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Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 15:27
In UK many teachers are on strike today. They have secure jobs, are reasonably well paid, and have just about the best pension deal you can get. I know the gov realises that such pensions are unaffordable for the country these days. The UK private sector has had this reality forced on it for a while now as the model of the 'final salary pension scheme' no longer works in the modern world and as a result it has been largely gone from the private sector for quite a while now.

As I understand it the gov wants to reduce public sector pension entitlement in future (so not affecting any pension rights accrued to date) as these schemes are now out of line with the private sector (i.e what is affordable). Yet these teachers, top of the pension pile, are striking!

Why do they think they should be protected from inevitable economic forces which have changed the pension scene completely? Protection that will have to be paid for by the private sector, who have already suffrered these changes themselves?

charliegolf
26th Mar 2014, 15:32
If it's any consolation, and I know it will be, they will all lose a day's pay and commensurate pension entitlement as aresult.

Only one of my staff 'struck' today. Nobody noticed.

CG

PS Thank you for funding mine.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
26th Mar 2014, 15:37
Try another view of inevitable economic forces.

Lots of good teachers with the ability to do so have already left the profession, especially in STEM subjects. As you make conditions worse, the remaining good ones with difficult circumstances will up and leave too.

So, stop stripping pensions rights or you'll have nobody good left.

p.s. I don't agree with striking.

PTT
26th Mar 2014, 15:39
Maybe it would be worthwhile to SSD read some of the reasons they are striking: http://www.teachers.org.uk/files/parent-leaflet-a5-4pp-9223.pdf

Tankertrashnav
26th Mar 2014, 15:48
When I was a teacher the only strike I ever considered involved the back of my hand and some recalcitrant pupil's earhole!

Got out before I acted on impulse and ended up in jail. Never regretted leaving for an instant. Anyone who can stick it and make a go of teaching has my undying admiration!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 15:50
PTT, according to BBC News, that isn't why they are striking. It's in protest at changes to pensions and conditions of employment.

Lots of good teachers with the ability to do so have already left the profession, especially in STEM subjects. As you make conditions worse, the remaining good ones with difficult circumstances will up and leave too.

So, stop stripping pensions rights or you'll have nobody good left.

The answer to that isn't to give them all an uaffordable pension deal. It's to financially reward the good ones with salaries that will retain them, and the let the dross go. Much as I saw in the private sector.

PTT
26th Mar 2014, 16:23
SSD, well according to them it is. You can believe second hand reporting from the BBC or you can believe the horse's mouth.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
26th Mar 2014, 16:33
Firstly, whilst I usually regard the NUT as a bunch of communist gits, their request for an actuarial review of the Teachers' Pension Scheme is perfectly reasonable. Their claim is that the current scheme IS affordable, and they wish to see the facts. The Government refuses.
Secondly, in my experience, the private sector does not award pay increases the way the Government is proposing State Schools should. It is done behind closed doors, and is not subject to performance review in the manner the Government proposes. I was the highest paid teacher at that management level in all my schools. Essentially, I asked for what I thought I was worth and they could afford, and didn't budge till I got it. True capitalism,and nothing like the Government's proposals.
Thirdly, I doubt that it is possible to come up with a performance appraisal system that actually retains only the good teachers. Half the things education should be developing in students are highly subjective, and the Government's record on target-setting, anywhere, is that all targets are met whilst the actual system performance continues to deteriorate.

I would propose a fixed term contract, say 5 years, with the teacher being told whether their contract will be renewed one year before the end. The School need give no reason why the contract is terminated. The probationary year for NQTs (either party can terminate), and the teacher's right to terminate with a term's notice, to be retained.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 17:00
There's nothing unique about teaching in having success largely subjective. I knew when I was working which of my colleagues I'd take with me if I were to leave and set up my own company, and which I'd not give a job to. The factors that lead one to such views on individuals are not always objective - often far from it. But any manager worth his salt knows who his good people are, those he'd strive hard to keep. And also he knows those who he wouldn't try to persuade to stay should they decide to leave.

However, to protect against subjective bias on a personal level when reviews took place, we had 360 degree reviews annually where each individual's performance was measured against an ideal profile. The reviews came from above, from below, from those on the same level, and from outside (customers). Any outstanding qualities or any shortcomings were highlighted, and for the latter an improvement plan was put in place. Progress against that plan was measured at the next review. Standard practice in the private sector I'd have though. None of this 'everyone on a particular grade gets the same rewards'.

Judging whether the teachers' pension scheme is 'affordable' depends on whether you think it's OK for the taxpayer to continue to underpin it to the extent they do now.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
26th Mar 2014, 17:15
I agree SSD about knowing who you'd take, and I was pleased to be asked by a number of colleagues to do just that. However, designing a performance appraisal system for teachers is not easy - I have not heard of a school that has successfully done it. It's easy enough for the staff everyone knows are good, but try doing it for the rest. Were a particular class's results poorer than expected because of the new syllabus, the group dynamics that year, under-resourcing, or the teacher (especially if they are new)? My experience is that the answer is clear within 4 years, hence the suggested contract length.
360 review - you want pupils rating teachers? I had undergraduates reviewing me at Uni, and was perfectly happy with it, but seriously doubt its efficacy in schools.

Affordability of current pensions - this is unknown, hence the NUT asking for an actuarial review. The Government stated at the last revision that the system was now self-supporting, and refuses to produce any evidence that it now isn't. Facts please!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 17:23
Self supporting! Estimates I've seen from pension experts estimate that teachers' contributions would produce about 5% of current pension benefits at best! If it's self supporting, they've found a magic formula from somewhere.... there's a few million folk who'd like to share the magic - same pension rewards as teachers in return for the same contribution!

No, it depends very heavily on taxpayer contributions. Can you point me at an independent (i.e not a teacher union) source that says it's self-supporting? I don't think so! Facts please!

Like this:


http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/neilobrien1/100094388/reform-of-teachers-pensions-is-fair-unsurprisingly-the-ultra-left-dont-see-it-that-way/


As I said before, there's nothing unique about teaching that makes it difficult to carry out effective performance reviews. All those variables mentioned have their equivalents in any job. Probably more so!

419
26th Mar 2014, 17:31
SSD, well according to them it is. You can believe second hand reporting from the BBC or you can believe the horse's mouth.

Can you believe the horse's mouth though?

Whether it's teachers, miners, tube workers, airline pilots, cabin crew, doctors etc, they all have excuses for why they are striking and just because it is the people concerned who are speaking doesn't always mean that they are being totally truthful.

Flash2001
26th Mar 2014, 17:47
Teacher and Policeman, very easy jobs to do badly and very hard to do well. Often it's 10 or 15 years on before you realize the damage caused by a bad teacher and then only sometimes. Good teachers are a treasure. I was in grade 10 before I first identified an excellent teacher. On reflection I realized I'd had a few earlier but very few. Check the Finnish model, maybe there is something there.

After an excellent landing etc...

thing
26th Mar 2014, 17:48
there's a few million folk who'd like to share the magic - same pension rewards as teachers in return for the same contribution!

I've never understood that argument. Yes, teachers get a reasonable pension deal. So why didn't you become a teacher? It's part of the package that attracts people to teaching. Whether you disagree or not it's part of the deal. My Dad was a mining engineer, he earned very good money which used to annoy some people. His simple response was 'I can start you down the pit tomorrow, what time do you want to arrive?'

By the way have you seen an MEP's pension?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 18:13
thing - the world of pensions has changed beyond recognition in recent years. This has been reflected in the private sector, but the teachers seem to see themselves as some sort of protected species, unaffected by massive financial change that impacts everyone else - that 'everyone else' who have to pay to protect teachers from the changes 'everyone else' has had to swallow. There is no comparison with the situation of one profession paying more than another so one should chose the better paid one, as you quote.

Read that link. Here it is again:

Reform of teachers' pensions is fair. Unsurprisingly, the ultra-Left don't see it that way ? Telegraph Blogs (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/neilobrien1/100094388/reform-of-teachers-pensions-is-fair-unsurprisingly-the-ultra-left-dont-see-it-that-way/)

I come into contact with teachers and their pupils on a regular basis in my retirement 'job'. I am frankly amazed at the difference in professionalism and effectiveness between some teachers and others. Some are obviously on top of the job and it's a joy to work with them and their pupils. Others are fecking useless and let the kids run riot. And no, it isn't always the ones from deprived areas which comprise the latter group, or those from 'good' areas which comprise the former.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
26th Mar 2014, 18:20
Facts - Teachers' Pension Contributions - Coincidentally, I am in the process of transferring my Teachers Pension to Canada. The transfer value (current to this month) is within 10% of the value of my and my employers contributions, allowing for inflation. Most of my service was before the most recent revision.
Thus, prima facie, the Teachers' Pension Scheme appears to be self-financing, which is what the Government had previously said it was.


Performance appraisal - there are a lot of reasons why teaching is difficult to assess. What is the objective? Exam grades? Attendance? University entry for girls in STEM subjects? The Government at one time or another has declared all of these as the top priority. Are all exams equally difficult? Government says yes; everyone else says "total b*ll*cks". How do you compare subjects where one is optional and the other compulsory? Who rates the teachers? I've read quite a few Ofsted reports for failing schools where the Inspectors said the Senior Management Team wouldn't recognise a good lesson if they saw one. Equally, I've met quite a few SMT members who would say the same of quite a few Ofsted Inspectors. I think they're both right. Furthermore, as other posters have said, it's very difficult for kids below Year 10 to recognise a good teacher.

I'm hoping CG will chip in again here. He knoweth much more than I.

And the final point, a bit beyond the scope of the argument but related to the post by thing is: Is the current system recruiting, or even retaining, the good teachers? To paraphrase Mark Twain; I've already left, I wasn't the only member of my department to emigrate, and all of the departments I've left have dropped in every measurable way. I was asked to go back to one just 2 months ago.

thing
26th Mar 2014, 18:32
the world of pensions has changed beyond recognition in recent years.

You would have thought that banker's bonuses would have changed as well. RBS are paying out 588 million (of our money) after making a loss of 8.25 billion. If you're a teacher, or anyone else for that matter who's terms and conditions are going to be changed to other than what they originally signed up for and you see the Alice in Wonderland bonuses the banking industry are still paying each other, wouldn't you think that maybe your fairly reasonable pension conditions were worth fighting over? Are top civil servant's pensions going to come under the same scrutiny?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 19:00
Facts - Teachers' Pension Contributions - Coincidentally, I am in the process of transferring my Teachers Pension to Canada. The transfer value (current to this month) is within 10% of the value of my and my employers contributions, allowing for inflation. Most of my service was before the most recent revision.
Thus, prima facie, the Teachers' Pension Scheme appears to be self-financing, which is what the Government had previously said it was

I think you need to go back to school and learn something about how pension schemes work if you think that!

I suggest you have a read of the link I've posted twice now. That has the facts in it re the teachers' pension scheme. A moment's reflection should show you that the scheme cannot possibly be 'self supporting'. It isn't even funded!

Performance appraisal - there are a lot of reasons why teaching is difficult to assess. What is the objective? Exam grades? Attendance? University entry for girls in STEM subjects? The Government at one time or another has declared all of these as the top priority. Are all exams equally difficult? Government says yes; everyone else says "total b*ll*cks". How do you compare subjects where one is optional and the other compulsory? Who rates the teachers? I've read quite a few Ofsted reports for failing schools where the Inspectors said the Senior Management Team wouldn't recognise a good lesson if they saw one. Equally, I've met quite a few SMT members who would say the same of quite a few Ofsted Inspectors. I think they're both right. Furthermore, as other posters have said, it's very difficult for kids below Year 10 to recognise a good teacher.

Well if those making the assessment are not up to it....

All of the above has parallels in many jobs. What about trying to run a fixed price project where the bid team undersold it and the budget isn't enough? Or the client turns out to be crooked? Or when your prime staff get fed up with working under high pressure (because of the budget constraints) and leave? Or the functional spec turns out to be so full of holes that the (crooked) client can drive a bus through it and take the PM to the cleaners? Or the software company providing a vital package goes under and there's no support, Ditto your hardware company? Etc, etc, etc.

When that PM is assessed, all of that (and how he handled it) will be taken into account. His colleague who has an 'easy' project with big budgets and a co-operative client on the face of it has produced something more successful. But the guy with all the problems had the opportunity to demonstrate what he was made of, and if one wants to progress by showing your capabilities it's better to be him than the guy who had it easy.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
26th Mar 2014, 19:31
SSD - I did read the article. I may need to go back to school - it is a while since I qualified as a Financial Advisor, but I haven't forgotten the basics. The article is deliberately misleading. "Unfunded" simply means the government isn't ring-fencing the funds as they are paid in and matching them to future benefit liabilities. It does not necessarily mean that they couldn't, though the author clearly wishes you to think this. This is the question the NUT wants answered.
Furthermore, when I was recently offered senior education jobs in the UK, I was quite clear that the Teachers' Pension being proposed isn't worth having, and stated I would be making my own pension arrangements. The employers expected this.

