Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-edu (21 mails)
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Re: [suse-linux-uk-schools] straw poll
- From: Paul Taylor <ptaylor@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2005 20:27:27 +0000 (UTC)
- Message-id: <200512102028.13661.ptaylor@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> This really does piss me off. Leagues tables mean absolutely nothing in
> terms of good teaching quality. There was an interview with the headmaster
> of the primary school that came bottom of the recently-published league
> tables, on BBC Radio4. He was rather annoyed that his school has been
> "named and shamed" like this.
I heard that one too. Equally interesting that the head of the top primary
said it was nonsense on stilts as well.
> So what if he came bottom? That bears nothing on the teaching ability of
> the staff. There's plenty of other factors that are considered, such as
> the funding of the school. Heck, it was a tiny primary school...
It is easy to blame the victim though. Many schools come low down on the
tables because of low "value added". According to the faceless bureaucrats,
a child's score on various tests determines their place in life. It also
determines how many GCSEs they get or how high their levels are. If students
do not get these results, then the school has not added value so is no good.
I agree with you that it stinks. However, it conveniently masks the wider
social issues that underpin poor performance from students like where they
live and what their parent's do for a living etc. That is costly, blaming
and shaming and working teachers like dogs to meet semi-meaningless targets
is far cheaper and easier to manage. The only target I have ever set myself
in teaching is how many young people I turn into decent adults. I see that
as the only meaningful "target". I don't see it on any tables though.
> What I like even more is that prior to OFSTED looking around the school,
> all the teachers are running around like headless chickens, desperately
> trying to pull the wool over the inspectors' eyes. It's pathetic. OFSTED
> should just turn up, and look around on a typical day... then see what
Yes, smoke and mirrors is very much the name of the game. In most schools I
have worked in the senior management either bully staff to do work for
students or physically do it themselves. I have been to far too many inset
days where the focus is the magic "C/D borderline". If you could potentially
achieve a grade C if staff dictate a lot to you by forcing you to stay in
after school, you're worthy. If you will never get a C, and therefore never
affect the league tables, then you can *&%$ off. I think it is sickening.
many senior staff I have worked with do not give a damn about how hard little
X worked to get their G or E.
> Of course, I realise that that is only one facet to the overall metric that
> OFSTED use in determining where on the league table to put the school, but
> even so, the league table does absolutely nothing in helping anyone
> determine what the school's ability to _teach_ is like.
As I said above, the league tables I believe are more based on how much higher
your students achieve in various metrics than the number crunchers have
predicted. The only real value of league tables is as a guide for middle
class parents to decide where to buy their new or second home.
> -- Thomas Adam
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