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Something does not add up – politicalbetting.com

SystemSystem Posts: 11,006
edited January 2023 in General
imageSomething does not add up – politicalbetting.com

The great Scottish comedian Hector Nicol used to tell a joke about a signalman in the Highlands who applied for a promotion and had to sit a test. This consisted of ever more outlandish scenarios about what he would do if two trains were running towards each other on the same line of track while a series of disasters befell his signalling equipment. The punchline of the joke, after his signal box had caught fire, the points had been jammed by a lightning strike, and the line side cabinet had been destroyed by a runaway truck, was that the signalman would run down the village and fetch his uncle Alistair. When asked why, the signalmen replied simply ‘because he’s never seen a train crash.’

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  • Options
    Spot on Ydoethur, good header. Certainly Gove for one only regards "traditional" subjects as 'real education.' Utterly clueless.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109
    https://dailycricket.com.bd/en/news/tigers-paying-price-of-dropped-catches

    I accept your criticism about not covering the lack of teachers and lack of understanding as not embedded in the new curriculum although I do cover it obliquely. However, I was focusing on the reason why the new curriculum including GCSE isn’t working, and why it won’t be changed for the better. As I said in a different context, if only I had time enough and world enough to cover everything. Thank you for amplifying them for readers.
  • Options
    Agree completely about there not being enough time or space here to cover all the issues education is facing!

    And I recognise a number of the issues you cite with GCSE Maths at the moment. One of the main ones is that it's trying to do too many things -- a stopping-off point for those who finish the subject at 16, an entrance-discriminator for those who want to continue (I think 7 is sufficient for "A"-level, incidentally, if it's well taught), a measure of accountability for schools...

    And of course, high-stakes one-off assessment systems cause as many problems for 16-year-olds as a high-stakes, one-off inspection system causes for schools. Neither system is 100% reliable, but in both cases the system treats the outcomes as unimpeachable.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.

    And I accept your criticism about my comments re Bangladeshi fielding! I'm sure you wouldn't be basing your conclusions about one bad day in the office, though; how many sixes do you have to roll on a dice before being confident it's biased?!
  • Options
    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351

    Agree completely about there not being enough time or space here to cover all the issues education is facing!

    And I recognise a number of the issues you cite with GCSE Maths at the moment. One of the main ones is that it's trying to do too many things -- a stopping-off point for those who finish the subject at 16, an entrance-discriminator for those who want to continue (I think 7 is sufficient for "A"-level, incidentally, if it's well taught), a measure of accountability for schools...

    And of course, high-stakes one-off assessment systems cause as many problems for 16-year-olds as a high-stakes, one-off inspection system causes for schools. Neither system is 100% reliable, but in both cases the system treats the outcomes as unimpeachable.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.

    And I accept your criticism about my comments re Bangladeshi fielding! I'm sure you wouldn't be basing your conclusions about one bad day in the office, though; how many sixes do you have to roll on a dice before being confident it's biased?!

    In the context of all that, what do you make of the proposal to extend maths for all to the age of 18 ?

    Is there any chance (under the current incarnation of the Education department) of its forcing a redesign of the curriculum which improves matters, as opposed to compounding the problems ?

  • Options
    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351
    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)
  • Options
    JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 38,889
    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    How does that compare with previous decades?
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    dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 27,940
    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.
  • Options
    JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 38,889
    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
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    ChrisChris Posts: 11,097
    edited January 2023
    "And it will probably be popular because most people know even less about education than they do about advanced algebra, and think ‘more maths=good thing’ whereas the real issues around the current system are complex and involved."

    I must admit that "more maths=good thing" is a snappy political slogan.

    Though "It would be more useful to make sure they had learned necessary skills properly in the first place" could be distilled into something almost as snappy, and has the benefit of being obviously true and apposite.
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    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    Big? Yes.

    Too big? Jury's out.

    It is right for there to be a National Curriculum. Whether that should fill 70%, 90% or 100% of the curriculum time available is moot. I'd favour pretty close to 100%.
  • Options
    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    Agreed re Labour's plan.

    The interesting question is why so many teachers have left. Workload is a key factor.
  • Options
    JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 38,889
    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    I agree with that. Applied maths is vital: for instance, working out compound interest rates is a really useful life skill, and perhaps more than trigonometry. But I can also see that teaching wider maths with less real-world applicability might be useful, and even inspire some kids. I loved mechanics and forces (and their links with physics), and although I never used them at work (I might have done if I had gone into civ eng), I'm really glad I learnt it.

    As another example: most kids won't be musicians. So why teach music? Perhaps because many won't become professional musicians, but may take a greater appreciation for instruments and types of music.
  • Options
    dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 27,940

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
  • Options
    DavidLDavidL Posts: 51,125

    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    I agree with that. Applied maths is vital: for instance, working out compound interest rates is a really useful life skill, and perhaps more than trigonometry. But I can also see that teaching wider maths with less real-world applicability might be useful, and even inspire some kids. I loved mechanics and forces (and their links with physics), and although I never used them at work (I might have done if I had gone into civ eng), I'm really glad I learnt it.

    As another example: most kids won't be musicians. So why teach music? Perhaps because many won't become professional musicians, but may take a greater appreciation for instruments and types of music.
    Yes, it is tricky and the temptation to do too much on the basis that it might inspire the brightest kids is certainly there. I think we need to be slightly less ambitious and focus on getting more children of average ability numerate and comfortable with at least a few mathematical concepts but the answer is a long way from being clear cut.
  • Options
    "In the context of all that, what do you make of the proposal to extend maths for all to the age of 18 ?

    Is there any chance (under the current incarnation of the Education department) of its forcing a redesign of the curriculum which improves matters, as opposed to compounding the problems ?"

    Prospals to extend Maths to 18 (a) need serious thought as to what the post-16 curriculum for non-"A"-levellers would look like (I've not seen any evidence of that yet) and (b) need significant investment in training more Maths teachers.

    If £x were announced for (b) there would be howls of derision because of the needs elsewhere in the system. Spending £x on a pet project rather than other priorities will not go down well.

    So... I don't think the idea will go anywhere.
  • Options
    FoxyFoxy Posts: 44,517

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    Big? Yes.

    Too big? Jury's out.

    It is right for there to be a National Curriculum. Whether that should fill 70%, 90% or 100% of the curriculum time available is moot. I'd favour pretty close to 100%.
    Really? Until 1988 we didn't have a national curriculum at all. Has education got better or worse since it was introduced?

    Similarly OFSTED, do we really need it, or is it worse than useless?
  • Options
    JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 38,889
    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    With swimming; apparently today their water skills will be looked at, and they will be put into groups according to ability. I'd *hope* the ones with no water experience (and there's at least one) would get a good intro to water safety. In fact that'd be the main thing in my mind for all the kids: how to keep yourself safe in the water. How to float and conserve energy; how to attract attention. Not to jump in to try to save someone in trouble; that sort of thing.

