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Oh God- 'traditional teaching methods'. Well, i went thru the comp system during them 80's ( in leafy West Oxon btw) and it was a complete and utter waste of time. I was NOT intersted in the slightest and school was definetely NOT 'kool'. I went thru the entire 5 years of drudge without having the foggiest about algebra, long division, or equations. I know not about adverbs, verbs, or conjunctions. Don't even mention the sciences- OR languages. Success in exams do not equal intelligence. Years ago i worked alongside from some students to one of Scotland's 'top' universities. They were as thick as pigs*it with no common sense whatsoever. This was confirmed later on whilst i got into 'one of Scotland's top universites'. The amount of people who could not write an essay! Hilarious. I'm afraid that wholescale reform of the entire system is needed. That will take more than a couple of generations before the effects are seen.

Three of the top 10 comprehensives are city technology colleges and there are only 15 CTC's in the whole country! If we can't have vouchers let's have more of these. They are not the same as city academies as some ill informed people seem to think. They were created thanks to Thatcher in 1988 and give real freedom to schools.

Lots to agree and disagree with here.

Streaming, yes, on balance. Some lessons to be mixed ability though or else you get a divided school.

Blazers no. Uniforms for sure, ties proberbly , but blazers are expensive and hard for parents to keep clean. The important thing is there is a uniform of some sort.

The trouble with reciting times tables is that it isn't really learning maths. Get kids doing maths without calculators and the times tables will take care of themselves

Long lunch breaks yes. Hopefully more active stuff for non-sporty kids though. Anything to get the playstation generation more active.

Exclusions yes, although in itself that doesn't solve the problem of what we then do with that kid.

Free market no no NO. Anything but this. It's woefully inappropriate. Education is NOT a commoditity.

So far, so good. Why not now return to the best of the traditional methods - indeed, to their foundation - academic selection? The arrangement of classes in rows was thrown out as part of the drive towards mixed ability teaching. It was naively or disingenuously assumed that by sitting the pupils in sociable clumps the able could assist the struggling. Of course, what happened was that the struggling bullied the able. Teachers have already written in these pages that giving a sincere and accurate reply to their questions is a risky business for a comprehensive pupil. As for the proposal that setting be implemented in every school - this can only be a blunt instrument where the range of cognitive talent is so absurdly wide. The problem has lately been exacerbated by the closure of special schools for those with serious intellectual or behavioural problems. Few capable graduates in any respectable discipline will wish to teach the best sets in a comprehensive if it also means that they have to waste their time in front of the backward, the delinquent or the unwilling. If there was anything the matter with British schooling between 44 and 65 it is merely that selection was not sufficiently detailed. It is time to destroy the comprehensive school once and for all. It has brought nothing but misery, illiteracy and brutality to the lives of countless victimised pupils. It is a vindictive egalitarian abyss and a scandalous, complacent, establishment conspiracy on a par with the workhouse of Dickens's day. Those who support it are numbered among the vain, the sentimental, the cowardly and the malignant. Michael Gove should not lend such people the slightest comfort.

Most of the schools have below average free school meals - ie are in the best areas and probably do not have a full range of pupils.

Do not base policy on the "ideal" situation.

Who runs the lunchtime activities? Teachers have a contract that, shock horror, entitles them them a lunchbreak!

Just an idea - why not set up a panel of teachers to discuss these issues. Not politicos, just real people.

Couple of fair points from Ian

Most of the schools have below average free school meals - ie are in the best areas and probably do not have a full range of pupils.

Do not base policy on the "ideal" situation.

Personally I'd have schools with socially mixed catchment areas- and fixed catchment areas at that so you go to your local schoool end of rather than this insane scramble for places at so called 'good' schools.

Who runs the lunchtime activities? Teachers have a contract that, shock horror, entitles them them a lunchbreak!

Absolutely. Perhaps a better idea would be short-ish 30-40 min lunch breaks with 2 or 3 'free choice' hours a week for pupils-where they can choose activities of interest, but they have to do something. Discipline and compulusory subjects certainly have their place, but slowly introducing kids to choice is also a good idea, otherwise they turn 16 or 18 and all the 'freedom' is suddenly too much.

Ian Redwood - if a panel of teachers was set up to dicuss these issues it would be called a PR stunt. Also let's not think they have all the answers, they of course have vested interests. On the issue of lunch time activities how about appointing prefects in all schools to help with supervision? Or how about just having two periods for lunch so not all teachers are eating at the same time as is done now?

