Tag Archives: teacher

Teachers’ pay: Zahawi’s promises are a big Con – aren’t they?

Nadhim Zahawi: flag-waving is no substitute for straight-talking – and he’s talking nonsense gibberish.

Teachers! Confused about the Tory government’s plans to raise your pay?

YOU SHOULD BE!

The government has announced plans to increase starting pay for teachers to £30,000 per year, which is still lower than the national average.

But when is that going to happen?

First it was to be from April 2022, but then the Tories imposed a pay freeze instead.

Now, there’s a vague desire to bring it in by the end of the Parliament.

But to hear new Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi waffling about it, you’d be none the wiser.

Reading a transcript doesn’t help either.

Meanwhile – well, see for yourself:

So, after promising an increase in teachers’ pay…

… the Tories have actually cut it. Yeah – so much for “levelling up”.

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GCSE results: Were exams traditionally DOWNgraded for non-private/grammar school pupils?

Exams: they didn’t happen this year or in 2020, and under teacher assessments, grades shot up. And after last year’s results, assessments by independent/grammar school teachers shot up further than those by teachers in state schools. Are millions of pupils, past and present, the victims of a national downgrading scam?

This Site received a very interesting – and worrying – comment on this year’s A-level results which I want to share with you.

It said:

“Surely, the BIG story is that this year probably reveals that lots more pupils should have done well in previous years, as well as in this year, but the exam system deliberately DOWNGRADED pupils so that numbers and quotas for college places etc would not be exceeded.

“In reality, before now, many pupils would have done well enough for a University place but, given a lack of enough places, the exam results were “doctored by algorithm” so that, by some mysterious process, the number of suitable pupils was almost exactly the number of college places available!

“The remnant 11-plus system in Kent or Glos works in the same way, producing enough pupils to fill the Grammar school places available, but then “failing” many others who, in other years, would have “passed” with exactly the same exam results.

“But this year, the teachers just made honest assessments of pupil progress and achievements and did not consider things like deliberately downgrading some results so that college places would not be under pressure.

“The big losers are , surely, the thousands of pupils in previous years who did just as well as this year’s, but were then downgraded to mean that they no longer hoped to go on to University.

“Public school kids, like Clarkson, didn’t have to worry about all this as they were set up for life anyway.

“Once again, it would have been the working-class pupils, who flogged their guts out to do well, expected some good results, but were then dismayed to find that ,somehow, they hadn’t done well enough.

“And, in the way this system always works, the victims end up blaming themselves and wish they could have worked harder or were, “more intelligent” etc.”

Looking at this year’s GCSE results in comparison with last year’s, that comment seems very close to the mark – although This Writer doesn’t think it’s about denying college places to people from state schools.

It’s about lying that state school pupils don’t deserve college places and independent/grammar school pupils do.

Look at the way top grades – over all candidates – have shot up by almost half since teacher evaluation was used instead of examinations – from 22 per cent of the total in 2019 to 30 per cent in 2021.

To me, that doesn’t indicate a sudden improvement in pupil performance and it certainly doesn’t indicate that exam conditions have a bad effect on grades.

It tells me that pupils at examinations have been traditionally and habitually marked down, if they were from state schools.

Further evidence is in the way teachers at independent and grammar schools, seeing last year’s results, have marked their pupils up in order to maintain their lead.

What, you think the quality of their teaching or the abilities of their pupils have suddenly shot up by three percent since last year (for grammars) and 14 per cent since 2019 (for independents)?

That isn’t realistic.

And, coupled with the rise in A-level grades over the same period of time and for the same reason, it gives me reason to suggest that state school pupils who took exams in 2019 and at any year before need to get angry.

We should be demanding to know why our results were so low in comparison to the grammars and the independents.

What were the criteria used in marking our papers?

Was there inbuilt bias against state schools? If so, who demanded it?

Any such bias will certainly have -arbitrarily – blighted our careers ever since, and that is utterly unacceptable.

Realistically, we won’t get honest answers from a system that is biased against us. We’ll be fobbed off with lies.

