Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take a look at the education policies of the main parties in the election, allowing you to consider how your vote could affect teachers and learners at Sheffield’s schools.
Last week, I outlined the pressure put on young people by SATs and outlined why I think they should be scrapped. It appears the Green Party agrees. The party believes the controversial tests should be binned.
School league tables would become a thing of the past in their current form
And SATs is not the only thing they would get rid of.
The Year 1 Phonics Test is something else that would fall by the wayside. There would be few people losing sleep if this were to be scrapped; it’s a ridiculous test that asks young children to read made up words and is not moderated anywhere near adequately enough for results to be published in the manner they are.
If Greens had more influence, school league tables would also become a thing of the past in their current form, another nugget of education policy that will have teachers across the country licking their lips. The Greens rightly believe that current league tables give an over inflated opinion of schools with higher ability intakes.
League tables are a barrier to so many advances in education, and seeing the back of them would be a refreshing and innovative move.
For a start, league tables are meaningless to most people. They were initially published with the idea of giving parents more choice to apply for the best schools. This, of course, is a nonsense because it’s often not practical to send your child to the other side of the city and not everybody can be accommodated by the schools at the top of the league table.
League tables are also a barrier to helping students become better independent learners, a skill universities are pleading with schools to develop. As long as there is the accountability and pressure of a league table, students won’t be fully encouraged to learn independently because there’s too much at stake for the teacher. They’ll continue to be spoon-fed, checked up on and scrutinised endlessly, and some teachers will continue to cheat – yes, cheat – to bend the rules and gain the best results they can.
Few would mourn the death of league tables, and even less the end of Ofsted – another educational bugbear the Green Party would say goodbye to.
Ofsted would be replaced by regional officers working in a National Council of Educational Excellence, liaising closely with the local authority to ensure high standards are maintained.
It’s interesting to see the role of local authorities flagged up by the Green Party, given that the current government are doing their best to remove them from education altogether. But the Greens believe the role of the local authorities should be increased, scrapping academies and free schools to bring all under the control of councils once more.
The Green Party are proposing a thorough overhaul of education, eradicating so much of the nonsense teachers have been complaining about for years. It’s almost as if the policy makers have sat down with teachers and listened to a list of problems hindering them in their work!
Clearly, we’re unlikely to wake up to a Green government on June 9, but those with a passion for education wanting to vote for what they truly believe in would certainly do well to read what the Green Party are proposing.