Tag Archives: teaching

Parents: do you know the Tories are stealing your rights relating to your children’s education?

Vulnerable child: the Tory Schools Bill is likely to harm youngsters who have special educational needs or who are bullied at school.

Are you a parent? If so, how do you feel about the fact that the Tory government is stealing your rights out from under your nose?

It will be nearly impossible to get those rights back if you lose them.

So, for example:

The government plans to change the law to require councils to use their powers to promote regular attendance and reduce absences.  Schools will also be required to publish attendance policies and implement efforts to promote regular attendance.

The education secretary will be allowed to decide what will warrant an absence fine, which is currently set at council level. Current laws on granting absence will be extended to academies. The government wants these changes to come into effect in September 2023.

Also:

The government will legislate to create a duty on councils to keep a register of children not in school. There will also be a duty on parents to provide information to councils for the register.

Out-of-school education providers will be required to provide information to LAs on request. Councils will also have to provide support to registered home-educating families where it’s required.

And:

The government will also legislate to speed up the issuing of school attendance orders, which are issued by councils on behalf of heads to parents or carers of absent pupils. School attendance orders are a precursor to absence fines.

It is not currently against the law for parents who have been issued with an order to withdraw their child from school. This will become a crime under the proposed legislation.

The maximum penalty for breaching an attendance order will increase to a £2,500 fine or up to 3 months’ imprisonment.

You may think those measures seem reasonable. But that would be to ignore the reasons why children avoid school and parents switch to home learning.

This excerpt from a Facebook post may put the situation in its proper context:

Currently in the UK our rights include the right to make sure that our children are recieving a full time education that suits their aptitude, abilities and needs.

One of your legal rights as parents in the UK, is that if your child has SEND or bullying issues at school, you can make the choice to withdraw them to home educate them, send them to another school if you prefer, and you have other routes and choices you can go down. You can visit schools and speak to SEND specialists, all before making your choices. This is just one tiny example.

Under the new bill, if you decide to home educate, you will need to obtain consent from the school your child is registered at. You may then get local authority staff who are not trained in education or SEND, assessing your child’s learning, well-being and development. The local authority will have the power to decide, at a moment’s notice, that your child must return to school, and they may send them to an inadequate school of their choosing, where your child’s needs may not be met, and from which they will not be allowed to be withdrawn by you.

Your rights, as parents, will be removed from you and given to the government. You will no longer have any control over your child’s education.

The Schools Bill is being advertised as a bill only targeting those ‘missing education’. However, if you read the actual document, you may well feel outraged! You do need to read it thoroughly though. To not read it, would mean to blindly accept that the government knows what is best for your child and you do not.

The advice is to read the Schools Bill – you can find it here – then write to your local MP and any local members of the House of Lords, whose job is to hold the government to account, and ask them to oppose the Bill’s ckauses that strip parents of their rights and hand those powers to Tory ministers.

The Facebook post continues:

Do you have a child who is sick or poorly a lot? This bill will affect you.
Do you have a child who has mental health issues and is too anxious or depressed to attend school at times? This bill will affect you.
Have you had a bereavement in the family, and your child wants to attend the funeral or needs some time off to grieve and process things? This bill will affect you.
Do you have a child with undiagnosed or unmet special or additional educational needs? This bill will affect you.
Is your child being severely and persistently bullied or socially ostracized at school, to the extent that it’s affecting their physical health, mental health and well-being? This bill will affect you.
To put it bluntly, if you have a child, this bill will affect you.

Do you want the well-being of your child to be handed to faceless council functionaries performing tick-box exercises for Tory ministers like Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi?

That is what the Tory government is planning – unless you help stop it.

Tories do listen to public opinion. They fear unpopularity – and will act to curb legislation that may lead them to lose their Parliamentary seats; seats which are already in jeopardy because of the loss of Boris Johnson’s credibility.

So, if you’re a parent, it’s up to you. Will you let Nadhim Zahawi walk all over you – and trample any vulnerable child into the asphalt of the playground?

Or will you take action?

Source: Schools bill: The 15 new laws proposed by the DfE

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Primary head rejects MP visit due to ‘unprecedented attack’ on teaching

This is brilliant. It isn’t clever, or witty, or even angry; it doesn’t have to be. It is, however, accurate.

