Educational excellence drive fails to deliver the right skills

I found Tony Pettengell’s Off Message ‘Education gap hits skill drive’ (Personnel Today, 29 January) quite intriguing, and felt it necessary to respond.

He makes comments regarding bad teachers who are unable to lesson plan, discipline, etc, but why not instead focus on the bad politicians and the over-targeted way the education system in this country is run?

Several members of my family work in the education profession, and you should see the amount of ‘tick-box’ exercises that are inflicted on teachers for the sake of showing that someone somewhere is trying to make every single child excellent. It does not seem to matter if the child is actually any good at a particular subject – they just need to show that they are achieving in a higher-than-average way, as average is not acceptable. They all need to be achievers to the point of forsaking the gifted and talented children, who end up being neglected.

I agree to a point that teachers are working long hours on their paperwork rather than their teaching standards. However, those standards are set by government. Teachers who try to do both are at breaking point, so it’s no wonder that one in five teachers leaves the profession after five years.

Many teachers in the profession are actually talking about the fact that the government wants to encourage as many people to have diplomas, etc, when what we really need is a mixture of achievers in society – from the doctors and accountants to the people who deal with our refuse and clean our facilities.

If a child is to leave education and not be our next medical researcher, doctor or accountant, that should not be deemed a failure – if anything, that child should be encouraged to be the best they can be, whatever they may do.

It’s time to stop putting the onus on the teachers and look at society as a whole – we all have a part to play.

Maria Surman, HR officer, Clinton Cards

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