This week we have engaged the whole school in a discussion exercise asking both staff and students [in their tutor groups] some big educational questions. We are always keen to involve our students with discussion topics to help them develop their speaking and listening skills and thought that if we send our views to our community via this blog, we might just get responses from parents, other schools and even other countries, Sir Alex Ferguson, Michael Gove and David Cameron-who knows! The questions asked were;
I know that my photo is outside the White House and not the Houses of Parliament or Downing St but it’s the only one that is almost relevant without superimposing my head onto another picture! It was taken by Mark Brownett when I chaperoned him on a Future Leader’s working break to visit Charter schools in Washington DC. It came in really handy as a Xmas present that I could lavish on my daughter, partner and mum. You can imagine their delight! Hemingway, our house-rabbit made short work of my daughters, my partner’s mother thought it a lovely picture of the Botanic Garden’s Café and my mum just cried. She has always been ungrateful! Enjoy our views and ideas and please respond. They are all the opinions of the individuals and tutor groups and do not of course necessarily represent my views or the school, should Mr Gove read them. No rabbits were injured in the compilation of the blog!
Some of the students found it difficult to comment on national rather than Meols Cop issues or needs but it was an opportunity to discuss ‘big issues’ that I was interested in developing.
* 1 To make sure that school delivered the right subjects to prepare students for the world of work and life in general.
* 2 Children should feel happy and safe in their schools. With the same opportunities wherever they are taught.
* 3 Make sure everyone is treated fairly, lessons are fun. Variety of activities more trips out.
* 4 If students are happy and have interesting, varied lessons that relate to work and are fun maybe attendance would be better, behaviour in class rooms, results get better.
* 5 Resources and trips would be expensive and could be funded by raising money for charity or advertising local businesses (newsletter, production programmes etc…
* 1 Fun homework’s that include games or educational activities, less days in school but longer days till 4.30.
* 2 Have the right to eat in lessons, to learn what we want, to have a happy life outside of school and a safe life in school.
* 3 Less strict teachers, explain everything more, more equipment.
* 4 Better education, better grades,
* 5 Taxes, government, lottery funding, retired teachers.
* 1 – Consult teachers, get rid of Mr Gove. Don’t change GCSE’s to numbers not A* to G
* 2 – Everybody should be entitled to the same education; some people can’t get into a good school as limited numbers and have to go to a failing school.
* 3 – Welcoming environment, small class sizes, we like flipped learning, IT access in all classes.
* 4 – Smaller classes’ and greater one to one help!
* 5 – More teachers to employ – Better results!!
|To teach students a positive outlook on life and give them free fruit.
|To make sure students feel safe in school.
|If students don’t understand, make sure teachers don’t get angry.
|Students would be happier.
|Less homework, more lessons focused on computer science.
|The right to learn.
|Have longer lessons so that we have time to understand.
|Students would get better test results.
|One inset day a week or half day on a Wednesday. Every two weeks we should get a long weekend (Saturday to Tuesday).
|Learning to read and write.
|More laptops and group work games that help us to learn.
|Students would enjoy learning more.
|Fundraising days, donations, come in own clothes day.
|Focus on everyone getting an equal education.
|Be able to read and write.
|Make sure all students participate.
|Students would get better GCSE grades.
|Take it out of any spare budgets.
|More woodwork lessons.
|Reading and writing.
|More practical lessons.
|More people entering the engineering profession.
|More learning in schools focused on practical subjects would encourage people to become engineers. The increase in the profession would increase the economy.
|Less homework, it causes too much stress.
|To be safe.
|Lessons where it isn’t putting you under pressure or stress.
|Ask the government.
* 1- Bring back modular exams
* Create rigid grade boundaries so if students achieve top marks they can achieve high grade rather than a percentage of the cohorts.
* 2- The right to learn, and achieve- broaden the variety of subjects available as its too limited
* 3- Make more effective use of new technologies.
* Appoint TA that are qualified teachers and keep in the subject area.
* 4- Give our students confidence to ask subject specific questions to TAs so that they can progress quicker rather than always needing the assistance of the teacher.
* 5- Approach companies for funding to purchase new technologies.
*changing end of yr11 exams back to c/w and modules in yr10
*start and finish school later (when students are more “awake”)
*let students express themselves through their appearance
- · 8RM believe that private schools should be banned because everybody should be entitled to the same education.
* Shorter lessons because it is easier to concentrate.
* 2 Every child should have the right to learn.
* Every child should have the right not to be distracted during learning.
* 3 We think smaller classes would mean that we learn more because we could have more support from the teacher.
* Teaching is in small stages instead of all at once. If we learn things a little bit at a time it is more likely to stick.
* Lessons should be interesting with group activities, we learn best when we’re interested.
* 4 If we are interested in our learning, we are much more likely to learn. If we learn is small stages we are more likely to remember what we have learned.
