Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Money before quality of education for Bristol's primary schools??

So, 'Bristol City Council says that small schools do not give the best value for money for council tax payers.' ('Parents in school closures protest', Bristol Evening Post, 3 June 2008). Many, many teachers, parents and pupils will disagree with this very strongly indeed and may well say that it is financial considerations rather than childrens education that seems to be uppermost in the council's mind.

In a smaller school community all teachers, pupils and parents can get to know each other better and stronger, more educationally beneficial relationships can be established. This clearly adds to the quality of education for every individual child, as testified to by the parents protesting and indeed by Ofsted when they said last year that at Stockwood Green Primary 'everyone feels involved, trusted and valued'. I hope the council rethinks their plan to have fewer, bigger primary schools (see previous posts on this here and here).


  1. One thing that bothers me about the whole education debate in Bristol is that our highly competent elected representatives - at both local and national level - have a lop-sided view of education in that they seem to think the answer to all the ills of Bristol's education is to build brand new shiny schools and everything else will come out right. It will not, of course, since they do not seem to pay attention to what I regard as the 2 main problems: the calibre and motivation of the teaching staff. During my education (early 1960s to late 1970s) I went from primary to tertiary level in facilities that ranged from sublime to abysmal (the latter should have been condemned decades earlier, but were still in use). However, I did well since I had teachers who were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their subject and imparted their enthusiasm and knowledge to their charges even though they were teaching in slum conditions. In the intervening decades teachers' motivation too has been blunted by the ever-mounting burden of bureaucracy. Perhaps our politicians at local and national level should look their attitude to the teaching profession as a means of progress in education, instead of viewing the whole affair as a matter of bricks and mortar.

  2. Quality of teachers and teaching is very important I agree. Its the teacher-pupil relationships that gain in more human-scale schools, so I think they are better on the whole.

    There is such an exam/test focus at the moment. I think that there is a lot of narrow teaching to the test in place of expressing and communicating the beauty and usefulness...of the subject and teaching people to think for themselves. Its all laid out on a plate in GCSEs and SATs, and even A'levels.


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