The focus appears to be ‘teaching to the test’, now who’d of thought schools might reort to such a thing when the other option is to be labled as failing?
I hope that this is a shot across the Government’s bow about the high stakes testing / league table problem that blights our schools, but unfortunately the reporting in the press lays much of the blame at the teacher’s door. I have seen no mention in the press of the shortage of specialist Maths teachers in relation to this figure of ‘half’.
We are working hard with out pupils to increase the understanding of Mathematics, in particular with our new Y7s and the focus on their Personal Learning & Thinking Skills and developing an understanding of cross-curricular links. This is incredibly difficult to achieve in the time frames we have and the pressures of resluts and league tables.
Balls apparently wants to win the ‘hearts and minds of teachers’ today by enshrining in law the 10% non-contact time. In my experience, schools have been good at granting this time for some years now and the strength of teaching unions ensure it happens. Good headline-making it may be but this will have little impact on the real pressures that we face in the job. I voluntarily give up some of my 10% time to mentor small groups of key pupils to ensure they get their grade Cs, and all because of the legacy of league tables.
As our city is besieged by MPs this week it remains to be seen if any real change will be promised to the profession.Disclaimer: as with everything on this blog, these are solely my views and do not represent those of my school or my LEA.