Uniforms with blazers are very much needed, they don't cost much and schools help out with second hand sales. They teach children to take pride in their appearance and picture themselves in a good job. Also I often see comprehensive school kids with their designer trainers and coats. Don't be fooled into thinking the money is not there (parents get enough benefits these days). Also comstock's point about how a great amount of setting would lead to a divided school is wrong. My school had sets for all subjects and a good thing to. The purpose of a school is not to provide 'school spirit' it is to provide first class education. Also setting dosen't even divde a school when there are mixed tutor groups and a house system which is academically mixed.

Education will only improve if there is a free market. We would never allow the government to be the sole provider of our food so why should we let them be the sole provider of education (to the great majority that is).

It's always amazed me how labour members seem more focused on preventing poor children having educational choice than they are about closing down private schools. We never hear about the latter these days.

Gove didn't say "free market in education" - the interviewers did.

Gove said we should look at the Swedish system. That is NOT "free market" - it allows anyone to set up new schools, allows the parents to move their child there, and shifts the money from the failing to the new school. That IS a radical change but it is NOT "a free market" before people start spreading this across internet.

Good ideas Cornstock, but you will have to free up time on the curriculum, that could be controversial, but not un-doable. Drop RE for a start and combine it with an hour of PSHCE in a general civics lesson. Make drama, art and music part of the optional lessons would also be my suggestion. You could also make the English teachers teach more language and less literature. Scrap media altogether. Much of geography could be combined with science and PHSCE its no more than left-wing nonsense about development anyway.

The catchment area idea is good for cities, but harder in rural areas. Sadly many education policies from all of the parties are aimed at urban areas with huge populations. Diplomas, sixth form colleges and school choice are classic examples.

Comstock, free market does not mean McDonalds School's. It does mean that people are allowed to choose which school they go to. This simple roole (ho ho) means means crap schools will go under and the really good schools get to take them over. Its not a bad idea, its a brilliant idea.

Also on blazers - they are not bad but very good. For the price of a pair of trainers a kid gets a garment with is tought, long lasting, versatile, smart and recognisable. Poor families get much better value for money with blazers. I don't like seeing kids streaming out of school in cheap baggy sweatshirts and elasticated sweatpants. Blazers are great, and are so long lasting work great as hand-me-downs or second hand.

A lot of good stuff to consider but I hope that a tory government will not become too prescriptive where education is concerned.

Government, as has been proved time and time again, just cannot manage anything (which is why the Blair/Brown micromanagement team must depart asap).

Choosing teachers to advise on schools is the right idea but they must be the right sort of teachers; those that are seen shouting the odds at union conferences need not apply.

I hope that the independent sector will be asked to contribute to the debate, as the good independents are among world leaders in education (the bad ones aren't).

They could help with the curriculum, advise on reducing testing and the best exam system to meet the needs of the 21st century.

They can demonstrate the value of sport in schools and all the other numerous extra curricular activities that they have not ceased to offer for the wider benefit of children.

What the government should do is consider how best to educate the yob element in our society, preferably separately from those kids who actually do want to get on and succeed.

Couldn't agree more, Oberon. I don't know how they manage to source fabric that can take the levels of abuse that the average school uniform does, but it is a very cost-effective way of dressing the young dears. After all, they are going to wear _something_ aren't they, so it might as well be something hardy. And, as you say, you can pass them on once the kids grow out of them.

Once you throw in the egalitarian aspect of uniform (those with cash are virtually indistinguishable from those without) and its ability to bring an organisation together the pros massively outweigh the cons.

"Or how about just having two periods for lunch so not all teachers are eating at the same time as is done now?"

This is done in some schools, but timetabling a large school in this manner is a nightmare and you would need a large staff to do this. It would be expensive - you are effectively timetabling another lesson. If there are 7 classes in each year thats 35 periods per day, multiplied by 5 which is 165 periods or over eight extra staff - around £240,000 per year for a 1000 student school. Even if you are really clever and cut this in half, it's blooming expensive and would cost £360,000,000 to introduce it into each secondary school in England alone. Then of course you would need to fund the activities by buying chess sets!

"hope that the independent sector will be asked to contribute to the debate, as the good independents are among world leaders in education"

They are world class at educating the academic elite. If we are to boost our education system we need teachers who can polish coal, not cut diamonds.

For the sake of tidiness, Ian redwood, please try and keep your thoughts within one comment at a time.

Thank you.

Ian Redwood - I am somewhat doubtful of your stats. How come so many state schools can afford two lunch periods? After all not all state schools let their pupils eat out at lunchtime - just look at the list of the top 100 comprehensives. Alot of schools need to handle their finances better.

