Thursday, September 29, 2011

Who's teaching your kids?

The answer to that question may very easily be: nobody.
Surprised? You shouldn't be. It's been like this for approaching two years and is, I think, nothing short of a scandal and one that nobody seems to be aware of.
The rules changed under the last government. If there is an absence in teaching staff of less than two weeks, schools are no longer obliged to bring in a teacher to cover. Instead, they can employ what are known as cover supervisors. These do not have to be qualified educationalists - indeed, should a qualified person take on this role, they are under strict instruction not to teach - and are paid slightly above minimum wage. Their role is, basically, to make sure the kids don't kill each other, to do the work set for them with minimal disruption. Crowd control, essentially.
I'm not a parent - not about to be either - but were a child of mine to spend up to two weeks at a time not being taught anything, I'd be absolutely furious. This practise seems to have slipped under the radar. I only know about it as my significant other earns a wage as a supply teacher and her opportunities to work have been severely reduced as a result. Yes, this means I have a vested interest, but it's not that which riles me so. I think we're letting down an entire generation by allowing this to continue and that's way more important than what brand of food our cat gets this week.
So, parents. Find out how much time the pupils at your child's school spend being supervised rather than taught. Kick up a fuss. And let me know how it goes.

No comments: