The 65 BIGGEST Issues In Education, Right Now? Part 2


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Lynn How

Lynn is the Editor at Teacher Toolkit. With 20 years of primary teaching and SLT experience, she has been an Assistant Head, Lead Mentor for ITT and SENCO. She loves to write and also has her own SEMH and staff mental health blog: www.positiveyoungmind.com. Lynn...
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What are the issues in education right now?

Teachers are expected to be pseudo-social workers without training or funding …

A year ago, we shared on TT the current issues in education in 2021. We asked you ‘How do they compare to the issues teachers and support staff face in 2022?’ Needless to say, we had a ‘tsunami of feedback’ across all our channels.

Here are the most popular themes and comments from the thread:

Assessment

  1. Targets and pressure on children ‘by expectations’ for assessments
  2. Exams as the only form of assessment.
  3. Post Pandemic: ‘back to normal’ for pupils who were in year 7 when they had their last ‘normal’ school year.
  4. Lack of trust at all levels which means scrutinising, pressurised assessments.
  5. How SATs scores are used to hold schools to account and,
  6. Too much focus on progress 8.

Pupil Wellbeing and mental health

  1. Outdated behaviour management for children with significant SEMH needs
  2. Insufficient staff to cope with SEND pupils in mainstream.
  3. Increasing behavioural issues in pupils.
  4. Not enough emphasis on wellbeing and social and emotional skills for workplaces and life.
  5. Teachers are expected to be pseudo-social workers without training or funding.
  6. Lack of pupil resilience and increased anxiety in post-pandemic pupils.
  7. Once a week PHSE; growth mindset etc. is not enough.

Wellbeing (staff)

  1. Teachers are overworked, exhausted, stressed and burning out.
  2. Lack of authentic wellbeing and workload strategies.
  3. The lack of care from governmental organisations about teacher workload.

Diversity

  1. Lack of representation and diversity in secondary.
  2. Lack of understanding and inclusion of minority communities.

Curriculum

  1. Lack of clear structured curriculums connect running through them.
  2. A crowded curriculum with Ofsted and politically driven changes.
  3. Lack of time to teach a truly balanced curriculum.
  4. An overly academic curriculum that does not suit a significant proportion of young people.
  5. Regularly changing qualifications resulting in excess workload.
  6. Curriculums and exams do not allow teachers to teach creatively.

Teaching and Learning

  1. That we define success around ‘performance’ and not around ‘learning.’
  2. Not spending enough time with the pupils! Despite this being a core purpose of teaching.
  3. Planning lessons takes more time than teaching them.
  4. Teachers are de-skilled by being told to teach in a specific way.

Leadership

  1. School leader turnover reduces the quality of leadership.
  2. Problem solvers, innovators and change-makers are micromanaged, often by those with less expertise.
  3. Great teachers are being promoted and making average leaders (or worse) – where’s the training?

SEND

  1. Lack of secondary places for SEND pupils.
  2. Absolute inequality on geography for SEND funding.
  3. The hoops to jump through in order to get the highest needs or vulnerable SEND children support.
  4. Lack of understanding or training on neurodiversity.
  5. Increases in the number of children with additional needs and little financial support.
  6. Lack of alternative provisions.
  7. Very poor inclusion and unacceptable levels of unnecessary exclusion.

Ofsted inspections

  1. High stakes accountability.
  2. Ofsted: confusion between inspection & regulation.
  3. Inspection Framework penalises those in areas of high need.

Politics and funding

  1. Funding, funding, funding. More teachers with more time solve almost every other problem.
  2. Political interference and driving of policies, coupled with a lack of proper risk assessment of policies.
  3. The huge discrepancy between private and state school funding.
  4. Any political decision making increases pressure on schools without directly improving outcomes for children.
  5. Colleges and schools are run as businesses rather than educational establishments, with pupils at their heart.
  6. De-professionalisation of teachers by the government.
  7. Costs of appointing early career teachers if you don’t have the infrastructure already in place.
  8. Constant comparison with countries completely different to ours.
  9. A lack of actual understanding of the real-life state school education by those at the top.
  10. Lack of professional discussion and respect given to education staff by DfE and Ofsted.
  11. Lack of clarity about the vision for education – what are the values upon which our system is built?

Recruitment and retention

  1. Staff retention.
  2. Recruitment issues are really starting to bite. Teaching needs pay and conditions need an overhaul.
  3. Too few teachers and support staff in schools.

Professional Development

  1. Lack of acknowledgement of the importance and value of CPD for school staff.
  2. Lack of SEND training.
  3. More training is needed on engaging parents.

Other issues

  1. The education is archaic and not fit for purpose.
  2. No clear sense of purpose.
  3. Consistent change.
  4. This current system doesn’t allow for time; time to develop/change.
  5. Public perception of schools and teaching is fuelled by media gaslighting.
  6. Below inflation pay rises.
  7. Teachers are responsible for everything and have no power to change anything.

Due to the tidal wave of responses, I had to stop. Unsurprisingly, there is an overarching notion that with issues in funding and politics, there are unlikely to be any significant positive changes for staff on the ground.

The mood of the threads flip flops between sombre, dissatisfied and irate.

In order to protect young people’s educational future, governmental bodies need to be acting upon current educational best practice as opposed to their current political agenda.

 


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