    So 'swimming' lessons might be a very good idea, if only to teach practical water safety. Perhaps.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109
    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    Quite right. I meant England. Stuart Dickson will quite rightly be all over me all day for this and I’ve nobody to blame but myself.
  • Options
    dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 27,940

    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    With swimming; apparently today their water skills will be looked at, and they will be put into groups according to ability. I'd *hope* the ones with no water experience (and there's at least one) would get a good intro to water safety. In fact that'd be the main thing in my mind for all the kids: how to keep yourself safe in the water. How to float and conserve energy; how to attract attention. Not to jump in to try to save someone in trouble; that sort of thing.

    So 'swimming' lessons might be a very good idea, if only to teach practical water safety. Perhaps.
    Of course.
    The danger being parents assume kids are taught to swim in swimming.
    So they don't need to learn.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109
    DavidL said:

    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    I agree with that. Applied maths is vital: for instance, working out compound interest rates is a really useful life skill, and perhaps more than trigonometry. But I can also see that teaching wider maths with less real-world applicability might be useful, and even inspire some kids. I loved mechanics and forces (and their links with physics), and although I never used them at work (I might have done if I had gone into civ eng), I'm really glad I learnt it.

    As another example: most kids won't be musicians. So why teach music? Perhaps because many won't become professional musicians, but may take a greater appreciation for instruments and types of music.
    Yes, it is tricky and the temptation to do too much on the basis that it might inspire the brightest kids is certainly there. I think we need to be slightly less ambitious and focus on getting more children of average ability numerate and comfortable with at least a few mathematical concepts but the answer is a long way from being clear cut.
    As I said yesterday this country - including Scotland - has always had world class education at the top end. There’s a reason why British boarding schools are so popular with international parents. Grammar schools were a mid-twentieth century manifestation of that. And on their own terms they actually did some decent work although they were not without serious shortcomings.

    But it’s always been pretty rubbish at doing the basics right for everyone else. My distinct impression is that’s due to a lack of understanding of what’s needed or effective at the centre of power (although comprehensive schools as grammar schools for all and the national curriculum were strongly supported by Callaghan, who hardly counted as elite in background or schooling). I could be completely wrong of course, but it fits with the facts as I have observed them.

    We would really benefit as a country from sorting that out. But whatever solutions are proposed won’t be easy and certainly won’t be cheap. Moreover they won’t deal with the many legacy issues of the current system without a substantial commitment to lifelong learning as well. I see no sign of that from any party.
  • Options
    MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,220

    Hmmm. I've been teaching Maths for 30+ years (albeit less so recently as I've climbed the career ladder) and agree with you to a certain extent...

    You're right that politicians' involvement in education can cause issues, to put it mildly. But their involvement is both justifiable and inevitable given the large amount of public money spent on education. Those of us who try to improve the system from the inside have to try to influence our political leaders, and we don't always have as much impact as we'd like (yes, as exemplified by the GSCE grading system).

    You're also right to highlight issues with Ofsted. The high-stakes nature of our current inspection system has many unfortunate consequences, such as discouraging good leaders from applying for Headships, an over-emphasis on Maths and English in Year 6 (which you identify), and undermining disadvantaged communities' faith in education (when it's actually the key to improvement).


    But I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse. One problem you don't highlight is assessment design: GCSE papers (and wider system pressures) still encourage Maths teachers to prioritise teaching methods over understanding, which is why students struggle to apply what they've learnt outside the classroom. The old Key Stage 3 Maths papers assessed understanding much more effectively (though declaration-of-interest: I was involved in their writing).

    And I think you miss the critical issue in all of this: we simply don't have enough Maths teachers even now, let alone to implement the latest political pet project. Teacher training recruitment targets have been missed by some distance for a number of years. Austerity real-terms pay cuts have come home to roost. I don't know why a party that believes so strongly in the power of the market has been so slow to grasp this issue, in education or health or the police or...

    Finally, though, I'm afraid you're plain wrong about Bangladeshi fielding, which has improved out of all recognition over the last 15 years.

    On the pay - I can’t see how anyone would want to teach in London/the expensive areas of the country. London weighing is acknowledged to be too low by far. And even that calculation is based on some quite dodgy averages. Especially accommodation.

    £35k is a good wage in some parts of the country. Not London, or increasingly, the other growing metropolitan areas (Manchester got mentioned to me as becoming problematic for those on lower wages)

  • Options
    The obvious reason for this plan going nowhere is that the staffing situation for maths is bad and getting worse. And the section of the 16-19 cohort who currently don't do maths are quite a long way down the down the priority list. I'd put them behind

    1. Those without a good GCSE. We need something better for most of them than another GCSE, more numeracy than maths.

    2. Adults needing numeracy in later life.

    3. Giving everyone who wants to the opportunity to do Further Maths. Many schools can't offer this, either because of viability or the lack good enough mathematicians on the staff.

    But all of these depend on having enough teachers. And given the value that other employers put on people with good maths qualifications, they won't be cheap.
  • Options
    MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,220
    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    Typing lessons in school were dropped, back when the dinosaurs were young, because they were targeted at girls in the expectation of secretarial work.

    So dropped as sexist and classist.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109
    edited January 2023

    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    Typing lessons in school were dropped, back when the dinosaurs were young, because they were targeted at girls in the expectation of secretarial work.

    So dropped as sexist and classist.
    Class was key?

    In education, class sizes are also important…
  • Options
    MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,220

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    Agreed re Labour's plan.

    The interesting question is why so many teachers have left. Workload is a key factor.
    I would suspect the *nature* of the workload multiplied by money.

    People will work very hard for sensible goals - often giving employers free work, against their own interest. As long as it is actually productive. Vast piles of checkbox paperwork bullshit hack people off half way down page one.
  • Options
    MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,220
    ydoethur said:

    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    Typing lessons in school were dropped, back when the dinosaurs were young, because they were targeted at girls in the expectation of secretarial work.

    So dropped as sexist and classist.
    Class was key?

    In education, class sizes are also important…
    Ironically, by its nature, typing can be taught en mass.
  • Options
    FoxyFoxy Posts: 44,517

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    Agreed re Labour's plan.

    The interesting question is why so many teachers have left. Workload is a key factor.
    I would suspect the *nature* of the workload multiplied by money.

    People will work very hard for sensible goals - often giving employers free work, against their own interest. As long as it is actually productive. Vast piles of checkbox paperwork bullshit hack people off half way down page one.
    Yes, and this is a major factor in staff retention at my place of work. Ours is the only Emergency dept in the city and county, for a population just over a million people. At no point this weekend did it have less than 40 admissions waiting for a bed, and sometimes as many as 60. In effect the department was running 2 wards of acute medicine in corridors and carpark alongside a busy Emergency dept in the same space. No wonder staff decide to leave.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109

    ydoethur said:

    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    Typing lessons in school were dropped, back when the dinosaurs were young, because they were targeted at girls in the expectation of secretarial work.

    So dropped as sexist and classist.
    Class was key?

    In education, class sizes are also important…
    Ironically, by its nature, typing can be taught en mass.
    If you have spaces.

