Poor UK education standards

I think I got the gist of that, but it appears to be in some kind of code. Can you translate for me please?
SEND - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - used to just be SEN and (in the playground) the weird kids / spackers / fruitloops / windowlickers

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (previously ADD) - behavioural disorder usually characterised by extremely short attention span, impulsive behaviour, lack of thinking before acting / speaking. Often dismissed as 'bad parenting' by people who haven't met proper ADHD kids and seen the change when they take Ritalin (other ways of drugging children are available).

With that said, a lot of allegedly 'ADHD' kids, the ones without a proper diagnosis by a psychologist, are just naughty and have spent their whole lives staring at screens. Sitting in a chair quietly and writing is something quite alien to them, as is being told "No".

ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder - where the child has a compulsive need to argue back. Not the same as simple gobbiness / temper tantrums where kids will argue back with things they think are unfair. The ODD kids will argue about anything, up to and including what colour a door handle is. Quite rare, I've only met one with a proper diagnosis.

A statement is an official declaration that a child has moderate to severe SEND issues and the school are mandated to provide a certain number of hours every week with direct support (usually in lessons via a TA or LSA). Incidentally, statement is the old term and it's now an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan according to google) although I've also heard it referred to as an Education and Health Care support Plan.

LEA - Local Education Authority - back before academies were a thing, almost all state schools were run by a branch of the Council called the LEA. Parents could complain to them if they didn't get the 'right' answers from the school. As academies are outside the LEA (and effectively private businesses) it's not the threat it used to be.

And from above, TA = Teaching / Teacher's Assistant, another adult in the room who goes round helping individuals. LSA = Learning Support Assistant, someone with SEN training who is there to help a specific student (who usually has a statement / EHCP). Both are wonderful people who do a very valuable job for abysmal pay and spend most of their working day keeping the ********* busy so I can actually teach the ones who want to learn.

Edit - the above waffle explains what the TLAs mean, Grumpy's post is an accurate assessment of the overall situation ;)
 
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I chuckled quite a bit at this - Dad 'marks' schools boss's holiday fine letter

I agree with the bloke. He's going to pay the fine (it's a fair cop, etc.) but if you are holding yourselves up as being in charge of education, you really should be able to send a sensible letter.

Someone really should have had a glance, spotted at least one of those glaring mistakes and read the damn thing through properly. The relevant bit to his complaint is at the bottom: "This notice is issued by The Penalty Notice Officer on behalf of Mrs Dawn Stabb, Head of Education and Learning for Devon County Council."

On that note, does anyone know how absence penalties work with academies? Are they still issued by the council? I can't imagine an academy is legally able to issue a penalty / fine.
 
I chuckled quite a bit at this - Dad 'marks' schools boss's holiday fine letter

I agree with the bloke. He's going to pay the fine (it's a fair cop, etc.) but if you are holding yourselves up as being in charge of education, you really should be able to send a sensible letter.

Someone really should have had a glance, spotted at least one of those glaring mistakes and read the damn thing through properly. The relevant bit to his complaint is at the bottom: "This notice is issued by The Penalty Notice Officer on behalf of Mrs Dawn Stabb, Head of Education and Learning for Devon County Council."

On that note, does anyone know how absence penalties work with academies? Are they still issued by the council? I can't imagine an academy is legally able to issue a penalty / fine.
IT Printing system at fault????

No, no, no. The printing system does not re-configure the spelling of what it is sent. This is 100% down to poor spelling and not proof reading the letter before it was sent.

A piss poor education authority with shoddy admin procedures is all I can assume.
 
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A piss poor education authority with shoddy admin procedures is all I can assume.
Indeed. Although now you say that, two possibilities come to mind:
a) the council individually type each letter and it was someone extremely tired that wrote this one
b) the council have been sending out letters similar to this one (mailmerge or similar for the individual details) and no one else complained because they didn't see anything wrong / thought if they kept quiet they wouldn't have to pay the fine

Neither one fills me with confidence. Not that I think academies is a sensible solution to the problem.
 
