Saturday, 17 December 2005

More of the same?

This came out during the week but I missed it.
The government wants Britain's national staying-on rate of 70%, one of the lowest in OECD countries, to rise to 90% by 2015 as part of a 10-year timetable during which 14 new diplomas, covering vocational subjects such as engineering, plumbing and healthcare, will be phased in.
Now Ofsted suggested that the problems with schools is that they are not supporting those with poor literacy or numeracy skills and I've already mentioned the money being thrown at those who leave school without these basics sorted out.
The full piece is here and it's not easy to see who, apart from the government, is actually supporting this move. From head teachers to the Chambers of Commerce nobody has a positive word for the proposals and the Head Teachers Association point out how difficult it would be to offer 14 new strands at all schools. Once again it looks as though government policy is "League Table" driven and with little regard for the delivery mechanisms, people engaged in actually working in schools, the employers or - it seems probable - the students. Of course it will be a political success because any failings will be due to the teachers and all the cash being injected will be the headline rather than the paucity of thought behind the spending.

2 careful considerations:

Bluefluff said...

"Government wants" doesn't always translate to "government gets", so let's hope this is one of those cases...

Rob Spence said...

I often wonder why the fatal flaw in the league table mentality isn't pointed out more often. That is, league tables are excellent at measuring one thing, and one thing alone. Nobody seems to think it odd anymore that we should measure educational institutions as if they were football clubs. Let's do it the other way round: Chelsea are clearly the best team at the moment. They are the reigning champions, they are top of the league, they have more points than anyone else. The table doesn't lie: they are clearly better than, say, Halifax. But the table only measures performance on the pitch, because that's all football clubs do.
The Chelseas of the education world are not necessarily better than the Halifaxes, because any reasonable evaluation of their effectiveness would take into account all the factors. A school in a deprived area with 25% GCSE passes might be doing better than Eton when you factor in all the elements- but of course, league tables don't do that. I find it extraordinary that government should place such store on such an incredibly blunt measure of success. I'll stop now, because a) I want my tea, and b) this could turn into a 30000 word diatribe...
BTW, seasonal WV: snowykhz