Alternatively how about have teachers who are interested in clubs? At my school I remember a teacher who loved chess so people brought packed lunches to the chess club and ate it when playing chess. The teacher did the same, he was dedicated. Of course he also ended up getting promoted for this attitude. Teachers should be given such incentives. Or if the school is really unlucky and somehow manages to get staffed entirely by people who are obsessed with not doing a minutues extra 'work' than their contract says (which is unlikley) my prefect supervision idea should be tried. The bottom line is this: many state schools operate activities during lunchtimes. Some activities don't even cost anything e.g debating, quizes. So many people in schools take a defeatist attitude that things can't be done because of X, Y and Z. These people do not belong around children.

Also just because someone does not go to a private school does not mean they are 'coal' and those who go to private schools are 'diamonds'. Many state school pupils go on to do great things.

But if the schools are teaching so much better, would that not mean more time could be dedicated for the kids to do stuff they choose, a chess club at lunchtime is not expensive. I remember at school legging it almost a mile down to the council sports centre at lunchtime, playing 30min out of a 40min squash game for 25p and legging it back to school. Happy Days...

Also - if teachers do out of hours activities with the kids, then this should be recognised but not necessarily under their direct contracted hours. How about giving more honours to teachers who dedicate their time to this, or giving headmasters a quota of leave to hand out on a discretionary basis? Or even adjusting their pensionable age, again allowing quotas to be used. The school board could even take into account extra-curricular contributions when setting pay bands/promotions in schools fully independant of the LEA, which are gradually disbanded as they are not required.

Who knows, I ramble, but independadnce is the REAL key to improvement over not just maths and english, but happy well adjusted and social kids for a new generation. This idea, done properly would be a real lasting legacy of this generation of Conservatives, just as Thatcher was for markets.

"I am somewhat doubtful of your stats. How come so many state schools can afford two lunch periods?" Having split lunchtimes is not the same as having pupils supervised by teachers. It is usually done to allow more flexible timetabling of things like sixth form lessons. The fact you doubt my data is an indication of how little you know about school budgets. As a governor with finance responsibility these things occupy a great deal of my time.

"After all not all state schools let their pupils eat out at lunchtime" - most large secondary schools would find it hard to feed all of their students in one hour without outlaying huge capital sums on catering facilities. Equally, the local business community often depend on lunchtime trade.

"Alot of schools need to handle their finances better." This is true, but most do manage them very well and they do not have the huge sums needed to carry out this idea.

"Also just because someone does not go to a private school does not mean they are 'coal' and those who go to private schools are 'diamonds'. Many state school pupils go on to do great things." Here you misunderstand/misrepresent - the public schools generally do not have large numbers of "average" students and have very few "below average" students. Less able students do not pass the entrance exams and so do not make it that far. The school I am associated with has quite a few independent school rejects who go on to flourish. Also, it is not uncommon for independent schools to ask a below-average student to leave befoe the exam day so they do not distort their figures. State school have experience of dealing with all abilities - most independent schools do not.

Comstock, free market does not mean McDonalds School's. It does mean that people are allowed to choose which school they go to. This simple roole (ho ho) means means crap schools will go under and the really good schools get to take them over. Its not a bad idea, its a brilliant idea.

It's a positively dreadful idea, Oberon. Choice is not the solution, it is the problem

'Good' parents (who- and I'm generalising here- often have better behaved and harder working kids) will move heaven and earth to get their kids into 'good' schools even if they are oversubscribed. Other parents will either not care, or, even if they do, not have the nous to play the system to their best advantage.

So 'bad' schools will not fold or go under,they will simply stay bad. The result (and IMHO we have this already) is a two-tier system. The only way to break this cycle is to give each school a fixed catchment area and make those areas as socially mixed as possible.

This is brilliant stuff from Michael Gove.

Very, very, very encouraging.

I must take issue with Ian Redwood at 13.42:

"Also, it is not uncommon for independent schools to ask a below-average student to leave befoe the exam day so they do not distort their figures".

I am sure that this might have happened occasionally but it is not so widespread as to deserve the above comment. In all my (wide) experience of independent schools, I have never come across a single case.

I wouldn't argue against Ian's statement that these schools do not get many under average pupils, for the simple fact that in order to progress a degree of selection is good and that is why the output of the remaining grammar schools is so good.

In actual fact, if the ethos of independent schools embraced the less able - as long as the pupils showed a desire to advance - the results would probably be very rewarding for all concerned.

Maybe Ian would also like to comment on the educational value of sport and extra-curricular activities, music, drama, debate, CCF etc?

