Monday 3 August 2015

Agree or disagree with this headline?

The headline below comes from the UK.  Apart from the atrocious grammar, do you agree?  The discussion pertains to raising the school leaving age.

More staying in school longer should lead to fewer adults with basic skills needs.


  1. If all the arguments in the last post are still relevant, then probably all you do is shift the location of the 16 - 19 skills gap from the external providers of low quality vocational training to the local high school. If anything, vocational teachers in high schools are possibly even less equipped to deal with the issues here. Surely, they are the same kids with the same issues. Why would they suddenly get better at maths and reading by being in school and not in an external provider?

    This sounds like the kind of thing that one government could do as a reaction to something that another government did. And then a subsequent government could react against it again further down the track.

    If the skills gap is connected in some way to the economic cycle it would be easy to be fooled that you'd done the right thing if you mainstreamed this group back to the school sector (at a time the economy is in an upswing) and saw positive results, and deluded yourself into thinking that it was the schools that had fixed the problem (as opposed to other external factors such as whether Mum and Dad had more money in their bank accounts and the household was a happier place). State your position man...!

  2. Agree with you about the problem of shifting the problem back to school. There is no way teachers want to, or are suited, deal with 17 year olds who don't want to be there. According to the research they mentally checked out at about 13-14 years old anyway. I think school is a big part of the problem so no way would I recommend we keep them there.

    My position is coming up in the next post! But generally, I'm pushing for our sector to be recognized as a specialist education area. We have the greatest needs, the greatest economic potential (think unemployed person from 17-80 years versus productive person), and the most human enhancing potential . I want more money, more training and more passion. We have been getting the dregs for too long. Schools are a catastrophe. If they were not there, there would be very little differences for about half the population - and one-fifth would probably do better than they do now.

    I want you to get funding to make a new programme that raises the skill level of our sector. The current state of the sector is a result of tired, unimaginative thinking.

    The post above (re shifting them back to school) shows that the policy makers are imaginatively bankrupt.

  3. Actually, I was listening to Shattered Dreams by Johnny Hates Jazz the other day and was ready to dedicate the song to the sector and crawl into a hole... I'm pleased you can see some light at the end of the tunnel. I still might need you to convince me that PD makes a difference to the bigger picture...

  4. 'Don't stop believing' should be your theme song! When you look at the differences between good and average maths teachers the difference is PD. A good maths teacher will get almost two years progress from one year of an average student. A poor teacher - three months. The difference is knowledge and skill developed from PD. Interestingly, the folk at the University feel that the reason that the NUmeracy Project hasn't produced huge results is because of the under resourcing of PD to teachers. - Yet they get SOOOO much more offered than tutors. I think PD is central part of making progress in the sector - it needs better resourcing. Look at some of the great people who have turned around after going through your programme. Each one of those people could potentially help thousands of learners.