The Final Countdown Day 47

It’s the final countdown. I’ve calculated it’s 47 days until I make my great escape from the classroom. There will be many things I will miss but, as I’m sure many teachers will agree, there seems to be so much more that I will be glad to see the back of.

Number Four – Initiatives

There’s taking the initiative and there’s taking the piss. And when it comes to initiatives, the Department of Education do the latter. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well the good old DofE clearly missed the memo that day, because they love to break things, especially teachers’ morale.

When I first started teaching, the latest initiatives were called the Literacy Hour and the Numeracy Hour. Genius! Because dedicated and experienced teachers definitely needed reminding that they should be teaching roughly 60 minutes of Maths and English everyday. Sorry, I mean Literacy and Numeracy because obviously changing the names of the subject was going to drive up those standards. Children up and down the country would enjoy this renaissance in their learning where they would spend precisely an hour (and no more) learning the most two important subjects in complete isolation from the others. And what was the best way to do this? With really BIG books. No longer normal size books. They were now considered inadequate. Pretty much like the Department of Education.

When I returned from my first maternity leave, the Literacy Hour and the Numeracy Hour had seemingly disappeared. How do I teach English now then? Just go back to how you used to do it. No, hang on. We’re now doing Power of Reading with some reciprocal reading thrown in. Actually, let’s not give that chance to be embedded in the curriculum and show impact. Let’s now do Talk for Writing with a bit of that shared writing thrown in that we used to do in the Literacy Hour. Just without the BIG books.

I can’t always blame the Department of Education for this merry go round of initiatives. New headteachers trying to make their mark are the bloody worst. They love to introduce a new initiative, even though the recent initiative which replaced the old, successful initiative, is clearly working. I know your behaviour system is a massive success and the children respond to it really well, but I’m going to replace it with my own so it can lead to confusion, feral children and ultimately to the school being placed in special measures. OK?

I reckon if I stay around long enough, the Literacy Hour will make a comeback. However, if it does, I’ll be sure to grab one of those BIG books and slap the nearest education minister with it.


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