Author Topic: Does Starmer mean what he says?!  (Read 595 times)

Sunny Clouds

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Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« on: 26 Sep 2021 04:46PM »
Ok, so politicians give soundbites, but Starmer is a lawyer so should read what his speechwriters say.

 MSN
Quote
Over the long term – combined with professional careers advice – this would mean no young person would leave compulsory education without the qualifications needed, the party said.
Sir Keir said: “Every child should leave education ready for work and ready for life."
BBC
Quote
He also wants a £250m scheme to prevent young people leaving school without qualifications - and has plans for better careers advice and compulsory work placements with local employers.
So is he going to get someone to create a full range of "the qualifications needed" that are suitable, for example, for children with, for example, an IQ of 50 or childhood-onset dementia to get?  Or sufficient "compulsory work placements with local employers" (my emphasis) that are suitable, for example, for young people who are quadriplegic or deafblind or psychotic?  Or will children unable to get qualifications for work, or young people unable to do the possible work placements with local employers be prevented from leaving school? 

My bet is that he and his speechwriters haven't so much turned a careful plan into small generalised soundbites, they haven't thought through it.  In particular, I doubt they've asked themselves how they're going to find sufficient local employers willing to go along with this or what they're going to do if they can't.

I'm not arguing that Johnson is any better.
I'm not against the general idea of preparing children better for the workplace, quite the contrary.  But a policy built round all children being expected to get qualifications and all young people being able to work is yet another opportunity for policitians, media and society in general to brand children and young people that can't get qualifications and/or can't work at all or in the context of what work is available and accessible, as in some way socially unacceptable.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #1 on: 27 Sep 2021 11:45AM »
When I taught in post compulsory education and training some 25 years ago it was a completely different scene to what it is today. It has always been seen as the poor man of education, and historically training in trades and land based industries (the sector I worked in) has been looked down upon as somehow of lesser value than academic courses.
Well, hasn't that come around to bite the government in the backside? It all started going wrong with Tony Blair who insisted that 50% of the population should go to university, so suddenly all the FE colleges were finding it more profitable to offer degree programmes than their traditional courses. It was a horrendous time for post compulsory education and many students were short changed by poor quality courses inadequately staffed.


The real victims of these changes have been students who worked on practical skills courses, short courses, ones that needed learning support, and specialist departments for those with additional needs requiring specific small group programmes. Agricultural colleges used to be good at providing these sorts of courses, and the teaching staff at the one I worked at were all dedicated and had a great rapport with students . The management were another matter!


Unfortunately there are few what I would define as pure FE colleges left. Many agricultural colleges have closed or merged with other colleges and now offer things like hairdressing and plumbing, at the loss of their dairies and other facilities! They are now just satellite operations.


I'm curious to see how Starmer intends to deal with each and every one of the school leavers post 16. The statement doesn't reveal much and it would be interesting to challenge him on the full scale of the plans. Have they even considered your points Sunny?

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #2 on: 27 Sep 2021 01:16PM »
I've also been involved in post-school training.

For many years, back in the past, I was a director of a community charity providing a wide range of local facilities, both educational and non-educational, for all age groups, babies to oldies.  (Not the sort of charity which many people think of when they think of as charities.) 

I did a large part of the number crunching & research for a bid for EU funding for youth training.  We pulled in over £4million that time.  We worked together with a wide range of local businesses.

On the funding issue, when Cameron was doing his stuff about Big Society, he visited us and sent in his researchers or whatever they were.  Oops, embarasment, it hadn't occurred to him that an organisation like ours got most of our funding from official/public sources such as government, local authority, EU.   E.g. his notion of a school that's a charity is Eton.  We had a school providing a type of specialist education on a not-for-profit basis paid for through public funding for pupils that would now be described as SEND.

Ah, yes, Starmer wants to stop schools having charitable status.  That will make schools like that collapse financially.  Don't worry, though, they can become academies, with all the wonderful opportunities those provide for directors to skim off funds for their mates to provide unnecessary products and services whilst the teachers use their own insultingly low pay to buy things like stationery for the pupils.

I think I may perhaps be a tad biased here.

I am entirely in favour of a better education system.  My views on what I know on the national curriculum would be best bleeped out.  But I also have a horror of plans to reform it that aren't based on proper research and consultation.  They don't help.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #3 on: 27 Sep 2021 01:57PM »
I agree that the government needs to invest in trade skills and to raise the esteem of those in trades. It's much needed. I don't think the financial encouragement to go to Uni to study things like film studies or sport studies is helpful to them or society.
Even having an HGV license and driving well are qualifications and skills to be valued.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #4 on: 27 Sep 2021 07:17PM »
The thing about subjects like film studies and sports studies is that in reality, if you can make it in either field, there's a chance you'll be better off than being a plumber or whatever.

