Tag "Teachers"

A missed opportunity for change?

TEACHERS across the Bailiwick will have heaved a collective sigh of relief as the bell rang on Friday, signalling the start of the six-week summer break. With the exception of the colleges, which broke up even earlier. Parents, however, particularly ones who work – and those who don’t are surely in the minority these days – are faced with the annual dilemma of how to juggle the demands of their jobs with providing childcare during the very long summer holiday, often spending a small fortune along the way. The long summer break was designed more than a hundred years ago and harks back to a time when children were needed to help gather the harvest.

Teachers must be ready to strike deal

TEACHERS, parents and pupils can breathe a sigh of relief at the decision to abandon plans for a strike at Beaucamps today. There is enough uncertainty and discord surrounding education at present without adding to it with industrial action. Parents should be able to rely on their school to look after their children and educate them regardless.

Timing is everything in school debate

EDUCATION’S staged approach to releasing information about the transformation of the secondary school system will buy it time to draw up detailed plans. However, until the full picture is put together at the end of the year, parents, pupils and teachers cannot be sure what the future looks like. The first bit of the jigsaw to come into view will be the proposals for how to transform the education estate to set up all-ability teaching in a three-school model.

Teachers’ questions are hard to answer

IT IS perhaps not surprising that many teachers are unhappy with their lot. The question is what can be done about it? Areas of concern in a recent survey by the NASUWT union range far and wide. Excessive workload, inconsistent performance management, poor pay progression, lack of faith that the system will improve. The list is fairly comprehensive. What positives there are – in much the same way as with nurses – are to be found in satisfaction at the way teachers interact with parents. Eight out of 10 said their work was valued by parents and 74% felt respected by parents as professionals.

Let parents decide if children ride to school

IT CAN only be good news that the Vale School is seeking to encourage pupils to cycle to school. Of course only a few years ago all the primary schools had a school ‘rule’ which stated that children were not permitted to ride to school unless they had passed their cycling proficiency test. Unfortunately many parents actually believed that head teachers had some sort of say on how their children travelled to school. Rather than perhaps even cycling with their children, they resigned themselves to other travel arrangements such as the car. I was told by a retired head teacher that although the rule was totally unenforceable, it was common amongst the island schools and was therefore promoted because – well, just because it was.

‘Do not be discouraged from contacting deputies’

IN THE days before the States once again debate the organisation of secondary education and in particular selection at 11, correspondence on these matters which has been received by deputies from teachers has generated some controversy and public interest. Like other deputies I have received countless emails and calls from teachers, past and present. The overwhelming majority have put arguments against selection at 11, but a few have put arguments in favour of selection at 11.

Private tutoring has made 11-plus socially divisive

I HAVE three children, each of whom achieved different 11-plus results and therefore went to three different schools. This does not make me an expert in education, but gives me an insight into the current debate. I would add that my children have now left school and all work in Guernsey. First of all, I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory that we should get rid of the 11-plus ‘because it damages children’. I have always considered that if, by the time your child is 11, he or she doesn’t realise that some people will be brain surgeons and some people won’t, then they will be totally unprepared for the many tough lessons life is able to deal them over the rest of their lives. I also don’t believe the many ‘you can achieve anything you want’ slogans which are so prominent on social media these days. (As a colour-blind person, I was never going to become a commercial airline pilot.) Of course the important thing is that each and every child achieves their full potential. Anything less than this is unacceptable.

11-plus system outdated

FOR too many generations I believe Guernsey has badly let down the majority (75%) of our 10- and 11-year-olds by labelling them as failures, as the result of retaining the highly unfair, divisive and discredited 11-plus system. Based upon the original work of Cyril Burt (b. 1883), with very strong evidence now that he actually falsified his original research data, in 1926 it formed the foundations of the Hadow report, which was adapted for the 1944 Butler Education Act which stated 25% of children are to be the educated ‘white collar workers’ and 75% ‘blue collar workforce’ for manual/factory work, which suited post-war Britain very well 76 years ago. A simple analogy could be if you had a diagnosis of cancer today, would you be quite content to receive a course of treatment and accept its outcomes, as used in the 1940s health care system?

Teachers’ views must not be ignored

I HAVE just listened to the president of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture being interviewed on BBC Guernsey. He was responding to a teachers’ survey showing that 71% of educationalists support scrapping selection at 11. I have to say that I was appalled at the dismissive tone Deputy Paul Le Pelley took towards his own professional staff. While I welcome the fact that he re-iterated his previous statement that he was in ‘listening mode’ and was willing to hear the point of view of local teaching staff, he repeatedly sought to belittle their viewpoint by claiming they had ‘a vested interest’.

Teachers’ selection is clear

WHAT was already a tough in-tray for Education to deal with has become an even trickier task with a strong majority of teachers making it clear that they believe selection should go. A survey organised by those in the profession showed 70% supported the States decision last term to move to all-ability secondary schools – this compares with 21% who would support a different form of selection. In electing Deputy Paul Le Pelley as Education, Sport & Culture president, the States put in a man it knew backed an alternative form of selection to the 11-plus.

Are deputies listening to experts as 11-plus debate continues?

THE important education debate continues. But are the deputies listening to the informed opinions of the experts? Or are they prone to listen to doorstep chatter by people who are simply nostalgic for their old school days? Or listening to those who have a vested interest in the continuation of the unfairness and inequality of a selection system? I ask them to consider the following points:

Eisteddfod is an event the people of Guernsey should be proud of

I HAD the great privilege of adjudicating the music section of the island’s Eisteddfod a few weeks ago and have been reflecting on the exceptional quality and quantity of the performances I heard. The 10 days or so of musical celebration were highly enjoyable and made a deep impression – I was made very welcome and hope to return soon to visit with my family.

Uncertainty will not let go of schools

DEPUTIES spent yesterday furiously trying to untangle the mess they had made of the review of secondary education. To a large extent they have failed and left it for others to tidy up.

The hidden danger of the late ambush

WITH two weeks to go, the battle lines have been drawn and the trenches dug in the secondary education debate. The lack of common ground on such a divisive issue is perhaps not surprising but it is disappointing that, more than a decade since the last 11-plus debate, there is so little sign of fresh thought or a way past the stalemate.

Education needs to do a lot of convincing over its plans


The Education Department is again under fire as its proposals to abolish the 11-plus and create a single secondary school over four sites have been criticised from several angles. If it wants to push them through in the life of this Assembly, there are some things it needs to do in order to show everyone that what it is proposing is better than what the island has...

Real problems with schools go beyond bricks and mortar

ONE OF the most difficult problems in all primary and high schools in Guernsey which has not been addressed is bullying. It is estimated that over 20% of all children are bullied, some very seriously. Teachers are well aware of the problem but find it very difficult to deal with.