The state school Maths teacher who gives up his Saturday mornings to teach

Francis Gilbert's picture
 6
I am excited about my son going to his secondary school in September. We had the first of a few transfer meetings this Thursday and met an inspiring young maths teacher who told us that he gives up his Saturday mornings to work with GCSE students who are scoring E and F grades in order to bring them up to C grade and above. It's been working because his class scored highly in their recent GCSEs. He is mad passionate about maths and was pleased to have my son join the school because he's currently doing well in maths. He speculated that he could get him doing A Level by the time he's in Year 11!

He was clearly a great teacher: he gets the students to teach each other key concepts. There's a huge amount of evidence that shows that students are their own best teachers and that they learn the most when they do this: Dylan William's research shows this most clearly.

But it just shows you the great work that some state schools are doing: this school is one of the most improved in the country, with over half the students on Free School Meals, 30% more than the national average.
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Jenny Landreth's picture
Fri, 08/04/2011 - 18:01

Same goes in my son's state school. I'm constantly impressed by the number of teachers there who offer extra classes at weekends and in the hols - one teacher rang me this morn to remind me he needed to be there at 8.30am on Monday, for the extra help he needs. Over and above. Fantastically inspiring levels of commitment.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Fri, 08/04/2011 - 18:07

Thanks for this Jenny. I think it's clear that up and down the country, state school teachers are doing an amazing job, really working hard and going the extra mile in all sorts of ways.

Andy Smithers's picture
Fri, 08/04/2011 - 18:23

Could not agree more. This is something Academies in particular are excellent at.

Allan Beavis's picture
Sat, 09/04/2011 - 10:45

It is always great to read of something really positive about teachers. It really counters so much of the disrespect for the profession which teachers have to put with from some people. It's a difficult job and the vast majority of people in teaching genuinely care about the education of children.

Andy - we looked at Academies years ago as a choice for our eldest. The impression I got from the young teachers we met there was that they were obliged to work Saturday mornings as the pupils for obliged to attend lessons. This is not quite the same as a teacher giving up his own free time. I hope that the teachers there don't suffer from burn out.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Sat, 09/04/2011 - 11:34

I think the trouble is that so many teachers in maintained schools do this sort of thing, but it's never publicised. The Academies have well paid PR teams promoting their cause in the national press -- and, of course, the free schools have the whole of the government to spread propaganda about how great they're going to be.

Janet Downs's picture
Sat, 09/04/2011 - 12:43

Finland is one of the highest scoring countries in the OECD PISA education league tables. Yet their pupils spend less time in the classroom than children in other countries. When teachers are not teaching they are assessing, evaluating and planning - this is built into their working day.

UK teachers already work long hours compared to many other OECD countries* often to the detriment of their own families and their own health. I'm worried that longer working days, weekend and holiday working will become more and more expected (note the boast from Andy Smithers above about academies) rather than voluntary.

It's quality that's required - not quanitity. With proper preparation and planning it can be achieved in less time (as in Finland).

*OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2011, page 102

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