I take all your points about the difficulties of assessing jobs. The point I am making is that the Government currently requires a subjective tick-box approach to assessment, and it's completely unfit for purpose in deciding salaries.

p.s. interesting discussion - if I drop offline it's because there's a blizzard raging here at the mo, and my hydro's gone out!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 19:40
"Unfunded" simply means the government isn't ring-fencing the funds as they are paid in and matching them to future benefit liabilities. It does not necessarily mean that they couldn't,

I know what 'unfunded' means. In this case it means the teachers pay in 'X' per teacher per year and the tax payer pays out '20X' per teacher per year. Absolutely guaranteed, regardless of fund performance or anything at all. There's no way in the world that, were the funds ring-fenced and invested, they would provide anything like '20x'. More like 1.5X and even that is not guaranteed!

I know IFAs are wont to promise exaggerated returns when selling schemes (one I thought was a friend ripped me off good and proper many years ago with such a scheme), but if you can sell me a scheme that buys a quarter the benefits a teacher gets (index linked and absolutely guaranteed regardless of stock market performance or anything bar the gov going bust) for the money that teacher puts in, I'll have a dozen, please!

That Telegraph article is spot on. If you disagree I'd be interested to know specifics.

TomJoad
26th Mar 2014, 22:25
What about trying to run a fixed price project where the bid team undersold it and the budget isn't enough? Or the client turns out to be crooked? Or when your prime staff get fed up with working under high pressure (because of the budget constraints) and leave? Or the functional spec turns out to be so full of holes that the (crooked) client can drive a bus through it and take the PM to the cleaners?
.

And what happens when it goes well, what sort of bonus are we talking about in the private sector? When it go well in Education, which contrary to the likes of the DM, it does, what bonus can educators expect? The sectors are different and you know the deal when you sign up.:ugh:

I've been reading this with some mild amusement. The crux of your argument SSD appears to be that you believe those in the public sector should have parity with private sector wrt pension provision. Shall we extend that to the entire compensation package - company car, bonus, med dental insurance, individual negotiated salary, performance pay etc. I may be wrong but I never heard anybody in the private sector calling for parity with public sector conditions during the heady good times when the equity funds were soaring. You take the good with the bad SSD, you know what the conditions are when you sign up - teachers forgo a profession offering the perks of the private sector, private sector workers forgo the perks of public sector - deal with it fella. Your argument sounds like sour grapes in the face of folk exercising a legitimate democratic right.:=

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 22:29
TJ... 10 out of 10 for totally missing the point. You say you've read the thread. Your post indicates you didn't begin to understand or even recognise the issues I raised.

TomJoad
26th Mar 2014, 22:31
TJ... 10 out of 10 for totally missing the point. You say you've read the thread. Your post indicates you didn't understand it.

I'll take a different interpretation on that mate just as is your want on teachers' remuneration and pensions.;)

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Mar 2014, 22:40
Then try addressing the issues, rather than raising spurious stuff like company cars (I was glad to get rid of mine - cost me more in tax by quite a margin than any financial benefit it gave).

TomJoad
26th Mar 2014, 22:48
Then try addressing the issues, rather than raising spurious stuff like company cars (I was glad to get rid of mine - cost me more in tax by quite a margin than any financial benefit it gave).

Not spurious at all in fact very germane. They are all part of the compensation package, all part of the greater disparity between private and public sectors. You have chosen to focus on only one.:= You take the measures in the round. When you are ready to argue to rid private sector remuneration packages of bonuses with a view to move the private sector towards parity with public then perhaps you may have the start of an argument. Or maybe that's missing the point again;)

sitigeltfel
27th Mar 2014, 06:20
Teachers are very keen to tell us that they spend a large amount of the pupils school holidays doing work. Why then not hold their strike, and protest marches, on one of those days?

Krystal n chips
27th Mar 2014, 06:59
Siti.....and also,

SSD ( good morning sire, one is typing this with one finger, as the other is suitably tugging the forelock in deference to ones self-proclaimed betters, such as yourself with a Weemslow post code and defunct credit card for example, as self-proclaimed in another thread I recall ) and would suggest you read this article.

True, it is about previous industrial action, however, the reasons behind the current action are still as pertinent.

Five reasons public service workers are right to strike | Seumas Milne | Comment is free | theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/28/public-service-workers-strike)

Erwin Schroedinger
27th Mar 2014, 07:56
Transfer all Public Sector workers to defined contribution pension schemes. Retirement age 65, rising in line with State Pension age increases. Establish strict requirements for competency and efficient means of assessment. Sack incompetent ones. Make surplus ones redundant. Charge for car parking. Cancel free/subsidised meals. Require normal working hours attendance for all but 4 weeks holiday per year. Sickness terms and other perks/benefits to be in line with the Private Sector.

I'm sick of the blatant imbalance between them (Public Sector and Government at all levels from Town Council to Prime Minister) and us (Private Sector who pay for it all).

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 08:30
Outside the shallow vitriol so far, there are, of course some very valid arguments being put forward. Fair enough, the pension in the long term is unsustainable. That's changing- the union doesn't want it to- they will win concessions or they won't.

Recent changes increased the contributions and pushed the retirement age up. My view is that this will save a shedload over time, because teachers who don't want to be doing it at 65 will take an actuarial hit like I did- a 20% cut forever. They also won't be getting a lump sum but can commute 25%. I think the govt knows that this will happen and planned for it. The squeeze will continue over time, protecting what's been earned under prior rules, until everyone joins teaching with a stakeholder pension offered under very different rules.

Sacking the dross won't reduce the number of teachers needed, or reduce the pension burden- red herring. Surplus teachers are as common as surplus engineers in private companies. I agree, get rid (if you can find one). Charge for parking. I park my car on the street, as do the other 71 employees here. New teachers ARE on a 65 retirement age.

Lots of private sector workers believe that teaching is a protected industry where no one can touch you no matter what. Come and join and have an easy time. The private sector also believes they have all the best people because they have to be to survive. Come on over, we need you. Let's see how it goes.

CG

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Mar 2014, 09:32
TJ, this is the point, well captured by charliegolf:

the pension in the long term is unsustainable. That's changing- the union doesn't want it to-

Teachers striking against a change in their pensions is Canute-like, except of course Canute knew he couldn't hold back the tide.

Meanwhile kids suffer and parents get inconvenienced as the teachers strut their futile and arrogant stuff.

RedhillPhil
27th Mar 2014, 09:58
The N.U.T. was infiltrated by the Socialist Workers Party from the early seventies. My once brother in law was a SWP teacher. Their principal was that of the Jesuits, catch 'em young and get them indoctrinated. No matter what any government does they'll always be rattlin' for a strike on some pretext or other. Meanwhile, many state schools continue to churn out semi literate kids bearing worthless examination sustificates.

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 10:25
No matter what any government does

and

schools continue to churn out semi literate kids bearing worthless examination sustificates.

...are directly linked, and people choose to forget that. The Tories replaced o-level with GCSE. THE GOVERNMENTS of the day since, oversaw the 'tick a box' approach to science and maths, and the removal of grammar and syntax from exams. ALL GOVERNMENTS.

Results up, standards down- critics want that to be the fault of teachers who, by dint of being lefty huggies and fifth columnists, 'changed the goalposts from within'. (And infantry soldiers bugger off to stupid wars because they just want to have a fight, right?)

As for unions and strikes- I haven't much time for them, but they are exercising rights not available in lots of places- shall we remove them? On balance I think not. Will it have much effect- probably not.

At the end of the day, the pay and pensions thing is a contractual one. I've done 27 years, over half as a head. I am entitled under the law to have what I worked for- that will differ as time goes on for new joiners, but I expect my EMPLOYER to do what I've always done- hold up my end of the deal.

CG

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 11:12
If you had to write a report on many of today's teachers, I'd advise you to stick an apostrophe in.

That was banter. What do you really know about teachers? What do you do?

CG

PS Do you agree that the contract I have regarding my pension should be upheld?

Seldomfitforpurpose
27th Mar 2014, 11:35
Excuses, I have regular contact with teachers, many have poor personal standards of comprehension and debating skills, learning by rote is the best they can offer.

Many (not all) have a that'll do attitude towards the standards they accept from their pupils.

If I had to write a report on many of todays teachers, it would read.....must try harder


I suspect that was not meant to be a sweeping generalisation but it does come over that way.


A friend who is a teacher could not be more frustrated with her daily working life admin wise but, as regularly evidenced on her FB pages a more conscientious and dedicated teacher you would struggle to find.


Good and bad in all walks of life, I spent 38 years in the RAF and did meet a few absolute chisellers HOWEVER the vast vast majority of folk were solid competent and dependable individuals.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Mar 2014, 11:44
PS Do you agree that the contract I have regarding my pension should be upheld?

Your contract will be upheld. Any pension you have accrued under the rules you accrued it will be honoured.

When I started work any professional job brought with it a final salary pension scheme. About 15 years ago the contributions were hiked and the benefits lowered in line with economic reality, and new joiners couldn't join the scheme. This wasn't some management wheeze to cut overheads, it was recognition by the pension fund managers that if they didn't take that action, the pension scheme would become unsustainable even for pensioners already drawing pensions. There was no option but to bend with the wind of changing times. What else could they have done?

Then Gordon Brown raided private pensions, their final knife in the back that finished them off for sure.

Meanwhile the public sector carried on as if nothing was changing. The country cannot afford to let that happen, and morally of course it shouldn't happen.

This isn't a 'race to the bottom' in pension provision, it's merely a facing up to economic reality. If you can come up with a way to give everyone a decent pension when they retire without them having to forgo about 50% of salary to fund it, I'm sure the pension industry and gov would love to hear it.

By the way... apostrophes. In the pub was sign "try our great pudding's". Our party comprised me (ex-IT consultant), two retired airline pilots, a retired primary head, a current primary teacher, a local government officer, an accountant, and a builder. Guess which two were the only ones who could see absolutely nothing wrong with the sign? Yep, the two teachers.

What hope the kids?

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 11:50
Some interesting stuff - my power did go, but some heroic* electric repair men went out with snowplows in front last night and got us back on.

If the new pension is "reasonable" and the conditions easy, why does hardly anybody want to be a physics teacher?

TomJoad makes a very good point about the 'full package'. Physics teaching is one area where the public education sector very much has to compete with the private sector, and education is losing big time.

A couple of references here.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/182407/DFE-RR151.pdf
http://www.iop.org/files/file_57056.pdf
BBC News - Science and maths teacher shortage may loom for England (http://www.bbc.com/news/education-23588850)
http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/highereducation/Documents/2013/InitialTeacherTraining-Nov2013.pdf

A quick summary:
One sixth of all State schools do not have a single physics specialist.
1,000 trainee physics specialists are needed every year for 15 years to fix the problem.
There were 580 trainees starting in 2009/10. This rose to 889 in 2011/12. Last year it dropped to 560.
57% of those trainees are out of the profession within 4 1/2 years, so that's only 241 of this year's intake still expected to be teaching in five years. This is way above the average dropout rate, and these % are increasing.
Meanwhile, physics has the highest proportion of teachers aged over 50. This group is both retiring shortly and the most likely to leave the profession before retirement.

My experience of teachers of physics, even those who are State sector NUT members and don't have better than a 'C' grade in 'A' level physics, is that they are trying hard to cope with an education system which no longer interested in genuine understanding. As CG says, that isn't the teachers fault. Add in the prospect of coping till age 65+ with a bunch of unruly monsters whom the system refuses to discipline effectively and it's "bye, bye, teaching".

As I've said before, let's have what the NUT are asking for - an actuarial review of the current TPS. If those who think the teachers are getting an easy ride are right, you will then have the facts you need to justify a pension reduction.


*night, 116 km/hr winds, 10-12 foot snowdrifts, visibility zero (the second plow is to pull the first one out of the ditch when, not if, it runs in) - do you fancy being up in a bucket fixing a 25kV overhead line in that?

Gertrude the Wombat
27th Mar 2014, 12:41
they will all lose a day's pay
Which won't be saved for the public purse, as it will have to be spent on overtime at the payroll processor.

Gertrude the Wombat
27th Mar 2014, 12:42
why does hardly anybody want to be a physics teacher?
Because they can earn more as computer programmers without having to deal with the kids. Bit obvious eh?

Smeagol
27th Mar 2014, 12:53
Very interesting and generally very civilized discussion by all participants and particularly the main protagonists.

Nice to have a discussion between people with quite differing views without it degenerating into a slanging match.

Keep it up people!

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 14:04
SSD- I did say upfront that it was banter! I believe I've also conceded that it appears to be unsustainable. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas. I foresee a gradual erosion of terms and conditions. People will stiil want to teach, there will not be a shortage. Whether anyone will be able to read...

CG

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 14:14
Fox:

1,000 trainee physics specialists are needed every year for 15 years to fix the problem.


I'll accept that without checking, but the compounding factor is that those 15000 'jobs' are currently filled with underwater basketweaving grads who 'do a bit of physics' to help out. (OK, they'll mainly be Maths, Biol and Chem teachers, but don't spoil a story eh?) Those helpers-out are permanent. Not many schools will declare a redundancy situation in order to open a physics post. My point: waving a wand if one could and making the teachers appear may not help.