We need to bump the thread - with that in mind, do you still hear people claiming schools should teach the 'three R's'? Apparently the meaning is not what some believe:

Course: Glossary and Terminology Bank

The article is thought provoking:

RRR ('the 3Rs')

Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic. 'Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic' is the modern interpretation, also shown as "Reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic". The abbreviation has at times been interpreted using different words, for example 'Reckoning', and 'Reasoning' have been used to represent numerical/logical capabilities. Later below in this item you will see other alternatives. 'The three Rs' - or 'The 3 Rs' - is a fascinating abbreviation. The 'The Three Rs' is very widely used in referring to young people's education, specifically nowadays a focus on literacy and numeracy (language and numbers). 'The Three Rs' abbreviation works very well because its quirky phonetic interpretation (based on the R sounds, rather than the initial letters) makes it far more memorable than the strict abbreviation of 'Reading, Writing, Arithmetic' - RWA - which obviously is not memorable at all. The 'mismatched' abbreviation also has an ironically amusing quality given its educational and grammatical context. More interestingly however... 'Reading' and 'Writing' both refer to literacy, and given the extreme rarity of people of any age who are awful at reading and brilliant at reading, or vice-versa, it seems strange that such a well-used term could carry such a duplication of effort in its meaning. There is perhaps an explanation, and within the explanation maybe a little enlightenment: Commonly, the education of young people (UK particularly) adopts a very strong literacy/numeracy focus, with the consequence that much lower emphasis is placed on the value of capabilities in other areas, notably 'making and designing things', such as artworks and all manner of physical and mechanical things. 'Making and designing things' also entails the need to understand: 'how things work'; 'what are things made of'; 'what happens if?..'; 'using my hands'; 'using tools'; 'experimenting with ideas'; 'fixing and mending things'; 'how problems have been solved in the past'; 'how problems can be solved in future', 'materials'; 'how things are manufactured and produced'; 'what things cost'; 'durability and value'; 'physics'; 'chemistry'; 'biology and the natural world'; 'safety and first-aid'; 'waste and the environment'; 'recording results'; 'measuring things', and countless other aspects of human learning and development and capability and potential, which today's 'The Three Rs' largely completely ignore. (Again in the UK, and probably lots of places elsewhere too) this is interesting because the UK seems for some while (according to general commentaries and reports) not to have enough engineers and scientists and craftsmen/women, and to have lost its once-vast manufacturing pride and industrial base. Also there seem to be lots of young people who pass through the education system and do not do well at 'The Three Rs', and who do not go on to university, and who do not seem to do very well in life as a whole. Some of these people (having been told throughout their school years that they are useless at 'The Three Rs') not surprisingly become disillusioned and later fail to find work, or worse turn to crime, producing a considerable social and economic burden. So something is wrong and people wring their hands and wonder why.... Well, actually, a long time ago young people were taught a great deal more about 'making and designing things' than they are today. Young people who were natural makers and designers (many of whom were not naturally good at 'The Three Rs') could then grow in confidence, doing things that they were good at and enjoyed doing, and so develop self-esteem, and value, personally and to society, as makers, designers, or tradespeople, or scientists or engineers, or teachers of other kids who were naturally good at 'making and designing things'. Interestingly, and again not surprisingly, 'The Three Rs' hasn't always stood for 'Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic'. One of the superfluous literacy Rs stood alternatively for 'Wroughting' and/or 'Wrighting'. 'Wroughting' is an old word for shaping and forming things with a hammer, as in wrought iron, which later came to mean 'making things' generally, derived earlier from old English meaning work. The word 'wrighting' also means making things, or building things, and designing and manufacturing things too, as in the word shipwright - a builder of ships. This word derives from old English, wryhta, from Germanic, wyrhta, also meaning work. And so maybe a new more progressive modern-day interpretation of 'The Three Rs' should be one which is probably not new at all, attributed seemingly first to a politician and one-time Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Curtis in 1795, namely: 'Reading and writing, Reckoning and figuring (aRithmetic), and wRoughting and wrighting' - in short perhaps: Reading, wRroughting, and aRithmetic.
 
