Good Bad and Ugly of 2013 & Hopes for 2014

With the turn of another new year, we asked educators to share the best and worst trends in education which they experienced during 2013, as well as hopes for 2014.

Worst trends in Education 2013

With inspection regimes changing the formula for visits, respondents to our survey showed a significant trend in the goal-post moving which is thrust onto schools, who then appear to work in a way that best suits the inspectors, rather than what is best for the children they teach. The way OfSTED appears to have become politicised was of great concern to quite a few of the responses:

The politicisation of Ofsted and the constant changes which have led to a lack of continuity and reduced accountability (comparisons for example are useless, whether of inspection results, data etc).Data led Ofsted inspections. Ofsted chasing

This pressure, often led by data, appears to leak down into management practices which places unrealistic expectations on teachers. One Design and Technology teacher also shared concern about the lack of importance of the subject on the national agenda as “we need designers, engineers and trade people to have a successful country to compete world wide.”

Another response epitmised many of the concerns shared:

Trend to less Teaching Assistants; less staff doing more work; increased responsibility on teachers for all areas of development regardless of the previous experience of the child even at home; More formal education; more emphasis on tests; switch to scitt rather than university based training; an emphasis on knowledge over skills and understanding. More business like attitudes eg. Handling of money like a business in an academy. Results driven curricular, target grade driven teaching, and a culture of management bullying.

Among all the responses we received were voices sharing concern about a lack of consideration for children’s rights; schools employing unqualified teachers; and some of the best classroom practitioners feeling undervalued and leaving the profession.

Other irritations include:

Demonstrating progress in 10 minutes lesson time. Relentless box ticking with mini mocksteds/book scrutinies. Development of highly critical, judgemental environment from unrealistic SLT demands/expectations. Massive workload increase and increased pressure on teachers to deliver ever improving results

Best trends 2013

It was clear, through the responses received, that teachers are collaborating more, which is helping to improve CPD and pedagogy. Sharing good practice with colleagues than constantly relying on external courses was seen as a major positive trend which is becoming more popular. Twitter, and the support of the communities on social media, was also mentioned by teachers as having a positive contribution on personal professional development, to discuss key policy initiatives, and sharing best practice.

One responded shared these thoughts:

1. The start of a groundswell of educators at all levels who are starting to go back to basics regarding what is important about education.

2. Increased independence from weak LAs for certain schools.

3. Return to discussion of quality pedagogy – not just regurgitating the National Strategies standard lessons.

4. Principle of Pupil Premium.

The focus on grammar was applauded by a few, along with freedoms of the new curriculum and a move away from GCSE’s for Year 10 pupils. Another response showed some respect in that the management unions (ASCL & NAHT) are starting to campaign more strongly in favour of ordinary teachers.

In terms of technology, the heightened use of tablets being used in lessons for dynamic and engaging Assessment for Learning strategies which can also focus on delivering best outcomes for pupils.

Hopes for education in 2014

Here is an uneditted list of hopes shared through the survey:

  • That the DfE will listen to the professional subject associations.
  • De-policticising education and forming a ‘Royal College of Teachers’ to lead, guide and support the profession.
  • OfSted banned from labelling schools and setting policy, an end to free schools, no more talk of PRP, equality of treatment between SM and academy schools, renewed trust in EAs, children treated as children instead of data.
  • Gove doesn’t change the GCSE removing course work and replace with a end exam with greater weighting and disadvantaging weaker students
  • Having time to develop resources based on ict
  • HTs and SLTs can be trusted by ofsted
  • A year of non tinkering
  • Less govt intervention and some stability to bed in
  • More relevant cpd for teachers particularly in cross curriculum use of IT
  • Michael Gove steps down! More freedom for teachers. More public awareness of the work we do. More recognition for the work of support staff.
  • Stability
  • That Gove will go and the new curriculum will be scrapped.
  • Michael Gove gets forced out of education!
  • Don’t have any. Looking forward to 2015 and change of govt.
  • That the ed sec begins to think through policies and explore their effectiveness before implementation.
  • Learners remains centre of what we do
  • Teachers are given more respect
  • Stability, continuity and reason/common sense and respect.
  • More creative curriculum
  • That the National Curriculum tests won’t be brought back
  • Less scrutiny
  • Gove doesn’t end up prime minister
  • To be allowed to implement changes without all the directives
  • Stability to plan more effectively
  • To maintain pupil enjoyment in learning.
  • That we focus on Learning.
  • To be allowed to get on with the job without interference.
  • That people work together to realise that students can achieve more than they are expected to at most schools in the country. Everybody should be given equal opportunity. A grammar school quality education should be available to all.
  • The public see through the rhetoric and myths surrounding academies.
  • That all sides stop bashing each other and choose dialogue instead!
  • Educational quality will be rewarded and celebrated on a local, national and international level
  • Students are able to access a truly personalised curriculum which prepares them for 21st century living
  • Realistic progress measures.
  • Schools not shooting themselves in the foot with ridiculously inflated level 6 results.
  • That things settle down so I can teach children and not be re reading, swapping and changing specs.
  • That the hours I put into work don’t get rubbished by the government any more!
  • That the way I’m teaching the new specs leads to success for our students, because quite frankly …who knows! Grade boundaries, boards changing, new rules all the time…it’s almost a guessing game!
  • That the proposed model is adapted to take into account the needs of all our learners
  • Proper teacher training by universities
  • An end to Ofsted
  • An end to chain academies
  • Student learning is at the centre of what we do. Decisions and policy making tempered with realism.
  • Recognition of the true value of teachers
  • To leave the sector, unless teachers get more professional support and respect

 

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