* 5 We don’t think our ideas are expensive; they are something every teacher could do for free!
* 1- To have more interactive/practical lessons. For example – more science experiments, poster projects, more trips with geog and history.
* 2 – Our right is to have varied lessons that use different technologies and different skills. We should have good teachers that are exciting and are ready to listen to us and what we want. (Our teachers are outstanding!!)
* 3- Have more ICT, more PE lessons, and more group work – speaking and listening; let us take responsibility to teach other pupils.
* 4 – Pupils would have higher grades as they are more engaged and willing to learn as their lessons are a lot more interactive.
* 5 – Cake sales, school events, mufti days. Get teachers involved in raising money, go to the local council for their support in improving our education.
- · 1- Adding resources, more sports as we are a specialist sports college, add a 6th form.
- · 2- That we learn how to read and write. To have a say in matters in school.
- 3- Use more kinetic (interactive) activities in lessons.
- 4- Would like to wear own clothes to express personality.
- 5 Fundraisers such as cake sales, school disco, drama show, sports events
* 1 As prime minister our priority is for everyone to learn and enjoy school. We would like to introduce more technology into the classroom to help this and give every class a TA as they are really helpful and would benefit everyone not just a few people.
* 2 Pupils should have the right to learn and the right to have good teachers who will be nice and help push them to reach their targets.
* 3 Improve teaching with more practical and active lessons with less copying. ALWAYS have a point to the lesson we prefer to do work in the lesson instead of going on a computer or playing a game just for the sake of it, there should be a balance. No homework- we would rather work more in class so we have nothing to do at home. We would like to be able to listen to music in class as it helps us concentrate more. Make MCs clear so everyone knows what is allowed rather than having different rules for different people everyone should get MCs equally.
* 4 Attendance and behaviour would improve as pupils would enjoy school and want to go. They would be more interested in lessons so there progress would improve.
* 5 Save money on lockers-not many people use them. Trade in old computers and laptops as most don’t work anyway for better technology. Have more fundraising activities in school like cakes sales etc.
* 1 More PE lessons/ better facilities
* 2 Choose options end of year 8 rather than year 9 so fully prepared for GCSE exams.
* 3 Make lessons more interactive rather than PP and reading off boards/ text books. Science more practical’s. Parents evening from yr 7 onwards rather than review day. Better facilities in PE because when wet weather always in a classroom.
* 4 Absorb the learning and retain information. Parents evening- get better feedback from individual subjects
* 5 More room options rather than being outside in bad weather. More fixtures that can occur at home rather than away.
* 1. Keep exam grade boundaries the same so we know what a grade C/B/A is!
* 2. Everyone has the right to learn, have water in lessons, go the toilet if needed.
* 3. Make all schools like Meols Cop because it is great! Make lessons little more interactive stuff like, games, white board etc.
* 4. Better results happier students.
* 5. Raise money through schemes like sports of schools. Schools have to bid for the money.
* 1 Things should be related to the wider world so we understand the importance of them.
* There should be shorter lessons with more intense learning so that students don’t get bored and switch off.
* We should pick which GCSE’s we want to do in year 8 in order to give us more time to prepare.
* Lessons should always be creative and inspire us.
* Work should always be explained in detail and good and bad examples should be modelled.
* 2 Students should all have the right to their own opinion and others should respect this.
* Students should all feel safe in school and not be bullied
* Students should be able to access mentors who provide students with support
* Students should all be treated fairly.
* 3 Students should teach other students and be able to go to other classes to teach younger students
* Students should do more group work to help with communication skills
* Students should be taught skills for life e.g. how to budget
* 1Fun Exciting Activities. No Homework.
* 2 Safety. Free Time. Healthy Food.
* 3 Understanding Teachers.
* 4 Improved performance by students
* 5 Sponsored learning days. Cake sales!!
Less exams and more emphasis on what you have done in school. Students feel it is unfair that 11 years of schooling is judged on performance on one day. Maybe assessment against a set of skills listed as to what an individual student can achieve rather than what they can’t do – links to personalised learning e.g. In Drama for example, “ Ben can motivate and inspire a group of students and develop their performance”. Also merit should be given for getting involved in school activities, showing organisational and management techniques useful in adult life. Reduce dependence on academic learning and celebrate emotional and social development.
Make Year 8 related more closely to GCSE, some felt that Y8 was often a review of Y7
1 Be able to pick your own GCSE’s not be told what to choose. Choose the options that they want to learn at KS4.
2 Cheaper/free canteen
3 Better facilities in general. PE, Drama, Music, Art, ICT. More investment.
4 More teachers in different areas. More subjects to choose from. Extra subjects offered that are not at the moment.
5 More personal freedoms greater responsibility at a younger age.
More skills based lessons which are relevant to everyday life.