We need to bump the thread - with that in mind, do you still hear people claiming schools should teach the 'three R's'? Apparently the meaning is not what some believe:

Course: Glossary and Terminology Bank

The article is thought provoking:

RRR ('the 3Rs')

Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic. 'Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic' is the modern interpretation, also shown as "Reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic". The abbreviation has at times been interpreted using different words, for example 'Reckoning', and 'Reasoning' have been used to represent numerical/logical capabilities. Later below in this item you will see other alternatives. 'The three Rs' - or 'The 3 Rs' - is a fascinating abbreviation. The 'The Three Rs' is very widely used in referring to young people's education, specifically nowadays a focus on literacy and numeracy (language and numbers). 'The Three Rs' abbreviation works very well because its quirky phonetic interpretation (based on the R sounds, rather than the initial letters) makes it far more memorable than the strict abbreviation of 'Reading, Writing, Arithmetic' - RWA - which obviously is not memorable at all. The 'mismatched' abbreviation also has an ironically amusing quality given its educational and grammatical context. More interestingly however... 'Reading' and 'Writing' both refer to literacy, and given the extreme rarity of people of any age who are awful at reading and brilliant at reading, or vice-versa, it seems strange that such a well-used term could carry such a duplication of effort in its meaning. There is perhaps an explanation, and within the explanation maybe a little enlightenment: Commonly, the education of young people (UK particularly) adopts a very strong literacy/numeracy focus, with the consequence that much lower emphasis is placed on the value of capabilities in other areas, notably 'making and designing things', such as artworks and all manner of physical and mechanical things. 'Making and designing things' also entails the need to understand: 'how things work'; 'what are things made of'; 'what happens if?..'; 'using my hands'; 'using tools'; 'experimenting with ideas'; 'fixing and mending things'; 'how problems have been solved in the past'; 'how problems can be solved in future', 'materials'; 'how things are manufactured and produced'; 'what things cost'; 'durability and value'; 'physics'; 'chemistry'; 'biology and the natural world'; 'safety and first-aid'; 'waste and the environment'; 'recording results'; 'measuring things', and countless other aspects of human learning and development and capability and potential, which today's 'The Three Rs' largely completely ignore. (Again in the UK, and probably lots of places elsewhere too) this is interesting because the UK seems for some while (according to general commentaries and reports) not to have enough engineers and scientists and craftsmen/women, and to have lost its once-vast manufacturing pride and industrial base. Also there seem to be lots of young people who pass through the education system and do not do well at 'The Three Rs', and who do not go on to university, and who do not seem to do very well in life as a whole. Some of these people (having been told throughout their school years that they are useless at 'The Three Rs') not surprisingly become disillusioned and later fail to find work, or worse turn to crime, producing a considerable social and economic burden. So something is wrong and people wring their hands and wonder why.... Well, actually, a long time ago young people were taught a great deal more about 'making and designing things' than they are today. Young people who were natural makers and designers (many of whom were not naturally good at 'The Three Rs') could then grow in confidence, doing things that they were good at and enjoyed doing, and so develop self-esteem, and value, personally and to society, as makers, designers, or tradespeople, or scientists or engineers, or teachers of other kids who were naturally good at 'making and designing things'. Interestingly, and again not surprisingly, 'The Three Rs' hasn't always stood for 'Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic'. One of the superfluous literacy Rs stood alternatively for 'Wroughting' and/or 'Wrighting'. 'Wroughting' is an old word for shaping and forming things with a hammer, as in wrought iron, which later came to mean 'making things' generally, derived earlier from old English meaning work. The word 'wrighting' also means making things, or building things, and designing and manufacturing things too, as in the word shipwright - a builder of ships. This word derives from old English, wryhta, from Germanic, wyrhta, also meaning work. And so maybe a new more progressive modern-day interpretation of 'The Three Rs' should be one which is probably not new at all, attributed seemingly first to a politician and one-time Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Curtis in 1795, namely: 'Reading and writing, Reckoning and figuring (aRithmetic), and wRoughting and wrighting' - in short perhaps: Reading, wRroughting, and aRithmetic.
The Colonial Cousins now use the ‘4Rs’, having recently added ‘Reaction to Effective Enemy Fire’.
Here in the U.K. , music, art and design are for keeping the ‘thick kids’ busy while the rest concentrate on EBACC or whatever the current government’s box ticking exercise is.
 
How do you mean work wonders? I was talking about the way "more competitive sport in schools" seems to be suggested as a panacea for all societal problems.Does it really encourage things like team work and tolerance, or does it encourage cliques?

