QA

7th March 2008 at 00:00
Some teachers believe that many of our low-ability pupils are capable of sitting exams (Sats, GSCEs), but our special needs department seems to want to withdraw them. What is the best way to handle this?

Ted, Surrey

A: What happened to power of the pupil voice and the Every Child Matters agenda? Surely the decision should be based on the needs of the individual pupils, and so they must be fully consulted in the process. Pupil welfare is of paramount importance, so making the wrong decision could destroy fragile self-esteem. The special needs department is best able to make these decisions, based on its knowledge of pupils' social, emotional and academic needs. This helps ensure that pupils are not used as pawns in the league table game.

John, Cumbria

A: This is a case of divergent philosophies within the same institution. More dialogue is needed between the special needs department and the teachers. It could well be there is no rivalry between the two approaches and the matter should simply be decided on the basis of a case-by-case analysis. If it is in the interest of the pupil to have a crack at the exam, then surely they should be allowed to do so.

Linda, Worthing

A: I wonder sometimes whether we put too much pressure on our pupils to perform simply to measure some outcome? This could be at the heart of the problem and might explain why colleagues in special needs are not keen for youngsters to take exams. If you are paying for expertise, you might as well take notice of those who give it

Sue, East Grinstead

COMING UP

Q: The newly appointed headteacher at our small rural primary has asked all staff and pupils to address her by her first name. This breaks a long held tradition and staff are concerned. How does this situation work in other schools?

Q: I teach reception and Year 1 and I feel as if I am constantly neglecting one or the other. I have support only three mornings a week. Without support, I find it impossible to let pupils have access to the outdoor area as there is no one to supervise. How does anyone else manage?

Send your answer or any question you would like answered by your fellow teachers to askateacher@tes.co.uk. We pay pound;30 for any question or answer published.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now