Posts Tagged ‘Sir Michael Wilshaw’

Why the Call to Fine Parents for Not Reading to Their Children is Utter Stupidity

June 17, 2014


sir michael wilshaw

Every parent should be reading to their kids. We all know that. Even those parents that don’t do it know they should. But should we be fining parents that don’t?

Of course we shouldn’t!

There are two very important points to make on this insane proposal.

1. If we as teachers are any chance of helping our students reach their potential we must work with, not against, their parents. We must be offering support to them whilst also regularly communicating and encouraging them. The best outcomes take place when teachers don’t judge the habits of parents but actively work to help refocus and empower them.

2. Teachers need to stop whinging and making excuses. Our students come to us from all kind of environments and family backgrounds. In any given class a teacher must expect that some students will be well adjusted and well trained whilst others may have issues and complicated home lives. This is the norm, and it is about time we embraced it. It’s part of what makes our job challenging, yet also potentially exciting.  It is because of this reality that teachers should never assume that their set homework will come back complete or that for example, a single mother with multiple kids will have the time to read with all her children on a regular basis. But you know what? That’s OK. We teachers are well equipped to overcome any such deficiency and help that child make up from any lost ground. Whinging and excuse making only serve to prevent the teacher from being accountable for the job they are doing with their struggling students.

“Don’t blame me for Tommy’s lack of progress. His parents don’t read to him!”

That’s why the insane idea of fining parents for not reading to their children is potentially quite destructive. It encourages bad vibes between crucial stakeholders and let’s the very focus, the children, suffer whilst the teacher and parents fight it out:


Parents who do not read to their children should be fined, the chief inspector of schools suggested yesterday. 

Sir Michael Wilshaw also called for headteachers to have the power to punish parents who miss school events or allow their child’s homework to go undone. 

The head of Ofsted railed against ‘bad parents’ who were not supporting their children’s education. 

Sir Michael, 67, accused white working class families of no longer regarding doing well at school as the way to improve their family’s future. 

Instead, pupils from migrant families were outperforming white British counterparts in the classroom because many held a deep cultural belief in the value of education, he claimed. 

Talking about his own days running a school, Sir Michael told The Times: ‘I was absolutely clear with parents; if they weren’t doing a good job, I would tell them so. 

‘It’s up to headteachers to say quite clearly, “You’re a poor parent”. 

‘If parents didn’t come into school, didn’t come to parents’ evening, didn’t read with their children, didn’t ensure they did their homework, I would tell them they were bad parents. 

‘Headteachers should have the power to fine them. It’s sending the message that you are responsible for your children no matter how poor you are.’

Click on the link to read Children are Precious!

Click on the link to read Is it Ever OK to Lie to Your Kids?

Click on the link to read 9 Characteristics of a Great Teacher According to Parents

Click on the link to read 9 Secrets for Raising Happy Children

Click on the link to read Brilliant Prank Photos Show Parenting at its Worst

Click on the link to read Little Girl’s Delightful “Brake Up” Note


Should Teachers be Able to Tell People they Are Bad Parents?

January 23, 2014


Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw wants teachers to feel free to tell parents they don’t think are doing a good job that they are ‘bad parents‘.

This is a most preposterous opinion and one that indicates he might not be the right person for the position.

Parenting is a very difficult job, as every child is different and no single strategy works for every child. Some require firmness, others thrive with a more calm approach, some need to be motivated, others need to be shown how to relax. There is no course or degree that parents are forced to attend prior to having a baby. Parents start as rank amateurs and learn on the job. Sometimes they get on top of things, sometimes they struggle. This is to be expected. If every adult waited until they had all the answers before embarking on parenthood the birth rate would plummet.

What better profession is there for understanding the fragility of rearing children as the teaching profession? Up to 30 children in the classroom, some with special needs, some high achievers with a thirst for greater challenges, some with aggression, others who daydream and then there are those that lose every book and pencil they’ve ever been given. We know how hard it is to nurture children, so why would we pass judgement on others?