It is striking how many of the recommendations are in line with those the independent sector self-impose.
With regard to uniform, most supermarkets stock cheap blazers as long as parents can buy the badge.
I still find it amusing to watch parents walk up the drive of my son's all boy independent day school with children decked out in brand new uniform on day one, only to join in the scrum at the second hand stall, when they they see everyone else do it.
My husband coaches rugby at a local club. The intake is socially mixed . My sons private education is something of a "novetly" to the boys. My husband insists they follow the club rules and come to games in the club tie, as a statement of togetherness, professionalism and pride. It came as a bit of a surprise to some who didn't even have a shirt with a collar. [They wear polo shirts to school.]
We made arrangements. There is alway a way round. He NEVER has to remind any them to do it. For the most part, they wear it with pride.
If you have low expectations of children you only have yourself to blame when that is all they achieve.



''Having split lunchtimes is not the same as having pupils supervised by teachers'' - the fact that they have split lunchtimes means that not all staff eat at the same time, not all are busy with some having free periods. Thus they are able to supervise activities.

''It is usually done to allow more flexible timetabling of things like sixth form lessons''.

It's usually done because they can't fit 1000 kids into one or two canteens at once.

''The fact you doubt my data is an indication of how little you know about school budgets''.

Let's focus on the issues not personal attacks. I have no interest in such petty comments. They are beneath me. Just because you claim to know the date for one school does not make you infalliable.

''As a governor with finance responsibility these things occupy a great deal of my time''.

Do schools actually let governors do such things? I thought they just rubber stamped such things.


''most large secondary schools would find it hard to feed all of their students in one hour without outlaying huge capital sums on catering facilities''.

Indeed that's why I'm arguing for two lunch periods. You seem to be going in circles. At my old school there were two canteens and two lunch periods. We started at 8.30, finished at 4pm and were and still are one of the best schools in the country. No one ate lunch outside of school. It's also one of the best state schools in the UK. If they can do it others can as well.


''Equally, the local business community often depend on lunchtime trade''.

Irrelavent. Schools serve pupils not businesses.

''This is true, but most do manage them very well and they do not have the huge sums needed to carry out this idea''.

How do you know the majority manage their finances well? It would not require huge sums to supervise chess and debating clubs. I don't know why you think it would cost 'huge sums'. Perhaps not all teachers want their full lunch break? Perhaps some will want to run clubs? Or am I putting too much faith in the goodwill of teachers? Activities would work like this: a teacher wants to say teach pupils how to debate so he start a club and they meet say 10 mins after the start of lunch or bring packed lunches and eat them at the club. It's quite simple. You haven't even addressed the idea of prefects taking a lead. Also what happens in your school when it's a wet lunch break? It must be total chaos given no staff are there to supervise all the children. If I was head of such a school I'd want to sack all staff en masse for being such obstacles to progress.

''Here you misunderstand/misrepresent - the public schools generally do not have large numbers of "average" students and have very few "below average" students. Less able students do not pass the entrance exams and so do not make it that far. The school I am associated with has quite a few independent school rejects who go on to flourish. Also, it is not uncommon for independent schools to ask a below-average student to leave befoe the exam day so they do not distort their figures. State school have experience of dealing with all abilities - most independent schools do not''.


They just seems a cop out. Stop making excuses and tackle the issues. No wonder state schools are in such a bad way with all these excuses. Look at the CTC's in the top 100 list - 3 of them are in the top 10. If you know anything about CTC's you would know they take mostly inner city kids. Yet they do brilliantly.

Radical Tory, here we go.

Teachers are human beings - they need to eat, drink and go to the toilet. A teacher will probably start their formal day at 8-30 (probably having been in school fo anything up to an hour before that) and will probably teach until 12-30ish. During that time they will have little contact with any other adult, they will not have had a drink, they will not have eaten or sat down. They need to rest and recharge for the afternoon and let their food settle so as not to be crippled by heartburn. They also need to dismantle the morning's lessons and set up the afternoon's. Leave them to rest and stop being obsessed with blooming chess clubs and debating societies which the average 14 year old will not want to attend.

Wet lunchtimes are not chaos because we employ lunchtime supervisors to keep order. They are supported by members of staff who are on the leadership spine who usually do not teach that much and so can eat either side of the formal lunch hour. You claim you would sack teachers who insisted on basic terms of service - you would not have to do this as most would leave your school and sue you for breaking their contract.

"Do schools actually let governors do such things? I thought they just rubber stamped such things." I am sorry, and this is not a personal attack it is a statement of fact, shows how little you know.

Prefects will not work - kids cannot legally be left in charge of other students. You could change the law, but then most parents would be unhappy with this. You could employ people to run clubs - but again this would cost.