How far the number of students doing those subjects maps onto the numbers in those lines of work or ones requiring similar skills and knowledge is something else. 

Bear in mind that film and sports aren't just about starring.  They include an awful lot of other trades.  You can coach sports, write about sports (look at the proportion of stories in mainstream media that are sports-based) etc.

It may well be for all I know that too many students are studying those subjects relative to jobs available, and I'm completely with you about skills & qualifications like HGV driving being things we should value as a society.

Sometimes it's how things are done.  For example, when it was recognised that qualifying as a registered nurse was something that should be recognised as a degree-level competency, I think that that was really good.  I was disgusted, though, at enrolled nurses being thrown under a bus.  Now we've got HCAs.  They do valuable work but without the respect and status and title of an enrolled nurse.  We don't even give them the dignity of using a title like 'orderly'.

I don't think there's much gap in our views.  Insofar as I see studying subjects like film and sport as, from the student's perspective, more valuable than, say, driving or plumbing, I am seeing it from the perspective of a student recognising that in terms of pay and the profit to be made on providing the service, our society sees far more value in football than HGV driving.

Mind you, maybe I'm just sour.  I failed my HGV.  A child ran out in front of me and I did a swerve and emergency stop.  I clipped a wing mirror which is an automatic fail, even though there was no actual damage and it was necessary to save the child's life.  The examiner was very apologetic and said he'd seriously considered pretending it hadn't happened, except that there'd be the paperwork for the incident.

It was a short army course so there were no re-takes, so that meant I could only drive HGV off-road where I didn't need a licence.  You wouldn't have wanted to 'bump into' me on Salisbury plain.  Who knows what else I might value more than wing mirrors and licences.  Cute bunny rabbits?  Sergeant majors?
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #5 on: 28 Sep 2021 10:33AM »
There is an argument for addressing poor educational attainment.  Throwing money at it without having a direction is the problem, it can create a hierarchy of who is best to support and maximize it.  There is also the realism of accepting that for some areas no amount of money is going address employers or other people's attitudes.



Having A-levels in physics/science e.g. isn't the be-all or end-all, but literacy IS. I'd want money spent there. I'd also like to see those who struggled with literacy as adults encouraged back to learning too.  It is appalling areas of the deaf world who are left with learning and literacy issues AFTER leaving school, feeling adult education is wasted time or not for them.


I'd like to see special schools with more focus on what matters, children's future's.  It should be a national outcry for children after spending many years in daily and formative education leaving with a poor ability to read or communicate.  Many years ago (I know, I Know!), education was geared to literacy above all, if you didn't have it after school your life was pretty much set as negative.  All my birthday and Xmas presents were books.  In the welsh valleys literacy was prized above all.


It was NOT OK to fail. Today we are lesser critical of poor achievement and accepting these things, that's a serious error, because UK education continually still turns out children with poor communication and literacy despite many mind-boggling technical achievements available.  So it isn't money alone that is needed but targeted learning and addressing poor education at root.


Both in and out of education the priorities are mostly wrong.  In adulthood poor attainment is no big deal, but, it IS.  Maybe taking the disability and deaf politics out of it would be a start.  The 3R's are the thing not much else is as important.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #6 on: 28 Sep 2021 05:38PM »
I don't think you can take disability out of it unless you do what was done when I was young (and perhaps it was different in Wales) and lock a whole range of SEND kids up in 'institutions' where it didn't matter whether the curriculum was relevant, because they weren't given an education, they were just written off.

However, we have children with IQs of 50 & 55 who will struggle to be literate.  We have children with juvenile dementia.  We have children with psychosis.  We have children with combined impairments such as blindness or deafness plus cognitive impairments.  We have children with a whole range of impairments that make literacy almost or completely impossible.  It is grossly unfair to expect them all to have to stay in school until such time as they are able to be literate.  If that is done, some children will die before they ever leave school.

But my suspicion is that Starmer sees the solution as being to hide the 'thickos' and 'loonies' and 'crips' away in institutions again, which would work wonders for national literacy statistics once they're removed from the education system. Even better than offrolling.  (Do they do offrolling in Wales?)

I know a middle aged woman with a form of dyslexia that means that she would still almost certainly fail a GCSE.  But she's a dab hand at a certain sort of crafts and also does nicely helping out with certain practical stuff in a relative's business.  You don't actually have to be able to read to have something to give.  Of course that's where 'reasonable adjustments' come into it, because the 'reasonable adjustments' for her are for someone else to check labels on things and buy bleach & disinfectant in distinctively coloured bottles.