It could be a great way of teaching things like learning from experience and how to improve little by little, but in my experience there was little teaching - you just got left to it.
The problem with using sport as a teaching tool is that about half the class are not going to be any good and while learning to lose with grace is a valid part of education, endlessly losing for no other purpose is rather demotivating. Non competitive physical activities where you challenge yourself to improve your capabilities can offer far more because even the least fit kid can always get a bit fitter.
 
at my school they seemed the celebrate the kids (mostly girls) who got right or nine grade A GCSEs, whereas those of us who could only manage say four were sidelined. Are we putting wrongful expectations on kids by expecting them to be good at everything?
If you assume that teachers are only interested in the schools rating as a way to get more pay/promotion, then this behaviour becomes easily explicable. I certainly had a headmaster responsible for some of my kids who fitted the bill.
 
If you assume that teachers are only interested in the schools rating as a way to get more pay/promotion, then this behaviour becomes easily explicable. I certainly had a headmaster responsible for some of my kids who fitted the bill.
Perhaps you’ve never attended Results Day and seen teachers high-fiving the no-hopers who, against all odds got a D. Nowt to do with pay or promotion, just why they’re in the profession...
 
Perhaps you’ve never attended Results Day and seen teachers high-fiving the no-hopers who, against all odds got a D. Nowt to do with pay or promotion, just why they’re in the profession...
I didn't say it applied to all teachers, but I have evidence it applies to some.
 
I didn't say it applied to all teachers, but I have evidence it applies to some.
True. The higher they get up the greasy pole the more it tends to matter.

There's then the round of new initiatives on the first day back to address the gaps between different groups from results day, usually written by people who confuse precision and accuracy. "We've analysed the results and found that left footed girls who also play the clarinet performed 58.962% better in the maths non-calculator paper than right eye dominant boys with a speech impediment. From now on all boys will have their eye dominance tested throughout the year and those that are right eye dominant will get extra homework in pronunciation. This will 'close the gap' for next year."

Perhaps you’ve never attended Results Day and seen teachers high-fiving the no-hopers who, against all odds got a D. Nowt to do with pay or promotion, just why they’re in the profession...
One of the few genuinely good things about working in a comprehensive school is the contrast on results day. Little Miss Cleverclogs who didn't bother revising is upset she 'only' got Bs whereas some kids, like you've said, tried really hard and are genuinely happy they didn't fail anything.
 
SEND - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - used to just be SEN and (in the playground) the weird kids / spackers / fruitloops / windowlickers

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (previously ADD) - behavioural disorder usually characterised by extremely short attention span, impulsive behaviour, lack of thinking before acting / speaking. Often dismissed as 'bad parenting' by people who haven't met proper ADHD kids and seen the change when they take Ritalin (other ways of drugging children are available).
I have ADHD/ADD - it's lot less than what I used to as a kid, but still have it nonetheless (so very low dosage of meds needed). I tried to get a prescription on the NHS after being referred to it by my GP etc. number of times, also showing them my history in the U.S. but have always been turned down for some reason or the other.

So what this means is I have to keep getting my meds every time I go back to the states. It's not the end of the world but is very annoying just don't know what else I need to do to be seen in the UK.
 
I have ADHD/ADD - it's lot less than what I used to as a kid, but still have it nonetheless (so very low dosage of meds needed). I tried to get a prescription on the NHS after being referred to it by my GP etc. number of times, also showing them my history in the U.S. but have always been turned down for some reason or the other.

So what this means is I have to keep getting my meds every time I go back to the states. It's not the end of the world but is very annoying just don't know what else I need to do to be seen in the UK.
I would guess that without a formal diagnosis you aren't going to be given medication, particularly as there have been reports of neurotypical people using ADHD medication to boost studying and exam performance.

Going back to the GP and asking for a referral to a psychiatrist would be the first thing I would try. The NHS website does have some advice but it's mostly aimed at parents - link. It looks like you would need your US medical history to get a diagnosis confirmed.

Disclaimer - I am not any sort of medical professional and should not be trusted. This is based off second-hand information from a SENCO about children, not adults. Contents may settle in transit.
 
