Thursday, 24 October 2013

In praise of teachers

The propaganda has been growing for a while, and the result is now evident; this country is in danger of becoming obsessed with the belief that good results in our schools can only be achieved by the appointment of what Nick Clegg calls "top talent", in other words "oustanding headteachers" and "ambitious deputies". (Clegg wants champions league of headteachers in schools, 24/10/13) It`s accompanied by the other dubious idea that such people must get "substantial pay rises", as we all know that teachers, like nurses and social workers, only joined the profession for monetary reward, and will only make a real effort for their pupils if the financial inducement is sufficient!
    Good leadership is, of course, essential in all schools, especially as the head has overall responsibility for discipline, but it is the work done in the classroom which determines academic improvement and the examination results. Hunt`s recent support for Performance Related Pay was, therefore, all the more disappointing as it revealed that Labour has started to believe the Tory propaganda. So it was good to see that the Guardian, in its "In praise of ..." section, not only acknowledged the excellent work of the staff at Thornhill community academy, but the fact that there are many teachers "out there who really should be national heroes". My one complaint about the "Educating Yorkshire" programme is that it concentrated on, presumably with viewing figures in mind, the more difficult children, and ignored what also happens in comprehensive schools with GCSE results like Thornhill`s: children handing in homework, discussing literature amongst themselves, writing essays in silent classrooms, analysing and challenging sources, evaluating data, speaking a foreign language etc, not just because a truer picture of the whole school would emerge, but politicians would learn that Goveism is not based on factual evidence, and historian, Tristram Hunt, should really know better!

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