Thursday, May 24, 2012

Natural Standards v Budget announcements

We know that our children are all different. That is one of the great joys of being part of the school environment. We know that children grow at different rates and enjoy different things. They are not the same and they are not widgets. Mandarins and oranges while similar, are different.

Having said this we want them all our children to achieve well, in particular in the core skills of reading, writing and maths. The recent pre budget announcement indicates that to improve educational outcomes we must improve the quality of teaching. To do this the government aims to reduce the quantity of teaching to improve the quality of teaching. Clearly this is a financial decision, otherwise they would have left the teaching ratios the same (in particular our youngest children aged 6-7) and still invest in improving the quality of education.

We must focus on certainty. The facts for us next year at Muritai is that we will have less staff to work alongside our children. There is no certainty however about how the improvement of teacher quality will come about as there is no clear strategy for this. At the same time I question about how to improve the 14% student achievement at our tail. I keep looking for the answers and there is no one really sharing expertise about how to improve our highest need students........if anybody can point us in the right direction, please let us know. I do know that if we had extra funding for the first few three years we could make a real difference.

In the meantime have a look at this excellent you tube clip called Natural Standards. Created by Discovery School associate principal Simon Kenny it really sums up how it works - it is a partnership with teachers, children and families - not a one way relationship that means that teachers cause students to succeed.

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