TES article from today - Ofqual saves ‘wrongly entered' GCSE pupils from failure

Basically, if students did the higher paper, got a couple of marks but fucked up the rest they are going to be given a 'pass grade' rather than an outright fail. Now, I hate to say I told you so but:

Edit - if you want something to complain about, the whole point of making the new GCSE spec harder was to reduce 'grade inflation'. The idea was that by making papers harder, pass rates would fall and colleges / universities / employers would be able to identify the more able students.

However, the exam boards have been told to keep the new pass rates pegged to the old rates. That means if 48% of the cohort got a C last year, 48% will get a C on the new spec exams this year. Which does sort of defeat the whole point of making the bloody things harder as the grade boundaries will plummet to maintain the same pass rates :frustrated:
Then there's the whole issue of education being a political football. It takes 5 years for a child to go through secondary school, by which point the politician whose bright ideas were adopted has been replaced at least twice. Gove made all of the exams harder but, since the pass rates at A and C have been pegged to the same percentage of the population that achieved them in the previous exam series, it will make no difference. All that will happen is the grade boundaries will plummet to maintain the same pass rates.

Jaded cynical rant over.
If only someone had had the sense to feed Michael Gove feet first into a woodchipper back in 2010.

If anyone wants I will try and explain the 'combined' science GCSE route and grading system but it's really very dull and you'd be better off spending 10 minutes looking at the ginger thread.
 
If only someone had had the sense to feed Michael Gove feet first into a woodchipper back in 2010.
You bloody liberal. Where are the acid bath and rabid Rottweilers?
 
Oh, and another cracking article from today - How teachers view Ofsted: 7 things we learned today

Frankly, they might as well have titled it, 'Bears defecate in woods and other amazing surprises'. My favourite bit was this:

"The longer you have been a teacher, the less likely you are to trust Ofsted"

No shit, Sherlock. The longer you've been in teaching, the more likely you are to have had an Ofsted inspection.

"Only 17 per cent of NQTs or teachers in their first year disagreed with the statement that Ofsted was reliable.

This proportion increased to 47 per cent of teachers who have been in the profession for up to six years, 53 per cent of teachers who had worked for seven to 15 years and 58 per cent of those teachers who had been in the profession 16 years or more."

Cause and effect there I think.
 
The main effect of an upcoming OFSTED inspection is watching management running around like headless chickens, generating e-piles of documents to covers their arses. The last OFSTED I was subject to was when I had already applied for voluntary severance (and had been accepted). I sat there and watched senior management running around getting VERY stressed.

Made I Laugh.
 
GCSE results day and I am borderline drunk at 3 in the afternoon. This may be a coping mechanism.

News pages all seem to be shocked that the new harder exams had an extremely similar pass rate to the previous specification exams. The people who wrote those pieces should be beaten round the head with a copy of the JCQ regulations until they understand what pegging results to previous results for consistency means. THE SAME PERCENTAGES WERE ALWAYS GOING TO BE SEEN BECAUSE THE GRADE BOUNDARIES WERE ADJUSTED TO GET THE SAME PERCENTAGE PASS RATE! It's not ******* rocket science.

Also, Kevin Courtney has said something silly (which is a shame because he normally makes a lot of sense). The issue with
The BBC said:
Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union said "success is being rationed" with fewer people getting the new top grade compared with the previous A*.
is that an A* is now equivalent to an 8, not a 9 (which is in theory an A**). What percentage got an 8 compared to an A* last year? Probably similar, same with an A compared to a 7. Tit.

What is more of an issue with the new number grades is that kids perceive them as a straight line when it should be logarithmic. For Joe Bloggs the difference between a 2 and 3 looks the same as the difference between a 6 and 7. That lead to quite a few students looking at 7s and thinking that was average. Even when it's explained that a 9 is awarded statistically to the best 1.something% in the country they still feel like they have a mediocre result.

At least with the old letters an A was an A. You can stick whatever *^"! you want on the end but an A felt like success. Plus the issue with the combined grades as a 5-4 is no one seems to know if that's a 'strong pass' or 'weak pass'. Is a 4-3 a pass or fail? Who knows.

Oh well, almost all of them did well enough to get into college to do the course they wanted, no one will care about those results in 2 years when they get to do this bollocks all over again.

Time to go and do the data analysis to explain to management precisely how, where and why they should piss on my chips next year.
 

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