    Ah, my coat :smile:
  • Options
    logical_songlogical_song Posts: 9,703
    'The havoc of Brexit'
    This is mainly about US Republicans, but from 1min 15sec in it covers us.
    'In the G20 only Russia is projected to do worse than Britain'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vZgzVrxj4I
  • Options
    JonathanJonathan Posts: 20,901
    edited January 2023
    Very well said ydoether. It’s hard for the Conservatives to fix the problem , when in large part they are the problem.

    Sunak saying , two more years of maths, job done, and dumping the whole responsibility on fewer and fewer teachers is not going to work,
  • Options
    MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,220
    ydoethur said:

    ydoethur said:

    dixiedean said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    I'd agree. But the problem is that IMO the average person on the street need to know more than we did 50 years ago. The Internet alone adds a load of stuff kids need to know, for their safety if nothing else. The modern world is much more complex than the world of fifty years ago, and there is much more to be learnt.

    My son has his first 'official' swimming session at school today, which apparently is compulsory for year 4. Including the travel to the pool, this will probably take three or four hours out of the day. It is only half a term, but is this the most vital thing for the school to be doing, given many parents pay for private lessons? I can see why it is done, but I do wonder if it is the most important skill for kids to learn (especially as it is only five lessons).
    That's a great example. 5 lessons won't teach a non swimmer to swim.
    And yes. We need to know far more.
    But what will be dropped because we don't need to know it anymore is never asked.
    Am off to teach cursive writing. There is no typing speed requirement.
    Typing lessons in school were dropped, back when the dinosaurs were young, because they were targeted at girls in the expectation of secretarial work.

    So dropped as sexist and classist.
    Class was key?

    In education, class sizes are also important…
    Ironically, by its nature, typing can be taught en mass.
    If you have spaces.

    Ah, my coat :smile:
    I thought the spacing was automatic, Col. Killlian
  • Options
    FoxyFoxy Posts: 44,517

    The obvious reason for this plan going nowhere is that the staffing situation for maths is bad and getting worse. And the section of the 16-19 cohort who currently don't do maths are quite a long way down the down the priority list. I'd put them behind

    1. Those without a good GCSE. We need something better for most of them than another GCSE, more numeracy than maths.

    2. Adults needing numeracy in later life.

    3. Giving everyone who wants to the opportunity to do Further Maths. Many schools can't offer this, either because of viability or the lack good enough mathematicians on the staff.

    But all of these depend on having enough teachers. And given the value that other employers put on people with good maths qualifications, they won't be cheap.

    Teacher burnout and shortages do seem an international phenomenon.

    This is USA: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/22/teachers-are-in-the-midst-of-a-burnout-crisis-it-became-intolerable.html

    And Australia: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-26/australian-teachers-are-burnt-out-and-fed-up/101458286

    And Europe and Africa: https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/11/30/teacher-shortages-worry-countries-across-europe#:~:text=Teacher shortages are concerning countries,has been amplified by COVID.



  • Options
    Jonathan said:

    Very well said ydoether. It’s hard for the Conservatives to fix the problem , when in large part they are the problem.

    Sunak saying , two more years of maths, job done, and dumping the whole responsibility on fewer and fewer teachers is not going to work,

    Surely that depends on what "it" is that may or may not work. The right - whipped on by their media - have demonised teachers and teaching for years. Its almost as if the slow decline in standards to create a huge pool of dumb exploitable labour is deliberate. The Tory plan seems to be to maintain this - I think it has a good chance of success!

    This isn't just about resource or conditions or the curriculum. Learning isn't cool. Science and Engineering isn't cool. Why do kids need to study, grinding their way through badly conceived maths courses when they are going to gain fame and fortune on TikTok?
  • Options

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    Agreed re Labour's plan.

    The interesting question is why so many teachers have left. Workload is a key factor.
    I would suspect the *nature* of the workload multiplied by money.

    People will work very hard for sensible goals - often giving employers free work, against their own interest. As long as it is actually productive. Vast piles of checkbox paperwork bullshit hack people off half way down page one.
    Historically, teaching found a sensible niche in the pay/workload calculation. Nobody went into teaching to get rich, but it was a stable, agreeable, meaningful job where you wouldn't be poor either.

    For a while now, the dial has gone up on hours expected, down on the fun in those hours and pay hasn't risen to compensate.
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981
    Disclaimer: I am neither a politician nor a schoolteacher. I have no degree in educational topics.

    However, it seems to me that the basic focus has been lost in that Primary education should enable someone to succeed at Secondary education which in turn should prepare everyone for the world of work - except those whose intended careers require Tertiary education.

    Having been in the 1960s/70s primary system, the idea back then seemed to be that we should be able to read and write and do basic arithmetic. Times Tables were dull, but manageable, and everyone could recite them. The same went for spelling tests. The main teaching skill these required seemed to be a huge amount of patience and any other topics like art, science and PE were fitted in around them.

    Looking back, having primary school kids able to read, write and add up seems a no-brainer (no puns intended) and I cannot see that continuous monitoring of every aspect of primary education adds anything except aggravation, anxiety and costs.

    In fact, back in the 70s and maybe even the early 80s, there seemed a lot less hassle on fitting an adequate education in to the time available. Perhaps the greatest reform to today's education system could be found by looking back in the history books?

  • Options
    rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 53,920
    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
  • Options
    mwadamsmwadams Posts: 3,136

    Disclaimer: I am neither a politician nor a schoolteacher. I have no degree in educational topics.

    However, it seems to me that the basic focus has been lost in that Primary education should enable someone to succeed at Secondary education which in turn should prepare everyone for the world of work - except those whose intended careers require Tertiary education.

    Having been in the 1960s/70s primary system, the idea back then seemed to be that we should be able to read and write and do basic arithmetic. Times Tables were dull, but manageable, and everyone could recite them. The same went for spelling tests. The main teaching skill these required seemed to be a huge amount of patience and any other topics like art, science and PE were fitted in around them.

    Looking back, having primary school kids able to read, write and add up seems a no-brainer (no puns intended) and I cannot see that continuous monitoring of every aspect of primary education adds anything except aggravation, anxiety and costs.

    In fact, back in the 70s and maybe even the early 80s, there seemed a lot less hassle on fitting an adequate education in to the time available. Perhaps the greatest reform to today's education system could be found by looking back in the history books?

    One significant thing that Primary does now and didn't then is start to give the apparatus for critical evaluation of your own work and an introduction to the notion that answers to most real questions are not in fact "right" or "wrong".

    We used to leave that far too late.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109
    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    I was thinking actually that's a lower rate than normal. Generally it's considered the attrition is around 40% after five years.

    What might be more useful is a chart showing average number of years worked. I suspect it would rise steeply in the mid-1990s as the rules changed on pensions, then start dropping sharply again.
  • Options
    CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 59,572
    ydoethur said:

    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    Quite right. I meant England. Stuart Dickson will quite rightly be all over me all day for this and I’ve nobody to blame but myself.
    I don’t think Stuart Dickson will be terribly keen to discuss Scotland’s maths performance:




    https://ffteducationdatalab.org.uk/2019/12/nine-key-findings-from-pisa-2018/

    And then of course, there was the whole problem with Scotland’s PISA in the first place:

    https://ffteducationdatalab.org.uk/2021/04/pisa-2018-in-scotland-its-all-a-bit-of-a-mess/
  • Options
    CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 59,572
    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    My experience as well - I understood what I was doing but had no conceptual understanding of why it was relevant to real life.

