web analytics


By David Vance On November 7th, 2011 at 8:30 am

It’s not just pupils who now enjoy a dumbed down education, it’s teachers too!

One in five trainee teachers cannot do simple arithmetic or pass basic spelling and grammar tests. One in ten have failed their final-year numeracy and literacy tests twice in a row, while dozens have needed an astonishing ten attempts. One clearly innumerate trainee was allowed 37 resits to get through the maths paper.

From next year, there will be a limit of two re-takes, a welcome move but you have to wonder about the shockingly low educational standards of some of those seeking to…educate. It strikes me that there is increased truth is the maxim that those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; and those who can’t teach, teach media studies. Teaching is seen by more than a few graduates as the “if all else fails” option. It’s where you go if you can’t get something better. Isn’t that a shame?

Of course it shouldn’t be like that but teachers have only themselves to blame. If the “profession” opened itself up to the concept of excellence, to rigorous performance appraisal, to the dismissal of dead wood, then it would become much more attractive as a career choice for the more able. But the grip of the Teaching Unions is all powerful and politicians are mostly scared to confront them in the better interests of the pupils. So the giant fraud continues and the illiterate and innumerate populate the staff-rooms.

and THIS young lady got it just right!

By Mike Cunningham On October 21st, 2011 at 2:20 pm

When I check out American newspapers, I tend to do a little ‘speed-summarising’. I tend to click the links within the e-mailed digest which intrigue me, and sometimes my search is rewarded by a superb op-ed or article.

So it was when I happened upon this little treasure, which gives the inside track from a young African-American lady on who the Obama Administration and Congress deems fit to teach in schools such as the one she attended. Seems as though unruly students, classrooms in turmoil and incessant truanting are not the sole preserve of British schools.

So take a few minutes, and read this well-written and -argued piece by Candice Johnson, and then see if you agree with her when she states that good education mainly emerges from good, well-trained teachers!


By David Vance On October 14th, 2011 at 8:05 am

Excellent article here on the dumbing down of what was once held up as the academic “gold” standard – the A level. It been quite a few decades since I did mine and back then, they were fewer on the ground. Getting a grade A took  a lot of effort and fewer people obtained then. That’s all changed and it’s time we faced the awful truth – the modern A level has failed.

“Twenty-four years ago, when I first became head of a selective boys’ independent school, the champagne corks would pop and the bunting was hung out if 30 per cent of our A-level grades were As. Two decades later and heads of leading schools know they would be hung from the nearest lamppost and their entrails scattered on unhallowed ground if that figure wasn’t at least 60 per cent.”

It needs major reform!

“Yet even the best reforms in the world will crumble and fall like a building built on sand unless a major problem underpinning the whole examination system is addressed – marking. The current collection of markers – teachers; many of them inexperienced and some of them underqualified – are an embarrassment. It is perhaps no wonder when we afford them a lower wage and less status than the servants who used to empty chamber pots. Mr Gove can put all the effort he likes into improving our examination system, but if this does not go hand in hand with improving the supply and quality of people marking the actual papers then he’s wasting his time.

And while we’re at it, let’s throw the GCSE in the bin. Fiddling around the edges and awarding extra marks for spelling just isn’t enough. It is neither a School Leaving Certificate that guarantees employers minimum standards of numeracy and literacy, nor a proper tester for those who might wish to proceed to university. It fails to challenge the most able, and is too difficult for the least able. It is living proof that humans, thank God, come in different shapes and sizes, and one size does not fit all.”


By David Vance On October 3rd, 2011 at 7:30 am

Pleased to read that the decision by our utterly inept and dysfunctional Executive faces legal challenge!

An English teenager is considering suing the NI Executive, claiming that its plan to charge him higher tuition fees would breach his human rights. Fees for students from Northern Ireland are to be frozen at £3,500 but students from elsewhere in the UK will be charged up to £9,000 from next year.

Abel Middlebrough has won a place at Queen’s University in Belfast which he has deferred until 2012. The executive told the Sunday Times its legal position was “robust”. Mr Middlebrough, who is from Worcestershire, would be one of a small minority of students from the rest of the UK studying at a Northern Ireland campus. He has long-standing links with his father having studied at university in Northern Ireland while, during the war, his grandfather worked on flying boats on Lough Erne.

As you  know, the Executive seeks to discriminate against students from Great Britain whilst favouring those from the Irish Republic, another example of DUP collusion in the greening of Ulster. I wish Mr Middlebrough well and hope he succeeds.

So study this!

By Mike Cunningham On October 2nd, 2011 at 9:46 am

We live in a land where our own Language evolved from its distant forebears. We acknowledge the extent to which English has taken from the Latin language, as well as ancient French, Norse, a touch of Gaelic, most European languages in its evolvement into the foremost language of business, culture, commerce and the arts all over the civilised world.

From our fields and cities have come the immortal words of Chaucer, Tennyson, Burns and Shakespeare (which can also be pronounced as De Vere). The printed word, of books, poetry, of song, of chant, had their first exposure in Mediaeval English, and when we look at the first known example of song lyrics in print, we read of ‘Summer is a-cummin-in’!

