I also see the problems of "over-coached" kids who can get high "levels" at KS2, (which serves the purpose of making the Primary School look good in the league table) but who are incredibly needy, and are unwilling or unable to think for themselves due to always wanting to get the "right" answer. We then end up with unrealistic targets for KS3 due to inflated KS2 scores in order to demonstrate "progress" and "value added". All that ends up happening is that "teaching to the test" again becomes the priority.

    I teach some fantastic pupils and it saddens me to have to adopt this approach as it is very constrictive and to be honest, not much fun for them and me.
  20. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Back to the poiont.

    I wasn't trying to say that SATs are good/bad, my annoyance is with the teachers/Unions who feel they know better than the elected government.

    At least we can (very soon) vote out a government we don't agree with, can I vote out a teacher/head teacher from my childs school?

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