Monday, February 22, 2010

On Education

I watched the second in the dispatches series on children and maths. I was pleased to see much progress in the school, with many of the children improving considerably.

I do hope the head teacher, whom I regard as brave takes note that there not only is nothing wrong with his pupils, but there never was, only an issue with the teaching provided. When it improved so did the children's maths.

It seems to me that primary education is overlooked, yet by the end of primary school many of our children's futures are set. If we were to make the right investments in primary education however, secondary education would be much easier, the children would get more out of it and in fact, we could spend less on it if that was desirable.

Do not get the idea though that I am advocating spending more cash. I am not. Far from it. One thing that this Labour government have tested to destruction and proved to be entirely false is the idea that if you throw cash at it, it will improve. They have also tested to destruction, and proved sadly wrong, the idea that some gibbering idiot in Whitehall can teach a child 50 miles away by bothering their teachers with endless bits of instruction.

We need to find a better way. It starts with teaching the teachers, and frankly some of them need it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Education! Education! Education! What chance have our children got?

What chance have our children got when the primary school teachers can't do maths?

I have just watched Dispatches on Channel 4, Kids Don't Count (Part 1 of 2), and did the test that they set 155 teachers here. Apparently only 1 out of 155 got what I would regard as the minimum mark required, 12 out of 12. Something like half got 50% or less.

Do we seriously expect children to get anywhere when the teachers can't do the maths?

Lets be clear here, a primary school teacher does not need to be maths geniuses, but they do need to be able to do the sort of questions their students are expected to do in their sleep. (The test above is aimed at primary school leavers).

The head teacher who allowed dispatches in was very brave, if useless at maths. Clearly we have a problem, and we need to test teachers on the basics and where they fail, they will need remedial training. If they still fail, they need replacing.

Ed Balls and Michael Gove were asked to take the test. Both declined. Pathetic. I took the test and got the 12 out of 12. That means I can do primary school maths. One would hope primary schools teachers could, and also that those who seek to run education could as well.