Posts Tagged ‘Education’


Inaccurate and misleading media reports fuel the government’s divisive agenda to disempower teachers by pitting parents against them in much the same way that scaremongering amongst the general public has been seen in recent months when nurses, doctors and firefighters discuss strike action as their only option in their individual disputes.

Teachers, like most workers, have taken a pay cut in recent years in real terms, but this is not their only grievance. In recent years, workload has increased vastly due to additional bureaucracy, stress-related absences are rising [source] due to constant monitoring and threats of capability action are rife for those whose performance is not deemed to be at least “good” in every criteria that is outlined by Ofsted and school policy which in itself increases workload. This has led to many documented cases of work related stress [source] and workplace bullying:

“At around 20% (of over 10,000 cases), teachers, lecturers and employees in education are the largest group of callers to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line.” http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/teachers.htm

Teachers are leaving the profession in droves with approximately 47,700 leaving in 2010-2011 [source] and when polled:

“77% of young teachers said that in their experience, the Coalition Government’s education policies are having a negative impact on the pupils they teach;
97% of young teachers said that the Coalition Government rarely or never respects or values teachers;
Nearly four in ten (39%) of young teachers said that the punitive accountability system was the main reason for 40% of new teachers leaving the profession within five years. Giving all teachers a pay rise in line with the cost of living and giving them more professional autonomy would most encourage new entrants to remain in teaching, young teachers said;
Over half (56%) of young teachers said they had experienced bullying and harassment during their teaching careers;
Administration, inspection and lesson planning are the biggest generators of excessive workload, according to young teachers.”

Statistically, it is interesting to note that somewhere in the region of 50% of new teachers have already left teaching within their first five years and in a joint survey by the county’s two largest teaching unions the NUT and the NASUWT 84% of teachers felt demoralised and over 50% had seriously considered leaving the profession in the previous twelve months [source].

Discontent in the teaching profession is high but staff are determined to ensure that their pupils receive the best that is available to them. I recently spoke to one teacher who had logged a total of 96 additional hours of work to ensure that ONE pupil received the additional support that he was entitled to.

Those outside of education may be unaware of the additional tasks undertaken by teaching staff. Marking and preparation make up a proportion of this as you would expect but many hours are needed every week to complete additional tasks such as: completing individual education plans for children with additional learning needs, dealing with pupil indiscipline, telephoning parents, entering pupil data onto school database systems so that the progress can be monitored and analysed, writing reports, analysing performance data, producing and updating seating plans, writing and re-writing work schemes to reflect constant changes in school policy to meet new Government directives, undertaking quality assurance of work schemes, pupil work, teacher’s work etc., undertaking intervention with pupils at lunch times or after school to allow them to catch up following an absence or if they’re falling behind their target grades, many hours of operational and planning meetings, etc. The list is seemingly endless and I’ve yet to meet a teacher who has said that they go home at night and they are completely up-to-date!. Far from refusing to undertake additional tasks, teachers are constantly on the lookout for software and tips from colleagues that help them to complete these tasks more quickly.

What is less widely reported is how the Government is systematically dismantling the state education system itself in an effort to re-build something that resembles their private or Grammar school experiences. Changes to the National Curriculum are imposed seemingly with little regard as to what the professionals who will be delivering it actually think of it. The Government favours Ebacc which leaves little room in the timetable to teach creative subjects such as Drama, Art, Music and DT and in doing so devalues them creating concern amongst many teachers [source]. Coursework in many subjects has already been shelved and written exams have been introduced into BTEC courses which means many of our weaker learners are likely to struggle to achieve their desired grades. How can removing the ability to allow pupils with different learning needs and abilities to succeed be a sensible policy? To quote Albert Einstein:


Which, sadly, in reality translates to:


To clarify what the media fail to report; it’s teachers’ pay AND pension AND changes to working conditions AND workload that is under dispute part of which is removing from them the ability to help all children to succeed in whichever area of education that they are able to excel in.

Cordelia 2014

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Day of strike action

I’m on strike today …. I know this will be highly contentious and parents around the UK will be up in arms because they have to look after their children but enough is enough.

I estimate that I work approx 70 hours a week even though I only physically teach children for about 20 of them and I know with absolute certainty that no matter how many hours I put in, I’ll never get to the end of my “to do” list nor go home with that “job well done feeling”. I work through many of my holidays and weekends.