CG

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 14:16
Exactly CG - The Institute of Physics is concentrating its efforts on improving the subject knowledge and physics teaching strategies of those currently teaching physics, whatever their original backgrounds.


p.s. I am reminded of a fellow RAF Officer with a degree in Marine Archaeology. As he himself used to joke,"that's not even underwater basket-weaving, it's just looking at someone else's" ;)

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Mar 2014, 14:22
In my part time job I see two distinct channels:

Able teachers with interested students who ask relevant questions, even if some of them are not very good at expressing themselves (studes, not teachers). These give me hope for the future and remind me of my own daughter (except she can express herself perfectly) who strove hard and focused through the state education system and Royal Veterinary College to qualify as a vet, a profession in which she is now well established.

Unfortunately these are more than offset by the second channel. Uninterested teachers in charge of kids who think their future will be solved by being famous (they don't know what for) or becoming a footballer. Easy to blame the media for this, but I do wonder. IT students who don't know what a database is, and business studies studes who can't tell me why people set up businesses. Difficult not to blame their (lack of) education for that.

I despair for the latter group. Where are they going to fit into society? Where will they find jobs?

Oh, and there's a third, happily more rare, group. The downright rude and disruptive.

I don't have to do my part time job and if I get a few of the second group in succession or even one lot of the third group I ask myself 'why am I doing this?'. Then I get a group out of the first channel, and I know why I do it!

None of this has anything to do with unsustainable pensions. And neither should the job of teacher.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 14:33
There is also an increasing number in a fourth group - those students whose parents will always blame the teacher for the failings of their offspring. International friends tell me this is even more common in some other countries, notably France.

To defend the "uninterested teachers", some of them started out keen and able, but have been ground down by crap syllabi, government inspections, unruly kids and Heads* who don't give a damn about anything except their own careers (and who blame the teachers for everything too).

*Not you, CG!

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 15:39
There is a growing list of 'career' Heads, who never stay long enough to undergo inspection. The sh1t never sticks to them!

CG

cockney steve
27th Mar 2014, 15:43
^^^^^^ very true, Fox.
Ihave a friend, who , 30-odd years ago,was a Tinsmith/Fabricator.
Work tended to be erratic,as a singleton, he was used to being called into the office, "you're out, tomorrow, Shag." or, going into the office.."I'm off tomorrow, more money , shorter hours" "'K, Shag, -Seeya."...He heard of a School Technician's post available and talked it through......rigid heirarchy, rigid payscale, set hours, set pension....he took it and it quickly became apparent that there was no incentive to WORK. As proved by Head of Dept.asking him to sharpen all woodwork planes and chisels....Afternoon saw him rearranging desks Head remonstrated wth him that this was "if we get time " job... He refused to believe that the tools had been sharpened , until he looked, then apologised.....our hero had don a week's work ,of his predecessor.
With his school's help, he attained a couple more A-levels and left for college....As a fully-fledged teacher, he was on top of the job.
20-odd years later, he's an institutionalised,hidebound,demoralised box-ticking civil servant. stupid over-regulation has curtailed a lot of after-school activities, a fixed syllabus does not help the more capable....
At Parent's night , his colleague, (my son's IT teacher) proudly showed a bit of twisted plastic with a hole in one end, to which a keyring was attached....he was somewhat miffed when i derided his "project" and pointed out that my boy was now at the metal-cutting/folding/welding stage and needed stimulus.....the same teacher on a later occasion, was adamant that a lathe could only produce round things.....Son fished out a couple of cubes from his pocket thrust them to "teacher" and explained the turning-marks on each face and the use of a 4-jaw chuck!
"bring a pack of Mary Crocker cake mix and an egg, I'll teach you how to make a cake" says another teacher.....Evening before the alloted lesson, Son knocks up a cake, writes out recipe....stalks into class, slaps his handiwork on "teacher's" desk and says "that's how you make a cake,- I'm off to Computer -room to learn something" left school as soon as he could, has forged a good carreer in IT.

Yes, a very mixed bag , but as the former Fabricator said, "I turned down Head of Department, -frustration, box-ticking, almost impossible to get rid of halfwits like twisted-plastic man, a hidebound, mind-numbing ,paper-pushing exercise. I wanted to teach...even that's restricted"

MagnusP
27th Mar 2014, 15:55
I was fortunate enough to have a Physics master at school who, rather than teaching us physics, taught us how to LEARN physics by making the subject fascinating. After Uni, I thought about gaining my Grad Inst P and teaching, but I had the good sense to move into astronomical engineering and get to visit Hawaii a lot. Ye makes yer choices and all that, but teaching might have been fun before nanny took all the toys away.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 16:01
Ah, the delights of the 4-jaw chuck!
I originally started training as a DT teacher and applied for some jobs, but a physics job came first (I have degrees in Physics and Engineering). After I was established as a physics teacher, I was really glad, as the DT teachers were rarely allowed to do anything good, and that not for long.


MagnusP - I taught one group of students terminal velocity by chucking them out of an aeroplane at 15,000 feet over Florida. That was in 2003, but there's zero chance of that these days.

Rant On.

The UK used to be the workshop of the world -there is f#ck all chance of that happening again under Governments run by MPs with degrees in PPE and careers in PR - those scum wouldn't recognise a 4 jaw chuck if it hit them in the face (maybe I'm wrong; let's see :ouch: told you so :ok:)

Rant Off.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Mar 2014, 16:10
Drifting a bit, but tell that to RR Aero Engines in Derby, and many other top-end manufacturing companies in UK who are world-leading in engineering.

I don't think it's the gov's fault there isn't more of it. Clearly it's possible for it to thrive here. If anything, it's education's fault for going all 'arty' and ignoring our industrial past.

I volunteer for the National Trust. Our industrial revolution mill has the largest working water wheel in UK (a breast shot suspension wheel with rim drive - the ultimate in water power), a working 1805 beam engine (largely atmospheric), and a working horizontal steam engine. These (especially water power) are the reasons the mill was built.

We have several school parties a day visiting. Do we see them? We do not! Why? Because the curriculum is all about 'the lifestyle of mill workers and apprentices' and completely ignores what started the industrial revolution - water and steam power! They bypass the 'power' section of the mill as it's not relevant to their curriculum.

It's the same syndrome as IT taught in schools. It's not IT! It's office skills! The kids (and I'm talking kids in their last school year) don't know how to code, don't know what a database is, have no idea why fibre optic cable is better than copper in networks, don't know numbering systems such as binary, octal, or hex. But they can use Word and Excel!

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 16:28
I don't think it's the gov's fault there isn't more of it.
and
They bypass the 'power' section of the mill as it's not relevant to their curriculum.

Forgive me SSD, but you make my point for me. Who approves the curricula?

RR Derby are marvellous - I've been. I've had my life dependent on the quality of their work. I've taught students who have gone on to work there. But Dyson, McLaren et al are a tiny portion of UK output, and it could be a lot higher. Take at look at the derisory salaries for engineers, and you'll realise one of the reasons why so many who train in the UK emigrate.

I've taught at a school where 15% of the students went on to degrees in physics/geophysics/engineering at top universities, and that was a girls' school. My colleague had helped design the brakes on Concorde before teaching; even our technician had designed some of the largest industrial chimneys in Europe. That all rubbed off. But people like them are as rare as rocking horse sh!t these days, as the Government's response is not to attract more of them but dumb down the syllabus. We've all left now.

p.s. well done with the volunteering. Hopefully things will change, and we'll need such things to inspire the next generation. And I couldn't agree more about IT.

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 17:20
It's the same syndrome as IT taught in schools. It's not IT! It's office skills! The kids (and I'm talking kids in their last school year) don't know how to code,

https://swansea-edunet.gov.uk/en/schools/StJosephsCathedral/Pages/De-Coders_Work.aspx

In some they do.

CG

Effluent Man
27th Mar 2014, 17:28
Mrs CT left for work at 550am this morning,as she does every day.She's not home yet and when she does get in she will have her evening meal and get down to marking.She also work at weekends.

She is one of those referred to as a "Good Teacher".She has always been rated thus by OFSTED but every time there is an inspection she is convinced that she will get the sack.I keep telling her to have a nervous breakdown.

vulcanised
27th Mar 2014, 17:42
even our technician


I was a technician at a local school for several years.

One of the science technicians was more highly qualified than any of the teachers.

Even I (grammar school boy) spent much time correcting their spelling and grammar before committing it to print.

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 21:51
Teachers are very keen to tell us that they spend a large amount of the pupils school holidays doing work. Why then not hold their strike, and protest marches, on one of those days?

That's really kinda obvious, which I suspect you know. But I will play along. The purpose of any industrial action is to advance your claim by pressing for leverage. In military parlance it's similar to a denial of service attack - if you are going to attack an airfield you attack the operating and other vital facilities not the sports pitch. But you really knew that didn't you?

That aside, with 7 weeks summer hols most teachers will be out of the country;)

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 22:03
I was a technician at a local school for several years.

One of the science technicians was more highly qualified than any of the teachers.

Even I (grammar school boy) spent much time correcting their spelling and grammar before committing it to print.

vulcanised I can well believe that but it really should come as no great surprise. Most technicians will have a graduate degree level education and more often than not will have some industrial experience. Unlike Scotland, where science teachers must hold a science or a "validated" degree (Engineering etc), in England you do not need to hold a degree in a science subject to teach science. The system in England needs a major overhaul but as others have pointed out how do you attract Physics graduates to the profession when they can earn a hell of a lot more with better all round terms and conditions elsewhere? Chipping away at pension entitlement is, in my opinion, not the way to go.

charliegolf
27th Mar 2014, 22:06
with 7 weeks summer hols

I've warned you a million times about exaggerating.:=

CG

cavortingcheetah
27th Mar 2014, 22:26
Teachers traditionally take a small sabbatical over the summer months so that they can extemporise on work ethics to supplement their meagre salaries as educationalists. This they do, primarily, so that they may be able to afford the annual subscriptions to Len McCluskey's union, Unite, which protects them from society.

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 22:27
TJ, this is the point, well captured by charliegolf:



Teachers striking against a change in their pensions is Canute-like, except of course Canute knew he couldn't hold back the tide.

Meanwhile kids suffer and parents get inconvenienced as the teachers strut their futile and arrogant stuff.

Again we will differ in our perspective. This is the point from mine. The nation's Education system like its Defence is an insurance policy. You don't really think about it nor what you pay until you need to claim against it. The claim we make against Education is, unlike Defence, more subtle, it's persistent and works away in the background. It is not a matter that the current pension provisions are unsustainable rather that the government has a duty to ensure they are funded, sustainable, appropriate and attractive to get the best into Education. That's the commitment to our nation's education and young people that we deserve and need. Now choose not to fund it, choose not to provide attractive and competitive remuneration and I and many similarly well qualified, motivated and employable teachers walk. Just as the bankers must be paid huge private sector bonuses otherwise, they claim, the talent will walk, then the same rationale must apply to Education. So go for it, press to test: reform the remuneration package and wait - wait for the positive improvements in education you hope it will bring.:ok:

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 22:30
So what is it?..six?
Oh, You poor sods



Alternates between 6 and 7 in Scotland - this year it's 7 - looking forward to it - sunshine in Itlay. ;)

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 22:38
In addition to TomJoad's points about the pay/benefits package, I would also point out the [email protected] content teachers are expected to teach, and the ridiculous management and inspection system they are placedunder. Just as bankers will leave if they can't make money and have to spend their entire time filling in compliance paperwork, so good teachers leave if they can't make a significant difference to a child's education and spend their time doing admin.
The bad ones, of course, will stay to get paid to make no difference and fill in pointless paperwork.


Does this answer your point Lone Ranger? I contend that motivated teachers mostly leave because they can no longer make a significant difference in education - The ability to make a difference is the Pull factor. TomJoad's point is that failure to provide a suitable package is the Push factor.

UK education is developing into a perfect storm. Ever reducing Pull and ever increasing Push.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Mar 2014, 22:39
TJ, what has squealing about being protected from the same pension reforms the rest of the world has faced to do with whether teachers 'walk' or not?

Many public sector pension schemes should have evolved when private sector ones did, but the Labour gov didn't have the balls for it (heaven knows why when Gordon quite happily finished off private sector ones in one tax-grabbing stroke).

Where would many teachers walk to? Many that I see (and I see a lot) are unemployable outside the protected world of state education. But some are good, and we need to attract more good ones and lose the dross.

Pay the good ones the right rate. Ditch the dross *. Get pensions in line with economic reality. Just like the private sector, in fact!

*This means getting away from union driven collective pay bargaining - the unions don't want to lose their power here so that'll be a battle, especially as many teachers can't see how much better off the good ones would be if they could be paid accordingly. Or maybe the dross keep the union bargaining in place as it affords them protection and gives them pay beyond what their abilities deserve?

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 22:43
This explains a lot, competitive with what exactly? are you really a motivated teacher or out for the best deal?

I seek first a professional, challenging and rewarding career. That career must be appropriately remunerated and market competitive for my skills. I hold both a very marketable degree with considerable years of relevant industrial experience. Many, STEM subject teachers have similar backgrounds particularly those teaching Physics and Mathematics. Like any professional, with a view to considering one's career progression and ultimate retirement planning, the remuneration package is of course of primary concern. I believe that would hold similar and legitimate concern to any professional employed in private or public sectors.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 22:58
SSD -Ditch the Dross? True; but how,and how fast? I would argue that the vast majority of Government education policy has been directed at ridding the profession of [email protected] teachers for at least the last 50 years. All parties have failed miserably. Giving the Head complete authority in the private sector isn't a complete success. It's better, but I reckon at least 5-10% there are still rubbish, and hang on by exploiting favouritism and blackmail.

Then there's the problem of having somebody in front of the whiteboard. If you got rid of all the rubbish ones now, the good ones would be teaching classes of 80 each.

Except they wouldn't. Although this thread started on pensions, I don't think it's pensions that are making the good ones leave; it's not being able to make much of a difference, in [email protected] working conditions. Pensions are just some people's final straw.

Try this for what is wrong with UK Physics - "a physics teacher begs for his subject back"
http://www.grumpyoldarchive.co.uk/teaching%20physics.asp

I still think fixed term contracts is the way to go.

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 23:03
TJ, what has squealing about being protected from the same pension reforms the rest of the world has faced to do with whether teachers 'walk' or not? Nobody is "squealing". UK law permits and rightly recognises trade union activity and the process of collective bargaining. The NUT (of which I am not a member - ) are engaging in a legitimate and democratic activity. They have a disagreement with their employer which to date has not been resolved and are attempting to do so now using strike action to gain leverage. This is an entirely legitimate industrial relation measure. Your term "squealing" is somewhat pejorative and perhaps gives insight to a different complaint

Many public sector pension schemes should have evolved when private sector ones did, but the Labour gov didn't have the balls for it (heaven knows why when Gordon quite happily finished off private sector ones in one tax-grabbing stroke). Private sector pension will roll with the prevailing global financial circumstances. Gordon Brown may have claimed to have eliminated boom and bust but this was a false claim - the financial climate is by nature cyclical. When the market is buoyant the private sector reaps the benefits and I suspect, in order to remain competitive and attract the best, private, pension schemes will roll with the market. So I reject your argument that the public sector should be held to hold parity with the private sector - it cannot react and does not have the same freedom in regulation as the private sector and it feels different pressures. Moreover, we must consider the full compensation package in the round. Get rid of private sector bonuses, share allocations, company cars etc etc etc, then we could talk.

Where would many teachers walk to? Many that I see (and I see a lot) are unemployable outside the protected world of state education. But some are good, and we need to attract more good ones and lose the dross. Yes and many are very marketable. Do you really want to press to test.

Pay the good ones the right rate. Ditch the dross *. Get pensions in line with economic reality. Just like the private sector, in fact!


*This means getting away from union driven collective pay bargaining - the unions don't want to lose their power here so that'll be a battle, especially as many teachers can't see how much better off the good ones would be if they could be paid accordingly. Or maybe the dross keep the union bargaining in place as it affords them protection and gives them pay beyond what their abilities deserve?

SSD I think your argument is more anti union and collective bargaining than anything else.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Mar 2014, 23:03
Fox3, by 'private sector' I didn't just mean education. In my (IT) workplace dross didn't last long. Meeting with boss to state the situation, chance to perform, if no performance improvement - out.

It has to be like that or the dead wood dragging us down would give our competition an easy job to eat us up. It's called real life.

That's how it should be everywhere. Including state education.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 23:11
I agree with you. What I'm asking for is a practical way of doing that in a State Institution which insists on a box-tick objective approach. Successive Governments have failed miserably. The vast majority of the poor teachers are meeting their 'targets' or have valid reasons (according to the Government rules) why they can't. Indeed, the Government is complicit in this, by constantly lowering the subject knowledge required to be passed on, in order for the students to achieve a particular grade.
To give you one example, I've know several rubbish teachers keep their jobs because part of the disciplinary process is that they are shown how to improve, and their bosses are incapable of doing that.
They've filled the profession with [email protected] syllabi, completely subjective (and wrong) methods of inspection, and 3 million forms to fill in. The result is that the good teachers are walking and the [email protected] ones are staying to jump hoops.

TomJoad
27th Mar 2014, 23:24
Except they wouldn't. Although this thread started on pensions, I don't think it's pensions that are making the good ones leave; it's not being able to make much of a difference, in [email protected] working conditions. Pensions are just some people's final straw.

Try this for what is wrong with UK Physics - "a physics teacher begs for his subject back"
Grumpy Old Sod.com - Physics is no longer a proper school subject (http://www.grumpyoldarchive.co.uk/teaching%20physics.asp)

I still think fixed term contracts is the way to go.

Fox,

Again I teach in Scotland where the system is significantly different from that in England so I have to be careful with overstating my knowledge here. I agree where you say that many leave due to the associated "non teaching" crap that they increasingly have to contend with. Historical stats show that the average newly qualified teacher leaves the profession after 5 years - most cite dissatisfaction with the profession.

As far as fixed term contracts are concerned again I can see how these could potentially serve to dissuade those who are not really in it for teaching to leave. However I think we also need to be mindful of the unintended consequences. I transferred to teaching, as do a fair few, from a mid career point, at a salary level comparable with that of a head teacher of a large school. I am happy to reconcile my classroom teacher salary when taken against the wider terms and conditions. I am able to plan and adjust to the change and accommodate the good with the bad. Now place me on a 5 year fixed contract and I may start to look around for other fixed term contracts, shorter duration, but balanced with a more competitive salary. It is a balancing act - get it wrong and you could cause untold damage to the teaching profession.

thing
27th Mar 2014, 23:41
It has to be like that or the dead wood dragging us down would give our competition an easy job to eat us up. It's called real life.I understand where you are coming from but why just aim your sights at teachers? I could tell you of many incompetent people who work in my local city hall. I'm sure there are many incompetent policemen (now there's a pension for you), there's incompetence in any field, including private sector. That's people for you, promoted to their own level of incompetence.

Teachers get fed up with being the whipping boy and I must reiterate what I said earlier, if teaching is so good with this wonderful pension they are supposed to get and all of the holidays etc then why aren't more people attracted to it and why do 2 out of every 5 NQT leave after the first two years? There's obviously something seriously wrong. I was at a primary this morning and two very experienced and highly competent teachers were missing from the staff room. When I asked where they were the answer was that they had gone, 'Had enough of the shit' was the actual answer to my enquiry from an equally harrased looking teacher.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
27th Mar 2014, 23:43
Agreed TomJoad. I'm aware it's tricky. I'm not wedded to 5 years, or indeed any single term. Let Heads decide on an ad hominem basis. It's just the concept of a permanent contract I want to get away from.

Exactly thing. I walked into the Head's office and announced something similar in 2008.

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 00:02
I understand where you are coming from but why just aim your sights at teachers? I could tell you of many incompetent people who work in my local city hall. I'm sure there are many incompetent policemen (now there's a pension for you), there's incompetence in any field, including private sector. That's people for you, promoted to their own level of incompetence.

Teachers get fed up with being the whipping boy and I must reiterate what I said earlier, if teaching is so good with this wonderful pension they are supposed to get and all of the holidays etc then why aren't more people attracted to it and why do 2 out of every 5 NQT leave after the first two years? There's obviously something seriously wrong. I was at a primary this morning and two very experienced and highly competent teachers were missing from the staff room. When I asked where they were the answer was that they had gone, 'Had enough of the shit' was the actual answer to my enquiry from an equally harrased looking teacher.

Agreed. Teaching is perhaps a unique profession where everybody believes they have an insight - after all, we all went through the education system. There are a hell of a lot of misconceptions - holidays for one but less insight into the amount of work undertaken at home, funding shortfalls in equipment from personal funds, constant political interference, transfer of parental and societal responsibility to the profession while hands being firmly tied by political correctness et al. But like I said, I have reconciled all that, together with the salary, and I still love it - I will remain in teaching, God willing, until I feel I am no longer serving the best interests of the kids.:)

Krystal n chips
28th Mar 2014, 05:55
"Many public sector pension schemes should have evolved when private sector ones did, but the Labour gov didn't have the balls for it (heaven knows why when Gordon quite happily finished off private sector ones in one tax-grabbing stroke).

What, exactly, is your definition of "evolve" because mine means to continue to develop and thus your argument above has no substance other than the private vs public sector choice of employment.

Note the word.....choice. Now add personal.

You, along with millions of others, had the choice as to whether you wished to be self-employed or work in the private or public sector. Every occupation has positive and negative elements, no job is "perfect" despite the level of remuneration and personal satisfaction that can be derived. And if the private sector is so beneficial, why didn't the many private sector organisations work to compensate their employees for the pension losses induced ?

Where would many teachers walk to? Many that I see (and I see a lot) are unemployable outside the protected world of state education. But some are good, and we need to attract more good ones and lose the dross.

Another wonderful misconception. On what basis can you say a teacher who leaves the profession is subsequently "unemployable ", other than your own prejudicial view that is. The "unemployable" term can be applied equally across both sectors, former military personnel for example in certain roles and with long terms service can, and do, have great difficulty when employed as civilians.

Likewise anybody who was worked for an organisation for many years and then finds themselves working for another with an entirely different culture and ethos.

Pay the good ones the right rate. Ditch the dross *. Get pensions in line with economic reality. Just like the private sector, in fact!


Ah, this utopian private sector which employs no "dross". Unfortunately, although this fact has patently and, not unsurprisingly, escaped your attention, incompetence, indifference and ineptitude are to be found at all levels in both sectors.

Whilst the arguments concerning teaching ability and standards have a validity, in essence the basis for your posts seems far more applicable to an outburst of petulance coupled with envy as to why one group of workers has benefited regarding pensions....... and you have not.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Mar 2014, 10:13
I understand where you are coming from but why just aim your sights at teachers?

Because that's what this thread is about. Because it's teachers who are striking, on the streets, and whinging about the inevitable instead of manning up to it... etc.The principles I explained above should apply in every work place, but it's teachers who make themselves the obvious target with their whinging and their striking and their presenting of an unprofessional image.

Also, I happen to come into regular contact with a lot of teachers and their pupils and see them in action so I know something of them. I don't regularly meet town hall officials or police.

TJ - strong unionisation of teaching is something of a barrier to teachers moving forward into the 21st century. Collective bargaining on salaries, fixed pay scales rather than payment on merit (and location salary variables - it costs a lot more to live in SE than NE and private sector recognises this in relevant pay. So should teaching - the 'London Allowance' doesn't cut it) are all barriers to enabling good teachers to be rewarded and dross ejected.

Head teachers should be managers capable of developing staff and making decisions on their performance, just as we did in my workplace.

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 19:22
TJ - strong unionisation of teaching is something of a barrier to teachers moving forward into the 21st century. Despite not being a member of a Union I could not disagree with you more SSD. There are many benefits to be derived from the collective bargaining process afforded by Unions, both to employer and employee. The teaching Unions in particular are very active in contributing to the development, delivery and appraisal of teaching methodologies and practice together with working with the General Teaching Councils to develop and agree regulatory framework and licensing of the teacher profession. So contrary to your statement I would argue that Unions and the collective bargaining process is essential if we are to continue to deliver and maintain a teaching profession that is modern relevant and professional and yes well remunerated. Essential therefore in "moving forward in the 21st century".


Collective bargaining on salaries, fixed pay scales rather than payment on merit (and location salary variables - it costs a lot more to live in SE than NE and private sector recognises this in relevant pay. So should teaching - the 'London Allowance' doesn't cut it) are all barriers to enabling good teachers to be rewarded and dross ejected. If you are arguing for the London allowance to be increased so that teachers can afford to live in the communities in which they teach then we, and I believe the Unions, are in agreement SSD.

Head teachers should be managers capable of developing staff and making decisions on their performance, just as we did in my workplace. Headteachers are and do.

SSD I am more convinced now that your complaint is a general rail against Union activity, collective bargaining in particular. Again while not a member of a Union I recognise the legitimacy of Union membership and Union activity. The benefit of collective bargaining is an established, well understood and respected mechanism in the management of industrial relations. It is supported and respected by employers and employees alike. To suggest that collective bargaining in some way is a barrier to progressive development of the Education sector points to a fundamentally flawed understanding of the sector. We are not going to close the gap here SSD.

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 19:28
Itlay?, yep another quality teacher:rolleyes:

Ok Lone you will need to explain your comment to me - I'm being a bit dim here. Are you critical of my choice of holiday destination or that I am using my contracted holiday time?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Mar 2014, 19:53
TJ, you have convinced me that you are a union dinosaur left over from the 1970s.

You continue to miss my points and bend them to meet your ideas on what I'm posting, rather than the points I am actually making. I'm not going to re-state those points again; they are expressed clearly enough in my posts above, and others here seem to understand what I'm saying easily enough. That includes those who agree with me and those who don't.

charliegolf
28th Mar 2014, 19:55
Tom, LR thinks that because you typoed 'Italy', you are a crap teacher.

You must be weeded out forthwith!

Fox3...

Fixed term contracts under current employment law (NOT education law per se) means that you cannot end a contract and fill it with someone else over and over again. That's the professional advice I have always received. Anyone know different?

CG

Fox3WheresMyBanana
28th Mar 2014, 20:02
Good point, CG. Right, I'm out of ideas. Hopefully the band will keep playing whilst the UK education system sinks below the waves.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Mar 2014, 20:07
TJ has assured us that head teachers are indeed effective managers who can develop and inspire staff to get the best out of them, and also get rid of hopeless cases.

All should be well, then! :rolleyes:

charliegolf
28th Mar 2014, 20:13
read some more of his rubbish

No shortage in this thread.

CG

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 20:51
Tom, LR thinks that because you typoed 'Italy', you are a crap teacher.

You must be weeded out forthwith!

Fox3...

Fixed term contracts under current employment law (NOT education law per se) means that you cannot end a contract and fill it with someone else over and over again. That's the professional advice I have always received. Anyone know different?

CG


Thanks GC,I only ever needed confirmation - always suspected I was a crap teacher. I shall weed myself forthwith:p

Re fixed term concrats (see crap again) and employment law I think your interpretation is correct although no expert.

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 20:53
TJ has assured us that head teachers are indeed effective managers who can develop and inspire staff to get the best out of them, and also get rid of hopeless cases.

All should be well, then! :rolleyes:

Hell's teeth SSD you really do have a massive complex regarding teachers. Something you want to share mate, did the big kids do something or were you never chosen to pick the team?

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 20:55
Oh that it was that simple, read some more of his rubbish and you will see the brain - rot goes far deeper than a typo and repeated instances of non - existant reading comprehension

I pity the pupils

And now your argument falls.:D:D:D

ps existent seeing as we are sensitive to spelling:=

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 21:06
Good point, CG. Right, I'm out of ideas. Hopefully the band will keep playing whilst the UK education system sinks below the waves.

Me too, in the face of the astute logic of SSD who believes collective bargaining together with the proliferation of inept headmasters is the root cause of his perceived malaise infecting education. Not sure where his insight comes from, certainly not from the classroom; I suspect more from political dogma.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
28th Mar 2014, 21:10
Sample size of one (plus my contacts in the UK who are still teachers, say about 15), but my experience is that Heads are getting worse, certainly in the way they treat their staff. He's still wrong about unions though, even though I'd never join one by choice.

TomJoad
28th Mar 2014, 21:22
Sample size of one (plus my contacts in the UK who are still teachers, say about 15), but my experience is that Heads are getting worse, certainly in the way they treat their staff. He's still wrong about unions though, even though I'd never join one by choice.

Can't say I share that experience Fox3, certainly not from personal working experience, nor in connection with my own kids' schooling. Headteachers I have had contact with have, in general, held the respect of the teaching staff and parents. As with any profession, public to private, IT to whatever, there will be incompetence at all levels. Like I said before, I have no experience of teaching outside of Scotland. As for Union membership, likewise, not currently a member of one, nor have I ever been a member of one. Personal choice not dogmatically opposed to collective bargaining/representation, on the contrary I recognise their role and value.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Mar 2014, 23:42
in the face of the astute logic of SSD who believes collective bargaining together with the proliferation of inept headmasters is the root cause of his perceived malaise infecting education.

Collective bargaining is no friend of the good teacher, as they get lumped into the same pay grade as the equivalent experience dross. Is that why you are such a fervent supporter of CB, TJ?

TomJoad
29th Mar 2014, 00:06
Collective bargaining is no friend of the good teacher, as they get lumped into the same pay grade as the equivalent experience dross. Is that why you are such a fervent supporter of CB?

You do realise fella that your credibility evaporated when your argument shifted to personal attack.:= You are on a defensive footing now, - the true focus of your ire, collective bargaining, has been disclosed.

As for your considered opinion on what befriends the "good teacher". Let me offer that I and my colleagues will be the better judge of that. I'll go further. I'll wager that I'll be the more informed between us as to what constitutes a "good teacher" and my colleagues counsel regarding the benefit of collective bargaining in support of advancement of our profession and the Education service will hold more credibility than yours ever good. Now let's be clear, I make that wager with no malice intent, I'm in no way taking a pop at you, it is what it is, an informed opinion from within the profession.

Well I think we are done now. Your personal attacks are becoming more than tiresome SSD so I'll leave you to it fella. Knock yourself out taking pops at my personal and professional expense. It reflects well on you:ok:

Seldomfitforpurpose
29th Mar 2014, 00:30
You do realise fella that your credibility evaporated when your argument shifted to personal attack.:=


This particular Pot Kettle moment did cause me to chuckle :p

TomJoad
29th Mar 2014, 00:51
Your second contribution to the thread Seldom and you revert to type. Consistent as always. Well done fella.:D:D:D

edited -

Shaggy Sheep Driver
29th Mar 2014, 08:58
TJ, don't you see a common trend in the replies to your posts?

Seldomfitforpurpose
29th Mar 2014, 09:09
Consistent as always.


Hard not to be when you consider the subject matter, I'm certainly not the first to make this comparison Tom and I doubt I will be the last :ok:

PS. Feel free to stalk me in other threads, it's highly amusing and really proves the point chap :p:p:p

TomJoad
29th Mar 2014, 17:23
Hard not to be when you consider the subject matter, I'm certainly not the first to make this comparison Tom and I doubt I will be the last :ok:

PS. Feel free to stalk me in other threads, it's highly amusing and really proves the point chap :p:p:p

Again another constructive input seldom. As for stalking, rather hypocritical given the focus of 2 of your 3 posts here.:=

TomJoad
29th Mar 2014, 17:27
TJ, don't you see a common trend in the replies to your posts?

SSD Seldom has form, a known armchair antagonist. Now consider your personal attacks here. Don't believe I have made any. Like I said before you undermined your argument.:=

Seldomfitforpurpose
29th Mar 2014, 19:11
SSD Seldom has form, a known armchair antagonist. Now consider your personal attacks here. Don't believe I have made any. Like I said before you undermined your argument.:=

Perhaps a revisit of the Scottish Independence thread is needed Tom, for clarity. Probably worth mentioning that unlike several others I didn't use the 'P' word :p:p:p

TomJoad
29th Mar 2014, 19:23
Perhaps a revisit of the Scottish Independence thread is needed Tom, for clarity. Probably worth mentioning that unlike several others I didn't use the 'P' word :p:p:p

Go for it, you had similar form there mate. But like I said, one only need look at the focus and tenour of 3 out of your 4 posts here. Your intent and form is clear as it is elsewhere.:=

ChrisVJ
30th Mar 2014, 03:56
Pity you guys can't stick to the point.

What is good teaching today? How are we teaching kids and what should they be learning?

It's important and fascinating, hopefully not just another red herring like all word reading or the new, new, new math, and all you can do is personal slagging off?

I have been a school trustee for eight years and I can see a hundred obstacles to good education and a hundred opportunities. Why don't we discuss them!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
30th Mar 2014, 09:44
ChrisVJ - quite so. Education clearly isn't working for many kids; I have expressed on here some of my views. What are yours?

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 10:05
What is good teaching?
Communicating the methods and philosophy of both the subject and learning in general. Inspiring a love of same in those where this is possible, and providing useful knowledge to all, in a manner where it will be remembered when needed (perhaps years later).
Doing the above safely and at a economic cost.
Emphasising the values of a free and caring society.
Helping students to discover what contribution they wish to make to the society which has provided this education.


What are currently the major barriers to this?
Teaching by unenthused non-specialists.
Teaching material which gets in the way of the above, typically material which is easy to examine rather than relevant (or even right)
Expecting teachers to be social workers.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
30th Mar 2014, 10:23
I agree with what Fox has posted above. What about 'kids with an attitude of entitlement - convinced that they'll do well in life without actually having to put in much effort or be particularly talented in any way'.

I see a lot of that in the 'Travel & Tourism' kids I meet (so not the sharpest chisels, presumably). Is that coming from poor parenting, media feeding them junk ideas, or poor teaching perhaps related to what Fox has posted?

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 10:39
If well taught, the kids should be well aware that good things rarely come easy, and that they are always better with hard work. Furthermore, part of a good society is giving according to your capabilities, which are much less if you've been sitting on your ass the whole time.

Of course, blaming teachers for everything and setting exams a moron could get a B grade at just emphasises a sense of entitlement. Essentially, Government dumbing down of standards says to the kids "your teachers are lying to you about the virtues of working hard"

I think it's largely poor parenting. Good parents also restrict access to bad media. It's difficult for financially poor parents to combat bad teaching. Public libraries are a great help for bright kids with initiative, but it's difficult for average/weak kids without help. It takes a village to raise a child.

charliegolf
30th Mar 2014, 10:52
Shaggy, a lesson in 'success' in the modern education service...

First the language. We used to talk about 5 O levels, with maths and English as being 'a standard'. That standard 'let you in' to the sixth form. CSEs were for the artisans and super-well trained craft apprentices.

Now we have GCSEs, and other stuff. Five GCSE is now called, 'the level 2 threshold'. Add maths and English in there, and you have 'level 2 inclusive'. Still with me?

The 'best' school where I live boasts a 95% L2 threshold. Yay! When you ask for the L2 inclusive, it drops to about 40%. What's happened, it that this school discovered (not a secret) that you can, for L2, ditch examined GCSEs and do BTech awards instead- typically your Travel and Tourism stuff. They now CHOOSE who does GCSE (now the A-Level entry metric), hence the shite L2 inclusive score.

My point (Fox's actually) is that if you demand a curriculum that delivers numbers, schools will go and get the easiest TOTALLY LEGAL set of numbers they are able. Then say, look, 95%. In Wales, this farce is abolished next year, and the 'vocational equivalent' route will close. 'Standards' are gonna tumble!

As for poor parenting... Not really- school calls you in and tells you your thicko child is, in fact gonna get 5 GCSE (equivalent), and you are satisfied.

Whose fault? Start with 50% to have a uni education and work backward. That's where you find the problem. Everything had to be made easier. My missionary work (primary head) is to keep telling my former parents, "Don't let 'em do an A-level without a name you remember from school; there ARE only 3 sciences; and DO NOT swallow the BTech route."

We don't have to do much IN SCHOOLS to fix this. But we do have to know what to do with the 60 universities we don't need if we re-introduce rigour into the certificate exams- easy to do, but the failure rates will look like the Somme for 10 years. Youth unemployment will hit 85%. But hey.

The received wisdom that lefty teachers brought this about is crap. You get what your elected representitives pay for.

But the debate seems a bit healthier today- that's good.:ok:

CG

Missed F3's common sense whilst typing.

thing
30th Mar 2014, 10:53
What about 'kids with an attitude of entitlement - convinced that they'll do well in life without actually having to put in much effort or be particularly talented in any way'.

Crikey, I'm agreeing with you. Those same kids get a rude awakening when they leave education and then become part of the 'disaffected yoof' of this country. I put most of the blame down to parents, cash rich time poor folk who think that timetabling their child's life into a constant round of scouts, football training, tennis training, and all the other actiuvities that kid's have crammed into their life makes up for spending some time with them or just letting them play and use their imaginations. The other bit of blame I put on the media. You have primary school girls dieting now, it's absolutely bananas what we are doing to our kids as a society.

Of course teachers will get the blame for everything, they always have and always will. Whipping boys for society's failings.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 11:01
A further tragedy is that easy BTECs worth 4 GCSEs have degraded the value of genuine crafts - not just plumbing but also Travel & Tourism.

The world doesn't have anywhere near enough good engineers (one look at the news reports of bridges, dams and shopping malls collapsing should tell you that), and it has a surfeit of Tourism & Travel graduates.

To complete the circle: What's the point of training history teachers when it's physics/chemistry teachers you need?

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 11:08
p.s. I did teach a BTEC for a while. There used to be quite a lot of flexibility in the syllabus, and I was told I made a very good job of it. However, a lot of the instructors aren't good (and don't have to be), and kids can do naff all and still pass.
On balance, I'd prefer to teach BTEC rather than the current GCSE Science because of the flexibility. Since the Qual. is known as a joke, I would be happier as my students would be assessed at interview, where they would star.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 12:13
What is good teaching?
Communicating the methods and philosophy of both the subject and learning in general. Inspiring a love of same in those where this is possible, and providing useful knowledge to all, in a manner where it will be remembered when needed (perhaps years later).
Doing the above safely and at a economic cost.
Emphasising the values of a free and caring society.
Helping students to discover what contribution they wish to make to the society which has provided this education.


What are currently the major barriers to this?
Teaching by unenthused non-specialists. Agreed - but specialist are expensive, they expect a competitive remuneration (in the round).
Teaching material which gets in the way of the above, typically material which is easy to examine rather than relevant (or even right) Agreed - let teachers teach.
Expecting teachers to be social workers. Agreed - to a certain extent there has to be some expectation of pastoral care.