Finally, you cannot get away from the fact the independent schools have a much, much higher ability profile than state schools. CTCs (which are so small in number that any conclusions drawn from their perfomance is unsafe) also cream off the best kids and the most supportive parents leaving other schools with the rest.

School canteens are, in many cases, bleeding schools dry. They do not make a profit and their losses are subsidised from school budgets. The more students who eat in school, the bigger the loss per meal. Trust me on this one, I have spend many hours on this issue. Just as I have spent hours looking at reports on school finance, which is why I know that most schools do not do a bad job with their money.

My objections are not excuses, they are based on experience. I want schools to be better, but we need to not fool ourselves into thinking 21st century state schools can be run like 1940s selective schools or modern independent school. Let's start to look for a new way forward.

[email protected]

I am in favour of extra-curricular activities. But they should not be piled upon teaching staff. Why not get volunteers and parents to do it.

A final note:

As a party we still have to come to terms with a few basic truths - the teaching profession is made up of human beings. They cannot be expected to do everything. They are not the same as the NUT. They do not shout and scream at ministers. They care about their pupils and their educational performance. They give up hours of their own time. They are good people. They are not the same people who taught (or did not teach) us in the 1980s. They face a different world to the one we grew up in. We should listen to the real teachers and work with them.

''Teachers are human beings - they need to eat, drink and go to the toilet. Leave them to rest and stop being obsessed with blooming chess clubs and debating societies which the average 14 year old will not want to attend''.

Leave them to rest? They are at work! They get good salaries, great security, great pensions, good holidays etc. They need to toughen up and realise they can't take the pubic secotor for granted. It is irrelavent if pupils are not interested in such clubs. If they are not there will be no demand and so no supervision. But how about we give them a choice? Let them decide? If they want to learn how to debate great, lets encourage that. If it's good enough for private schools why not state schools?

You seem to be saying such activies should not be allowed even if both pupils and a teacher would like to put them on.

''Wet lunchtimes are not chaos because we employ lunchtime supervisors to keep order. They are supported by members of staff who are on the leadership spine who usually do not teach that much and so can eat either side of the formal lunch hour''.


Now we are getting somewhere. So you can afford to pay for supervisors to look at kids when they eat eventhough teachers no doubt are also eating in the same canteen but as soon as someone wants someone to supervise someone playing chess the money can't be found. Ridiculous.


'You claim you would sack teachers who insisted on basic terms of service - you would not have to do this as most would leave your school and sue you for breaking their contract'.

I would sack teachers who take schools for a ride as so many do in comps.

''Prefects will not work - kids cannot legally be left in charge of other students. You could change the law, but then most parents would be unhappy with this''.

I think they would be happy that their child is learning a new activity. Either way private schools use prefects for some supervision at time. Can't state school pupils be trusted? I wonder what type of school you went to...

''Finally, you cannot get away from the fact the independent schools have a much, much higher ability profile than state schools. CTCs (which are so small in number that any conclusions drawn from their perfomance is unsafe) also cream off the best kids and the most supportive parents leaving other schools with the rest''.

Untrue. They take bands i.e top 25% but also the bottom 25%. A whole range of abilities is taken in.

'School canteens are, in many cases, bleeding schools dry. They do not make a profit and their losses are subsidised from school budgets. The more students who eat in school, the bigger the loss per meal. Trust me on this one, I have spend many hours on this issue. Just as I have spent hours looking at reports on school finance, which is why I know that most schools do not do a bad job with their money'.

Now its not a bad job? Seems to be getting worse. Let's have some figures.

'My objections are not excuses, they are based on experience'.

An experience moulded by one school.

''I want schools to be better, but we need to not fool ourselves into thinking 21st century state schools can be run like 1940s selective schools or modern independent school. Let's start to look for a new way forward''.

School vouchers.

First of all Tim, I apologise for posting again! But I have spent a large part of my day researching the schools on the "top 100" list and they are not run-of-the-mill schools in terms of size, make up, student profiles or admissions. The OFSTED reports back this up, as do the school websites. Many of them are faith schools with strict admissions procedures. Others are very small with small numbers of SEN students. Where I have been able to track down other local schools, it seems that they often cream off the best students leaving others to pick up the rest.

Please lets not make policy based on these unrepresentative school. If I can pick holes in the list in my man-flu reduced state the media will do the same. More importantly, the policy will fail another generation of children.

Tim, set up a group of teachers to come up with some policy ideas.

I will post no more on this thread.

Ian at 15.31:

"I am in favour of extra-curricular activities. But they should not be piled upon teaching staff. Why not get volunteers and parents to do it".

