Under Siege?

Caverlaverock Castle with Trebuchet

Originally uploaded by jarek69 & evelyn

I’ve not been blogging much lately, and while I’m not overly keen on meta-posts I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple of days about why that is.

Partly, it’s because I’ve been flipping busy. But writing a post doesn’t take long, so that’s no excuse.

More significantly it’s because a lot of the things I’ve been thinking about, and even started to write on occasion, have been less than positive. And I don’t want to be whinging and moaning – partly because it reinforces the negativity, partly because it makes me look bad and partly because I’ll end up saying something that will get me in bother.

So why the negativity? I’m not 100% certain, but here’s an interesting fact.

In the four days alone I’ve seen news reports telling me that:

Teachers who say things like “I’m not a teacher on here. I’m just like anyone else, I drink, swear… but don’t tell anyone.” can find themselves reprimanded by the GTC and hauled through the press. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-16929442)

Schools who are judged as outstanding will be free from routine inspections by OFSTED, except those whose exam results drop (so no pressure there then).

Even those schools judged as outstanding will be subject to departmental inspections, particularly focussing on those subjects trying to get themselves into the EBacc (staff meeting).

Those schools judged as outstanding in every area, but merely very good in terms of teaching (based on a 2-day snapshot) will no be allowed to be outstanding.

Schools that are currently satisfactory actually require improvement. OK, I can just about accept that, but it means that all schools will either be unsatisfactory, requires improvement, good or outstanding. That sounds to me like an F, a D, a C and an A*. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16579644)

It seems to me that there are lots of students in my Y11 classes who are doing better than scraping a C, but are not up to A* standard. It feels like someone is saying “unless you are truly amazing [which, after all, is what outstanding means, at least as I understand it] then you’re just not good enough”.

You see, and now this has turned into a negative rant. Which isn’t what I want. And inspection is a necessary evil. There are some schools and some teachers who don’t work hard enough, or don’t work right. There aren’t many of them, but we do need to ensure that standards are high. Fine, I accept that. I just feel as though the entire profession is under siege at the minute.

We’re lazy (we should have fewer holidays and longer working days), we’re overpaid (hence the pay freeze), we’re greedy over pensions (which is why I’ll be losing £100 a month on top of that pay freeze), we’re rubbish (hence all the OFSTED stuff) and we’re not allowed to have any kind of public or personal life (see any news story relating to teachers and social networking – including my HT telling me that any teacher with a Facebook account is being silly).

So maybe that’s got something to do with the lack of posts lately, despite lots of good stuff going on. I think I need to start focussing on that, really.