Overheard in the staffroom

6th January 2006 at 00:00
The TES online forums are a hotbed of debate. Here is just a taste of what users are saying this week. Join the discussion at: www.tes.co.ukstaffroom Anyone stand to gain from TLRs?

Pete14: We know the losers from TLRs but if the scheme is financially neutral, there should be an equivalent number of winners. I would be interested to know whose salary increase I am contributing to of what I lose.

Strawbs: Anyone on MA1 and qualifies for a TLR will benefit to by about Pounds 600

Cofio: In our school out of about 35 people on management allowances everyone has gained, some by thousands, except for those on three points previously (8 or 9 staff) who have gone to the highest TLR2 available, which means a cut of pound;188.

Partist: Most schools probably have more winners than losers.

Understandably, the losers are more vocal. Add to that the union which is targeting schools for industrial action even where one person has lost out pound;188 (those with three management points moving to top end of TLR2) and you begin to see why this is so.

What's your experience of Using ICT in the classroom?

Seiglinde: I had an interactive whiteboard in my classroom last year. It was great to start with, and I made lots of notebooks to use on it for all my lessons. Then this term the installation was considered to be unsafe, because of fear of it falling on kids heads, it was removed and only put back last week of term

Blazer: Ultimately, you can become like the school I visited in Chicago.

Every lesson, every day in every subject (except PE) involved getting out the laptops and "independent" learning.

Assessments were done on the laptops as was all recording. The system not only marked the kids tests, it aggregated scores, ascribed grades. The teacher could even call up how long students spent on a question and how many times they submitted the answer before getting it right.

Paulvale: I find it really interesting that the DfES and Becta have ploughed loads of funding into schools without any clear direction. Staff do not know how ICT should be taught (whether in an ICT suite or, as in the US, a laptop on every desk) nor do they know how to integrate ICT to enhance teaching and learning in other subjects.

Beezlebub: Computers are great when they work but for non-specialists like myself they are horribly time consuming. It could take me hours to set up an activity that the children do in minutes (like an interactive quiz using PowerPoint or the like). I just don't have the money to spend on whizzy software that could make life much easier.

Eating play-doh

CharlieZ: I teach Year 1 and I have a girl (age five) who given half the chance will eat anything...like Play-Doh, paint, chalk, salt dough, fluff off the floor...

Cornwell: Could be a craving for flour. No, hear me out. Apparently, some children just crave the gluten found in flour, seeking out any form of the stuff - including dough, carpet glue, paint etc!

Kazzam: I'm with Cornwell. My son has gluten intolerance. The list of things to avoid is endless. It's called pica BTW - eating non-food items.

The condition can sometimes be helped by a mineral supplement.

What could schoolsDfES do to really lighten our workload?

2I269: Do you find that the 24 tasks agreement (routine tasks transferred to assistants) has lightened the load, or have you barely noticed its introduction?

Justforfun: If the DfES had a five-year moratorium on new ideas and initiatives and left us to get on with what we do best, then things might be a lot better.

Minicharm: I've never had anyone come up and offer to help me with displays or photocopying - I know there's more to it than that but that's just an example. The only way to truly reduce our workload is to either make classes smaller or cut teaching hours by at least 10 per cent.

Kittygogo: Fewer students in each class. This is the only solution (and the solution for teacher unemployment in many areas).

These comments are the personal opinions of individual contributors

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