@bbceducation If Education is fouled up it’s been done by politicians not teachers

You can’t blame schools for doing as they are told.

Government, through the DfES, sets school targets, sanctions GCSE awards (four pass grades for Computer Studies, one for Physics), appoints Ofsteds (and sets their criteria for failure), oversee’s Exam Boards, defines National Curriculum, decides Governor powers and duties.

In short, the presiding Cabinet Minister decides what schools do.

One pathetic example of this was a Cabinet Minister ordering that Science Lessons must include graphic details of coitus etc. This was followed by staff having to glue pages of their new text books together, before they had even been issued to pupils, because a new Cabinet Minister forbade such detail being shown.

Everything that has happened in our schools is down to decisions by Ministers, not classroom teachers.

Even teacher opinions on Education are guided by the courses set, under the auspices of the DfES, in teacher training. Teachers don’t qualify, unless they accept the approved mind-set.

If we have teacher’s with poor Numeracy and Literacy, it is because they are the product of the scramble to re-invent education after Sputnik and JFK’s call for America to improve its Science teaching.

We scrambled to follow, throwing out Science teaching methods, which had stood us in good stead for generations.

(This was the beginning of a great period for  publishers of text books, etc.)

We took on Nuffield Science, which was more “hands on”. I.e. children brought toilet roll cores and cotton reels etc. into school to emulate Blue Peter style experiments. it wasn’t enough to say that when you drop something it falls to the ground, pupils had to drop different objects and see this for themselves. (yes! that ridiculous).

It didn’t stop there, because we had to abandon rote learning of times tables, so instead of knowing that 9 x 7 =63, as older family members did, children added up 7’s, using their fingers to count out 9 additions, so they understood what 9 x 7 meant. This meant that those pupils (today’s teachers’ generation) couldn’t do calculations fast enough for GCSE.

Ok, they were allowed to use calculators in exams.

If they had fat fingers, that was tough, as their math wasn’t good enough to see if the answer was reasonable.

Literacy was also fouled up by the theory that children should be able to pick up reading by simply following a story being read out by others.

Worse was the experiment with ITA (remember this was all Government directed and taught to teacher’s in teacher traing colleges), whereby pupils had to learn a new alphabet and read from books written in a new form of English.

No-one (in a position of power) stopped to consider that the rest of the World (including employers and newspapers) was still using the Old fashioned version of English.

English graduates were coming into school’s not knowing the difference between licence and license.

This aspect wasn’t helped when schools became computer literate with Microsoft able to offer French, German etc. versions of their software but not English(UK).

So under Blunkett, we famously had, for a time, the DfES approved spelling of Sulfur being taught in schools and tested in exams.

Education in this country has been downgraded, the qualifications are devalued and pupils (and the country, as a whole) have been cheated.

Not by teacher’s but by the politicians who say “Go, Thither” and “Come, Hither”.


Apology DfES is used to refer to what is presently the Department for Education, but has changed its name (at great cost on letterheads, graphic designs and general signage) with each cabinet re-shuffle, being at various times the DFES,DFE,DOE and many another and with many reversions.


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