Saturday 21 July 2018

Reducing Teacher Workload

The issue as seen by the DfE and some unions.

The DfE have produced a free toolkit to help teachers reduce their workload. Basically you set up a committee to arrange after school meetings to fill in forms to identify what you can stop doing. (There is a PowerPoint to show you how to do this.) Then OFSTED checks that you have held the extra meetings and kept a record of what you are doing to reduce workload. To make sure you do not fall foul of OFSTED, each teacher should keep a daily log of what they have reduced, and by how much. They then record this in the school's central log of what work is being reduced so that they can show this to OFSTED. The DfE are likely to produce league tables of which schools are reducing their workload enough, and any that does not reach the Expected Standard for reducing workload will be turned into an Academy. (If such schools are already part of a MAT, they will be rebrokered to be taken over by another MAT that has a better record of keeping records of reducing workload.)

How teachers see the workload issue.

What Follows?

When schools report that this DfE initiative has not actually reduced workload, OFSTED will produce guidance saying that they do not require schools to reduce workload and that this is in effect a myth. They will instruct all of their inspectors who have been on their in house Workload Reduction Inspection Course, to stop insisting on seeing the school's central log of workload reduction targets, and NOT to record workload reduction comments in OFSTED reports.

The DfE View

Mr Gibb said he was proud that workload reduction was a key target for English schools and that according to PISA we were becoming world class at reducing workload records. Many more children were now in schools with outstanding workload reduction targets.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Could DfE Announce Expected Height for Students?

In England we have Expected Standards that students have to reach. Last year half of primary school children did not reach the expected standard! Funny sort of expectation when half the population cannot reach it. A system where half our children fail! What next for the boffins at the DfE? What will be the next expected standard? Here are our predictions. What do you think?

Will This Be The New Expectation from the DfE?
The average height for people in England is 5ft 8inches. This puts England in 18th place in international ranking tables. Mr Glibb has said this is a cause for concern in an increasingly competitive world and we must aspire to be higher in these league tables. Therefore from September 2018 there will be an Expected Standard for Height.

All students should reach the Expected Standard for Height by the end of year 11, when they will be formally measured. Any students not reaching the Expected Standard for Height will have to resit their measurement in year 12.

Height Inflation
Because average height has been increasing in England over the last few years, Mr Glibb is concerned about height inflation. To counter this, all height measurements in year 11 will be norm referenced. To avoid confusion with previous measurement systems, height will no longer be measured in feet and inches, or centimeters, but in "hts". Hts will be recorded using an alphabetical scale rather than numbers. The tallest people will be A* hts, which is equivalent to an old 6ft 2inches. Independent schools have said that they will stick with the old system of using feet and inches.

Social Conditioning
Feminists are concerned that girls are not achieving parity with the height of boys, and put this down to social conditioning from an early age.

Pupil Premium
The Labour Party has asked for an increase in Pupil Premium funding to help shorter children reach the expected height standard. OFSTED will check whether this money is being used for height interventions in primary schools. Some schools have been stretching 8 year olds but it is not clear whether this is having a long term effect.

Performance Management
Teachers facing performance management targets on student heights have been giving students high heeled shoes to wear before their year 6 hts test. Secondary school teachers are complaining that there is not consistency of measurement across primary schools and are carrying out their own hts assessments in the first week of year 7.

Secondary Schools will have a Progress Height target to achieve and there is already talk of some MATs excluding shorter students prior to the measurement date in year 11.

EEF Study & Chartered College
White working class boys seem to be doing poorly on the height measure and recent immigrants particularly from Somalia seem to be doing well. Those children with a Chinese background seem to be falling well below the expected standard for height, and EEF has announced a £5 million experiment to find whether eating rice is the cause of this shortness. A meta-analysis across 500 studies has shown that eating food probably has an effect on height, and the Chartered College of Teachers is going to allow its members to have access to the raw data in this study.

Vocational Equivalents
There are rumoured to be plans for those students who do not reach the Expected Standard for Height to be offered alternative assessments which will have an equivalent value to hts.

DfE Statement
Mr Glibb said "Since we introduced the Expected Standard for Height, more students are in schools which have the freedom to be world class institutions".

What do YOU think? Could the DfE really get this bonkers?