The list of English language authors has never been compiled, because it would be never ending. so great are the numbers of authors and books.

Our Universities rightly place the study of all kinds of English as a primary pillar, but do we really need a course in Harry Potter?


By David Vance On September 30th, 2011 at 8:44 am

The drive to socially engineer, rather than Educate, continues;

Schools will be penalised if they fail to improve the progress of ‘vulnerable’ groups of pupils such as those who  are gay, lesbian, bisexual  and transsexual. New Ofsted guidelines reveal that heads of primary and secondary schools must show their education ‘meets the needs of the range of pupils’ in their classrooms, including gipsy and traveller children. Schools could see their teaching being judged ‘inadequate’ if they do not reduce gaps in achievement between different groups who make up a significant proportion of their student population.

I have a solution. Axe Ofsted. The continued drive to advance leftist agenda issues at all costs has to be stopped. These people see the class room as a laboratory in which they can impose their issues to the detriment of the reason for having pupils in the class-room.


By David Vance On September 11th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Bizarre to read that Hospital bosses have spent thousands of pounds on trips to recruit foreign doctors and nurses, while laying off their own staff!

 “Visits to destinations including India and Dubai took place as the NHS drew up plans to cut 20,000 jobs for front line health workers. An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found that at least 11 NHS trusts and one health authority sent teams abroad to recruit doctors and nurses, despite such posts being earmarked for cuts.

The trips were organised despite pledges by David Cameron to cap immigration and protect British jobs, and concerns raised last week by Lord Winston, one of Britain’s most senior doctors, that some nurses from Eastern Europe put patients in danger because of poor standards of English. The head of the Royal College of Nursing also condemned the visits as “incomprehensible and unacceptable”. Dartford and Gravesham Trust in Kent sent a team to Romania in November and hired 20 nurses, even though Barts and the London NHS Trust, less than 20 miles away, was drawing up plans to cut 635 posts including more than 250 jobs for nurses.



By David Vance On September 10th, 2011 at 8:40 am

In the last twenty years, I believe that only a handful of teachers in the State system have been SACKED. When you read this, it’s not a surprise!

A teacher who was caught with cocaine will be allowed back into the classroom after the latest controversial ruling by the profession’s disciplinary body. Police found the Class A drug in head of department Huw Davies’s home when they searched it after he was accused of rape. Davies, 39, a Conservative councillor, was later cleared in court of the rape charge, but admitted possessing cocaine and was fined £500. The appalled judge in the case labelled him a ‘truly dreadful example to children’. But yesterday the General Teaching Council ruled that Davies could remain on the teaching register. Rather than ban him from the classroom, a disciplinary panel gave him a reprimand that will remain on his record for two years

What a disgraceful decision that reinforces the notion that no matter how poor the teacher’s behaviour, job tenure is always secure. Can’t the GTC see how bad this looks and what a signal it sends?


By David Vance On August 28th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Excellent article by Jenny McCartney here….

“History is the most inescapable of subjects: we inherit it, we make it, and we are fated to become part of it. In our education system, however, its study is increasingly neglected: indeed, in a large number of British schools, the end of history is already a reality.

Last year, a total of 159 secondary schools did not put a single pupil forward for history GCSE. In state comprehensives, the number of pupils taking the subject has fallen to 29.9 per cent; in private schools, it has dipped to 47.7 per cent. The only sector where numbers are rising is state grammars, where it is taken by 54.8 per cent.

What the statistics suggest is that the least well-off pupils are also fated to be the most ignorant both of their personal cultural history, and that of the country in which they live. This is, in part, because history is perceived as a “hard” subject. Eager to shine in the league tables, schools with an academically problematic intake shepherd pupils towards “softer” subjects, in which higher marks can more easily be guaranteed. I cannot think of a more depressing illustration of the gulf between “performance” and education.

The pitiful irony is that it is children from poorer, and often more dysfunctional backgrounds that have the greatest need – and thirst – for history. For history, whether of family or nation, is the story of identity, the construction of which is the most primitive, deep-seated urge there is. If you cannot articulate where you came from or what you believe in, and are given few intellectual or emotional tools with which to do so, you are fated to become the most unstable, combustible human material of all.”


By David Vance On August 24th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

This is a scam and for once I agree with the Teaching Unions!

More than £570,000 has been paid out in compensation claims to schoolchildren in Northern Ireland since 2008, new figures have revealed. Documents from NI’s education and library boards show that in one case a six-year-old boy received £70,000 after a door was closed on his thumb. In another incident a 14-year-old was paid £62,500 when he was hurt while climbing to retrieve a football.

In total £578,120 was paid out by education boards between 2008-2011. The Southern Education and Library Board had the biggest bill at £245,059 for 12 claims, while the North Eastern Education and Library Board spent £129,250 on compensating injured pupils. Teachers’ unions have blamed TV advertisements for creating a “compensation culture” in Northern Ireland.

And who is behind these TV Ads? Lawyers!

Perhaps De Vere had it right when he opined in Henry IV Pt 2

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

Except their associated would sue! The other point is that in fairness, were it not for greedy parents, the lawyers would not be extracting all these hundreds of thousands of OUR taxpayer cash.