Thursday 31 October 2013

Those who can…

 The row over qualified teacher status continues with yesterday’s  motion for an Opposition Day debate,‘That this House endorses the view that in state-funded schools, teachers should be qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status while they are teaching.’ challenging, or at least giving the appearance of challenging, the coalition’s Free School programme. Labour’s Tristram Hunt has hinted that he may send his own children to private schools as so many hypocritical champions of state education do, thus avoiding any need to confront the outcomes of his proposal.

The debate was entirely predictable, of course, with both sides banging the drum, both sides claiming the moral high ground and both sides ignoring the grim reality that in the view of many, education in Britain is clearly a disaster and furthermore a disaster fifty years in the making. Watching from the inside, as a pupil, I saw my combined Grammar and Secondary Modern school deteriorate over a single school year as it became a Comprehensive just one year behind mine. Add to that incarceration, against their will, of thuggish fifteen year-olds now compelled to attend another year and it was as if the school just lost the will to live.

Teaching is a hot topic worldwide right now, so much so that a World's Top Teacher competition is to be launched next year: But on what basis will the winner be judged? Will their efficacy be assessed over, say, twenty years to show how the kids actually benefited? Or will it, more likely, be based on the number of theoretical pedagogic concepts that can be demonstrated in a twenty minute lesson? In which case it becomes just another example of the pointless exercises in self-justification so beloved of politically motivated organisations. It would be far better to run a competition to investigate and demonstrate just what has gone so horribly wrong in the last half a century to reduce our own state education system to the shambles it quite clearly is.

Or is it actually not a shambles at all but the intended culmination of a series of shadowy conspiracy theories? Is it a Leftie triumph, preparing the mediocre to live out their lives as a client underclass on benefits, creating a justification for immigration and helping to rub The Right’s noses in diversity? Or is it, as some may claim, a Rightie triumph whereby the children of ‘the poor’ are given only sufficient education so as to be useful workers for the children of the rich, as this parody in the Evening Harold illustrates? It’s the same, the whole world over, it’s the poor wot takes the shame, eh?

One thing is for sure and that is the years of steadily declining outcomes – employers and universities have been bemoaning the unpreparedness of their young intake for several decades now – can’t be just entirely accidental. It may be negative feedback originating in the nineteen-sixties obsessions with introducing radical new ideas, each diminished generation passing on their mediocrity to the next, but I somehow doubt it. No, I think there is something worse at the heart of all this – the expert. In a world where even the amount of sugar allowed in jam has to be regulated by government the obsession with pedagogy is almost inevitable. And in such a nebulous area as child development everybody is some kind of expert; which is to say, quoting William Goldman out of context, “nobody knows anything”.

During yesterday’s Commons debate MP Pat Glass said “Qualification is the very basis of a state-run education system.” (Qualification, not Competence.) And there we have it; as ever the argument is for closed shop, state-run institutions because as everybody knows, the state does everything better, doesn’t it? Power generation, health, transport, steel, telecommunications… what could possibly go wrong in a market whose providers and consumers are entirely controlled by such safe hands as the Department for Education?

But what use is education if, afterwards, we end up with adults not only unemployable, but unable to properly read and analyse the issues of the day and then engage in sensible debate? What’s the point if they are unable to discern economic fact from political fiction or earnest pledge from hyperbole? Why bother if we just end up with the same old tribes whose beliefs and votes are based on purely historical precedents; and inaccurate, corrupted history at that? Then again some people probably shouldn't be burdened with the vote no matter how well educated they are.

We don't need no education

One thing is for certain though: much as I rail against a lot of their ideology and unproven, fashionable education theory, teachers must have increasingly broad shoulders, for upon them they carry the hopes of the nation. Qualified or not, only those who CAN, should teach.


  1. Hoo- chuffin'-ray! I can and do teach. I am qualified with a double English (Lit and Lang) degree from Exeter, plus M. ed, plus PGCE and have taught hundreds of children over the last twelve years. Just think on this for a moment. We teachers have ideology and unproven fashionable educational theory foisted on us and as soon as we've digested and jumped to that tune, we get another cart full of the 'stuff'. Froogs xxxx

    1. I know! I've been there. I think teaching is one of the most important functions of any society but its 'big state' status means like all other nationalised, institutionalised organs it gets hijacked by 'those who can't'. The cult of the expert, especially in an area where the proof is only revealed after all the culprits have retired, is bloody dangerous in any industry, but in teaching it is downright dangerous and morally reprehensible.

  2. Qualifications are extremely important for teachers, my Wife worked long and hard to get them, and continues to work long and hard for her Masters on her weekends. She is repeatedly audited and achieves 'outstanding' everytime. The parents of the children she teaches are very lucky. She is trained, and through hard work and determination, has now become an expert. She has more skill, direction and commitment than Michael Gove could ever hope for, or for that matter, is mentally capable of. He has no qualifications, he is extremely stupid and arrogant, and is making untrained and unqualified decisions right at the top of the tree that will damage a generation of children nationwide.

    Do we really think for a minute that all those people could all be wrong and poltically motivated by a Union to strike ad hoc, out of spite and vengeance for some media whore imbecile? My Wife wouldn't strike anyway, many of her colleagues wouldn't, just like her late father didn't in the 70s and 80s. She prefers to get on whilst yet another inept politician pathetically attempts to turn the public against teaching. Here we have a left winger that's infiltrated the Conservative Party after first being turned away for being 'insufficiently Conservative'. Gove is incapable politically (insuffiently political was another of his rejection reasons), and frighteningly lacks the intellect to occupy such a position of importance and trust. The Conservative Party seem to like the lefties now, they are dripping more toxins out of their pores than the attendees of a Michael Heseltine Conservative reform meeting.

    The final PGCE qualification covers a lot of behaviour management, which ensures that feral children, that have been brought up by unfit parents, do not get damaged when they are being physically restrained from throwing tantrums/objects/kicks and punches.

    Whilst said child is throwing frequent tantrums, 29 other children in the class stop learning anything. Feral child is now holding class for them all, teaching the gullible ones some pretty good tricks about the rewards you get for being bad, whilst also beautifully displaying to all that 'theres nothing that they can do to stop me'. Being lifted off the floor with their ear would be a good place to start, as would a smack round the back of the legs.

    Good schools closing and being merged with bad? A new pre-fab building, call it an Acadamy, pay 25x the price to build and maintain it, and stick some iShit in it? This is going to improve education? No, just like a bad family moving on to a good estate, as Jack Straw will no doubt proudly testify when he single-handedly ruined Blackburn forever, the bad kids will drag down the good, the bad families will drag down the area. Infesting people with their disgusting smell, leeching... blood sucking... grabbing all that the left wingers will give them to 'improve'.

    Apart from the ceaseless and badly communicated changes to the curriculum every five minutes, destroying any modicum of quality and standardisation, nothing has been done to address bad behaviour, which is the LARGEST single issue in thousands of schools around the Country. Many schools have on-site Police Officers, when a swift crack across the chops would more than suffice.

    Anyway, I'm all out of hatred for one day, these idiots have been ruining my country for decades. I don't see a difference between Labour and Conservative anymore, every one is a left wing as the next. Ask them where they sit... 'oh erm, I'm sewschawlly liberaaal, but errrm, fiscally Conservahtive, '. They need to get fucked, grow a pair, and bore off. I like people like us. We are people that have the balls to form what was once known as something called 'an opinion', borne from experience. I don't have to agree with you, or not agree with you, but I can sit here and say, you've got balls and you put yourself out there for your beliefs. That earns my utmost respect.

    1. Fuck me, Chris...that ain't a comment, it's blog!