A Week in Education

1st December 2006 at 00:00
ANOTHER WEEK, another strike over the introduction of teaching and learning responsibility points in Wales (p4). And just to add to controversies over teachers' remuneration, the Institute of Welsh Affairs called for pay and conditions to be devolved to the National Assembly.

The prospect of pay decisions being made in Cardiff sends shudders down the spines of some union activists, who fear teachers' salaries will be dragged down by Wales's low-pay economy.

But in a report on policy options for the new Assembly government taking office after next May's elections, the Institute also proposes a review of the allegedly "much disliked" threshold salary point.

Other proposals include making the Welsh baccalaureate more like the international version, and reintroducing middle schools to tackle the underperformance of 11 to 14-year-olds in Wales.

Meanwhile, today's three-year-olds are facing academic burn-out as their parents drag them to private tutors, says the Daily Mail.

Could that be responsible for the simmering resentment catalogued by a National Union of Teachers survey? Increasing numbers of classroom teachers are apparently falling victim to verbal abuse and innuendo at the blackboard. Young teachers are seen as "fair game" by today's pupils, said general secretary Steve Sinnott.

At last there is an end in sight for the saga of the Yorkshire teacher sacked for wearing a face veil. School representatives officially terminated 24-year-old Aishah Azmi's contract last week. Mrs Azmi has been awarded Pounds 1,100 for injury to her feelings, but the claim that she was discriminated against on religious grounds has been rejected. Her lawyers are considering an appeal.

And teachers were greeted with the shock news that they couldn't spell.

Half failed to successfully find a misplaced apostrophe in an online test, according to recruitment firm Kelly Services.

"Teachers are only human beings and subject to error," growled an NUT spokesman.

they said...

Revealed: Rise of creationism in UK schools

(The Guardian)

we say...

Schools are awash with wrong-headed religious literature being foisted upon pupils by gullible science teachers. In fact, the situation is so dire that only Professor Richard Dawkins, self-appointed defender of the faithless, can save us. This is the situation some newspapers will have us believe.

In fact there is no evidence to support the belief that the 59 schools who had admitted to using the Truth in Science packs - designed by the Christian group to attack Darwinism and support biblical theories of creation - are doing so with anything other than scepticism.

A recent TES poll found that while two thirds of teachers wanted the right to teach creationism, many did so because they wished to attack those beliefs. As one London teacher put it: "At least in science you can put the counter arguments". While many will disagree, reports of a Christian coup are greatly exaggerated.

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