The Crisis In Education Continues

Too many schools, too many teachers; lollipop ladies/ classroom assistants/ cleaners being sacrificed to reduce ELB deficits; too few pupils and (as yet) no real idea about how we’re going to get 11 year olds from one school to the next.
This Belfast Telegraph story reveals that up to 600 teachers will go in the coming months as the crisis reaches a head. Interestingly, it also flags up how the British Government could have lessened the impact of the staff cutbacks by implementing the Recommendations for Planning and Preparation time made by the Independent Enquiry into Teacher’s Conditions two years ago, as has already been done in Scotland (first) and subsequently England and Wales.

  • Crataegus

    As others have been saying on Slugger, falling school numbers so in the interest of pupils, and to offer some prospect of choice in subjects offered, surely it is time to grasp the real nettle in education and stop funding 3 parallel systems of state, maintained and integrated. Then after that do something radical to address the needs of primary schools in under performing areas and then consider the future shape of secondary education.

    600 fewer teachers employed is probably only the start of things to come. Expect similar redundancies in other government sectors.

  • Alan

    I agree with Crataegus – it is written.

    Teachers can now pelt me with rocks for the rest of what I have to say, but it needs said.

    I do wonder if we are getting the best from our system. I doubt if giving all teachers an additional 10% non-teaching time will really improve the situation. Surely there is a limit to the level of non-contact time teachers can realistically have. I can see the value in it for second level, but at primary school it could be very disruptive.

    I do see a need for work to be done on individual assessments at primary level. My experience is that there is not currently sufficient focus on individual learning needs at that level. There seems little point, however, in increasing non-teaching time at primary level when the existing non-teaching time seems so poorly used.

    I see a lack of analysis of children’s performance despite the fact that many teachers are working with classrooms of around 30, often with additional Assistants.

    I would also like to see there being some discussion of the added value to be had from the 15 months additional education that will be gained by dropping the 11+.

  • willis

    Yes we probably have too many schools, but a major problem is that the schools we have are in the wrong places.

    There is a lot of talk at present about a “postcode lottery” which may exist as a result of the new post-primary arrangements. What is less discussed is that such a lottery already exists.

    Unfortunately I am unaware of a suitable online tool which directly correlates educational achievement to the presence of schools in a particular ward, however use of NINIS and DENI sites show that areas of spectacular educational underachievement (>70% population with no qualifications) do not contain any post-primary schools. They do however contain a great number of projects related to recovery.

    I am currently reading Norman McNeilly’s book on the Belfast Education Authority “Exactly Fifty Years” (borrowed from Central Library). It chronicles the success of Grosvener High School as a working class Grammer on the Shankill from 1945 – 1958, followed by its move to East Belfast in 1958 to be Co-sited with Orangefield High School, and was not replaced. The Shankill currently has the greatest concentration of underachievement in N.I.