Day 173 – Educational Half-Truths (1)

Most of the arguments pro two-tier are based on half-truths. This is an excellent way to mislead, because the unwary recognise the half that is true and fail to spot the logical inconsistency in the other 50%.

Example number 1:

Pro two-tier: there are practically no middle years training courses in the country, therefore teacher recruitment in Bedford is doomed.

Pro three-tier: This fails to recognise that most middle school teachers choose to teach in a middle school and, once in the system, are extremely happy to stay there. Far from being a dead end in a career, middle schools offer opportunities for leadership in human-sized organisations that would otherwise not exist for many teachers.

It also avoids the real positive of middle schools, which is the vibrant and creative mix of primary generalists and secondary specialists, something that is very modern indeed. In a truly two-tier system, primary and secondary go their separate ways and “never the twain shall meet”.

This then leads to one very harsh transition between sometimes very small primary schools and massive secondary schools – which in the end is much more disruptive than two smaller well-managed transitions.

Teachers don’t look at the whole country when they choose their jobs – they tend to teach in areas in which their family lives, where they studied, or where their partner works. Very few make large geographical moves more than once or twice. Teacher recruitment problems are a huge red herring.

Good schools will always attract good teachers, whatever the system. Many of our schools are already very good or outstanding – so why aren’t we targeting resources at the challenging schools rather than looking to change a whole system?


5 Responses to Day 173 – Educational Half-Truths (1)

  1. KDev says:

    Another piece of spin by the 2-tier advocates; easily checked by consulting the adverts for middle school teachers in the Times Education Supplement and even in the BoS. Middle schools seek specialists – primary specialists or subject specialist with a secondary experience. Experience in 9 to 13 years is more important than whether it was gained in 2 or in 3-tier structures.
    Any half truth appears to have been the tools of persuasion used by those who wish to force 2-tier schooling on the Borough. “No middle school trained teachers” spin has more to do with teacher training organisations wishing to align themselves with the majority of England rather than any care about the education of our children.

  2. Sally says:

    I am employed by a local organisation which provides school-centred secondary teacher training. During the course of their training year the trainees have placements in both the middle and upper school setting and come out equipped to work in both.
    Such organisations (SCITTs) are locally based, closely aligned to their partnership schools and consequently highly responsive to the particular training needs of their local area and the schools within it. They recruit locally and provide a steady supply of well trained teachers with specialist subject knowledge and a great deal of hands-on teaching experience.
    I would have thought that IF… there are problems recruiting to some of our middle schools, might it not have something to do with the uncertainty looming over them at the present time more than anything else??

  3. Martin Hamilton says:

    Not directly relevant to the blog of the day but was fascinated to find that the lib-dems in Suffolk launched a manifesto in May with – guess what – first on the list was “Stop the closure of Middle Schools in Suffolk”. Have a look.

    Please will our lib dems talk to their colleagues in Suffolk?

    Since then we know that the DSCF has sent in the experts because of failing schools and at least some of the BSF programme is now on hold because the council can’t see where even the BSF money is going to come from.

    The damage is already being done in Bedford so will this be Bedford in 18 months time if the councillors don’t stop this?

  4. KDev says:

    From the Cambridge Primary Review:
    “In brief: pointers to specific recommendations:
    Protect rural schools and middle schools against cost-cutting closure. Achieve a better fit between
    school design and function, with more specialist and outdoor space.”
    With all of the evidence against changing the school structure how can this proposal still be entertained by the Mayor?

  5. Ed Thomas says:

    As in a previous blog, Police Academy 2 Dave Hodgson and Valentine at Wootton Question Time informed of their concern over teacher recruitment in Bedfordshire. If there is a problem recruiting teachers, then why is there an extensive list (2 pages) of 30+ teachers who are mentoring newly qualified attending the Borough’s course on Thursday. Maybe Police Academy 2 Dave should speak to the Brain Glover and the grey suits, who will then speak to Ian Andrews, who then give the truth not hearsay. Thanks to North Beds Network for this information, enjoy the course.

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