Don't think anyone would disagree with your aims Fox but too often these are simply written down in the curriculum definition with the expectation that because they have been written they will manifest. It is not as simple as that as I sure you are well aware. Moreover, ask 12 folk what they consider to be required to deliver excellent teaching and you will get 12 different answers - everybody considers themselves an expert because they once sat in a classroom - this thread being a clear example. Again the reality is somewhat different. Take for argument sake the typical right wing call that is emerging here where there is an expectation on teachers to correct the deficiencies of which they consider to originate from bad parenting. There is a growing expectation from ill informed public and politicians that teachers can somehow address the decline in the personal, moral and whatever other attitudes they consider are not reflected in our young people. Anyone with any experience of teaching knows that is, to quote George Galloway "nonsense on stilts".

As for what makes a good teacher - again no single or simple answer. Sure similarities with other professions can be offered - what makes a good doctor, engineer, lawyer - knowledge of subject, ability to communicate, particularly to children! Beyond that we stray into skills which cannot, in my opinion and experience, be taught. Enthusiasm for subject, empathy, leadership (not management mind), a genuine care for your students, and above all love. To be able to give every kid the same chance to find their way to success no matter how many times they reject it. A truly good teacher does not give up.

As for what is wrong with the curriculum. Well again ask 12 opinions and you will get 12 different answers. Much of the complaints outlined in this thread are pertinent to the English Education System and, while in some areas have common impact, they do not present the same throughout the rest of the UK. Looking at my particular area I cannot understand why the English system allows non specialist to teach science - it is utterly shameful. The IOP have indeed being doing tremendous work to raise the profile of Physics and attract motivated blood into the profession. But here we return to the origin of this thread. Continue to erode the remuneration package, of which pension is a central component, then you have no hope in hell of attracting the best physics, maths and engineering graduates into teaching. You have even less hope attracting those with industrial experience who bring the real passion and flair to the profession.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 12:31
Of course teachers will get the blame for everything, they always have and always will. Whipping boys for society's failings.

Indeed, particularly from the Daily Mail reading element of society. For what it is worth, do not believe all you hear or read about the disaffected and talentless "yoouf" of today - experience tells otherwise. A hell of a lot of those who throw such complaints could not hold a candle to many of our young. In any respect, if they are somehow less able than those who went before, then who is to blame! Our generation - we raised them, they reflect our values and attitudes. And if they don't then we have abrogated our responsibility in raising them.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 12:41
Well again ask 12 opinions and you will get 12 different answers.

What's wrong with the UK science syllabi is so obvious that, in my experience, ask 50 good science teachers and you will get 2 opinions, with at least 80% overlap. And if you allow a context or a content approach with the same content tested at the end, as is possible with some specifications, you cover both opinions.

If you thought paying good science teachers was expensive, you are now finding out how expensive not paying good science teachers is.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 12:46
We don't have to do much IN SCHOOLS to fix this. But we do have to know what to do with the 60 universities we don't need if we re-introduce rigour into the certificate exams- easy to do, but the failure rates will look like the Somme for 10 years. Youth unemployment will hit 85%. But hey.

The received wisdom that lefty teachers brought this about is crap. You get what your elected representitives pay for.

But the debate seems a bit healthier today- that's good.:ok:

CG

Missed F3's common sense whilst typing.


Can't comment much on the situation regarding GCSE only to say the perception is that that particular qualification has been devalued. With respect to BTEC however the Brittish attitude to place less value of vocational qualification in favour of academic is bizarre and in my opinion every bit part of the problem. As you say, we don't need 50% going to university, we don't need 50% pursuing Highers, Advanced Highers or A levels. WE need an appropriate balance vocational and academic but the politicians will not ditch the bankrupt policy that everybody must have the same experience.


As for the debate being healthier today - totally agree and what a welcome relief from the nonsense. So let's hope the personal insults are dropped permanently - it was beginning to sound like a conversation with a teenager at the end of a lesson:ok:.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 12:50
What's wrong with the UK science syllabi is so obvious that, in my experience, ask 50 good science teachers and you will get 2 opinions, with at least 80% overlap. And if you allow a context or a content approach with the same content tested at the end, as is possible with some specifications, you cover both opinions.

If you thought paying good science teachers was expensive, you are now finding out how expensive not paying good science teachers is.

There is no such thing as a UK curriculum Fox but I guess you are referring again to the English system particularly at GCSE. Yes I would agree, as said before I believe the main failings in that system are; (a) allowing non specialist to teach and (b) GCSE science is too broad and general.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 12:58
Fox3,

Just a thought and meant say earlier, what is the Canadian system like. Have taught there or are you still teaching there. I believe the newly introduced Scottish Curriculum For Excellence had looked at the Canadian model during its design phase.

How does teacher,conditions,recruitment,training,CPD,registration etc compare with say the UK? I had at one time tough about emigrating.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 13:49
Education systems are provincial; I can only comment on PEI. It is the worst in Canada, and the difference is increasing. The teachers are well rewarded, the kids are well behaved, but they don't learn much. There is excellent freedom for good teachers, but there are nowhere near enough of them in the sciences & math. I have lectured at the University so I've seen the product, and the product from other provinces. The PEI Education Department has its head in the sand - It thinks parking a French language* or Phys Ed teacher in front of a physics class is perfectly OK. To be fair, this blinkering would not be untypical of other PEI Government Departments. Canada as a whole is doing OK - the big provinces are more rigorous, and the general freedom at University allows the good lecturers to be good. It also allows the dross to do little. However, no one in the country is in any doubt that an engineering degree is generally worth a lot more than a liberal arts degree.


*I've done some tutoring to schoolchildren. After the first hour, one told her mum "I've just learned more in one hour than I have all year with Ms x"

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 14:02
Difficulty in competing with the private sector to attract STEM graduates is a worldwide problem and always will be I think. That is why the teaching profession must be made attractive to those with the marketable skills.

The article from the times below kinda sums up the difficulty, the table is an extract - no surprise where the STEM subjects fall:
Generation of children left without vital skills - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10713188/Generation-of-children-left-without-vital-skills.html)



Graduates Still Looking For Employment In Field 6 Month Post Graduating

Fine arts 29%
Media studies 26.7%
Performing arts 23.5%
Design 23.1%
Sociology 22.7%
Physical and geographical sciences 22.1%
History 21.1%
English 21.4%
Biology 20.8%
Law 19.8%
Psychology 18.9%
Geography 18.8%
Sports science 17.4%
Marketing 15.9%
Politics 15.4%
Languages 15.2%
All employed graduates 13.7%
Business and management studies 13.7%
Chemistry 13.1%
Finance and accountancy 11.3%
Computer science and IT 10.5%
Maths 9.3%
Physics 9%
Electrical and electronic engineering 8.8%
Economics 7.9%
Architecture and building 7.9%
Mechanical engineering 5.6%
Civil engineering 4.7%

charliegolf
30th Mar 2014, 14:05
an engineering degree is generally worth a lot more than a liberal arts degree.

I hammered this into my daughter, brainwashed her even. So far, she has chosen not to wear a lab coat and be a scientist or teach science (physics). She is absolutely sure, though, that her last two jobs were achieved as a result of that degree. Each employer waived their own 2:1 minimum (hers is a 2:2) classification because it is a physics degre from a Russell Group uni.

It's a weight off my mind.

The best teacher from 26 in my current school has a genetics degree. I am moving her to Year 1 in September. Those children are going to be set for life as a result.

CG

Shaggy Sheep Driver
30th Mar 2014, 16:42
Some very interesting insights there, chaps. Many thanks.

Was it not Tony Blair who turned all the Polys into Unis and decreed that everyone should have a Uni degree?

That government did sooo much damage to the country between Blair and Broon. How can anyone with a braincell count in at least double figures contemplate voting them into power again? :ugh:

Seldomfitforpurpose
30th Mar 2014, 17:01
Some very interesting insights there, chaps. Many thanks.

Was it not Tony Blair who turned all the Polys into Unis and decreed that everyone should have a Uni degree?

That government did sooo much damage to the country between Blair and Broon. How can anyone with a braincell count in at least double figures contemplate voting them into power again? :ugh:

I read a stat last week stating the somewhere in the region of 40% of graduates will go on to never earn enough to actually pay back ANY of their student loans.

3 years of party party party to end up with a Desmond in Underwater Basket Weaving or the like whilst generating debt that will simply never be paid back.

Sounds like a sweeping generalisation but if the 40% figure is even close to being accurate how many of those kids would be better off using those 3 years more productively?

My daughter did her Nursing degree through the RAF and is now earning way more than her civilian counterparts whilst my son who despite having a place decided Uni was not for him and got himself an apprentiship with one of the major utility outfits and at 26 is now a manager, company car and an almost 40k salary.

The threshold for paying back their student loans is 21k, earn less than this and never pay a penny back. Not saying Uni is a bad idea for kids but if you cant muster more than 21k as a bloody graduate I have to wonder WTF.

perthsaint
30th Mar 2014, 17:32
It was the Major government which turned polytechnics into universities.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytechnic_(United_Kingdom)

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 17:37
Some very interesting insights there, chaps. Many thanks.

Was it not Tony Blair who turned all the Polys into Unis and decreed that everyone should have a Uni degree?

That government did sooo much damage to the country between Blair and Broon. How can anyone with a braincell count in at least double figures contemplate voting them into power again? :ugh:

On that we agree 100%. Widening access to university is so obviously a failed philosophy. What I can't understand is why it is being maintained.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
30th Mar 2014, 17:39
Keeps the kids off the unemployment figures for a bit. The student loans write-off can gets kicked 2 Governments down the road.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 17:49
It does but it also impacts on secondary education informing curriculum development and competing with funding against more relevant pupil destinations. It needs to be brought to an end. Trouble is UK business has a history of wanting everything delivered for it. Industry has a role to play here in restoring the traditional apprentice and craft routes. The Labour government under Blair and subsequently Brown certainly maintained and furthered the mess.

charliegolf
30th Mar 2014, 19:23
Industry has a role to play here in restoring the traditional apprentice and craft routes.

Thare are signs of green manufacturing/engineering shoots in these parts. That MIGHT have an effect. Not sure the 4 year C&G will ever reappear, but my nephew is progressing well in plastering on his on the job training course.

CG

Shaggy Sheep Driver
30th Mar 2014, 19:28
'Internships' seem to be the fashion today, where the school / college leaver works for nothing in order to impress a potential employer and hopefully get offered a paid job with them.

The National Trust does this and I've seen 3 young people obtain paid positions with the trust that way.

Krystal n chips
30th Mar 2014, 20:20
Ah, internships. Otherwise known as exploitation, although with your grasp of industrial relations, you probably won't understand this perception.

Arts universities oppose unpaid internships | Education | theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/09/arts-universities-against-unpaid-internships)

"Can't afford to pay you, but..".....we will save some money to add to our profits by not doing so and then, guess what ?......"sorry, you've worked jolly hard, but, sadly, we've no vacancies.....bye ".....followed a short time later, by "welcome, we hope you enjoy your internship with us "....etc, etc.

Why should anybody be expected, other than in sectors and organisations which make it perfectly clear from the onset, and always have, that you will be an unpaid volunteer, to work for.....nothing.

Can we take it you would be happy to do so therefore ?

radeng
30th Mar 2014, 20:31
Isn't part of the strike about pensions?


'Yes, we entered into a contract with you. Now we are saying we can't afford it and we will break that contract unilaterally. If you strike, we'll accuse you of non-professional behaviour and say any bad results are your fault'.


On public sector pensions, it is, I feel fair to say that the governments (of whichever persuasion) have ended up negotiating in bad faith with no intention of keeping to previous agreements.

TomJoad
30th Mar 2014, 21:03
Ah, internships. Otherwise known as exploitation, although with your grasp of industrial relations, you probably won't understand this perception.




Internships and zero hour contracts - "two cheeks of the same arse". Wow never thought I'd ever quote gorgeous George once never mind twice - and in the same post.:} Certainly not the future I would wish on my kids or anybody's.

UK PLCs need to man up here and take the responsibility and investment in training through proper indentured apprenticeships and similar on-job training. The German's have understood and benefited from that philosophy for decades - little wonder they are economic power house of Europe. Truth is, Britain has never valued engineering or science - it only values the prestige and money these fields derive. How we have squandered our great heritage in these fields.

Yes there are some forward thinking companies out there who are making the investment now- they are the exception sadly. We could start to change things by making positive and productive connections between the business community and schools. Get local business supporting programs in schools and forming recruitment links with evidential success. It would make a change from the CBI's annual and rather routine complaint that the yoof don't have the skills they need. Time long past that they realise that they have a role to play - schools cannot and should not be held to deliver the finished article for them - they have a significant part to play.

ChrisVJ
31st Mar 2014, 01:06
Well some one asked!

I could write five thousand words on education here and barely get started.

I live in BC and in SD48 Sea to Sky. (Sounds good but just one of sixty odd school districts.) Our districts are governed by elected trustees who are NOT councillors or municipal functionaries.

For the first five odd years I was a trustee we tried to improve education by doing more of what we already did. Naturally, in a mature system, this got us pretty well no where. The board (not the staff,) decided we wanted a plan but our first plan got ‘diverted’ by our staff so while it was trumpeted as a success there was no actual difference in results.

We found a new superintendent who suggested that if we were going to produce graduates who would THRIVE in today’s world they needed skills like critical thinking, collaboration, creativity. We are not abandoning traditional education but, in a world where any information is available in an instant it is not so important to pack students minds with that information as it is to teach them how to use it.

