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Mixed Messages

Lynne is a Secondary Teacher with QTS who is currently working in schools through Protocol Education in Bristol. Lynne shares her thoughts in recent findings in her local authority. 

I was really shocked to read in my local paper last week that the secondary schools in the local authority where I live, the schools to which the nice people at Protocol Education send me supply teaching, are in the bottom quarter nationally in terms of performance. This had resulted in the authority setting up an independent commission to look at the issue and the commission has just reported its findings. The top priority now is to improve the quality of teaching and learning around here.

This set me wondering whether I am getting a very skewed impression of the state of our schools at the moment. I have just had a particularly bad week in terms of one unruly class after another in three different establishments and assumed this was how it is. Now I discover that supply teachers in the other three-quarters of the UK may not be encountering mouthy Year 7s who used to be so sweet and docile but nowadays can be so challenging and full of their own rights.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a general concern about classroom discipline which resulted in Michael Gove's recent exhortations to make obstreperous pupils write lines and pick up litter. I keep reading in the papers that Mr. Gove's initiatives are improving standards but thought this was just Government hype since I had not seen any evidence of it. Perhaps I am just unlucky living here.

And yet, and yet. This was a blanket report on all the schools in the authority and my experience is that there are wide differences in students' attitude to teaching and learning. Furthermore, Protocol Education often send me over the border into two neighbouring authorities where things seem much the same. Nevertheless, the bald fact is that this authority is in the bottom quarter, a statistical classification I would have previously associated with an economically deprived area which we certainly are not. It is all very confusing.

Have something to say about this issue? Or found a similiar situation where you live? Email Megan at or leave on a comment on TwitterFacebook, or Google+.

Tags: Lyn, Secondary, Bristol, Supply, attitudes, local-authority, challenges, lowest, statistics, concerns

Category: Australian Teachers

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