Up real close and 'personalised'

12th January 2007 at 00:00
Individualised learning? Fantastic idea! Why has no one thought of it before? But one or two niggles occur to me. I am a head of music in a boys'

grammar school. I am the only music teacher. I have four forms of each year in key stage 3 to teach for one hour per week. Each class has at least 30 boys. That's 360 pupils, plus the GCSE-option groups in Years 10 and 11.

How on earth do I give each one of them personal attention? It's as much as I can do to learn their names before the end of Year 7. Given falling rolls, what an opportunity we now have to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio and put the idea into practice. Oh, but I forgot: funding is per head and not likely to increase, so we must make teachers redundant instead. I have listened over the years to so many wonderful (and crackpot) initiatives but not one mentions the only thing that would make a real difference: class sizes.

We have the General Teaching Council to campaign for us on this one, and I'm sure it will if it can just clear its disciplinary hearings. But I won't hold my breath.

Paul Ingleton


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