Children used in gender neutral experiment on TV

gender-neutral-lanesend-primary-pupils-with-dr-javidTonight, that is Wednesday 17th August sees the first of two hour-long programmes that shows an experiment with 23 seven year olds from Lanesend primary school in Cowes.

The BBC have produced a program called ‘No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?‘ and the experiment is for the children to spend a term ‘gender neutral’.

I am a little surprised that a whole class and a whole term can be devoted to this experiment. Certainly in my school the children have a curriculum that is full and there would be little room to run an ‘experiment’ with them for the BBC.

Dr Javid Abelmoneim asks this question:

Is the way we treat boys and girls in childhood the real reason we still haven’t achieved true equality between men and women in adult life? And could stripping away the pink and blue – and the other more subtle ways that boys and girls are shaped to be different – be the way to raise kids with abilities and attitudes that are the same regardless of their gender?

An interesting question but experimenting on 27 children for a whole term?

This strikes me as slightly odd:

  • What effect will it have on the children?
  • Should we really allow this sort of reality TV to interfere with children’s education?

The experiment has attracted some criticism from Wiltshire councillor, Mary Douglas, who claimed it was “abusive” and “inappropriate”, she has also been slammed for suggesting transgender people are mentally ill which seems a little unfair if you are to take Transabled into the equation, and of course she is entitled to her opinion.

There does seem to be some confusion over gender identity with an ever growing list of of terms and is being added to on a daily basis. However Dr Javid claims that ‘this is absolutely not about gender identity’ and that ‘in no way could you imagine anyone ever trying to steer children in a way that’s harmful’

I would disagree with Dr Javid and actually many children have been steered in a harmful, abusive and cruel way by adults over the years.

He goes on to say: We’re talking about the BBC. I’m a Doctor. Their parents and teachers were involved.

Which may suggest that because he is a ‘Doctor’ that some how we should defer to his authority and that it is the ‘BBC’ that it has no bias.

and finishes saying ‘watch the programme and then if you still want to hold that view – well, then you’re daft.’

Well I hope I am not ‘daft’ for not holding the same opinion as the BBC and a Doctor and yet this programme is steering children in an experiment and we obviously can’t tell the results until it is finished.

A little disingenuous from a Doctor I feel.

So I am looking forward to the viewing.

Tune into BBC2 at 9pm to see the first of the two programmes. It will be on the BBC iPlayer after the broadcast if you are unable to watch tonight.

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Assaults on teaching staff

You wouldn’t think that violence towards teaching staff would be an issue in primary school but it is something to be concerned about.

Last Essex saw a record number of attacks on staff.

There were 408 fixed term exclusions of pupils as a result of these incidents between 2015 to 2016, the highest number since 2006.

The number of assaults was up from the 368 recorded in 2014 to 2015, with classroom violence now far more prevalent in recent years than ever before.

Secondary school pupils in Essex were suspended 64 times for physical attacks on adults in 2015 to 2016. 

Myself, work friends and colleagues can recall at least one or two instances, one punched in the testicles, one bitten, I have been spat at in the face. These are very unpleasant and of course not acceptable and were dealt with by the schools in quesrions. 

So what do I do if something happens to me?

Write down exactly what happened puting on the date and time of it, give a copy to your line manager and take a copy for yourself.

I tend to type it out and email it to myself as it is stored and time stampes by your conputer.

What steps are taken next will be down to the schools senior staff and the governors should it go that far. 

Just remember to keep yourself safe first. Do everything by the book and make sure you are followinh the school safeguarding policy.

Classroom Behaviour #1

Classroom behaviour…it is easy to give a heavy sigh especially when I consider some of the issues I have had to deal with in the last year. However, the majority children I have help teach are great and their behaviour is also great.

Classroom behaviour starts formally with the school policy on behaviour, make sure you read this and understand it.

behaviour_man_main
Many children respond well to classroom discipline

This will list the various steps up the ladder of discipline. For instance you may have: first warning, second warning, loss of play or lunchtime, sent to another class, sent to Deputy Head, letter home, parents called in, suspension or at worst exclusion.

Of course there are also praise and rewards than are used. These may include: special job, house points, up the reward ladder, raffle tickets and class rewards.