More scope in the curriculum
* 1- More PE lessons
Fewer restrictions on Options (Ebacc etc.)
Bring back capital punishment!!
* 2- Less homework
More TA support
* 3- More practical work- less writing
More practical subjects- metal work/ motor engineering, etc.
* 4- Students will enjoy learning more!
* 5- Less spending on defence/ war/ bombs etc.
1. More children have access to education.
2 to be treated equally and equally listened to by teachers, to feel safe.
3 students teach the teachers what it’s like to be a student, students input what would make learning fun, fun homework
4 to see why pupils get bored and how one bad lesson can affect them all, favouritism, students would listen more and be more interactive.
5 fundraising activities, reuse old/ disused resources, make own lunch in food tech
* – RE Should be optional
* 2- Free periods to study catch up on work
* 3- Uniform should be more casual
* 4- To start later in the day and finish later
* 5- Longer lunch
What would be the most important things you would do to improve learning and teaching?
* Class sizes should be smaller and more one to one support
* 1 My priority for education would be to look at how to raise levels of aspiration. If there is nothing to look forward to or no end goal then it can be hard to motivate yourself to learn ‘just for learning’s sake’. Economic circumstances and community deprivation can lead to an endemic lack of aspiration and we need to tackle that in the community/society as well as in our schools.
* 2 Children should have the right to learn the skills they need to make a positive contribution to the world, they should be able to do this in a safe and nurturing environment where they are free from harm and have the security to exercise their minds, to make mistakes and to learn from them.
* 3 To improve learning and teaching I would create a more flexible curriculum that was reflective of the world that young people will emerge into as young adults. I would focus on the moral and social lessons that can be drawn from the experiences of others and make sure that all items on the curriculum where geared towards learning that could help students to make a positive contribution to society. I would move the focus from examinations and league tables and put it on the positive impact students have on the world (I recognise this would involve longer term monitoring). I would encourage more shared learning and see the role of the teacher as facilitator rather than director.
* 4 I expect my policies would cause something of a stir, the system finds it hard to adapt and my policies cause for radical change but there is a sense in which the current system has failed to respond to the changing world. The curriculum is so very out of touch with the reality of the world young people are being prepared for that I think radical change may not be such a bad thing.
* 5 My ideas do not require more resources necessarily, just a different way of thinking about how we spend them and how we measure our success.
Consistency, stability and an opportunity to imbed, and develop ideas over at least a 5 year period, without the need for constant changes.
To create a level playing field for all students e.g. Getting rid of controlled assessment because there is inconsistency on moderation- maybe turn them into exam style conditions.
The right to good teachers, a safe environment, good quality resources, the right to access the full curriculum and to get advice for careers and social aspects of life
Recognise that some students have gifts and talents that go beyond the current curriculum and value these/ reward them. Make sure that teachers get the appropriate training that they need and are given time to diffuse these ideas amongst the staff.
A fairer chance for students- a chance for them to be judged on what they can do.
There were schools where all children have the opportunity to attend-no private, no grammar, no selective, no faith, no gender, no academies, no free schools JUST SCHOOLS! Why do we still allow such a divisive system to exist? Freedom of choice and opportunities for children not parents.
We valued technical and creative education equally with ‘academic’ education. The strongest economy in Europe, Germany, has a strong system of technical schools [as well as others]-why on earth do we insist on a 19th century approach to curriculum and examinations and deny our young people the skills and qualifications that we desperately need for our future prosperity and economy?
We recognised that it isn’t cheating or failure to take an exam again! Most professional qualifications allow for more than one chance to pass. Why do we deny our young people the right?
If the government was totally committed to spending money to eradicate child poverty rather than wasting £20 billion on senseless wars and armaments-perhaps all children and families would be able to access education, that is their right and enjoy the benefits.
We could agree that the strength of any education system is surely how it supports its most vulnerable children who lack parental guidance, interest and aspirations in education. Are the government really doing enough for them with their pupil premium, cutting of funding for vital support agencies and diversion of money towards projects such as Free Schools?
National Curriculum is what is says it is; could we please know why more than half of the secondary schools don’t have to follow it?
Government and media stopped telling the students that their exams lack rigour and are easier than ever. Be proud of our young people and celebrate their achievements and hard-work-they work far harder than I ever did at school!
Mr Gove realised that teachers want to be the teachers they can be [in the world] and our students the best learners in the world. Treat us as professionals, stop introducing retrospective measures and let us take responsibility for our own profession based on collaboration not competition and compulsion and research not political rhetoric.
Test wasn’t best! PISA was a famous tower not acronym that had to be obeyed. Learn from the best in the world rather than hand-picking the bits that fit a political philosophy not an educational one.
Did everything Mick Waters suggested in “Thinking Allowed!”