    Excellent header and worth the long read.
  • Options
    mwadamsmwadams Posts: 3,136
    Excellent header, BTW.

    One thing in particular I'd highlight is the dreadful state of lifelong learning. Most people would benefit from the normalisation of post-21 education and (incidentally) the value to the economy would be huge.
  • Options
    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351
    DavidL said:

    ...But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    That is a very long standing problem.
    I was (a long time ago) pretty good at maths, getting an A at A Level. But I found the teaching of it stultifyingly boring.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109

    DavidL said:

    99% of all UK children do not take GCSE maths. In Scotland we have our own disasters, thank you very much. We have our own government who specialises in such things but gets supported anyway by a very significant minority of the population for other irrational reasons. At least the concept of an irrational number finds a ready context.

    When I was a child I got taught how to use a slide rule and log tables. I wasn't really taught why but I could do it. I certainly wasn't taught what a logarithm was, which might have been handy and which also might have rather demonstrated the pointlessness of it once these electronic calculator thingmes appeared. At Higher maths I was taught how to "do" calculus. I had no idea what the point of the exercise was (I subsequently found out when studying economics as an optional subject at University) but I could do it. I could also work out quadratic equations but once again I had no real idea why such a thing would ever be necessary or useful.

    To me, as a complete amateur in these things, this highlights the problems for Mathematics are very long standing and quite difficult to address. It takes more time than is available to really come to grips with mathematical functions, certainly to go beyond the mechanical process. The idea of using maths to solve problems that have anything to do with the real world wasn't touched upon then and doesn't seem to be now by @ydoethur's description. Is it better to try and skim a lot or go deep on a particular issue? I am not sure what the answer is, to be honest. But the current set up certainly does not engender a love of maths and that is certainly a part of the problem.

    My experience as well - I understood what I was doing but had no conceptual understanding of why it was relevant to real life.

    Excellent header and worth the long read.
    Why thank you.

    But may I also highly recommend @FrequentLurker 's additions below, which add more detail over an even longer timeframe.
  • Options
    SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 20,578
    The burning question. If you have passed GCSE maths and don't want to do maths A level, what exactly will you be studying for the next two years?
  • Options
    StuartinromfordStuartinromford Posts: 14,359
    edited January 2023
    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainee teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    That is a very unhelpful graph
  • Options

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
  • Options
    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351
    Foxy said:

    dixiedean said:

    The curriculum is just too big and too prescriptive. This is wider than Maths.

    Big? Yes.

    Too big? Jury's out.

    It is right for there to be a National Curriculum. Whether that should fill 70%, 90% or 100% of the curriculum time available is moot. I'd favour pretty close to 100%.
    Really? Until 1988 we didn't have a national curriculum at all. Has education got better or worse since it was introduced?

    Similarly OFSTED, do we really need it, or is it worse than useless?
    Some form of inspection is needed.
    The current incarnation of OFSTED is a very long way from ideal. The pre-OFSTED system was superior to what we have now (less 'rigorous' or not), certainly in the opinion of school leaders who experienced it.
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
  • Options
    BenpointerBenpointer Posts: 31,560
    Great if rather depressing thread header Ydoethur. Thank you!
  • Options
    BenpointerBenpointer Posts: 31,560

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    To be more specific, each succeeding year is showing higher attrition levels than every preceding year.

    It's almost as if working in education is getting crappier.

    It would be interesting to see the curves for the years 1997-2010.
  • Options
    rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 53,920

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    I'm assuming you are joking
  • Options
    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351
    Hakeem Jeffries might be one to watch.

    OK, There Was Something Positive in the Speaker-Vote Debacle
    Long after midnight, what Hakeem Jeffries said was notable. What Kevin McCarthy didn't say is worth at least noticing as well.
    https://fallows.substack.com/p/ok-there-was-something-positive-in
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    To be more specific, each succeeding year is showing higher attrition levels than every preceding year.

    It's almost as if working in education is getting crappier.

    It would be interesting to see the curves for the years 1997-2010.
    There does seem to be a level that they all trend to between 60% and 65%, but I agree about the figures for pre 2010
  • Options
    rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 53,920

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    No it doesn't: it shows each cohort has successively worse retention.
  • Options
    TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,230
    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.
  • Options
    rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 53,920
    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    Doesn't exactly narrow it down, does it?

    Well Ms Smith, the good news is that your child is not a gibbering idiot, who is incapable of feeding himself. The bad news is that he's no Einstein.
  • Options
    ydoethurydoethur Posts: 67,109
    edited January 2023
    Well anyway, I hesitated over sending this in but eventually did so because, as I told Mr Eagles, I hoped it would stimulate discussion. And it's therefore really good to see it has.

    Of course, there's always one person who refuses to engage with the substance rather than the personality - not surprised to see who it was given his, umm, colourful track record and personal loathing of me - and I'm sure others will emerge. In particular I realise I've left poor old Casino Royale with a terrible dilemma which I hope he will be able to resolve.

    I have to go to work. Have a good morning. Enjoy.
  • Options
    geoffwgeoffw Posts: 8,135
    Never mind about maths education, R4 employs reporters/commentators who do not know the difference between "infer" and "imply".
  • Options
    TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,230
    rcs1000 said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    Doesn't exactly narrow it down, does it?

    Well Ms Smith, the good news is that your child is not a gibbering idiot, who is incapable of feeding himself. The bad news is that he's no Einstein.
    No indeed. In our 24-hr rolling news world we need answers and we need them now. Aside from studying it many years ago until A-level and in a private school, I have no idea about maths teaching now. I by chance was speaking to the state-educated son of a friend yesterday, who is studying mechanical engineering at Manchester for which he needed 2x A* and one A including maths and another maths, I forget which, and his foundation year is basically just maths so I am not 100% sure that the system is failing as the header suggests.

    I also think it's complicated. And that the various bods in the DfE have thought about all the issues brought up in the header and likely have settled on the least worst version.

    So I see the header really as a personal vent with, as I say, any valid points lost in the general polemic.
  • Options
    OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 15,054

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainee teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    This would explain why, at my son's year 9 parents' evening last week, all his teachers seemed to be about 16 years old.
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981
    rcs1000 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    No it doesn't: it shows each cohort has successively worse retention.
    That graph is five years out of date. I would be interested to see where the 2015, 2014, 2013, etc cohorts bottomed out.

    Where do you think the (say) 2015 cohort will level off? 20%? 40%? 60%
  • Options
    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351
    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    You might also have quoted this.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.
  • Options
    TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,230
    Nigelb said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    You might also have quoted this.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.
    Yes very true. Everyone wants the system to be changed for the better. But we are not starting from a position where everything is dreadful (or as dreadful as the header makes out).
  • Options
    tlg86tlg86 Posts: 25,187
    Key stage 2 does not prepare anyone for key stage 3. Key stage 3 does not build children’s understanding for GCSE. And GCSE on its own is normally not sufficient for A level mathematics. Unless you get a grade eight or nine at GCSE it is almost impossible to access the A level curriculum which is why so many private schools are now completed level 2 qualifications in further mathematics to allow their children to do maths and further maths at a level.