The ideal teacher doesn’t criticise parents, but rather, works with them. The best outcomes occur when teachers and parents join forces in improving outcomes for their children.

Sure, we have all encountered parents with attitudes and methods which we do not approve of. We might even tactfully suggest they take a different approach. But how is name calling going to change the parents in question? How is mud slinging going to assist the child?

Click on the link to read Loving Parents Are Allowed to Take Some Time Out

Click on the link to read How Life Changes When You Become a Parent (Video)

Click on the link to read Have Our Children Stopped Dreaming?

Click on the link to read How to Spend Time With Your Kids When You Have No Time

Click on the link to read The Meaning of Being a Father (Video)

Click on the link to read 24 Signs You Are a Mother

I am a Proud Defender of the Mixed-Ability Classroom

September 20, 2012

I hate labels, especially labels given to kids. Too often I have seen a child brandished as a “low ability” student prove everybody wrong. The beauty about mixed ability classrooms is that the group in question isn’t selected based on a label. This allows the students to be appreciated for who they are instead of what they know. This also provides more confident students with the fantastic opportunity of helping their less confident counterparts during whole class and grouped work.

But mixed ability classrooms forces teachers to accommodate for the learning needs of each student and they would therefore have to differentiate the curriculum? Of course we would! That’s our job!

It seems like others do not share my beliefs:

Bright pupils are losing out due to the ‘curse’ of mixed-ability classes, the head of Ofsted warned yesterday.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said thousands were failing to reach their full potential due to poor teaching methods.

Inspectors will now be critical of schools that do not differentiate between high and low achievers.

This could lead to schools falling into the new category of ‘requires improvement’ (which replaces the old ‘satisfactory’ description), or even being labelled ‘inadequate’.

Statistics published following a  Parliamentary question show that  55 per cent of lessons in English state secondary schools last year involved children with different academic needs.

Ofsted cannot force schools to adopt setting – grouping pupils according to their academic ability in single subjects – or streaming, where ability groups cover most or all subjects.

However, Sir Michael’s intervention is likely to make headteachers rethink their practice of mixed ability classes for fear of being marked down in future inspections.

Click on the link to read The Difficulties of Parenting a Special Needs Child

Click on the link to read Schools Have to Wake Up to Confidence Issues Amongst Students

Click on the link to read Would You Notice if Your Child Was a Bully?

Click on the link to read Labelling Children is Extremely Harmful

Click on the link to read The Insanity of Modern Educational Thinking

Children Exposed to Poor Maths Teachers: Ofsted

May 22, 2012

I am not particularly surprised by the finding that bright students, in particular, are being failed by poor maths instruction. It’s been my experience that most teachers come from a strictly humanities (i.e. English, Politics, History) background. These teachers often shirk maths and science as it isn’t their forte.

In a damning report, the watchdog warned that the scale of underachievement at school was a “cause of national concern” that risks robbing the country of well-qualified mathematicians, scientists and engineers.

It said that many of the most gifted children were “insufficiently challenged” at primary and secondary level after being set the same work as mid-ranking classmates.

Inspectors insisted that too much teaching focused on the use of “disconnected facts and methods” that pupils were expected to memorise and replicate without any attempt to solve complex problems in their heads.

Large numbers of pupils are also being pushed into sitting maths GCSEs a year early – forcing schools to completely ignore many of the most demanding algebra topics, it was revealed.

In a highly-critical conclusion, Ofsted said that teaching was not good enough in almost half of English state schools, with almost no improvements being made in the last four years.

I realise that what I am writing is a gross generalisation, but I believe that maths is generally taught in a very abstract and monotonous way. No wonder the students are not benefitting from maths instruction at the primary level. Traditional maths teaching involves worksheets, a mindless array of algorithms and plenty of other rote styled goodies.

The tragedy of it all is that maths can be taught in a completely different way. I find the basic skills of maths the most refreshing and creatively exciting subject to teach. The fact that maths is a composite of everyday skills means it translates wonderfully to problem solving activities.

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