This week, Colin Harris, headteacher at Warren Park Primary School in Havant, Hampshire, received a letter from his local MP offering to visit the school. Mr Harris wrote the open letter below in response.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter dated 2 October offering to visit Warren Park Primary School.

Unfortunately, I have real reservations about such a visit on several levels.

Under the coalition government and ongoing to the present time, there has been an unprecedented attack on our wonderful profession. I have worked for and supported this profession for the last 37 years in what I hope is considered to be a successful way.

Under Mr Gove [the previous education secretary, Michael Gove], we saw the rise of divisive policies which ensured we created true isolation for teaching. These policies have led to thousands of teachers wanting to leave teaching with little hope of replacing either their number or their quality and experience.

My views on academies, free schools, lack of funding, assessment, Ofsted, pay rises, curriculum reform and the demise of local authorities will, of course, be different to yours. However, does it really matter? We have no forum to actually get people to listen to us, as we are now a true political football to be knocked around for the pleasure of both the media and the government at the expense of the future of our children.

I for one am fed up with it and so thank you for showing an interest, but I have to decline the visit until such time as the government really and truly cares about the future of education.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Harris,
Headteacher

Source: ‘There has been an unprecedented attack on our wonderful profession’ – one primary head’s open letter to his MP | News

Why is Tristram Hunt in the Labour Party?

'U' for effort: Why should parents vote 'Labour' if Tristram Hunt won't repair the disastrous harm that Michael Gove has been inflicting on our school system - and our children's future?

‘U’ for effort: Why should parents vote ‘Labour’ if Tristram Hunt won’t repair the disastrous harm that Michael Gove has been inflicting on our school system – and our children’s future?

According to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, Labour will not repeal Michael Gove’s major – useless – changes to the British school system if it wins the next election. In that case: Why vote Labour?

Gove has proved to be the stupidest education secretary of recent history. His divisive ‘Free Schools’ vanity project is a disaster that has increased costs for children who must get their education miles away when there is a school next door to them, while standards of teaching have plummetted at the new establishments – with unqualified teachers and calamitous Ofsted inspection reports.

Not only has he created appalling imbalances in the school system, but Gove has also de-stabilised his own department, bringing in unqualified ‘advisors’ to overrule seasoned civil servants on major decisions. The result has been wide-scale demoralisation, with many experts leaving the profession, their experience lost forever.

The agenda, as far as it is possible to see one, seems to be to maim the state education system so badly that it will be unable to compete with privately-run schools on any level, meaning the sons and daughters of the rich will be able to beat state school pupils to the choicest jobs.

Now, Tristram Hunt – whose political beliefs appear to be so amorphous that he could belong to any one of the major political parties – says he won’t sort out any of the problems Gove has been creating. He says that would be “tinkering”.

Many of Gove’s reforms “built on” Labour ideas, he told the BBC.

Those were bad ideas, Tristram. For a man who is supposed to be well-educated, you don’t seem to notice much, do you?

We currently have a system stuffed with so many kinds of school it must be impossible for parents to work out what’s best for their pupils, even if they have a decent choice available to them.

In practice, it seems, there is little difference between them as none seem capable of providing the education that people need. As a writer, I have seen the quality of written English nosedive over the past 30 years. Tristram Hunt will do nothing to change that. So why vote Labour?

Instead of having Free Schools, academies, grammar schools or whatever silly name people want to give them, why can’t we just have schools?

Hunt does put forward some useful ideas in his BBC interview but – having seen what he thinks of the Gove policies – it is hard to have faith that he can carry them out adequately.

He says the Free Schools policy has been wasteful in adding new places where there is already a surplus – and any new schools should be built where there is a shortage.

Also, Labour would put resources into technical and vocational education in a change from previous policy – which attempted to funnel half of school leavers into university, whether they deserved the extra education or not.

These are practical ideas, but if the system is not based on solid principles, they will not make any difference at all.

Mr Hunt is himself an educated man and must be made to see that his policies are ridiculous. He should receive a ‘U’ for effort and be made to take his exams again.

And, while Ed Miliband is putting people like this on his front bench, the question remains: Why vote Labour?

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