Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maths Test

There is a link to a shortened version of the Maths test given to 155 Primary School Teachers by the Dispatch Programme here The questions are all reasonably straightforward and are similar to old 11+ ones.

Have a go; you can use pen and paper but not a calculator. The 15 minutes allowed is plenty so take your time, read the questions carefully and watch you don't hit the wrong key by mistake like I did.

It's actually just 14 of the 27 questions they were given, but if the following statistics are correct and you have young children, then it's probably time to panic.

Only 20% could convert a temperature in Centigrade to Fahrenheit, despite being given the formula that links them.

Less than 40% could work out what 2.1% of 400 was

One in three could correctly divide 1.4 by 0.1

If it is true that the kids are getting steadily better at Maths each year as the Government claims, then maybe they need to start helping their teachers a bit.

ps A recently qualified Primary school teacher has just emailed me to say that the average score on the test at her school was 226%

Monday, February 22, 2010

Six and Two Fours

Oh I also watched some of the Dispatches programme last week which basically said that your child has no chance of learning to do sums because their teacher probably can't even add up. The latest official Guru (why do these people always look a bit odd?) was on hand to wave his arms around and make learning fun.

What scared me was the attitude of the young Primary school teachers. They all shrugged their shoulders and came out with something along the lines of:

"I struggled with Maths at school because it wasn't taught very well and the teacher wasn't very nice to me etc..." Rather than:

"Yes I really must make an effort to learn how to do basic maths because err... I'm being paid to teach it"

It's always easier to be a victim than sit down with a book. I'm not saying that you need to be Isaac Newton to teach Primary school maths, but the results of the simple test at the end of this article are very worrying. No wonder ever increasing numbers of children start Secondary school without any grounding in the basics. I'd like to see what the results of a similar English test would be.

Still, I always feel that we concentrate too much on the negatives: rather than worrying about the 64% of teachers who can't do sums, let's celebrate the 46% who can.

Half Term

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, Mrs C and I have just come back from the Yorkshire Dales where we spent our days walking the hills and our evenings drinking Black Sheep Bitter plus watching some of the Winter Olympics.

The thing I like about them is that they stick to the basics. Most of the events are truly terrifying and they haven't adopted all the silly ones that plague the Summer Games. (Curling is a notable exception and we should hang our heads in shame for even sending a team)

Congratulations to Amy Williams for her Gold Medal in tray sliding and to Chemmy Alcott for 13th in the Downhill, on a course no sane person would attempt. Finally, here's American Bode Miller demonstrating what to do if your ski falls off

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lamb to the Slaughter

Headmistress Andrea Charman decided to teach her kids where their food comes from. They bought a lamb, the kids helped rear it and then sent it off to be made into chops.

That should have been the end of it, but unfortunately some of the local parents went mad and launched a campaign of hate using the networking site for Social Inadequates, Facebook. This obviously got to the poor woman and now she has resigned.

I still can't quite believe that the whole story isn't some elaborate hoax, but sadly it doesn't appear to be.

Result: Nutters 1 - Perfectly good Head 0

Ali Dizaei

Ali 'Crook in Uniform' Dizaei very clearly demonstrated the effects of a policy that promotes people because their ethnicity ticks the correct box rather than because they are the best person for the job.

A Government spokesman has today confirmed that they have no intention of learning from this episode and intend to repeat it as quickly as possible.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Come on then...

As you can see from this BBC article, we are in desperate need of more violence in schools, preferably carried out by ourselves.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, one of the 5764 teaching unions, has sensibly called for teachers to be trained in what they can and cannot do to restrain violent pupils. Unfortunately, I've been on one of these courses and it was an utter joke. We were even told not to resist when practising on each other because of the possible risk of injury.

Anyone who has studied judo for more than 5 minutes would realise two things:

Firstly, none of the locks we were shown would have worked with anyone who was not totally compliant. For some reason, violent people usually aren't.

Secondly, it takes an awful lot of practice to get them right without looking a complete idiot or hurting someone. A half day's course consisting mainly of blather about 'diffusing situations' does not turn you into a combination of Bruce Lee and Bill Clinton.

Not to worry though; the National Association of Head Teachers would prefer us to get a good kicking and the Department for Children, Schools and Families say that behaviour is much better now, so there's nothing to worry about.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Paid Links

Keen eyed readers will no doubt have noticed that the ten spaces for paid links on the right side of this blog are now full, so once somebody else comes along with a higher bid, then the site in tenth place will disappear.

On the other hand, maybe one of the current top ten might want to increase their donation in order to keep out of the relegation zone. Remember it's the total amount that counts, so I suppose that even a site which has fallen off the bottom could stage a comeback with a timely gift.

Who knows what will happen? I'm sure I'm not the only one who can barely sleep at night with all the excitement. Mrs C says that it's the most fun she's had since we started betting on the pictures behind the doors in last year's Advent Calender.


I'm not religious at all, but when I think of some of the utter buffoons that are happily doing Supply teaching up and down the country, it seems a bit mad to throw out poor Olive just because she offered to say a few prayers for a sick child and maybe went on a bit about miracles.

I wouldn't have sacked her even if she was practising voodoo, chanting incantations and throwing bones up into the air whilst dancing starkers around a fire. I'd only get rid of her if she was rubbish at teaching, was always off and couldn't make the kids behave. Oh sorry, that's a daft idea.

Anyway, she's been allowed back now