ANOTHER teacher has raised the alarm over the daily experience for children in classrooms, saying one newly qualified teacher had to be drafted in to regularly teach P.E without any knowledge of the subject.
He also spoke of one teacher having to buy tubs of glue to keep books together sufficiently to meet the national requirements monitored by watchdogs Ofsted.
Robert Hall’s address to councillors at the Council House followed that of teacher Coleman Doyle who had waved half-worn pencils, which we featured on our front page last week.
Mr Hall said he has taught at Alderbrook for nine years and is a former Langley school pupil.
He told councillors: “Headteachers in Solihull are doing a fantastic job and I have nothing but praise for the leadership of Alderbrook School. They have ensured that the children we have get the best education possible.
“However, there are day-to-day issues and I want to give you a few examples..
“I want to tell you about ‘Glue-gate’. We had a NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) who started last year and we were told we had no money for glue.
“Bless him, he’s not on the greatest salary in the world, and I came in one day and he had bought a tub of 500 gluesticks just for himself, because day-to-day it was causing him much more stress to have those books that were not Ofsted-ready, and loose pages flying all over the place.
“I gave him some money and I had some of the gluesticks. But the fact he felt the need to go and do that to me was absolutely shocking.
“This is no-one’s fault in particular, the money is simply not there.
“When I first stated, it was. I would not have understood this issue as an NQT.
“Another example is a former colleague, she’s unfortunately now left the profession. When she started a few years ago she was absolutely delighted to get the job, but we had a shortfall in P.E. She had never kicked a ball in her life, particularly. She never really knew how to do it.
“As a professional she put everything she had into that role as a P.E teacher. But there was an impact because those children she was teaching did not have an expert teaching them, and there was also an impact on herself.
“The amount of effort she had to do to teach that non-specialism interfered with her personal life to the extent that she didn’t feel she could carry on in the profession. She’s gone abroad and is now working in a completely different field. I think that’s the impact.
“We’re in a really, really tough job anyway, and then if you get in a situation where you don’t have the resources, you’re in several classrooms throughout the day, you’re teaching five or six subjects a week and do not have the specialism, that’s going to have a real impact on the kids.
“The last example.. when I first started myself as a NQT, we had a very broad curriculum, Sociology and Archeology, I did others as well.
“There may be some that say a narrow curriculum is better. Ok , fine. but the fact we had those classes and had staffing for those classes meant overall class-sizes were a lot smaller, and our kids achieved really well.
“When I first started, class sizes were about 24. Now they are about 30.
“I have to physically bring a desk in and in that class, three children are statemented. I used to have TAs (teaching assistants) with them. I don’t now. Those three kids are just not getting as much of my time as they did previously. They are just not getting the experienced time that they did previously.”