Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pluses and Minuses

I've been meaning to post about the teachers strike for a bit as, and this will come as no surprise, the Government are being disingenuous about the way teachers are "fighting against performance related pay".

Most teachers would be quite happy to have performance related pay. If for no other reason than it would show how the standard of teacher training has dropped in the Governments rush to get more teachers and also to be fair the general standard of education of people in their 20s and early 30s, who were "experimented" on with the idea that grammar wasn't important and now, as they qualify as teachers don't know the grammar they have to teach. Anyway, I'm already digressing.

The way the Government think related pay should work is that a teacher should get 93% of their pupils to a certain standard by a certain age or they can be deemed to be "failing". Whilst an admirable ideal, and probably very relevant in the Shires, for many class teachers this will prove impossible, and not because they are poor teachers. It has been policy for some time that children with learning difficulties should be kept in mainstream education. This is a good idea and helps a child develop to their full potential when they are borderline. M's school for instance has a number of children with learning difficulties and also a couple of children with Downs Syndrome. With the extra 1 on 1 tuition and support they receive they are coming along very well and will probably reach their full potential, which is surely a success. Except for performance related pay. A Downs Syndrome child will never hit the levels required by the relevant age. It's not possible. Not for the child, it's parents or the teacher. Allowing for a class of 30 children, you only need three children who have special needs and, no matter how well a teacher does at bringing them forward, and in getting the rest of the class to the right level, they can only hit 90% success. And the Government will not accept that a class with special needs children in it is an exception.

So what do we do?

Do we go back to a time when special needs children all have to go to special schools and be marginalised or do we do what the teachers want which is to rate teachers performance on how much improvement a child makes from their base start line to assessment time.

It's just lucky for politicians they don't have performance related pay but instead have an independent body that always manages to work out how MP's are a special case that should receive higher than average pay rises. Every year.