News Article: Ofsted criticises maths teaching

OFSTED have conducted a survey to investigate the standard of maths teaching across the UK. Not surprisingly, this survey confirms what seems obvious to many teachers:

It is not realistic to expect individualised teaching in a class of thirty children

In any classroom, the teacher will generally try to pitch the difficulty of whole class teaching, so that the brightest are challenged while the weakest are able to keep up. But this is not always achievable. Nor is it hard to see how a teacher of thirty children might struggle to find the time to nurture every individual, and pick up on every single misunderstanding – and so we end up with the situation that is now being reported by OFSTED:

The weaker students are being failed, as are the brightest.

Instead of tackling the real, complex problems at play (including, but not limited to: large classroom sizes, issues at home, lower attention spans due to technological distractions, higher national expectations of achievement) the approach by successive governments has been to scapegoat teachers, and to apply yet more bureaucratic burdens on what are already challenging workloads. The teachers find themselves entrenched in a system that promotes  short-term thinking. The focus is on the number of “A*-C’s” that each school achieves, rather than a more nuanced, long-term view to improving teaching standards. Governments want quick successes to prove their value – but these are often superficial, papering over the cracks deep within our approach to teaching. Within this political back-and-forth between governments, the children themselves are now merely a statistic.

To truly help your child achieve his or her potential, there is no substitute for individual time and attention.

Every child has different needs, and different ways of learning. Parental support (and tuition) can bridge the gap between a child’s needs and a school’s resources. Just sitting down with your child while she or he does his homework can be a help – whether or not you feel able to assist with specific questions.

Most importantly, the evidence suggests that there is a particular need to focus on children when they are struggling to keep up in class, or if they are not feeling suitably stretched in school.

See OFSTED Report here

Follow link to the related BBC News article

Follow link to the related Independent News article

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