    I've said before that this really ought not to be too complicated. Maths is really just problem solving until you get to A Level (maybe not even then). When I was at school in the 90s/2000s, the curriculum seemed to flow okay. I guess people feel the need to tinker when it's not needed.
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981
    edited January 2023
    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D

    Basic arithmetic is in decline.
  • Options
    TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,230

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D
    Well yes that is the proverbial example - telling a shop assistant that they should give you 13p change if your pound of apples cost 87p and you hand them a pound coin.

    But that doesn't happen anymore. I paid for a 99p chocolate bar the other day with contactless. I often never have any cash in my pockets at all, and I can't remember seeing anyone pay with cash at the checkout of a supermarket.

    So I think that you might be slightly out of date. Not to say that a lot I'm sure can't be done to improve (in your example) arithmetic in schools.
  • Options
    FeersumEnjineeyaFeersumEnjineeya Posts: 3,892
    edited January 2023

    rcs1000 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    No it doesn't: it shows each cohort has successively worse retention.
    That graph is five years out of date. I would be interested to see where the 2015, 2014, 2013, etc cohorts bottomed out.

    Where do you think the (say) 2015 cohort will level off? 20%? 40%? 60%
    All the graphs will ultimately level off at 0% after around 45 years, that being the length of a working life. What is of interest is the initial rate at which the graphs fall, which appears to have been increasing for graduate cohorts up until 2017 (which is, as you say, when the data stops). It would be interesting to see if the trend has continued over the last 5 years.
  • Options
    SandpitSandpit Posts: 49,842
    geoffw said:

    Never mind about maths education, R4 employs reporters/commentators who do not know the difference between "infer" and "imply".

    If you think their English is bad, wait until you see their attempts at maths - as we did during the pandemic.
  • Options
    HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,938
    edited January 2023
    I don't think even Sunak us suggesting everyone does do Maths A level.

    However certainly improving the standards of numeracy and literacy and IT and foreign language skills of school leavers at 18 would be a good thing in today's workplace
  • Options
    Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 60,969
    Good morning, everyone.

    Mr. Sandpit, reporters trying to get politicians to guarantee rates of infection wouldn't rise or suchlike was absolutely ridiculous.

    As an aside, it seems every one of my La Liga bets failed, each being one goal from green. I blame the Royal Family for their lack of support in my endeavours. In a very real, emotional sense, my back has been lacerated by the dog bowl of misfortune.
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981
    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D
    Well yes that is the proverbial example - telling a shop assistant that they should give you 13p change if your pound of apples cost 87p and you hand them a pound coin.

    But that doesn't happen anymore. I paid for a 99p chocolate bar the other day with contactless. I often never have any cash in my pockets at all, and I can't remember seeing anyone pay with cash at the checkout of a supermarket.

    So I think that you might be slightly out of date. Not to say that a lot I'm sure can't be done to improve (in your example) arithmetic in schools.
    I paid for something with a £10 note (some of us still use them). She had to get someone else to count the change. It is the worst I have seen in a while, but not the first instance.

    I was once charged £1,200 for a dinner for six people which was the most epic arithmetic fail I can recall. The final bill was just under £150. What amazed me was that the person in question had no feel for numbers, they never entertained the notion that £200 per person was off the scale in a country pub in rural Wales. Whatever the till (or computer or calculator, etc, etc) spits out is "correct". People have lost the internal arithmetic alarm bell that goes "Err.. What???"
  • Options

    rcs1000 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    No it doesn't: it shows each cohort has successively worse retention.
    That graph is five years out of date. I would be interested to see where the 2015, 2014, 2013, etc cohorts bottomed out.

    Where do you think the (say) 2015 cohort will level off? 20%? 40%? 60%
    If I had to model the data points, I'd probably go for an exponential decay, as if teachers were radioactive. Even the 2011 line on the graph is still falling after 7 years, albeit not as fast as at the start. The key parameter I'm taking from the graph is that the 2016 batch are doing as much leaving in two years as the 2011 batch did in 3.5.

    It would be good to have more recent data as well, though you would quickly run into Covid effects.
  • Options
    felixfelix Posts: 15,124

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainee teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    This would explain why, at my son's year 9 parents' evening last week, all his teachers seemed to be about 16 years old.
    Nah just a reflection of how old you're looking :)
  • Options

    rcs1000 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainer teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    The 2012ers really didn't like it, did they?
    On the contrary. What that graph appears to show is that after about 7 years. all cohorts will level off at around the 60% rate. It is necessary to extrapolate the curves because each cohort has one year's data less than than its preceding cohort, but if you extend them all to the same end point they are all in the same region implying that after 7 years the figures will be similar.

    What the graph does show is the attrition rate in the early years is higher in the more recent cohorts.
    No it doesn't: it shows each cohort has successively worse retention.
    That graph is five years out of date. I would be interested to see where the 2015, 2014, 2013, etc cohorts bottomed out.

    Where do you think the (say) 2015 cohort will level off? 20%? 40%? 60%
    If I had to model the data points, I'd probably go for an exponential decay, as if teachers were radioactive. Even the 2011 line on the graph is still falling after 7 years, albeit not as fast as at the start. The key parameter I'm taking from the graph is that the 2016 batch are doing as much leaving in two years as the 2011 batch did in 3.5.

    It would be good to have more recent data as well, though you would quickly run into Covid effects.
    Yes, the half-life of teachers has clearly diminished over the period 2011 to 2016.
  • Options
    felixfelix Posts: 15,124

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D

    Basic arithmetic is in decline.
    You obviously don't remember the cash tills at Woolworths in the 60s
  • Options
    mwadamsmwadams Posts: 3,136

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D
    Well yes that is the proverbial example - telling a shop assistant that they should give you 13p change if your pound of apples cost 87p and you hand them a pound coin.

    But that doesn't happen anymore. I paid for a 99p chocolate bar the other day with contactless. I often never have any cash in my pockets at all, and I can't remember seeing anyone pay with cash at the checkout of a supermarket.

    So I think that you might be slightly out of date. Not to say that a lot I'm sure can't be done to improve (in your example) arithmetic in schools.
    I paid for something with a £10 note (some of us still use them). She had to get someone else to count the change. It is the worst I have seen in a while, but not the first instance.

    I was once charged £1,200 for a dinner for six people which was the most epic arithmetic fail I can recall. The final bill was just under £150. What amazed me was that the person in question had no feel for numbers, they never entertained the notion that £200 per person was off the scale in a country pub in rural Wales. Whatever the till (or computer or calculator, etc, etc) spits out is "correct". People have lost the internal arithmetic alarm bell that goes "Err.. What???"
    I doubt they even looked at the amount of the bill. It's hard to get FoH that can cope with an anomaly.
  • Options
    MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 7,382
    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    If you want to criticise then your target should be me for publishing it. Unlike posts on a thread responsibility for headers is by PB's editorial team.
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    LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 15,090
    TOPPING said:

    Nigelb said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    You might also have quoted this.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.
    Yes very true. Everyone wants the system to be changed for the better. But we are not starting from a position where everything is dreadful (or as dreadful as the header makes out).
    I think the situation is pretty bad.