I agree that literacy matters.  I'm just very unhappy with what appear to be rigid plans that don't take into account that some people are incapable of ever becoming literate, and of those that are, they may still be incapable of ever acquiring sufficient level of literacy to pass an exam.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #7 on: 28 Sep 2021 06:01PM »
Hardly any people with sports studies go on to a career in sports. Both my nieces have such degrees, one works 9.5 hours a week training children at a club in the evenings and weekend and the other has a totally unrelated good career. It could lead to being a personal trainer in a gym earning minimum wage so most move on to other things because it's difficult to survive on minimum wage. Because it's easy to get a place at Uni on these courses, they're swamped by the less academic wanting a degree in a subject that interests them but the careers don't follow. I only know one person who studied film studies, they're now working in an unrelated field in a temporary post. Statistically law degrees which require higher achievements at A level to get a place have only 50% of graduates ever work at any level in law because university places far exceed need. And then on the other spectrum, not enough places at Uni for people wanting to study nursing and yet there are nursing vacancies in every hospital. The government are daft. Student finance needs rethinking.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #8 on: 28 Sep 2021 07:10PM »
If they want more nurses, they need to improve working conditions, otherwise even if you train as a nurse, there's a good chance you'll have a much better career if you transfer your skills to a different line of work unless you pick your specialty and your hospital very, very carefully.

Likewise medicine - look at all the doctors who emigrate or leave medicine or retire early.  You could train an awful lot more and we'd still struggle to recruit in some specialties, especially general practice.  Unless and until our government starts putting the funding into the NHS that it needs, I'd advise any school leaver to think very, very carefully indeed before training in a health-related subject without, at the very least, considering what else they might do with it.


Incidentally, the subject you study isn't always the point of the degree. When I was doing my research about which A-levels and university subjects were worth considering back in the dark ages, I discovered that the arts graduates with the lowest unemployment rates were classicists.  Not many of them would have gone into fields using their specific classical languages and ancient history.   On the other hand, career-wise, it was a good starting point if you wanted to get into computing or politics.  You wouldn't have to look far to find politicians who'd studied subjects like classics.

I don't say we don't need more training courses in practical subjects and career subjects, I just think that often people's choices of subject are based round certain realisms about what happens when you get into the workplace.




(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #9 on: 28 Sep 2021 07:12PM »
PS what's wrong with studying law then using it as a starting point for a career in business, politics, journalism, stockbroking, insurance etc?  Why do law graduates have to become practising lawyers?
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #10 on: 28 Sep 2021 07:27PM »
I probably shouldn't be debating so much right now.  I'm feeling ranty about stuff, which makes me sound less like I'm willing to consider other standpoints than I am.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #11 on: 29 Sep 2021 08:02PM »
Compromise is a devil isn't it lol.  It is so difficult to discuss and agree on anything lately, so many individuals have been empowered who have very different views and opinions to us.  So many new 'inclusive and diversity policies' and actions that are including people perhaps they shouldn't be.


It's a very fine line between free speech,  individual or group demands,  and plain bullying.  I find the net now unable to discuss anything within reason and inclusion lost the plot pre-covid.  I'll come right out and say no to complete individual power play, that's chaos.  Basically homo-sapiens is selfish so you need an effective opposition to protect the vulnerable.  So half a dozen shouting the odds is going to go over my head, I try to look at the bigger picture and there is no room for the extremes or minorities within minorities, it is fragmenting common sense and hurts people, basically its survival of the fittest, we saw so much of it during the lockdown and since.


On the plus side lockdown did force neighbours to consider other neighbors etc and the community partially emerged again.  Disabled and elderly were the leaders in many respects raising funds for the disadvantaged showing there is more than a disability to be seen.  We also saw others criticizing 'why are we locked down'  just so the vulnerable are safer?  'Lock them away so we can get on with our lives..'  We saw the best and worst of it.


I think a lot of deaf people re-discovered own families frankly, being unable to interact effectively with peers covid forced them into compromising with others more, which is no bad thing.  Awareness will never happen in a deaf club.  I think Keir is going to be kicked out, the Labour Partyis riddled with really silly and contentious people and views.  They are idealists and don't use logic to solve or address issues.

They are extremists frankly, we don't need people like that. As regards to educating those with limited options I agree the support should concentrate there.  I do disagree the deaf are that.  The evidence clearly shows the deaf are very able people, very adept, quite educated,  and very determined as well, and their control over communication puts many hearing to shame, they adapted because they had to.

I just get annoyed when they plead ignorance and blame others, it isn't true.  Less than 5-7% are unable to advance effectively.  That is because we closed 85% of 'special' deaf schools that had been letting them down.  Institutional and dead-end learning that is all it ever was.
« Last Edit: 29 Sep 2021 08:04PM by On the edge »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #12 on: 29 Sep 2021 08:19PM »
Quote
The evidence clearly shows the deaf are very able people, very adept, quite educated...


Dare I say that's something of a generalisation and I'm afraid taken as such, I don't believe it.

