- Show newest for...
- K - Grade 1
- Grades 2 - 5
- Grades 6 - 8
- Curriculum for Excellence
- Day Care
- Adult Education
- Australian Resources
- Adnoddau Cymraeg / Welsh Resources
- Republic of Ireland Resources
- New Zealand Resources
- Canadian Resources
- Currículo español
- Coming Soon
Primary Education News
News Letters: Cheating and other ways to improve school performance
I applaud Fiona Millar's continuing efforts to highlight the problems that beset education, but her article on cheating (Education, 10 September) barely scratches the surface. Though the actions of individual subject teachers rightly attracts condemnation, it is the culture created by many headteachers which creates a serious problem. I have experience of the methods some headteachers use to inflate the achievement of their school and know of many more from the comments of colleagues in other schools. Everybody in teaching knows that this is rife. Some heads were even knighted for the success that their dubious practices produced. I recall one head asking me as head of year 11 for the worst attenders in my year group; of the 10 names I supplied, seven were removed from the school roll soon after. A few months later the school had its best GCSE results ever and the head was praised for "turning the school round".
• Zoe Williams (This educational underclass is a handy moralisers' myth, 5 September) is right to decry the use of extreme examples – children starting school in nappies or not knowing their name – and particularly so when they are used to vilify parents. The misuse of extreme cases, however, should not lead us to conclude that there isn't a problem. Children starting school in socially deprived areas do struggle. Their language is particularly vulnerable and has repeatedly been shown to be below the level of other children, and below their own ability on non-verbal tasks. The schools they attend often face the additional difficulty that many children do not come from English-speaking homes. The article is right to question the disputed role of parenting, however. Chronic stress destroys lives; the stress of poverty destroys homes. The problem will not retreat until we have a society that values all its citizens.
Professor Tim Pring
• One of the issues of between Mr Gove and the teacher unions is performance-related pay (Editorial, 6 September). Researchers have clearly shown that for workers engaged in routine operations, performance-related pay is a successful strategy for increasing output. But for workers engaged in complex cognitive operations – like teaching – it does not improve their efficiency, but risks disenchanting them. Research funded by the Federal Reserve Bank undertaken at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has demonstrated that as long as the tasks being undertaken are purely mechanical, performance-related pay works as expected. However, once rudimentary cognitive skills are required, it actually leads to poorer performance.
• How modest of Michael Wilshaw to give himself such an outstanding self-assessment of the improvement of education under his aegis (Schools making radical advances, says Ofsted chief, 9 September). No doubt when under the current tick-box system of education every pupil in the country has passed GCSE in mathematics and English we shall have a nation of mathematical geniuses and literary savants, rather a nation addicted to populist pap.