In this mornings ODT we see a front page story about the reduction of services from School Support – the people who provide professional support to schools for their programmes, teachers learning, etc.  It seems the only focuses that will remain from next year will be Literacy, Numeracy, Management and a few hours for Revised Curriculum introduction.  It is my understanding that this was announced to staff in an email last week.

Interestingly on the same issue of the paper there is an article about a CYFS Manager sending an email to her staff likening the relationship of the staff to the Minister to a servent-master one in that it is not the place of the slave to question the boss ot trouble them with the trivia of the challenges they face.  Unbelievable!  Is it unkind to question whether what we are seeing around the National Standards belies the same attitude towards our profession?

I seem to remember being concerned in the past few months (along with huge numbers of my colleagues) about a narrowing of our curriculum because of the focus of the assessment around National Standards, league tables, etc.  Now we will also seem to have the push from the agencies charged with supporting schools and teachers with their programmes.  If you want support for anything in your school that is not focused on National Standards you are on your own.  Pay for it yourself or sink on your own.

I also understand that the hours for teacher training institutions in non-Literacy and Numeracy areas are creeping down.  Teachers in training are having a narrower and narrower training as well.  So over time we will have a compounded difficulty of teachers coming into schools with fewer skills in teaching the arts, sciences, PE/PE, and so on and no support available from anything other than schools PD budgets to support their professional learning.  If you are being judged externally on your literacy and numeracy results are you seriously going to spend scarce PD/PL resources on areas that potentially have little impact on these results?  It will be a strong school that can resist this pressure over time!

We share Ken Robinsons wonderful TED Talk on creativity with staff next year to inspire them …. now what?

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