Saturday, 31 January 2009

Holding Back Our Resources

Bright children in state schools are being failed by teachers who refuse to give them extra help for fear of promoting "elitism", a Government-backed report has found.
Whoops! And government has spent so much money telling us all that it’s ‘poverty’ and ‘exclusion’ that was holding kids back. Now, it turns out it was lefty dogma after all…
A significant number of schools have failed to enter their most talented pupils in an official programme designed to push the very best children, it concluded.

Labour's so-called Gifted and Talented scheme - launched in 1999 - was set up amid concerns that middle-class parents were abandoning the state sector for private schools.

It was designed to answer critics' claims that bright children struggle in the comprehensive system because they are dragged down by classmates.
And helping them hold on to their legs as they do it? Step forward, teachers!
But a study by ACL Consulting, commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, found fundamental opposition to the scheme among schools.

The findings suggest that many pupils may have been held back from achieving their potential as a result of a reluctance on the part of teachers to give them the opportunities the Government intended for them.
Why not just find the teachers who are failing to do this, and sack them? Wouldn’t that resolve the situation adequately?
In the latest report, consultants tracked the impact of the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, established by Warwick in 2002 to spearhead the scheme.

It said £4.75m was spent on the academy every year by the Government - the "same amount of money as a 1,100 pupil secondary school would receive annually". The unit received around £2m more in donations by the final year of its contact.

But the study said it failed to establish itself "as the key point of reference" for schools promoting the needs of talented children.

"It is interesting to speculate on the cause of this unwillingness," it said. "If it is because of a misunderstanding of the place of special support for gifted and talented young people - perhaps a confusion of 'elitism' with 'special needs' - then that is arguably not NAGTY's fault, however it would then indicate an important development need that many schools and their senior managers should look to address."

The report added that the academy offered little for youngsters who had great potential, but were performing below what they were capable of.
It’s not a ‘development need’ if the government says to teachers: ‘Do this’, and the teachers say ‘Nah, bog off!’. It’s a sacking offence – or should be.
Margaret Morrissey, of the campaign group Parents Out Loud, said: "Parents tell me that they are very concerned the brightest children do not get enough attention and subsequently go backwards in ability.

"Many brighter children are also used by teachers to help the less able pupils, and in some are even being used to take the lessons themselves.

"The only minority group the Government is interested in helping are the underachievers. They don't ever give the brightest kids the help they need.

"The best pupils then get bored and switch off. And if an 11-year-old switches off, they don't come back. You've lost them and they will be mediocre for the rest of their school lives."
Working as intended there, I think, Ms Morrissey…

And ‘brighter children are also used by teachers to help the less able pupils, and in some are even being used to take the lessons themselves, are they…? Even more evidence that some of them aren’t doing the jobs we pay them to do!

What are you waiting for, Ed Balls?
A DCSF spokesman said: "This is an evaluation of a historic institution which no longer exists - the Gifted and Talented programme has progressed significantly. The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth was designed only for the top 5 percent of learners aged 11-19. Since September 2007, the new Young Gifted and Talented Learner Academy (YG&T) has been available for all learners identified as gifted and talented by their schools and colleges.

"Schools are resoundingly on board. Our latest data shows that 95 percent of secondary schools and 78 percent of primary schools are identifying over 800,000 gifted and talented pupils.

"This is not elitism. It is about ensuring that all learners receive the challenge and support they need to reach their potential."
‘Tractor production is up, comrades!’

8 comments:

North Northwester said...

A DCSF spokesman said: "This is an evaluation of a historic institution which no longer exists - the Gifted and Talented programme has progressed significantly."

From the Caribbean, a planters' spokesman said: "This is an evaluation of a historic institution which no longer exists - the Humane Sugar Cane Growing and Refining programme has progressed significantly."

As the great Dumb Jon would say of this snippet regarding progressive education:

"...critics' claims that bright children struggle in the comprehensive system because they are dragged down by classmates "

...that's not a bug; it's a feature.

DavidNcl said...

"Why not just find the teachers who are failing to do this, and sack them? "

err... because that would be most of them?

Teachers are at the heart of the whole "progressive" enterprise.

JuliaM said...

There are some, who blog, who recognise the problems - To Miss With Love and Ranting Teacher to mention a couple of the best-known.

But sadly they are too few to make real changes, and we just don't seem to value education in this country anymore.

Anonymous said...

"ensuring that all learners receive the challenge and support..."

Uh-oh.

No child left behind.

And of course, since this is not Lake Wobegon, the only way to ensure no child is left behind, is to ensure that no child gets ahead.*

Which is pretty much what the educational establishment has done, over the last thirty years or so.

They don't seem to understand that if we don't educate those of our children who are actually capable of doing stuff, then no stuff will get done. We are basically doomed if we continue to waste all that potential human capital.

* This paragraph more or less shamelessly lifted from the great Jerry Pournelle, and hereby acknowledged as such.

TheFatBigot said...

The saddest part is that we should read about this stuff and find our blood pressure boiling, instead we just shrug our shoulders and say "well, what did you expect?"

So deeply ingrained is the levelling-down that it will take a generation to change; a generation that will only start when we have a government that addresses the problem directly and expressly.

I'm not holding my breath.

Chalcedon said...

Why don't these twats just set up A, B and C streams for each year and tracxh accordingly? A for the most intelligent/academically inclined, B for the average and C for those who are slow learners. Jeeze, this was true in my old grammar school FFS.

Chalcedon said...

Oh bugger. That would be teach accordingly. Knowledge, not just information to pass exams, but an actual education. I read an article which mentioned Sisyphus from Greek mythology. It then explained who he was and the task given him by the Gods. That shouldn't have been necessary. Every reader should have known who Sisyphus was.

North Northwester said...

Chalcedon said..
"I read an article which mentioned Sisyphus from Greek mythology. It then explained who he was and the task given him by the Gods. That shouldn't have been necessary. Every reader should have known who Sisyphus was."

Hear, hear, Chalcedon. The trendies have stolen so much of our culture's treasure for our children when they binned the classics and replaced them with trash, and 'what every schoolboy knows' is some snuff site on Arsebook.

'More relevant' my backside.