So how about an experiment?

Let’s demand a new system in which exam papers are anonymised – pupils are given numbers to put on their papers, and then the papers are mixed up centrally before being sent to examiners who have not been told any details of their origin.

Then they would have to mark honestly, and then we might learn what has really been going on in the UK’s education system.

As one of millions who are likely to have been penalised on the basis of the school I attended, I’m up for it.

How about you?

Source: GCSE results: pupils achieve record numbers of top grades in England

Ex-head of OFSTED says teachers should be prepared to lose lives to Covid. Haven’t they?

Sacrifice: Sir Michael Wilshaw looks like he’s forced more than a few people to fall on their swords.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, former head of schools inspection organisation Ofsted who was once dubbed its “Dirty Harry”, has come out as the latest ex-government employee to have sawdust between his ears.

Watch this if you’ve got the stomach for it:

Of course, teachers have already lost their lives. This fool doesn’t understand his subject – and that’s a terrible indictment against a school inspector.

And yes – as a commenter on the tweet stated – healthcare workers deserve better than to have their deaths described as some kind of worthy sacrifice.

But worst of all, this school inspector has belittled the commitment of teachers up and down the UK.

Teachers have gone to enormous lengths during the Covid-19 crisis.

Most particularly, they have done all the could to ensure the safety, both of school staff and pupils – which is more than has been managed by either Sir Wilshaw or the government he used to serve.

Source: Ex Head of OFSTED: Teachers should be prepared to give their lives… – Dorset Eye

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No vaccination for teachers before schools go back – because it’s too much like hard work

The government has said it will not prioritise teachers (or police officers) in the next phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout because it will involve doing some work.

The government has been under pressure to give priority in phase two to key workers, such as teachers or police officers, irrespective of their age.

But the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has stated it is better to stick to vaccination in order of age groups (oldest to youngest).

The JCVI said targeting occupational groups by going through employee lists would be more complex to deliver than simply running through a list of age groups.

It said this could slow down the vaccine programme, leaving some more vulnerable people, at higher risk unvaccinated for longer.

If schools go back, who will be more vulnerable than teachers? The really high risk groups have already had their jabs.

Bizarrely,

Professor Wei Shen Lim, the Covid chair for the JCVI, said the the goal of vaccinations was to stop people from dying.

We’ll see how that looks a few weeks after schools reopen on March 8, shall we?

It seems incredible, that pupils, parents and teachers will all be put at risk – not to mention all their families, friends and colleagues – because the people behind the vaccination programme can’t be bothered to compile the necessary lists.

Source: Under-50s Will Be Vaccinated Based On Age Not Occupation | HuffPost UK

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Welsh government’s decisive action on school exams would shame Johnson – if it were possible to

Socially-distanced exams: they won’t mean anything if school pupils can’t be guaranteed a full education in the 2020-21 academic year – and they can’t.

Days after it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government was issuing contradictory demands to schools and had made no decision on next year’s exams, the Welsh government has shamed him.

School pupils in Wales will not take GCSE or A-level exams in 2021; instead, pupils’ futures will be decided by teacher-managed assessments, according to Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

This Writer knows Ms Williams personally; she’s my Assembly Member. We have collaborated on some political projects – and we’ve also clashed, because her politics isn’t the same as mine.

That said, she is clearly right on this: “It is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.”

What a contrast with the dithering and confusion of Boris Johnson, as reported by This Site on Saturday (November 7):

After the Times Educational Supplement revealed that the government hasn’t even bothered to plan the school year in advance, taking into account the possibility of Covid-19 interference in next year’s exams, it turns out that staff are working flat-out to accommodate contradictory demands from the Department for Education, some being changed within hours

And Johnson is still dithering!

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said there were no plans for England to follow Wales. He said: “There’s no change in our own position in relation to exams. We’ve set out that they will take place slightly later this year, to give students more time to prepare. We continue to think that exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance.”

Perhaps he’s kidding himself that he is being strong by ignoring the ridicule he’s getting.

