Schools Secretary Balls

This Government is going down the same path as Blair’s. Something that’s being done already is presented as if it’s a new policy, combined with initiatives that do not address the fundemental problems.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls has announced that he is considering new action to get rid of incompetant teachers. Perhaps he is unaware of what goes on in schools but schools endure OFSTED inspections, plus they have their own internal systems of observing and appraising class-room teaching. This system is perfectly capable of identifying and addressing unsatisfactory teaching.

If poor teachers do not improve they can be removed under the powers employers currently enjoy but Balls prefers to perpetuate the myth that it is impossible to sack public sector workers. It would appear that the Government’s education adviser, Sir Cyril Taylor, claims that the education of 400,000 children is suffering because there are 17,000 bad teachers in England.

If he is making this claim on the basis of poor SATS results, he really should consider that poor learning and poor results are often due to the disruptive behaviour of the kids themselves. If teachers are constantly trying to suppress a riot, it’s a little difficult to teach as well.

In order to make our education “World-class” teachers are to be “encouraged” to gain masters degrees. How is this going to change anything? If you have a Bachelors degree, you have already mastered your subject sufficiently well to be able to teach it at secondary school level. But that’s not the issue is it? The issue is that the Government needs to find a whipping boy for its own failings. 


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One Response to “Schools Secretary Balls”

  1. dvnutrix Says:

    I take your point as to the compulsion involved but my initial reaction is that so many Masters courses are pale simulacrum of genuine scholarship and research that they are not worth having. Yet, I fully understand that some people (particularly teachers) have so little time that they have no choice but to select an undemanding qualification when this becomes box-checking.

    I also think that mandating a Masters seems absurd when too many times, too many teachers find themselves covering for subjects for which they are not qualified because of absent colleagues/unfilled posts. One of my relatives is qualified to PhD level in his own subject, however, he has recently had to teach Geography and Maths (subjects in which he has an O-Level education and the fact that these were O-Levels not GCSEs should say something about the contemporaneousness of his knowledge) because of staff shortages and lack of budget to hire appropriate cover.

    The majority of my older relatives were teachers and embody the belief that teaching is a vocation and one that they were privileged to follow. However, teaching has changed so much that they couldn’t wait to retire. None of them could recommend it as a career and none of the current generation in my family is a teacher.

    Teachers and teaching have been undermined and politically abused for decades: sadly, there is no indication that this will change, no matter how powerful the rhetoric.

    Sorry for the length of this comment – this is a subject that makes me feel sad.

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