I used to teach in an independent school (admittedly quite a few years ago but I know that the same sort of thing goes on still) and I taught French to A level and German to GCSE. I was in charge of the cricket in the school, helped with 1st Xl hockey and took the 3rd XV at rugby.
I was a Housemaster and took school trips abroad and virtually all my colleagues did the same, because the breadth of the job was all important. It was hard work (we had a full day on Saturdays) but this school is still in the top 20 schools academically in the country and I know the teachers are still doing all sorts of activities other than classroom teaching.
At that time, we used to play sport against a few big state schools; their teachers were just like us. They loved to organise the cricket, the rugby, hockey or football etc in their schools but I know that this setup has largely fallen away and it would be very difficult to get teachers to take on those jobs again.
I hope, Ian, that you would agree that these extra-curricular activities are often the making of young people, especially the less academic (yes, we do have them in independent schools).

I have always held that the aim of education was to discover the latent talent that exists in every child and the job of the teacher was to develop that talent to its maximum.

That is perhaps why a disproportionate number of tonight's England team come from independent schools.

"The only way to break this cycle is to give each school a fixed catchment area and make those areas as socially mixed as possible."

That will go down like a cup of cold sick with the electorate. Nobody is going to want to have their choice of school made for them. If anything it's spitefully authoritarian.

Please do comment, Ian Redwood (16:20) - just not one comment after another.

:-)

OK, I will post. Radical Tory, I am so pleased you will not be making education policy. One comment in your last post stands out:

"I would sack teachers who take schools for a ride as so many do in comps." You insult so many from a position of ignorance. You seem to want to run schools like 19th century coalmines.

If you want more data on school financial performance go to the OFSTED website and read a selection of reports.

Generally, your replies to my posts have not hit at the heart of what is being said, you have ignored the practicalities, the evidence and the legal situations. Why not actually spend some time in a modern school before you reach for the keyboard. You clearly do not understand the differences between independent and state schools and so you cannot post with any authority.

Leave them to rest? They are at work No, Radical Tory, they are on their lunch break. I expect you get one? (if not, your employer is proberbly breaking the law)

It strikes me that each new batch of youngsters leaving school is more immature than the last. We only have to see footage of young people from fifty years ago to see the vast difference in maturity in the young of that era and the young of today.

Education must carry much of the blame for the fact that young people leaving school lack emotional maturity. Children no longer have to think for themselves, everything is laid-on. The touchy feely left-wing takeover of education during the 1960s is at the root of the problem. Liberalism has infected our places of learning and has poisoned our children. It really is time to take our education system apart and rebuild it from scratch.

I think what Mr Gove is proposing is superb. Well done to him. He should ignore all the defeatists who've been infected by the state education system's failure. Use the best schools as a model for the rest. Unless we aim for the best our schools will never improve. People who just make excuse after excuse 'oh we take lots of poor pupils', 'oh lots have special needs' etc need to leave education policy to serious people.

'You insult so many from a position of ignorance. You seem to want to run schools like 19th century coalmines'.

I want schools to be run with efficiency and discipline. I am far from ignorant about education, I've been through the state system. Have you?

'If you want more data on school financial performance go to the OFSTED website and read a selection of reports'.

If you want me to believe what you say you must provide date otherwise your views are no more than rhetoric.


''Generally, your replies to my posts have not hit at the heart of what is being said, you have ignored the practicalities, the evidence and the legal situations''.


Far from it. Legal issues should just be changed when we i.e. true conservatives, are in government. There are great state schools in poor areas. It's already happening on the ground! I don't think I could get more practical.

''Why not actually spend some time in a modern school before you reach for the keyboard. You clearly do not understand the differences between independent and state schools and so you cannot post with any authority''.

I have backed by comments up with examples of state schools like CTCs which are in poor areas and do not select the academically best. Its so sad to see that people who claim to be involved in the running of state schools are so defeatist and when things get tough they reach for the old excuses 'we're a state school, we have social problems to deal with, don't expect much of us'. Frankly it's a disgrace.

State schools can be as good as private schools. Do you not accept this? State schools simply require freedom and sensible leadership (i.e. strong headteachers who take no nonsence from either pupils or staff) and they will flourish. Just because people come from poor backgound does not mean they can't learn. Hopefully you will soon realise this.

Comstock wrote ''No, Radical Tory, they are on their lunch break. I expect you get one? (if not, your employer is proberbly breaking the law''.

Let them choose how they spend their lunch break instead of trying to manage their every hour. If they want to run a chess club what's it got to do with you? These teachers need to try working 19 hours a day in the City.