Our new superintendent suggested we use a system somewhat along the order of that used in High Tech High in San Diego but we said not without knowing exactly what that meant. We organised a board trip to HTH, spending about $8,000 of our very precious funds and not without argument and misgiving!

I believe that is the best money we have spent in eight years, (and our budget is $45M/year.)

I, for one, had my whole idea of what a good school is turned up side down. For fifty years my idea of a good school is one where students sit quietly and learn from a teacher. Where order, and maybe uniform, is important. Where curriculum is controlled and directed to graduation and grading by achievement. In good schools teachers were in control, discipline was managed by tight and comprehensive rules and, for me at least, bright students worked in classes of bright students so they could achieve their potential, (streaming, in other words,)

What we found at HTH was almost exactly the opposite.
HTH uses a system of Project Based Learning. Sure, students still do formal classes where it is necessary but largely they learn by doing projects, some asd classes but mostly, as they move on through the school, in small groups of two or three students . Withing the guidelines and help provided by their teacher students create their own projects.

Projects aren’t just vague huggy fluffy things, they follow a rigorous expectation. They must be “in the real world.” Critical, they are not ‘false’ or ‘make work.’

Projects have iterations. They are created, presented to their peers, criticised, amended, presented, amended and eventually presented to the public.

Projects cross the disciplines. Teahcers don’t work in ‘departments’ they work in grade grouping. The kids are working with Art, math, English, othe subjects and often manual skills all at the same time, (Just like the real world,) and so that is how the teachers collaborate.

Projects are collaborative. Students work together.

Projects must have a Public Presentation to adults. The HTH principals words were “Presentations must be amazing and beautiful.”

As we toured three of the eleven schools HTH now manage we found students wandering around the halls during class discussing and working on their projects, we found teachers working with small groups while other students got on with their work. We found students helping other students. There was no disruption, anywhere. Students of all abilities were working at their own levels, sometimes bright with not so bright too.
As our guide pointed out, when you look at a traditional orderly class many of the students aren’t paying attention and even those who are do not learn the whole lesson. I always reckoned if my kids came home with five percent of a day’s teaching as learning we were about average. At HTH it was clear that students were learning by doing and I could not imagine any of them going home with less than 95% of the day’s work firmly entrenched.

If I may I’ll illustrate with a Grade four class we visited. The students had been presented with a local problem. Outside the school was desert on the Mexican border and a rodent population was thriving just a little too well. After research (biology and computer skills) they decided to encourage an owl population. The students were designing, laying out and building owl boxes to be put out in the area. They were prototyping with cardboard when we were there, first half scale and then full size. The plywood parts would then be cut by parent volunteers and the kids would assemble and decorate them. They would then install them and monitor results. At each stage reports and revisions would be made and a final report made to parents (in public forum) and local councillors.

Reading through it you can see the skills and learning involved. Biology, English, Math, scales, mapping, presentation, manual skills, (while we watched kids of ten years old were wielding knives to cut their individual pattern out!) woodworking,

I have put six kids through school and university and I have always had trouble recognising students work as good as I only seem able to judge it by adult standards. I was blown away by those kids’ work. They were eloquent, knowledgeable beyond belief. When I asked about the rodents and the owls they explained what they had learned and what they were doing in terms and logic I would be lucky to dfind in Grade twelve kids almost anywhere.

There are differences between our schools and theirs.

They are a Charter School. They are publicly funded and take students of all abilities but their students are chosen by lottery, their parents have applied, ie they are self selected and their parents support their school and their education. It is a significant difference.

Their teachers are engaged for one year only and work very hard indeed. That is a significant difference. (And they were all very happy to be there!) Don’t join the system, don’t stay.

Their schools must follow guidelines applying to state schools in California, exams, SATs etc but have a lot more freedom with curriculum and style etc.

I read in the D Wail that a group of parents were complaining that principals and teachers from local schools hade been sent to San Diego and they resented the expense. “Why don’t they get it from the Internet/” they asked. YOU CAN’T IMAGINE THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT. THIS WILL BE THE BEST MONEY YOU EVER SPEND. It was for us. (Sorry for the shouting. But it is that important.)

Here endeth part 1. I don’t want to bore. If you’d like more let me know.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
31st Mar 2014, 08:01
Ah, internships. Otherwise known as exploitation, although with your grasp of industrial relations, you probably won't understand this perception.

Still firing on both chips, K&C? Please keep such unpleasant personal pokes out of this thread. You are not welcome on my threads, so please play elsewhere.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
31st Mar 2014, 08:07
radeng wrote:

'Yes, we entered into a contract with you. Now we are saying we can't afford it and we will break that contract unilaterally. If you strike, we'll accuse you of non-professional behaviour and say any bad results are your fault'.

radeng, no-one is entitled to keep the pension arrangements they signed up to for life. Same happened to me and just about everyone else in private sector about 20 years ago when our final salary scheme had its contributions raised and benefits reduced. What is protected is 'pension rights to date', so my pension is OK, and anyway the scheme carried on for us old timers (albeit with the changes) though it was closed to new entrants.

That isn't (and I've said this before :rolleyes: ) management cutting costs. It's the pension fund trustees facing economic reality.

The same reality the public sector should have faced back then, and now it's well overdue. Quite simply, what used to be affordable in the world of pensions (for everyone, pubic and private) is no longer affordable and hasn't been for about 2 decades now. The teachers' (and many other PS schemes - firefighters is a biggie) are imposing an increasingly crippling cost on the public purse, so summat has to give.

As we seem to be getting posts making points which have already been batted aside earlier, perhaps it's time to re-post these facts re the teachers' pension scheme:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/ne...e-it-that-way/

Fox3WheresMyBanana
31st Mar 2014, 10:08
ChrisVJ -when allowed, I've done this kind of thing with my students in UK private schools,with similarly outstanding results. I note that HTH takes non-teachers and gets them credentialed. I would presume this is also the reason they only take teachers for a year, so they can get more people with their philosophy back into the mainstream system. Another possibility,playing Devil's Advocate, is that it's very draining and teachers are at risk of burning out.

There are considerable difficulties with doing this in mainstream schools. Direct-Entry teachers generally have no background in it. It's probably easier to take a good project engineer with teaching potential and make them a teacher, than it is to make a teacher a good project engineer. The former would be similar to my background and, curiously, that of my first Head of Department, and my next department's other teacher. So, I have 9 years of HTH-type experience. But good project engineers don't grow on trees.
Inspectors will have a coronary. Nothing you do fits their metrics, they don't understand what you are doing, and your results in terms of numbers and Uni entry are hundreds of percents better than their recommended methods. They hate you.
Principals need to be completely on-side. Not many will cheerfully approve you taking students overseas and throwing them out of an aeroplane at 15,000 feet to teach terminal velocity, as I have done. Parents aren't a problem, however.
PM me if you want more,otherwise this could fill the thread, and it's naff-all to do with pensions or, sadly, mainstream teaching.

p.s. SSD -your link doesn't seem to work.

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 11:21
Quite simply, what used to be affordable in the world of pensions (for everyone, pubic and private) is no longer affordable and hasn't been for about 2 decades now.

The teachers' (and many other PS schemes - firefighters is a biggie) are imposing an increasingly crippling cost on the public purse, so summat has to give.

As we seem to be getting posts making points which have already been batted aside earlier, perhaps it's time to re-post these facts re the teachers' pension scheme:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/ne...e-it-that-way/

Trouble is SSD with your assertion that these points have been "batted aside" is that this is your unproven opinion. Your assertions on the state of public sector pensions is by your admission is politically motivated and not reflective of the reality of the situation. The private sector above all reacts to market forces and when as we move from the present point of the financial cycle (felt worldwide) we will quickly see the private sector offer remuneration schemes (pensions) that are very very attractive - I would not call time on the private sector saying good by yet to final salary schemes. It is entirely within the gift of the private sector to determine how it designs it remuneration package - if they wish to apportion money to fat bonuses, company cars, share allocation etc rather than fund pensions - if you are arguing for parity between the two sectors then crack on. I'd rather fancy driving to school in a company car, annual bonus (just before summer hols) and having shares in the LA.:p

Now how about we keep this thread off the politics and back to the more interesting area of improving teaching and learning. It has been particularly interesting to read of the approaches taken by other countries. More please ChrisVJ. :ok:

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 11:32
Hopefully to put an end to this nonsense on public sector pensions (but I doubt it) here is an extract from Lord Hutton's Report on Public Sector Pensions:

He makes the following key points.

Firstly, he regards public sector pensions as "far from "gold-plated".

Secondly, he says that, although some private sector employees receive less, this should not affect public sector pensions. It should not, he says, be a race to the bottom.

Sounds like it's the private sector that needs to get its house in order. It could make a step by getting more of its employees to take up a pension in the first place

Anyway I suspect this part of the debate will rumble on - too heavily politically motivated for there to be common ground.

charliegolf
31st Mar 2014, 12:06
TJ

To balance the argument...

When was Hutton published, and equally important, where in relation to the financial collapse was the evidence gathered? Were/are his findings modified by those events?

CG

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 12:37
Charligolf,

Think is was 2011. No idea if there was a revisit in relation to the financial crisis but why should there necessarily be. The cause of the financial crisis had nothing to do with pension provision and rather more to do with irresponsible lending (toxic debt spreading contagiously from USA housing market) and poorly regulated speculative action in the investment banking sector - (private sector institutions). I believe Hutton's statement holds - there should be no race to the bottom - rather time to get the private sector pension market sorted. The recent removal of the mandatory purchase of an annuity may help to bring better, more competitive practice to the market. For too long has hard earned pension savings been handed over to buy an annuity to find a significant portion taken by "admin costs". Yes the private pension market is well overdue reform.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
31st Mar 2014, 16:38
TJ, you're not listening. It's not a 'race to the bottom' (though one can see why politically motivated Hutton would say that as it appeals to those who haven't looked into the issues). It's facing economic reality.

FINAL SALARY PENSIONS DON'T WORK IN 21st CENTURY! Private or public.

Private sector lives in the real world (earns the money to exist - or not!). Public sector spends the money that Private earns, so has to pull its horns in pension-wise just as Private did decades ago. It's long overdue!

For Hutton to say public sector pensions 'are not gold plated' is absolutely indefensible. It's guaranteed regardless of stock market performance, it's generous, and it's index linked! Not many private schemes can boast that (none carry the guarantee of pension payment 'till death regardless of financial performance, or unlimited protection against inflation). In the real world you just can't do that unless the taxpayer underpins it - and why should they do that for Public when Private enjoys no such guarantee?).

Here's an independent view with the facts:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/neilobrien1/100094388/reform-of-teachers-pensions-is-fair-unsurprisingly-the-ultra-left-dont-see-it-that-way/

charliegolf
31st Mar 2014, 17:34
Here's an independent view with the facts

And for balance:

A headteacher at current levels will get around 42,000 a year.

Well I'm a retired (working again, but retired really) head with 27 years in and I get 17k. Had I done 35 years to age 60 it would be 27k. 15k error is poor research, and misleading.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
31st Mar 2014, 17:37
Don't bother CG. I told him earlier my fund value is near enough equal to the amount paid in, but he's not interested. He has FACTS :ugh:

Krystal n chips
31st Mar 2014, 17:42
" Still firing on both chips, K&C? Please keep such unpleasant personal pokes out of this thread. You are not welcome on my threads, so please play elsewhere. "

SSD, Thank you for your kind thoughts. Alas, when you kindly referred to me as "having a dig at your betters"....which, like you concept of industrial relations, is a quaint Victorian term to reflect the era you seem to be entrenched in, then I will be delighted to offer my contribution.

So far, the basis of your posts have revolved around, pensions / the dastardly public sector....just keeping the Victorian them alive here / pensions and...more pension woes. And your elitist attitude...describing kids in the Travel and Tourist sector as "so not the sharpest chisels, presumably".

Missing however have been any views and comments about teaching methodology which would have a distinct relevance.....which is probably why you have elected to ignore these rather fundamental aspects.

In contrast, the views and insights offered by the professionals have proved more than a little interesting and thus for those posters, I have an extensive question please.

How often do you use EBT / VLE and Facilitation / mentoring within your delivery and do you find there to be any tangible evidence to support these methods? I have a valid reason for asking and PM's would be fine....

Finally, and I have waited some time for this, the good news for SSD....we have met!!...in person, last year ( I won't say where and when but trust me sunshine, we have ) and you asked me some rather inane questions then as well as confirming my subsequent opinion of you. Small world eh ?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
31st Mar 2014, 18:14
Not a small enough world to hide your massive chips, sunshine. You are either mistaken or bullshitting. We haven't met. I'd have remembered those chips for sure. And I wouldn't 'trust you'. Ever. I've never met you but I know what you are. Lifejackets must be carried on a coastal flights with no water crossings FFS! You really do yourself no favors with tripe like that.

Fox, the teachers' scheme is unfunded. You don't have a 'fund value'. Teachers' pension contributions go to the gov. When you draw your pension, it's paid by gov (tax payers). There is no 'fund investment' involved like a funded private sector scheme, no 'value of funds invested' to pay the pensions, so no 'fund value' other than some notional figure which can only be based on what you paid in. Which you confirm.