Make the curriculum less rigid. As teachers, I feel that we are often prevented from delivering inspiring and outstanding lessons due to the constraints of the curriculum. Most of the best buzz moments in the classroom, I find, are when we have stepped out of the curriculum zone. Also the curriculum doesn’t differentiate enough for the different needs of the students. For example, wouldn’t it be more useful and dare I say, enjoyable for some of the less academic students in French/Spanish to focus on functional language and culture rather than struggle to understand what a past particle or a subordinate clause is, when they barely understand what it is in English?
The whole ethos surrounding teachers needs to change. I personally don’t know any teachers (even those who are considered merely satisfactory) who don’t set out every day to improve the life chances of children. Stop the blame culture and start supporting, respecting and valuing the job that the vast majority of us are committed to doing!
Pay our TAs a salary worthy of the effort and support they give the students and teachers and offer training and a career path.
Put more money into supporting parents. They provide the foundation in the education of children, and teachers who are the building blocks can have little or no effect if they are not given a solid base to work with.
Where is the money coming from?
Every over paid celebrity (including footballers) should donate a significant sum of money based on their earnings every year into an “Education” fund.
Use the ridiculous bonus’ the bankers get.
Reduce the money spent on arms and the military.
I firstly strongly with following the German model for providing training at technical colleges for students to learn a trade. I have long thought that it was the model to follow. I have lost count of the amount of students over the years that I have spoken to that have expressed an interest in learning a trade electrician plumber etc. and have not had a suitable route to follow to pursue this. Germany has long been the most successful economy in Europe and it seems illogical not to follow their model.
I also feel that separating the years 7-9 from the year 10-11 would also be beneficial. Some areas of Britain have middle schools. I think that the years 7-8 especially are too young to be around the influence of the older students. I also feel that their presence somehow helps keep the years 10-11 from fully maturing.
If we are going to measure student’s progress at every turn then we should ensure they are all competing on a level playing field-
End charitable status for fee paying schools
Stop subsidising faith based schools
Bring all schools under LOCAL democratic control of some sort.
End the ridiculous competition between schools and develop a co-operative, complimentary approach to increase the options available for ALL students of ALL abilities.
ALL students should be able to go to Oxford OR the local technical college to gain an apprenticeship.
All education should be provided FREE at the point of need.
Wind up OFSTED and replace with HM schools inspectorate.
All students should receive a high quality education designed to meet their needs and abilities- not one designed to shoe-horn them into whatever meets the current Ofsted criteria.
Access to All aspects of education should be FREE
ALL children should be taught by qualified teachers
They should have the right to access a wide range of extracurricular activities
Greater co-operation between schools should improve the range of subjects offered to all students and by sharing best practice should improve standards.
Make it easier for on the job training to lead to qualified teacher status. Will bring in fresh ideas and different approaches that will benefit all in the profession.
End so called “performance related pay”. Teaching successfully is a collaborative process, the collective success could be rewarded But PRP is a divisive measure that will have a negative effect on children’s education. We are not picking strawberries by the punnet!
This can be difficult to measure! Only in the mid to long term can we see if we have produced a literate, well informed society that values education for its own sake. I would like to see social mobility as a measure of success, as well as the number of adults who continue in some form of education- not because they missed out as children but because they can see the importance of continuous learning.
Pure exam results tell only one tiny part of the story.
Where do I find the money
Easy- we have to end the corporatocracy that we currently live under.
Corporations that make massive profits from our educated society should pay the taxes they are supposed to . “minimising our tax liabilities” is just another way of saying “robbing you blind”.
There would be no need to raise taxation for ordinary hard working people if these corporate robber barons contributed their share. The scale of this theft is staggering!
Ending the free school debacle would stop millions flowing into the pockets of private companies whose interest is in profit – not in education.
The taxpayer is currently being milked for cash by a network of “education suppliers”. Spend this money on students instead rather than on new conservatories for the directors of “consultancies”- many of whom are the driving forces behind “Free Schools
Is this Utopian?
No I don’t think it is. But it does represent a massive change in how we see the whole point of the education service. The authorities often rail against “vested interests”- we should not be afraid to do the same. The “vested interests” of privilege, profiteers and the elite, who are quite happy for our children to know their place- and stay in it.
As a geographer my priorities for the students I teach are a varied curriculum looking at different aspects of our dynamic world, have access to computer systems to further their knowledge and skills that will be required in a geographers line of work in the future and allow pupils to experience the wider world via different activities outside of the classroom.
Pupils should have the right to a good education provided by outstanding teachers that have a love for their subject and want to model this to pupils.
To improve learning in Geography I would want to ensure pupils get a wider insight into the dynamic earth we live in and be aware of their surrounding both on a local and global scale.
If pupils gain this knowledge it will enable them to go out to the world of work with knowledge of where they want to go in life to fulfil their aspirations.
Money needs to come from the school and local governments to provide this education to pupils to ensure they have the education they need to succeed in life and beyond.