I support Michael Gove's ideas .... with one little niggle: times tables were something we learnt by heart in primary school, not secondary. The class had an oral table and spelling test first thing on games afternoon and anyone failing didn't get out to play football or cricket. That put me in an invidious position - excellent at spelling and tables (though not much else) but hating to be outside in a raw winter and therefore sorely tempted to display a seasonal variation in test performance!

Defeatists, Wreckers, Agents of Reaction, Not One Step Back! Radical Tory, you seem to be driven by a hatred of teachers rather than a desire to help the children. Are nurses to blame for problems with the NHS? Are the ordinary bobbies responsible for rising crime?

Sorry again Tim, Radical Tory's post has overlapped with my last one. I am going out after this one so I will not be bothering you again.

For the record - I went to a comprehensive school where only 3 out of 250 made it to university. My father is a plasterer who was unemployed for much of the 1980s when I was at school. I got free meals at school and in at Primary school and in my first year at secondary I was classed as having special needs. My parents supported me, the school supported me. I got 6 O-levels, three A-Levels and went to a Russell Group University. My school was like a state of war - the kids were monsters, the parents thugs, the teachers heroes. You could not have excluded naughty children because there were too many!

I work 19 hour days in the private sector and I would not trade places with teachers who give their time beyond the school day marking, planning and supporting students. 12+ hour days are not unusual. They also work at weekends and during holidays. Leave them alone!

Mr Redwood, please don't attempt to misrepresent me. Let's focus on the issues. Of course police arn't responsible for crime, the thugs are. Perhaps if we had more discipline in schools this would not be such an issue. However police often aim for targets now rathe than cathc criminals. Also the main problem with health is the NHS, nurses being such strong supporters of it are a problem, thats why we need to tackle their union more.

Teachers must not expect a free lunch (they actually get those of course, yet another perk). For too long public sector workers have been sucking this country dry. It's time to get tough on them and reward the wealth creators.

Let them choose how they spend their lunch break instead of trying to manage their every hour.

But if they are expected to run chess clubs they are not choosing how to spend their lunch break.


These teachers need to try working 19 hours a day in the City

Hell won't just have frozen over, it will be close to absolute zero before I feel sorry for City fat cats.

Don't want to get off topic but if your employer really is expecting you to work 19 hour days.....

a) they are breaking the law- both the one that requires a 11 hr break between shifts and the 48 week one.
b) Perhaps you should spend your Saturdays on websites looking for another job and/or reporting them?

I agree with much of what the Tory party has said on policy but education is one area I feel they are completeley confused.

They say they want to give schools and parents complete freedom and choice on how they want their schools. However they then say a Tory government would bring back synthetic phonics and introduce a 'grammar stream' in every school, these are top down policies and the opposite of how a tory governmnet was meant to be different.

Wrong again Radical Tory: Teacher's dp not get free lunches. They pay full price if they eat in the canteen.

Businesses, charities and faith groups paid to run state schools...? Good idea, but would this bring the businesses, charities and faith groups under too much suffocating state control?

Radical Tory is being a pain. Belt up please Sir! Good job Ian Redwood. Valuable contribution.

Mr Redwood - just because teachers in your school don't get free meals does not mean all state schools are the same. I think your views have been influenced far too much by this one school you claim to have links with. Perhaps your school could afford free meals for staff if you got rid of their 'lunchtime supervisers'. Not that I'd want a school to waste money doing this.

Henry Mayhew - this site is partially for debate. If you have an issue debate, don't just call for people to shut up.

Comstock - my point has always been if teachers wish to do lunchtime activities they should be allowed. I believe teachers would, in fact it already happens in state schools. Schools which have a culture which rejects such activities are a problem as they are dominated by teachers who are more interested in their contracts and waging war with management than helping pupils. Let's not put anything in the way of such activities.

My point remains. Teachers have vested interests, we must not agree with everything they say. Sometimes they are part of the problem. Those who think otherwise are living in a fantasy world and are worryingly naive.

The biggest single factor for schools is the headteacher. Our policies should principally support and give freedom to good headteachers and make sacking bad headteachers much easier.

If a return to traditional teaching methods results in the preservation of the purity of the English language, correctness of punctuation and the avoidance of inappropriate neologisms, then I am all for it.

There are many examples of bad spelling on these threads, and they are not merely typographical errors, as they appear recurrently - definitely is one such example. There is of course the usual abuse of the apostrophe!

In the end Radical Tory you are very ill-informed about education. I am not just linked with one school - it is a fact not a claim as you so rudely put it - I have links with others, attend governor's conferences and read widely about the subject as I take my role very seriously. If you are suggesting that we abolish the "dinner lady" or lunchtime supervisor, once again we see your ignorance or stupidity shine through!