I don't say that no deaf people are very able, very adept, quite educated vel sim., I just don't accept it as a generalisation.  Deafness is not a protection against conditions that can make it impossible to gain qualifications and/or impossible to be able to do a work placement. 

Some deaf people are very able, some are quite able, some are a bit able and some are barely able at all etc.  Deaf children can have very low IQs, be severely neuroatypical, have severe ADHD, be quadriplegic, have juvenile onset dementia etc.

That doesn't mean that I would disagree with you that simply sticking deaf children in separate schools isn't the best way to deal with deafness in children, although, as you've worked out, I don't have much of an issue with our local deaf 'units', which fit conceptually with my long-term notion of pupils with different abilities and needs being in different 'houses' in schools; and obviously, it's just a matter of jargon whether, if you cluster facilities together, pupils share some facilities and not others.

Although, as I think of it, if you were to have a few deaf children who for psychological or mental reasons (i.e. in addition to their deafness) couldn't cope with being in a hearing environment, I could see the logic for specialist schooling.  I suspect that at present, those in this category not currently in specialist deaf schools and units are locked away in what I'll genericaly call locked 'mental' places.  I daresay quite a few these days, having been mainstreamed are offrolled or stuck long-term in those horrible wall-facing isolation cubicles used by academies which seem to me to be hideously cruel.

That being said, some people object to streaming within schools, so separating academically doesn't appeal to everyone.  Society can't even agree as between one part of the country and another whether it's appropriate to teach a child with an IQ of 60 English or maths in the same classroom at the same time as a child with an IQ of 160.

We need some balance but then that brings me back to my long-term scream of 'where's the money?'  And I don't believe there isn't any.  Try taxing Amazon, for starters, and put a stop to political corruption.  Hmm.  I think I'm being naive again.

 :f_sadface:
« Last Edit: 29 Sep 2021 08:31PM by Sunny Clouds »
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On the edge

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #13 on: 04 Oct 2021 07:32PM »
Before we ask about money, we have to ask about how education should work with the disabled and others with limited ability to advance via current educational norms. We can't all be winners but we don't want the inequality of all being comfortable losers either.


Support for special schools is there because mainstream support isn't which doesn't address the end result.  Specialisation doesn't seem to be able to manage realism as such but is more concerned only with immediate support at the schools. It is a very natural assessment and approach.  Increasingly schools ar the parents let's face it and it is they who are having to equip children to face life as adults.


We now have FE via colleges and Universities so they are in education a very long time, (unlike moi who started full-time work  at 15).  I end to wonder then why, are they still struggling? Still reluctant to include themselves or support the ideal? IT's difficult? try working full time at 15 near deaf then come back and say how difficult it is after spending 16 years or so still in school being armed (Or not), to cope with adult work life.  I think we need to demand more from specializations and mainstreaming, money alone won't do it you need a proper curriculum and a bottom line.


The charity has no bottom line, it relies on you needing them e.g. They aren't going to make themselves redundant. Unfortunately, the state supports us being needy and relaint on them, as it saves money and them having to establish a proper system, charity was created to help those who fall through the gaps, the state just creates more gaps.  The irony is we voted for that by thinking hey we can run it ourselves, oops we hadn't the faintest idea how to go about it... 

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #14 on: 04 Oct 2021 10:03PM »
Quote
The charity has no bottom line, it relies on you needing them e.g. They aren't going to make themselves redundant. Unfortunately, the state supports us being needy and relaint on them, as it saves money and them having to establish a proper system, charity was created to help those who fall through the gaps, the state just creates more gaps.  The irony is we voted for that by thinking hey we can run it ourselves, oops we hadn't the faintest idea how to go about it... 

I agree that we shouldn't be reliant on charity.

The point I was making about schooling, though, is that with state schooling, the government gets others to provide it, or at least in England it does.  I don't know about the rest of the UK. 

In the past that was churches, then local authorities (but, in England, still many religious-supported state schools, i.e. some of the money comes from church/synagogue/mosque, and then variations such as community schools, free schools, academies etc.

If you're a trustee of a charity with the sort of school I was a trustee of, your idea of how much money you get from it is free coffee and biscuits at meetings and probably mince pies, hot drink and a free raffle ticket for a prize worth maybe £1 or so at the Christmas party.  Oh, I forgot, I got a free badge with a logo on it.  I wonder what that was worth.  £2?

But a MAT pays the directors that carry out the role of the charity trustees.

In either institution, there can be what's trendily called chumocracy, but it's less likely in the sort of charity that runs state schools, because the money just isn't there.  MATs typically take over the more profitable ones and offroll as many kids as they can get away with.

Stopping charities, which don't make a profit, from running schools providing state education is not going to mean that they're directly run by local authorities, it will simply mean that they're taken over by Multi Academy Trusts, which make a profit.

And Keir Starmer isn't proposing to stop private companies running state schools. 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)