In your own time - GTC RIP, the 16-month rule and maths hilarity

11th June 2010 at 01:00
Forum users suggest candidates for Room 101, rage over a 'stupid' NQT rule and trade cat jokes

Teachers in the online staffroom have been feeling a little axe-happy. After the Government announced that the General Teaching Council for England was to go the way of technology agency Becta and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, thoughts turned to what could be next on the list.

How about the Fisher Family Trust (FFT), suggested bonkers_704. Its data, used to predict future grades based on past performance, is being used to beat up teachers - figuratively, one assumes - whose results do not match the targets.

"The targets are often so wildly out of kilter with what students actually are capable of achieving it makes you gasp," says bonkers.

Colleagues queued up to stick the boot in. NellyFUF called for the FFT to be consigned to Room 101, while gruoch described the trust's data as "demoralising", although wordsworth suggested that it was not so much the data as the way that it was used that was at fault. But it seems this will be at least one organisation that will be spared the chop: as Middlemarch pointed out, the trust is a charity, so even our pruning Government will be hard pushed to abolish it.

Charities may be safe - for now - but the desire to make sweeping changes is clearly contagious. Top of tuftytail's list is the 16-month rule, which stops newly qualified teachers from working more than 16 months on supply without completing induction. The shortage of jobs means thousands of NQTs have been cut adrift, says tufty, as they can only get short-term supply work and so cannot finish induction.

Dinx67 sympathises - "it is a stupid rule", she says. She suggests asking the local authority for an extension, perhaps employing a bit of creativity over why NQTs have been unable to find a permanent job. Soapboxgirl suggests the Department for Education should make sure there are enough NQT posts for every student, but adds a warning: "I know of teachers who graduated three years ago and are still looking for a permanent position, having struggled to complete their NQT year by doing short-term cover."

Her local authority does not allow extensions under any circumstances, she adds. Manc says his wife was in the same position. "Why should she have had to give up her job doing supply because she couldn't get a permanent job? Restraint of trade I call it. It's the most ridiculous rule," he adds.

Finally, thanks to ResourceFinder for a maths joke. What is the volume of a pizza when radius=z and height=a? "Sorry if you do not get it but it is very funny, honest."

And for those who did work it out and had managed to pick themselves off the floor, our doughty champion of the humour in maths had another: two cats on a roof, which one slides off first? Giraffe guessed it was something to do with logarithms, but even wikipedia failed to help. So it was up to ResourceFinder to supply the answer: the one with the smallest Mew, of course.

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