    1. We underperform in Education compared to our competitors.
    2. The main weaknesses of our education system have been recognised for many decades - poor provision for technical education, that it primarily exists to sort kids into winners and losers and abandons the losers - but little progress on fixing these issues appears to have been achieved.
    3. What has happened over the last few decades is that the relationship between teachers and politicians has become increasingly toxic, as the reforms attempted appear to worsen the working conditions of teachers for no discernible benefit, and politicians use teachers as a scapegoat to avoid taking the blame themselves.

    That said, I'm a bit surprised that a modest proposal like teaching Maths to age 18 would receive such widespread criticism, both here and in the media generally. What's so special about Britain that we can stop teaching Maths at 16 while so many other countries continue to 18?

    I guess it's a sign that the government has completely lost all credibility with the media and more generally. Any policy, regardless of its merits, will now be ripped to shreds as a result. It's one reason a polling/electoral recovery for the government is so difficult. Too many people have stopped listening.

    The Shadow Education Secretary is therefore likely to have the first opportunity to remedy the situation. That's Bridget Phillipson.
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    EPGEPG Posts: 6,001
    Forgive me for ignoring the ad hominem rants, but I assume it is boilerplate teacher chat. The rest is good. It sounds from the header like fixing education for everyone requires radical reform. Simply making kids sit more maths classes prior to uni might just push more of them towards useful degrees and away from PPE. And the price of forgoing 2 years of some other qualification seems relatively small.
  • Options
    Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 12,981


    I guess it's a sign that the government has completely lost all credibility with the media and more generally. Any policy, regardless of its merits, will now be ripped to shreds as a result. It's one reason a polling/electoral recovery for the government is so difficult. Too many people have stopped listening.

    The tories have conditioned us to assume that all of their proposals are going to be fucking shit mainly because just about everything they've done since 2016 has been fucking shit.
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    mwadamsmwadams Posts: 3,136

    TOPPING said:

    Nigelb said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    You might also have quoted this.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.
    Yes very true. Everyone wants the system to be changed for the better. But we are not starting from a position where everything is dreadful (or as dreadful as the header makes out).
    I think the situation is pretty bad.

    1. We underperform in Education compared to our competitors.
    2. The main weaknesses of our education system have been recognised for many decades - poor provision for technical education, that it primarily exists to sort kids into winners and losers and abandons the losers - but little progress on fixing these issues appears to have been achieved.
    3. What has happened over the last few decades is that the relationship between teachers and politicians has become increasingly toxic, as the reforms attempted appear to worsen the working conditions of teachers for no discernible benefit, and politicians use teachers as a scapegoat to avoid taking the blame themselves.

    That said, I'm a bit surprised that a modest proposal like teaching Maths to age 18 would receive such widespread criticism, both here and in the media generally. What's so special about Britain that we can stop teaching Maths at 16 while so many other countries continue to 18?

    I guess it's a sign that the government has completely lost all credibility with the media and more generally. Any policy, regardless of its merits, will now be ripped to shreds as a result. It's one reason a polling/electoral recovery for the government is so difficult. Too many people have stopped listening.

    The Shadow Education Secretary is therefore likely to have the first opportunity to remedy the situation. That's Bridget Phillipson.
    The Tories aren't helping themselves though. People might at least cock an ear if they hear something that doesn't sound half baked.

    On extending Maths education to 18, it is obvious that it is not the *starting point* of a policy, but what can be done *once a whole pile of other, deeper challenges are met*. You can't just say "and everyone will be 'taught maths' to 18" without understanding what that means for the whole system.

    Without that deeper thinking, it just gives a couple of years more failure for pupils who are unreceptive to the maths teaching we already do. And that is a bad experience a huge proportion of the population "enjoyed" in their youth; so the message landed like a bucket of lumpy pink custard and spotted dick.
  • Options
    TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,230

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    If you want to criticise then your target should be me for publishing it. Unlike posts on a thread responsibility for headers is by PB's editorial team.
    Surely there is a distinction between the idea of the header and its contents. Or are we not able to criticise the contents of a header because it is a header?

    I think we would all like to know more about the state of maths education. This header was all shade and no light. It was a polemic. Which is fine, there is a place for polemics but first, they can be called out as such, and secondly it is not telling us what is happening in education right now.
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    Northern_AlNorthern_Al Posts: 7,522
    edited January 2023
    Just a gentle reminder to everybody that it is already compulsory to study maths to 18 unless you have a good grade at GCSE secured at 16. That applies in all 16-18 education and training - schools, colleges and apprenticeships.

    So the only interesting question is what is envisaged for those aged 16-18 who already have a good GCSE maths grade but do not have the aptitude for A level and do not want to do any more maths.
  • Options

    TOPPING said:

    Nigelb said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    You might also have quoted this.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.
    Yes very true. Everyone wants the system to be changed for the better. But we are not starting from a position where everything is dreadful (or as dreadful as the header makes out).
    I think the situation is pretty bad.

    1. We underperform in Education compared to our competitors.
    2. The main weaknesses of our education system have been recognised for many decades - poor provision for technical education, that it primarily exists to sort kids into winners and losers and abandons the losers - but little progress on fixing these issues appears to have been achieved.
    3. What has happened over the last few decades is that the relationship between teachers and politicians has become increasingly toxic, as the reforms attempted appear to worsen the working conditions of teachers for no discernible benefit, and politicians use teachers as a scapegoat to avoid taking the blame themselves.

    That said, I'm a bit surprised that a modest proposal like teaching Maths to age 18 would receive such widespread criticism, both here and in the media generally. What's so special about Britain that we can stop teaching Maths at 16 while so many other countries continue to 18?

    I guess it's a sign that the government has completely lost all credibility with the media and more generally. Any policy, regardless of its merits, will now be ripped to shreds as a result. It's one reason a polling/electoral recovery for the government is so difficult. Too many people have stopped listening.

    The Shadow Education Secretary is therefore likely to have the first opportunity to remedy the situation. That's Bridget Phillipson.
    It's one of the signs of a dying government; people either don't listen at all or do listen but only for the weak points in the argument, all the better to rip them to shreds. It's not obvious to me which is worse.

    Something similar happened to May, which why Johnson (terrible as he was) was able to improve matters. His style commands attention and makes it jolly hard to work out where the weak points are. That's part of the hankering for Big Dog to return, even if Big Dog blew it by being so morally compomised.