As the Teaching Assistant it may take you a while to understand how your teacher is with your class. You need to have exactly the same response. That must be fair and consistent and is one of the most important skills that you can display in the class.

Children need to know and understand that there are consequences to their actions. It would be nice to think that all children do but sadly that is not the case. There are many reasons why children misbehave but we must be consistent.

We need to work very hard to maintain consistency with all children not just in the class but in the school. We usually discuss and then write the class rules. This is typed, mounted and everyone including the Teacher and the Teaching Assistant signs it. It gives focus and food for thought about behaviour.

Your teacher will delegate jobs to your children such as book monitor, door monitor, there are many monitor jobs. These will help your children understand their rights and responsibilities and can only but assist with the culture of the class and the behaviour of the students.

Your teacher will also have a bag of skills that will help you and the teacher to engage your students. In my experience it is worth watching and understanding what is happening when she uses them. For instance my last teacher and I had a great relationship and we laughed a lot, this was good for several reasons. It puts the children at ease especially when it is a year move and the teacher and TA are unknown, it can be very funny and help with learning. My last teacher used to gesticulate wildly whilst explaining a point, it was a visual anchor which helped the children remember and made me laugh and was just fun. Learning and fun what more can you ask for. Good behaviour is just the best, it is wonderful to see children enjoying learning and having fun.

What about bad behaviour?

In my experience it is the low level disruption that you need to keep to a minimum. One thing you need to learn is ‘the look’ and the look just works. Essentially you are saying ‘stop, what are you doing and should you be doing that?’ be that wandering around the classroom, head on the table, not sitting up, talking when they shouldn’t be and other things.

If they do not spot you giving them the look then their name should be called out calmly and quietly as not to disturb the lesson.

As well as ‘the look’ you can use ‘the pause’, once one student notices it they all will and slowly one by one stop and pay attention.

Other strategies which a probably are small rhymes. You call out ‘one, two, three’ and they will reply ‘eyes on me’ or a personal favourite ‘hocus pocus’ and they respond ‘everybody focus’, if that doesn’t work the ‘freeze’ works well.

I will come back to this but children need to act appropriately in the classroom.

This Ofsted survey report follows concerns raised in the Ofsted Annual Report 2012/13 about low-level disruption in schools. As a consequence, guidance to inspectors was tightened to place greater emphasis on this issue in routine inspections. This survey was commissioned to ascertain the nature and extent of low-level disruptive behaviour in primary and secondary schools in England.

The findings from that survey show that teachers, parents and carers are rightly concerned about the frequent loss of learning time through low-level but persistent disruptive behaviour. This report demonstrates that, in too many schools, teachers are frustrated by this sort of behaviour and are critical of colleagues, particularly those in leadership positions, who are not doing enough to ensure high standards of pupil behaviour.

More than 500,000 primary school children are taught in super-sized classes of over 30 pupils.

Shockingly (or maybe not) more than half a million primary school children in England are being taught in “super-sized” classes, new figures show.

Youngsters in the South East and North West are the worst affected, with more than 90,000 primary age children in each area in classes of over 30 pupils, according to Labour.

Shadow Schools Minister Mike Kane said the numbers of youngsters in large classes was “sky-rocketing”.

He said: “These figures expose seven years of Tory failure in our schools. The number of pupils being taught in super-sized classes is skyrocketing while schools face the first real terms cuts to their budgets in a generation.

“This situation is unsustainable. If the Tories wanted to give every child the education they deserve they would ensure that children were not crammed into super-sized classes.”

The analysis of Government figures shows as of January there were 503,591 state primary school pupils aged five to 11 – in classes of 31 to 35 children.

That’s up from 498,152 the year before.

class-size-300x240In addition, 39,088 primary youngsters were in classes of 36 or more pupils, down slightly from 40,102 in 2016.

Of these, 16,571 children were in classes with 40 or more pupils, compared to 16,655 the year before.

A regional breakdown shows that 96,471 primary pupils in the South East were being taught in classes of 31 or more children, along with 92,049 in the North West.

At the other end of the scale, 20,512 children in the North East were in large classes.

What is a reasonable amount of children teachers can teacher?

What size of class should we really have in our primary schools?