Perhaps he’s simply taking an opportunity to build more inequality into the education system – state-educated English school pupils will now be at a further disadvantage in comparison with those who are educated privately – or in one of the other UK countries.

The latter possibility should not surprise anybody after Dominic Raab’s bid to penalise millions of exam-takers across the UK for being educated by the state, earlier this year.

Experts are insisting that a level playing-field cannot be guaranteed, in line with Ms Williams’s statement.

How long will Boris Johnson insist on letting English education slide?

Source: Welsh move to cancel GCSE and A-level exams puts pressure on No 10 | UK news | The Guardian

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Tory u-turn on primary schools is right – shame on those who supported early return

Social distancing? If this shot was taken after primary classes returned from lockdown, do you think these kids are at least two metres apart – or the teacher and child in the background?

The Tory government has shelved its plan to fully reopen primary schools before the summer holidays after admitting it is impractical.

Schools are unable to accommodate all their pupils while classes are limited to just 15 pupils – half normal size. Where would the other half go?

It would be impossible to police all the pupils, ensuring that social distancing rules were followed. Have you ever had to spend all day reminding a five-year-old not to do something they really want to do?

And then there’s the fact that pupils simply aren’t turning up. When schools reopened 10 days ago, predictions were that only half of Reception/Year 1 and Year 6 pupils would attend, with parents keeping the rest away due to fears of Covid-19 contagion.

In fact, only half of the predicted numbers actually turned up – a quarter of the expected intake.

And still social distancing rules aren’t being followed, if the image accompanying the BBC’s report (a version of which appears above) is indicative.

Most disappointing for This Writer has been the response of the Labour Party to the school reopening plan. Instead of standing up for parents and children across the UK, Red Tory Keir Starmer supported Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson.

No amount of backtracking by Rebecca Long-Bailey can change that.

Labour should have listened to parents, teachers, and the education unions – all of whom spent weeks warning that the plan was nonsense – but didn’t.

I like the comment by ‘Molly’ in the BBC article: “”Until it is safe for Parliament to sit next to each other and until it’s ‘safe’ to cuddle your own blood mother, then how is it deemed safe to mix your children with numerous other households?”

It is a shambles that the Tory government owns – we must not forget that.

But Labour has lost a lot of confidence by supporting it.

Source: Coronavirus: All primary pupils no longer going back to school – BBC News

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If the Tories are keen to preserve lives, why are they threatening people who are shielding from Covid?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons the role of the House of Commons “can only properly be fulfilled when members are here in person”, and says his decision is “completely in accordance” with the “equalities considerations” of the government and parliament. Phew, what a loony!

People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are very much second-class citizens to the Conservative government, aren’t they?

Consider teachers who have been ordered back into work even though their physical health means they must shield against the virus – that is, they need to stay in their homes, away from anybody who might possibly pass it onto them:

Teachers with underlying medical conditions have been threatened with pay cuts or disciplinary action if they do not come into school.

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union – which opposed the reopening plan – [said]his union had received “lots of worries” from members this week.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic in relation to teachers with underlying health conditions,” he said.

“We’re now seeing some schools insisting that shielding is over and that those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be back in the workforce,” he said.

“We’ve come across one or two examples of schools threatening to deduct pay or put people on disciplinary procedures if they don’t come into the workplace.

“Of course we’ll continue – and have done – pushing back with those employees with some success, but nevertheless this shouldn’t be happening out there.”

Conversely, MPs are being deprived of the ability to carry out their responsibilities, even though they could do it from home if they were permitted to:

The shadow minister for disabled people has taken legal advice over the government’s “outrageous” decision to prevent MPs at serious risk from coronavirus from continuing to vote and take part in debates from their own home.

Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft, who has a long-term health condition, was unable to vote on Tuesday [June 2] because of the government’s decision.

She [said] she and other MPs at particular risk from COVID-19 had been discriminated against.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also criticised the government this week over its stance, after refusing to do so last week.

There is no consistency in this behaviour by the Tory government; one group is penalised because their health forbids them from working while the other is penalised because its members want to.