    Whatever Rishi's talents (he's clearly bright, for all that he has backed some really dumb stuff), commanding attention isn't one of them.
  • Options
    SandpitSandpit Posts: 49,842
    edited January 2023
    EPG said:

    Forgive me for ignoring the ad hominem rants, but I assume it is boilerplate teacher chat. The rest is good. It sounds from the header like fixing education for everyone requires radical reform. Simply making kids sit more maths classes prior to uni might just push more of them towards useful degrees and away from PPE. And the price of forgoing 2 years of some other qualification seems relatively small.

    The practical maths appears to be the sort of thing that people struggle with.

    If a new phone costs £900 in cash, or £40/month for three years, should you save up for it or get it on the contract?

    If a £50k student loan, at 5% pa interest, for a liberal arts degree, leads to you earning £3k more per year than without the degree, is it worth spending most of your life in debt to pay for three years on the piss?
  • Options
    Luckyguy1983Luckyguy1983 Posts: 25,306
    edited January 2023
    Ydoether's thread is well-written because he's a clever cookie, but it didn't need to descend into 'bollocks' and other 'below the line' style colloquialisms, because an articulate demolition of the policy without slang, which he could easily have managed, would have been more powerful.

    Regarding the policy itself, I think that probably maths education from primary onward needs a complete rethink. What would be useful for the UK? A numerate population that understands (as Josias says) compound interest, can add, multiply, and subtract easily without pencil, paper or calculator, has good budgeting skills/basic accountancy skills, and (probably least importantly) has a foundation of more advanced maths skills.

    I have already said that personally I feel daft not knowing my times tables off by heart - that is a very good basic foundation I feel.

    Language teaching is the same - the curriculum doesn't meet the basic need; for students to converse well in the second language. Secondary importance, to write well in the second language. I got an 'A*' (German) and an 'A' (French) at GCSE, but would still struggle to have a basic conversation in either. Only now, with post school learning, I have elementary French, understand a lot of the language, and can 'manage' a basic conversation although not always find the word. I've been helped a lot by the techniques of Michel Thomas, who was an amazing man who developed a great teaching method relying on making connections between English and French (which are obviously many). In my opinion the first two years of secondary should be spent almost entirely on developing verbal confidence in the chosen language, writing and grammar should come into it later at GCSE level.
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    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981
    felix said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D

    Basic arithmetic is in decline.
    You obviously don't remember the cash tills at Woolworths in the 60s
    Probably because I was about 5 years old.... The sweets counter and toys section were more my thing at that stage.
  • Options
    Sandpit said:

    EPG said:

    Forgive me for ignoring the ad hominem rants, but I assume it is boilerplate teacher chat. The rest is good. It sounds from the header like fixing education for everyone requires radical reform. Simply making kids sit more maths classes prior to uni might just push more of them towards useful degrees and away from PPE. And the price of forgoing 2 years of some other qualification seems relatively small.

    The practical maths appears to be the sort of thing that people struggle with.

    If a new phone costs £900 in cash, or £40/month for three years, should you save up for it or get it on the contract?

    If a £50k student loan, at 5% pa interest, for a liberal arts degree, leads to you earning £3k more per year than without the degree, is it worth spending most of your life in debt to pay for three years on the piss?
    Plenty of examples of human nature valuing gratification now over higher value in the future.

    Should we cut taxes now, or spend the money ensuring that public buildings are better maintained?

    Should we aim to pass an unpolluted environment onto future generations, even if it increases prices for us now?
  • Options
    Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 7,981
    mwadams said:

    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    A surprising number of younger shop staff panic if you hand them cash rather than tapping your card. A noticeable number struggle with working out change. Heaven knows how they would have coped with the idiotic Pounds, Shillings and Pence of Imperial Britain :D
    Well yes that is the proverbial example - telling a shop assistant that they should give you 13p change if your pound of apples cost 87p and you hand them a pound coin.

    But that doesn't happen anymore. I paid for a 99p chocolate bar the other day with contactless. I often never have any cash in my pockets at all, and I can't remember seeing anyone pay with cash at the checkout of a supermarket.

    So I think that you might be slightly out of date. Not to say that a lot I'm sure can't be done to improve (in your example) arithmetic in schools.
    I paid for something with a £10 note (some of us still use them). She had to get someone else to count the change. It is the worst I have seen in a while, but not the first instance.

    I was once charged £1,200 for a dinner for six people which was the most epic arithmetic fail I can recall. The final bill was just under £150. What amazed me was that the person in question had no feel for numbers, they never entertained the notion that £200 per person was off the scale in a country pub in rural Wales. Whatever the till (or computer or calculator, etc, etc) spits out is "correct". People have lost the internal arithmetic alarm bell that goes "Err.. What???"
    I doubt they even looked at the amount of the bill. It's hard to get FoH that can cope with an anomaly.
    Well, I looked at the bill :smiley: and promptly handed out a lesson on Anomaly Resolution!
  • Options
    Maths? Was good at it. But found it very boring. After getting an A at GCSE was very happy to drop it. Couldn't tell you what Trigonometry or Calculus are or what they do without Googling them. Could have done with someone teaching me accounting or things like P&L management instead...
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    NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,351

    TOPPING said:

    Nigelb said:

    TOPPING said:

    A header of no particular value. If everything is so dreadful then we are probably reading about the prejudices of the author rather than a balanced view of where we are in maths and hence any valid points, of which I'm sure there are several, are lost in the morass.

    I think @FrequentLurker probably has it more accurately with this line:

    "I don't think the current Maths curriculum is that bad. It's not perfect, but it could certainly be worse"

    Not as polemical or bite-sized but I'm sure a better description of where we are.

    You might also have quoted this.

    I share your pessimism about whether the system can be changed for the better. Ultimately, it seems to me, we need to define politicians' roles in the education system (and in other public services) in such a way that short-termism, and pet projects, do not get in the way of any system-wide consensus about what needs to be done in the long-term.
    Yes very true. Everyone wants the system to be changed for the better. But we are not starting from a position where everything is dreadful (or as dreadful as the header makes out).
    I think the situation is pretty bad.

    1. We underperform in Education compared to our competitors.
    2. The main weaknesses of our education system have been recognised for many decades - poor provision for technical education, that it primarily exists to sort kids into winners and losers and abandons the losers - but little progress on fixing these issues appears to have been achieved.
    3. What has happened over the last few decades is that the relationship between teachers and politicians has become increasingly toxic, as the reforms attempted appear to worsen the working conditions of teachers for no discernible benefit, and politicians use teachers as a scapegoat to avoid taking the blame themselves.

    That said, I'm a bit surprised that a modest proposal like teaching Maths to age 18 would receive such widespread criticism, both here and in the media generally. What's so special about Britain that we can stop teaching Maths at 16 while so many other countries continue to 18? ...
    Nothing, other than our current dysfunction.

    It's been an official aspiration of the government for a decade (and was supported by Labour at the time).
    The annoyance is that an effectively meaningless pledge was inserted into Sunak's recent speech, which does nothing to further that decade old aspiration.
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    OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 15,054
    felix said:

    rcs1000 said:

    Nigelb said:

    Third of England’s teachers who qualified in last decade ‘have left profession’
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jan/09/third-of-englands-teachers-who-qualified-in-last-decade-have-left-profession

    (I’m not convinced that Labour’s plan to impose VAT on private schools is anything more than another distraction which will remove ministerial and departmental attention from more urgent matters, FWIW.)

