Tag Archives: NUT

HURRAH FOR BRITISH TEACHERS!

The teachers and Headteachers in the United Kingdom have a right to hold their heads high because they defied government bureaucrats and did what was best for children. Headteachers refused to administer this year’s Sat tests on grounds to do so would further efforts by government bureaucrats to demean the children of Great Britain. In Camberly, the Headteachers sent a letter to parents: “We have no objection to testing and assessing children, but firmly believe that this should be done at a time, in a place and in a manner that is right for the child and that testing should underpin teacher judgment, not override it.” The National Union of Teachers overwhelmingly supported this decision. Children will be given a past Sat test and the results will be shared with parents, but not used to determine a grade. This year’s test will be locked up.

The teachers and headmasters of England have a right to be proud. As a teacher of fifty years experience who has taught over 12,000 teachers and students, I applaud the bravery and commitment to children of British teachers. A teacher who works for a 185 days or more with children is the best evaluator of that child’s progress. The purpose of testing should be to assist teachers in gaining new knowledge as to how to improve teaching and learning. Why else test a child?

British Teacher Union Denounces Education Minister

The National Teachers Union(NUT) of Great Britain came out swinging against recent efforts by the government to close down 638 schools it claimed were failing due to low test scores. These “national challenge” schools had less than 30% of pupils who met testing and grade levels according to government education authorities. However, according to NUT analysis of Ofsted reports, 26% of these schools are considered to be among the best in the nation, a third rank in the top 40% of schools and at least 50% are regarded as satisfactory. Chrstine Blower has written to each of the 638 headteachers offering NUT support in their efforts to keep these schools functioning. Blowers believes the schools could use smaller class sizes, more teachers and greater support in building positive relations with the local community.

Ms. Blowers raises an important point that anyone who has been involved in education understands: “Teachers and headteachers will be wary of wanting to join schools that could be threatened and closed.”

We live in an era in which political leaders rely on testing processes to evaluate the success of failure of schools. Great Britain has a system of school inspectors who are on the scene and interacting with teachers and headteachers. Surely, those individuals are best able to make evaluations as to the success or failures occurring in the schools. It is time to move politicians away from making decisions as to what happens in a school and empower the headteachers and teachers to make those decisions.

British Teachers Union Urges Religious Instruction

Britain’s National Union of Teachers at its annual conference suggested the possibility of llowing rabbis and imams to offer religious instruction in public schools if they had children of their faiths in class. The assumption of the proposal is that children currently are being taught religion in segegated schools since England currently includes an all faith school within the state system of education. In many cities there are predominantly Muslim schools within walking distance of Christian ones. As part of the teacher union proposal, all faith schools(there are about 7,000 in the state system) would also be compelled to cease discrimnating in admissions based on faith.

The theory of the teacher group is to take out of the system demand for all faith schols by allowing all children access to religious instruction during the school day. It is hoped such an approach would foster community cohesion by bringing together children of many faiths in the same school. John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders raised the issue, “How would you have any control over what was being taught in our school?” A spokesperson for the Church of England agued: “It is for religions to teach their faiths to people. It is for schools to teach about religion.”

The United States has never gone the route of allowing an “all faith” school to exist within the public school system so this issue is more of an issue in Great Britain which historically has incorporated within the state system individual schools which serve the needs of children from a particular faith. The US Supreme Court would most probably declare such religious instruction within public schools to be unconstitutional.

The Shame Of Our School Classrooms

Great Britain’s National Teacher’s Union(NUT) warned of a “national scandal” regarding the presence of oversized classes and demanded action by the British government. A recent study indicates Great Britain ranks 23rd out of 30 Western countries in class size. A survey by the Orgnization for Economic Development revealed the average class size for children in independent schools was 10.7 compared to just over 26 in state schools. At the annual conference of the NUT teachers told of class sizes reaching 52 and 5 5 which were being taught by a teacher with assistants. NUT is prepared to recommend action such as a national strike of teachers in order to force action by the government to confront this issue.

The issue of class size is tricky since no one really knows what is the most effective in order to achieve excellent results. This issue is related to others such as the purpose of education. Today, the emphasis on testing results in teachers altering the curriculum to emphasize test scores. When all is said and done, reducing class sizes and finding excellent teachers most probably wll result in stimulating creative and critical thinking which should always be the main goals of education.

British Teachers Told What To Teach About Iraq

The National Union of Teachers, the largest organization representing the interests of British teachers, is up in arms over a lesson plan about Iraq that was developed by the Ministry of Defence. The union charges government directed lesson plans violate the 1996 Education Act which requires political issues to be treated in a balanced manner. The teacher group believes the gist of the lesson plan is to rewrite history in order to prove the invasion of Irq resulted in beneficial results for the people of Iraq. The “Students’ Worksheet” stresses efforts to undertake reconstruction efforts such as schools and hospitals. The “Teacher Notes” claims “the invasion was necessary to allow the opportunity to remove Sadfdam Hussein.”

Tony Blair no longer is prime minister but efforts to prove his action in sending British soldiers to invade Saddam Hussein in order to destroy WMD resulted in grat benefits to the Iraq people. Of course, the lesson plan ignores the death of hundreds of thosands of Iraqi citizens and the vast destruction of facilities. What next in Britain, lesson plans on why those darn American colonists were wrong to rebel against King George?