It seems the Johnson government is happy to contradict itself, simply to inflict harm on the vulnerable.

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Government advice is for teachers to become Covid-19 super-spreaders

Ridiculous: one school’s half-hearted attempt to introduce social distancing for children so young they won’t pay the slightest attention to the new rules.

Take a look at this:

That’s right – instead of conforming with the advice for everyone else, that any contact with someone showing Covid-19 symptoms means self-isolation for two weeks, the Tories are telling teachers to carry on as normal.

This means they could spread the disease to everybody in their class – who could then spread it to their parents and everyone within all of their social circles.

In other words, it seems the Tories are setting up our schools as incubation centres for a huge new wave of Covid-19 infections.

Is this the “good old British common sense” that Boris Johnson likes to mention? If so, what a shame he is incapable of providing any examples of it himself.

This seems an opportune place to remind parents that they have a legal duty to keep their children away from any setting that may harm their youngsters’ help.

If they allow their child to go to school, therefore, and the child catches Covid-19, responsibility for the illness and its consequences will lie with the parent, and not with the Tory government that tried to coerce them into sending their child into danger.

June 1 is only a few days away. I wonder how many parents will send their children to schools that have been turned into deathtraps.

Source: Teacher? In contact with someone symptomatic? No need to go home or self-isolate, says government – SKWAWKBOX

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Tories will cut teachers’ pay if they don’t go back to school when they’re told to

This is typical Tory: if people refuse to do the damn stupid thing they want, they threaten to take things away from us.

In this case, it seems Oliver Dowden – he’s the Tories’ current unCultured Secretary – wants to take their pay away from teachers if they don’t reopen schools on June 1.

Here‘s the Mirror:

The row over schools is escalating after a top Tory refused to rule out punishing teachers or councils who keep classrooms shut.

Oliver Dowden was grilled repeatedly today on whether teachers, heads or council leaders will be “penalised” for defying advice to open from June 1.

“It’s in the children interests to get them back to school and I hope we can address the concerns they have. Of course there are legitimate concerns and we’re looking to address those.”

Asked if it would be “acceptable to you” for teachers who refuse to go back to receive full pay, Mr Dowden added: “Er, no.”

Schools are being told to halve classes into 15-strong groups that have no contact with the rest of the school to limit infection.

Toys will be removed, break times staggered, corridors made one-way, full assemblies scrapped and pick-up and drop-off times altered.

How can it be in any child’s interest to be put into an environment where they may catch Covid-19 and pass it on to teachers, their friends and their parents – all of whom will pass it on to their respective social circles?

In France, 70 cases sprang up almost immediately after just one-third of that country’s schools were reopened, and 50 schools were closed again – according to the most recent reports This Writer has seen.

And that country was in a better position than the UK, too.

So we have to ask: are the Tories trying to reopen schools because they have children’s best interests at heart? The loss of a term’s work won’t affect them a jot.

Or are the Tories simply trying to force parents back to work – to get the economy ticking over again? If so, don’t they realise that they’ll only kick-start a second wave of Covid-19 deaths?

Or – worse – do the Tories want thousands upon thousands of UK citizens to die? That’s how it looks at the moment!

Source: Top Tory refuses to rule out ‘penalising’ teachers or councils who keep schools shut – Mirror Online

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This is what happens when a single teacher is infected with Covid-19

Consider:

I’m not familiar with the exact circumstances, but it seems a reasonable assumption that a teacher infected on May 14 in Bristol was working in a school that was open for key workers. Hence the repercussions upon infection with Covid-19:

“18 children are impacted and their families are quarantied.

“18 healthcare or essential workers have to stop for quarantine.

“30 teaching colleagues and their immediate families need to be quarantined.

“Over 200 people impacted.”

That’s just from one teacher becoming infected.

The Conservative government wants to put all teachers in danger of becoming infected from the start of June.

How many people do you think will be impacted when they are infected? You know they will be! And how do the Tories think they will profit from it?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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