    To be fair, that's not a ridiculous attrition rate. A fair number of teachers will find out it is not for them.
    Sure, there's a chunk of that. (One of my hats involves working with trainee teachers, and sometimes you do wonder how long they will last.) Which is why the "training bond" idea of requiring new doctors to work for X years in the NHS will struggle to fly.

    But attrition is getting notably worse;

    https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/analysis-three-charts-that-explain-the-secondary-teaching-crisis/


    This would explain why, at my son's year 9 parents' evening last week, all his teachers seemed to be about 16 years old.
    Nah just a reflection of how old you're looking :)
    Ouch! Probably fair though.
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    Luckyguy1983Luckyguy1983 Posts: 25,306

    Sandpit said:

    EPG said:

    Forgive me for ignoring the ad hominem rants, but I assume it is boilerplate teacher chat. The rest is good. It sounds from the header like fixing education for everyone requires radical reform. Simply making kids sit more maths classes prior to uni might just push more of them towards useful degrees and away from PPE. And the price of forgoing 2 years of some other qualification seems relatively small.

    The practical maths appears to be the sort of thing that people struggle with.

    If a new phone costs £900 in cash, or £40/month for three years, should you save up for it or get it on the contract?

    If a £50k student loan, at 5% pa interest, for a liberal arts degree, leads to you earning £3k more per year than without the degree, is it worth spending most of your life in debt to pay for three years on the piss?
    Plenty of examples of human nature valuing gratification now over higher value in the future.

    Should we cut taxes now, or spend the money ensuring that public buildings are better maintained?

    Should we aim to pass an unpolluted environment onto future generations, even if it increases prices for us now?
    But be prepared to accept that if people are capable of making them, those calculations can also go the other way to the way that you (I assume) want them to. It may be that a lot of the expense and effort expended in decarbonising (especially from a UK perspective) isn't worth the predicted benefit, and merely leaves us with less financial headroom to mitigate any future climate changes.
  • Options

    Ydoether's thread is well-written because he's a clever cookie, but it didn't need to descend into 'bollocks' and other 'below the line' style colloquialisms, because an articulate demolition of the policy without slang, which he could easily have managed, would have been more powerful.

    Regarding the policy itself, I think that probably maths education from primary onward needs a complete rethink. What would be useful for the UK? A numerate population that understands (as Josias says) compound interest, can add, multiply, and subtract easily without pencil, paper or calculator, has good budgeting skills/basic accountancy skills, and (probably least importantly) has a foundation of more advanced maths skills.

    I have already said that personally I feel daft not knowing my times tables off by heart - that is a very good basic foundation I feel.

    Language teaching is the same - the curriculum doesn't meet the basic need; for students to converse well in the second language. Secondary importance, to write well in the second language. I got an 'A*' (German) and an 'A' (French) at GCSE, but would still struggle to have a basic conversation in either. Only now, with post school learning, I have elementary French, understand a lot of the language, and can 'manage' a basic conversation although not always find the word. I've been helped a lot by the techniques of Michel Thomas, who was an amazing man who developed a great teaching method relying on making connections between English and French (which are obviously many). In my opinion the first two years of secondary should be spent almost entirely on developing verbal confidence in the chosen language, writing and grammar should come into it later at GCSE level.

    The trouble is that Ydoether has an insane and irrational hatred of Michael Gove who he seems to see as the root of all evil when it comes to education. For evidence see his comment about "obsessed with the idea of falling academic standards" as if this is something an Education Secretary should not be obsessed with.

    As such he is unwilling to lay the blame for the current issues (actually issues that have existed for decades and long before Gove came along) anywhere but at the feet of the politicians. And yet the reality is that we have long had a failing education system and no one - neither teachers, academics nor politicians - have been able to come up with a way to reform it to benefit the students and the country. Given that in all his other positions - notably at Justice and DEFRA - Gove has won plaudits from all sides for his willingness to listen to the experts and make informed decisions, one wonders why it is that Education, uniquely has been a problem.
  • Options
    kjhkjh Posts: 10,573
    edited January 2023
    My post yesterday where I complained about the lack of curiosity about stuff got me thinking of what might be useful to students between 16 and 18 and it isn't just the lack of science knowledge. The following is probably bollocks but:

    When I was doing my A levels I had to do one lesson a week of English. I hated English and as far as I was concerned it was no use to me whatsoever. Just a wasted hour. In my 20s I was sent on a report writing course. It was fantastic. A real eye opener, although you guys may not think so reading my posts. That course was genuinely fun and would have been really useful to me earlier.

    The converse is almost certainly true for humanities with regard to the lack of understanding of science and maths. As I said I am gob smacked by the lack of curiosity in science and it should be fun.

    So how about stuff that is really interesting post 16 on subjects that they are not doing that is fun and opens their mind.

    Since yesterday I have been thinking more about stuff that I am shocked that people without a science background just accept that they really shouldn't. I mentioned yesterday the odd properties of water eg why do ice cubes float, why when you are wet do you feel cold, etc and it reminded me of others. Here are a couple that crop up all the time for me:

    a) Relative velocity. The number of times you hear statements like the spacecrafts in orbit docked at 17,500 mph or it landed on the asteroid at a speed of 25,000 mph. If it did it would be one hell of an insurance claim.

    b) Never questioning why there appears to be no gravity in a space station orbiting the earth. Why do they think that happens. Do they think there is no gravity just a short distance from the earths surface?

    As I said yesterday the list is near infinite and I would have thought these were interesting questions.

    Finally I was shocked to find that a relative of mine who was head of geography at a school and obviously with a geography degree and who obviously knew about the effects of water on climate had not a clue about the specific heat properties of water. Why had he never asked 'Why?'
  • Options
    SandpitSandpit Posts: 49,842

    Sandpit said:

    EPG said:

    Forgive me for ignoring the ad hominem rants, but I assume it is boilerplate teacher chat. The rest is good. It sounds from the header like fixing education for everyone requires radical reform. Simply making kids sit more maths classes prior to uni might just push more of them towards useful degrees and away from PPE. And the price of forgoing 2 years of some other qualification seems relatively small.

    The practical maths appears to be the sort of thing that people struggle with.

    If a new phone costs £900 in cash, or £40/month for three years, should you save up for it or get it on the contract?

    If a £50k student loan, at 5% pa interest, for a liberal arts degree, leads to you earning £3k more per year than without the degree, is it worth spending most of your life in debt to pay for three years on the piss?
    Plenty of examples of human nature valuing gratification now over higher value in the future.

    Should we cut taxes now, or spend the money ensuring that public buildings are better maintained?

    Should we aim to pass an unpolluted environment onto future generations, even if it increases prices for us now?
    Something that is going to ‘get’ governments everywhere, as interest rates rise after a decade and a half of being effectively zero.

    There will be much more of a price to be paid for failing to balance the books, and the unrestrained spending of recent years will constrain government freedoms to spend today or to cut taxes.
This discussion has been closed.