It never used to be like this. I’ve always worked long hours preparing resources and marking work, knowing that what I did helped the pupils to learn and that I was doing a good job. I’ve been praised in the past for my teaching and my results and although I know that I’m not “outstanding” teacher material, I know that I made a difference and that I cared passionately about my job and the future hopes and dreams of my pupils.

Now, I spend hours wading through a bureaucratic nightmare of endless paperwork, planning done in triplicate, endless meetings etc that leave me so tired and lacking in free time that lesson planning, marking and subsequently my teaching are suffering. Worse still, so is my health. I rarely find time to eat or have a cup of tea at work and I’m finding it difficult to sleep, waking at silly o’clock thinking about something that I’d not had time to do.

I worry about the pressures placed upon teachers today and believe that these are detrimental to education as a whole.

My resignation is written …. it has been for some time but I’ve never been accused of being a quitter so it sits, unsigned, ironically at the bottom of my “to do” list!! I’ll never go back to teaching.

Today, I could have gone to work, signed in, done planning, marking etc and marvelled at how much I could get done with no disturbances and left at lunchtime to attend an arranged network meeting and received a full days pay for doing no teaching at all. Instead, I’m off to see my mother whom I’ve only managed to find time to see once in the past seven weeks then still going to the meeting because many colleagues have put time and effort into putting it together and above all else we are professionals with morals and scruples. Solidarity has its price!

I worry for all pupils …. not because I’m planning on looking for a career where I actually occasionally feel that I’m doing a decent job instead of constantly being in the firing line … but because, having spoken to many, many teachers over the past year, shockingly almost all would quit teaching if they could afford to do so!

A more demoralised profession, you would be hard pushed to find.

Cordelia 2013

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It’s been some time since I last posted … and for a good reason … my real life has over taken my virtual life (how dare it!).

I’ve barely used facebook or uploaded a picture to blipfoto and I miss all my virtual friends that I used to tweet to on a daily basis.

But my New Year’s Resolution is to remedy that … I love my new job which is consuming so much of my time but armed with my new ipad and internet access I hope to restore my work/life balance.

Happy New Year to you all and thank you so much for all the wonderful comments over the past 18 months … I hope 2013 is good to you all.

Click here to check B&B availability, view special offers and promo codes and to book online.

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The Public Sector Strike

I’m a member of the NASUWT, one of 29 Trade Unions which will be on strike today, Wednesday 30th November 2011, in protest of the Government’s proposed changes to pensions.

Whilst teachers appear to be bearing the brunt of the bad press by a government hell-bent on squaring them up against parents through vilification and emotional blackmail, little is said about the many other areas of the Public Sector which will also be striking.

So why so much vitriol against teachers?  Well that’s simple … they’re an easy target.  How many members of the public will be inconvenienced because their bins will be emptied a day later or because their local municipal golf course will be closed and let’s be honest … we’d rather hope that the Tax Inspectors stay on strike!!

I don’t hear cries in the newspapers or on TV from Government ministers vilifying the school caretaker who will be on strike, nor the pensions officer nor the librarian.  No, they focus on Education; persuade parents that everything is the teacher’s fault and swiftly shoulder the blame from themselves to teachers hoping for sympathy from inconvenienced parents.

Please be assured that your child’s education will not suffer from one day’s industrial action … I do not know a single teacher that does not work relentlessly to help, advise, mentor and counsel every one of their wards and has not done a lot of soul-searching before putting an “x” in the ballot box to vote for strike action.  Many, like myself, are supply staff, whose pay and conditions have been drastically eroded along with their pensions and many, like me, because they are taking a day’s industrial action, are deemed to be breaking their contract and thus forfieting their employment entitlements as well as losing a day’s pay. With the schools closed, I couldn’t work supply today so I lose a day’s pay either way!

Please do not let the government undermine what the Public Sector are working to achieve by ostracising teaching staff for their actions.  This is not a Teachers’ strike … it’s a Public Sector strike!

As the Guardian states ” About 2.6 million people were balloted – across the range of public sector posts from teachers to immigration officers and care workers – with an estimated 750,000 voting yes. It will be the biggest bout of industrial unrest since the 1979 winter of discontent.”

Feel free to argue that you disagree with all strike action, or that you disagree with everyone that is striking today and I respect your views but please don’t become a Government puppet and disagree with the strike just because you needed to make alternative child care arrangements for the care of your child … the truth of the matter is, you can’t object to a teacher taking the same industrial action as a greenkeeper or a librarian just because their actions do not inconvenience you.

Copyright © 2011 by Cordelia

All rights reserved

Cordelia @ Balkissock Lodge

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