Radical Tory says

"Uniforms with blazers are very much needed [...] they teach children to take pride in their appearance and picture themselves in a good job."

then goes on to say

"The purpose of a school is not to provide 'school spirit' it is to provide first class education."

I fail to see the connection between wearing a blazer and receiving a first class education.

(As an aside - fewer and fewer people wear a jacket and tie to work - yet some of us seem to think that the wearing of blazers will fix our schools. Do we have any actual evidence for this?)

At my (comprehensive) school there was the option of wearing a jumper or a blazer. In all my time at that school I don't recall ever seing a single pupil wearing a blazer.

We never recited times tables, never learned to conjugate verbs, and certainly never memorised dates of kings and queens.

Do we seriously think that those are the things that define "a first class education"?

''In the end Radical Tory you are very ill-informed about education. I am not just linked with one school - it is a fact not a claim as you so rudely put it - I have links with others, attend governor's conferences and read widely about the subject as I take my role very seriously. If you are suggesting that we abolish the "dinner lady" or lunchtime supervisor, once again we see your ignorance or stupidity shine through!''

Why should I believe you? Your 'arguments' suggest you don't know much about education. Today alot of people who claim to be involved are just busybodies who don't actually do anything, that's why LEA's have professionals. I never suggested abolishing dinner ladies. Do these supervisors of yours just supervise kids eating, if they do as their name suggests, they should be sacked. I'm quite concerned that someone who resorts to petty insults because their arguments are so weak has a role, be it very minor one, in a school.

Toryjim - There is a connection between a blazer and good education, just look at the top 100 comps table. Blazers create an atmosphere conductive to providing a first class education, they make chidren have pride and self esteem and so help themselves want to better themselves. It makes them think they can have a suit job rather than working on a building site and so they work hard. It is one element but still an important one. Of course students wouldn't choose to wear them but so what? Since when should schools be ruled by pupils who are obsessed with 'street cred'?

Give it up Radical Tory.

"Do these supervisors of yours just supervise kids eating, if they do as their name suggests, they should be sacked." Again you ask a question that shows how little you know. Not to know what the role of a lunchtime supervisor is in a modern school shows just how ignorant you are. I am not just insulting you here - I'm showing how little you know. You may not accept my arguments and you may call me a "busy-body", but I give my time freely as a governor appointed by the LEA because of my links with the Conservative Party. Getting committed governors is hard and your comments will not make it easier. Why not volunteer and get some real experience so you can drop your prejudices and replace them with informed opinion.

As for the comment "that's why LEA's have professionals" - Good Lord man you have spent a whole day attacking teachers and now you say they should be making decisions at an LEA level. Most LEA officials were teachers once, or did you not know that as well. Oh, but maybe I'm just making that up as well.

'Give it up Radical Tory'.

No.


"Do these supervisors of yours just supervise kids eating, if they do as their name suggests, they should be sacked." Again you ask a question that shows how little you know. Not to know what the role of a lunchtime supervisor is in a modern school shows just how ignorant you are.

In my school we never had them. My school spent money on computers, books things like that not people to watch children eat. So do these people do that? Or are they the dinner ladies? If it was the latter surely you would have said it by now. Are you seriosuly telling people you let a state school spend money on people who just watch kids eat in the same room as teachers? That might be a modern school where you come from but in my books its a waste of money. I'm not the ignorant one, i'm the one with common sense.

'I am not just insulting you here - I'm showing how little you know'.

Coming from someone who won't give me a straight andwer to my question about the role of these supervisors that's a bit rich. Perhaps you should go and pay your school a visit during lunchtime?

''You may not accept my arguments and you may call me a "busy-body", but I give my time freely as a governor appointed by the LEA because of my links with the Conservative Party''.

And?

''Getting committed governors is hard and your comments will not make it easier''.

I never knew I had so much influence.

''Why not volunteer and get some real experience so you can drop your prejudices and replace them with informed opinion''.

People don't need to be governors to be informed. On that logic your not informed because your not in the school every working day. Let's not forget governors also have vested interests. Often they can be pat of the problem, for example, when the care more about staff interests than pupils.

''As for the comment "that's why LEA's have professionals" - Good Lord man you have spent a whole day attacking teachers and now you say they should be making decisions at an LEA level''.


No. You seem unable to differentiate between an observation and a judgement.

Radical Tory is bonkers - also his use of English is poor. Maybe a spot of time back at school would do him good.

"On that logic your not informed because your not in the school every working day."

Should that be "you're"? Schoolboy error. Write it out 20 times you simpleton.

Okay that's enough. This post has strayed off the focus of Sam's original post to a dispute between a few posters. Thread closed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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