That 'fund' will buy you didly squat if you use it to buy a private pension. If you leave it where it is and call on the tax payer when you draw on it as a teacher's pension it will buy a very generous, guaranteed, index linked income.

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 18:23
SSD you are correct and we are in full agreement I am not listening to your position on public sector pension provision - I know without uncertainty that you are wrong. So does Lord Hutton for that matter. Perhaps you could tell me what is the average public sector pension?

As for Hutton's claim that we should not seek a race to the bottom - your proposition sis exactly that. You should be concentrating your efforts on eliminating the egregious and indefensible bonus culture and excesses within the private sector and seek reform of private sector pension provision first. I'm no further convinced that your concern for teaching is less motivated by pursuit of a political dogma than it is for a genuine care for the education of our youth.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
31st Mar 2014, 18:29
SSD - there is a fund value. I am transferring it to Canada at the moment. Real money. I've just checked the annuity rates in Canada. The fund value will buy me an index-linked annuity just about identical to the rate I'd get from the UK Government. I'm not making this up - I have the transfer quote in my hand, dated last week.

The only thing I don't get is the relative index-linking if the economy goes haywire.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
31st Mar 2014, 18:31
TJ you seem to missing something vital in your view that the private sector is all profigate wallowing in wealth. Here's the rub:

The private sector generates all the wealth this country will ever have. There's no money tree. Everyone working in the private sector is keeping the country afloat. If they want to pay themselves 20m a year each, plus bonus, plus company car (no-one wnats one of those BTW - the tax is horrendous and I was gald to get shut of mine) that's fine. Either the company is earning the money to pay for it, or the company will go bust because it isn't earning the money to pay for it.

So I really can't get too excited about private sector benefits. They don't cost ME anything. They are generated by the company that's paying them. None of it comes out of my pocket.

If the public sector demands pensions that no private company can possibly award its employees, and it come out of my pocket (which it does, as I'm a tax payer), then I feel that is WRONG and also that, as I'm paying for it, I have a right to object.

Why did you chose to work in the public sector if you think it's all milk and honey in the private?

Fox, you are not transferring a fund value. There is no fund. You have merely had you contributions refunded. Are you sure that is wise of you? They are worth far more in future pension payment (assuming your going to Canada allows that) than in refunded contributions (possibly refunded without any interest for the time they've been with gov, if they are equal to what you paid in). I'd take financial advice if I were you.

charliegolf
31st Mar 2014, 18:37
KnC: EBT- if you mean Evidence-Based-Teaching, some; the other Brain-Training thing, none.

Round here, for example, we researched the research on reading (esp boys' reading), distilled it to 8 reading behaviours and designed a programme. Good results rapidly spread to the 6 counties on our consortium. The mumbo jumbo works!

CG

Fox3WheresMyBanana
31st Mar 2014, 18:39
SSD - I am, among other things, a qualified financial advisor. As I am trying to explain to you, the money I am getting will buy me the equivalent annuity at current rates, should I wish.

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 18:40
TJ you seem to missing something vital in your view that the private sector is all profigate wallowing in wealth. Here's the rub:

The private sector generates all the wealth this country will ever have. There's no money tree. .



You seem to be missing the vital and glaringly obvious point that public sector pensions are far from gold plated - there's the rub:= Again care to tell me what the average public sector pension yields?

As for the private sector generating all the wealth. Really, they do that in isolation without any draw on the state, the individual or civic society. There was me thinking it was more a symbiotic relationship. Well if you want a sixth form standard debate on this so be it. Like I said earlier, my preference is to get this back to a discussion on improving education rather than a soapbox for espousing your favoured political dogma. We were actually learning something when it was the former.

Edited - of all your views this above all betrays your true complaint and political leaning It is a cost generator, not a wealth generator.

Educated citizens build wealth not the private sector. And you claim to have an interest in education.:=

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 18:43
SSD - there is a fund value. I am transferring it to Canada at the moment. Real money. I've just checked the annuity rates in Canada. The fund value will buy me an index-linked annuity just about identical to the rate I'd get from the UK Government. I'm not making this up - I have the transfer quote in my hand, dated last week.

The only thing I don't get is the relative index-linking if the economy goes haywire.

There you go SSD another myth about public sector pension funding exploded.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
31st Mar 2014, 18:50
Fox, just let me get this straight unless I've missed something.

1) You have been a UK teacher and have entitlement in the UK teachers' pension scheme.

2) You are packing in UK teaching and going to work in Canada.

3) You have been offered, and have accepted, a sum from the Teachers' scheme, in lieu of pension, which equates to the sum of your contributions to that scheme (so you've got your invested money back without interest?).

4) You reckon you can take those refunded contributions, buy an annuity, and get a pension equal to what you'd have got in UK teaching less the index linking?

Just confirm that's the situation... or not.

TJ - yes, the private sector generates wealth. All the wealth of UK. There's no other source of income.

The public sector is something we have to pay for to make society run. It is a cost generator, not a wealth generator.

Those are FACTS. Live with it.

Can you tell me what the average private sector pension is? I can tell you it is very, very low, if only because the vast majority of private sector employees HAVE NO PENSION! In the public sector, everyone has a pension so the average is high. The low paid public sector jobs have been thrown over to private sector contractors with no pension at all and hardly any pay (hospital cleaners etc).

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 18:52
ChrisVJ

The system of "project focused learning" that you outlined was studied by the Scottish government and now subsequently forms the core of the newly introduced curriculum in Scotland (Curriculum for Excellence). CFE attempts to provide a single unified structure for education from 5 to 18, and among other things places value and emphasis on developing the general citizenship skills the business community have asked for together with the traditional hard academic achievements. Project based learning and cross curricular effort from teachers is a core feature of CFE. Went live this year so early days. One thing I can confirm, as had already been commented upon here, delivering project focused learning is very tiring and requires considerable effort in planning and resourcing, particularly in the Secondary setting. Sadly as always, funding is an issue and as usual goes in one direction.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
31st Mar 2014, 18:57
3) No, not my contributions back. I've been given a sum which my research tells me will purchase an equivalent fixed index-linked annuity at current rates, and that's what the quote implies it should. This happens to be very close to the amount I've contributed allowing for said contributions to be invested in Government savings certificates. This is what makes me think the Government TPS is pretty close to self-financing.

What I lose is an annuity rate that's tied to inflation, but this does not concern me as Canada has had a very stable inflation rate for the last 30 years.

TJ - back to more interesting matters,
One thing I can confirm, as had already been commented upon here, delivering project focused learning is very tiring and requires considerable effort in planning and resourcing, particularly in the Secondary setting.

Sure does! and you have to be willing to let the kids roam all over the school.

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 19:09
Yep, we do have a lot more roaming now.:ok:

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 19:18
"This is what makes me think the Government TPS is pretty close to self-financing."

I know we are by default focusing on the system in England - it is after all the NUT that are striking - but the Scottish Teachers Superanuation Scheme (STSS) is indeed self-funding with contributions from current members paying the pensions of retires. It must be a scale of numbers thing - either that or the on-average shorter live span working in favour in Scotland. For my part I plan to draw my teaching pension for as long as can:p

TomJoad
31st Mar 2014, 19:36
And for balance:



Well I'm a retired (working again, but retired really) head with 27 years in and I get 17k. Had I done 35 years to age 60 it would be 27k. 15k error is poor research, and misleading.

CG you should have placed your talents in the Private Sector - having said that sometimes they do ask you to hand some of your pension back!

"The former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin bowed to public anger today by agreeing to give up more than 200,000 a year of his *controversial pension.

Goodwin, 50, who was originally awarded 703,000 a year when he retired last October, agreed to the cut after the location of his new home in the south of France was revealed at the weekend and, according to one source, his family's safety was "put at risk".

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2009/jun/18/rbs-sir-fred-goodwin-pension

Now for balance - Fred's pension is no more representative of average Public Sector pension provision than 42K is in the public sector - head teacher or otherwise. :=

Krystal n chips
1st Apr 2014, 04:29
CG....thanks for the response. I do indeed mean Evidence Based Teaching / Training as form of delivery. Interesting to read about what you describe as Brain Washing however. Any particular reason for saying this from a professional perspective ?.....that's not picking an argument however, just asking as to why you feel this way.

And then there's VLE. Any thoughts on this method, if indeed you use it?.

A slight digression to aviation....

" Lifejackets must be carried on a coastal flights with no water crossings FFS! You really do yourself no favors with tripe like that

SSD, erm, if you take off from Valley, turn right and head for WAL, you may notice that, once clear of Anglesey, there is an awful lot of......water, and, at 2000ft, if you have an engine failure, your options are very limited.

You would, of course, have the expertise to carry out any fault diagnosis, attempt a re-start, maintain air speed, select a somewhat distant beach, or any form of land, transmit a Mayday and be unaffected by the law of gravity whilst doing so. And yes, we have met.

ChrisVJ
1st Apr 2014, 07:21
Part 2
While our Board of Education, (School Trustees) were deciding to follow our Superintendent’s advice and create a new Education Plan based around what we learned in our visit to HTH in San Diego our provincial government had decided, once again, to meddle with the K to 12 curriculum.

The existing curricula provide for about a hundred and fifty ‘Outcomes’ in each subject for each grade. In a typical semester that means two or three outcomes each lesson. It leaves barely enough time to get through the curriculum at a dead run, let alone room for teachers to expand on interesting or important areas.

The new curriculum, in theory, defines three or four big questions for each subject in each grade. Around those ideas the teachers will be able to construct their own lesson plans. Of course some of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are advised that ‘Further details will be forthcoming as they are agreed.’ Since when did government want anything less than total control?

The ministry is generally being helpful and co-operative. If we have a plan and can show an implementation they will give us a bye on some regulations to see how it works out. For instance, our superintendent and teachers have instituted “Narrative Report Cards.” In the junior classes letter grades will not be given but a ‘narrative’ will be provided by the teacher to explain exactly what the child is learning and how well they are doing. Personally I am dead against this and, for the time being to allay parents fears, letters grades ARE still being provided. Letter grades are to be provided by regulation from the ministry but they are giving us a bye to see how the experiment works out. They will do so on several other regs. to help us institute our new style of teaching.

I have seen samples of “The narrative” and actually I am impressed, it is descriptive, very personalised and generally a good explanation. What it doesn’t tell parents, though, is how their child is doing compared to other kids and how they compare to a measurable norm. Senior staff say that students who get lower grades show damaged self esteem and their performance suffers. In my experience kids always know exactly how well they are doing compared to other students in their class. It’s the parents who don’t and who need the reassurance.

For the time being our Superintendent’s ideas are ‘manna’ and on this I am in a minority of one! (Out of seven. It’s not the first time!)


I do have several reservations about our new adventure.

From what I saw Project Based Learning (PLB) can work magnificently, however, as with all such things, we saw it implemented by motivated and excited teachers in a self selected population of students. Whether it will be as effective with average teachers in a general school population is another matter.

When we discuss PBL many teachers tell me “Oh, I have been doing that for years,” but actually they haven’t. (And I am not casting any aspersions on any one on here,) Their projects don’t meet the criteria, all the students are doing the same project, and they are very, very rarely based on the expectation of changing something in the real world. They also lack public presentation. I understand the value of those projects but the criteria, ‘Real world, cross discipline, iterations, public presentation, choice in the project,’ strangely, almost exactly meet the complaints that students bring when we have Board/Student discussion about what students would like to see in school.

Even after over a year of engaging teachers and ‘coaching’ in PBL, in recent school visits we have been proudly presented with student projects that bear little or no relation to the criteria. One recent project by grade 4/5 students from one of our schools presented to the municipal council explaining the benefits of banning or otherwise eliminating plastic bags in our grocery stores. It engendered much pride and discussion at the board table. However it was followed several weeks later by the usual hectoring letter in the local rag written in so obviously adult language and ‘signed’ by grade 4/5 etc. etc. There can be unexpected consequences in PBL too!

Yes, PBL does require a lot of energy and a lot of skill from teachers. On the other hand what I saw in San Diego was a very relaxed and industrious atmosphere and teachers easily giving students individual attention while others got on with their projects.

Meanwhile, in BC, the universities have decided to accept students based on their class marks, (OR their exam marks if they take them (voluntary.)) The only required grade 12 exam is English. A few years ago we had a population bulge, marks to enter uni. reached about 93% typically and the government decreed an increase in the number of places available. We are now on the backside of the curve and educators generally are shilling for trades as opposed to university. I suspect this will last about seven or eight years before the standard of entrants drops so low they will have to institute exams all over again. (That’s what happened last time!)

What is absolutely for sure is that we can not continue to do what we have done for so long and expect to improve, in any significant way, the learning and skills of our graduates. Given the constraints, teachers, money, hours, facilities the old style of teaching had gone about as far as it could. From what I have seen PBL could revolutionise education, whether teachers, parents and school trustees will allow it to do so is another matter.

Oh, by the way, our teachers voted 89% for a strike last week. That is another story entirely, maybe for part three.