Showing posts with label schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schools. Show all posts

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hunger Lesson for Teachers

Child poverty in Scotland is now so severe that teachers are being sent advice on how to spot if a child in their class is going hungry, amid evidence that the problem is having an increasingly serious impact on education. The new guidance, which will be distributed to schools and colleges across Scotland next week, warns that the issue of hunger among pupils is “moving from the exceptional to the more commonplace” as families struggle to make ends meet. 

The advice has been drawn up by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, after a survey of 300 schools and colleges suggested that teachers are increasingly having to help underfed pupils.

“Pupils may appear pale, fatigued, irritable or lacking in concentration, or complain of headaches or feeling unwell,” it states. “While there can be other reasons underlying such signs, for a growing number of children and young people in our schools and colleges today, the reason will be hunger.”

More than 222,000 children in Scotland are currently described as being in poverty, but the EIS warned that the number would rise if the Government’s “austerity agenda” continued. “Schools and colleges are part of society, and so are not immune from the problems of that wider society,” said the union’s general secretary Larry Flanagan.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Poor Exam Results

St Ninian’s High School and  Williamwood High School came first and second in a nationwide league table based on exam results. Once again, the league tables illustrate the gap between schools in affluent areas and those in more deprived parts of the country.

While only 6.2 per cent of pupils at St Ninian’s and 5.1 per cent of those at Williamwood received free meals, just a few miles away at Govan High School, 43.2 per cent of pupils received free school dinners. Govan High was among those schools where none of the S4 roll went on to pass five or more Highers in S5, as was another Glasgow school, St Margaret Mary’s Secondary in Castlemilk.

At Northfield Academy in Aberdeen, where 27.9 per cent of pupils receive free school meals, no pupils left with five Highers or more. In contrast, 40 per cent of pupils at nearby Cults Academy – where only 2.9 per cent receive free meals – got five Highers or more.

In Edinburgh, not one pupil at Castlebrae Community High or Craigroyston Community High achieved five Highers or more, although another poor performer, Wester Hailes Education Centre, improved its score from zero per cent last year to one per cent in 2013.

Larry Flanagan, general-secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, the country’s largest teaching union, said “Deprivation continues to impact adversely on the attainment of too many pupils”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Learning about schools and education

Children as such are not usually included among the oppressed. Yet they necessarily compose one of the weakest, most dependent and defenseless sections of the population. Each generation of children is not only helped but hindered and hurt by the elders who exercise direct control over them. Children are normally unaware of the social causes of their misfortunes and miseries and even the grown-ups may not know about them. Most parents cannot be held individually responsible for such misdeeds for they, too, have been shaped by the society around them and are obliged to follow certain ways out of necessity.

The class structure quickly impresses its stamp upon the personality, conditioning and regulating the relations between the sexes, the rich and the poor. This determines both the characteristics of the educational system and of the children tutored and trained under it.
Children soak up knowledge and retain it for use. The child learns best through direct personal experience. In the primary stage of education these experiences should revolve around games. They progress fastest in learning, not through being drilled by rota, but by doing work and experimenting with things. Occasionally children need to be alone and on their own. But in the main they will learn more by doing things together. By choosing what their group would like to do, planning their work, helping one another do it, trying out various ways and means of performing the tasks, involved and discovering what will forward the project, comparing and appraising the results, the youngsters would best develop their latent powers, their skill, understanding, self-reliance and cooperative habits. Participation in meaningful projects, learning by doing, encouraging problems and solving them, not only facilitates the acquisition and retention of knowledge but fosters the right character traits: unselfishness, helpfulness, critical intelligence, individual initiative.

As most people know free education and free schools were one of the first and most insistent demands of the working class in the last century. The bourgeoisie made this concession partly because it could afford to and mostly because it fitted in with its own interests.

However, history shows how subservience was bred and enforced in the schools. Business, big or little, directly or indirectly, has the economic, political and propaganda power to exercise a veto over the whole realm of education. The capitalists know what they want: schools which serve their profit system. Schools are institutions where children are indoctrinated with bourgeois ideology. They create an outlook that is warped and make apologists for the system, not careful investigators. The ideological submission of the working class is the most powerful shackle preventing it from taking power, and our education system is one of the factors in achieving this.

The way in which the class struggle is fought out within the educational system is as clearly apparent as the direct confrontation of classes on the factory shop-floor. Those involved in the struggle for better schools must face the fact that the functions of education in a class society is to give the working-class child only enough skills to enable him to be exploited in the work place and not to emancipate him from social drudgery. An illiterate work-force are of little usef to the modern employer. The class function of the school is to fit the working-class kid for the factory floor or the office desk – to exploit him and not to emancipate him. The educational process is deformed by the pressure of class interests. Education under capitalism must be conducted primarily in the interests of the ruling class.

One day we will have the power to make changes. Every movement that desires to change the social order must go to the people. An equalitarian society, functioning, not under authority and economic pressure, but by the common consent, can never flourish except by the active willing co-operation of the mass of people. There can be no socialism until the the majority desire socialism. An educational revolution is needed; is in fact overdue. The world will one day be ours, so let’s start fighting for it.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The class struggle

Members the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland's largest teachers union, yesterday voted in favour of fighting austerity measures in a renewed campaign which could lead to industrial action in the autumn. The union backed motions calling for action to protect the profession from public sector cuts and oppose changes to their pensions being made by the UK government. While pension reform is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has said it must implement the changes or face losing £100 million a year it receives from the UK government. Last November, Scots teachers took part in a UK-wide strike over pension changes – the first nationwide walkout by the profession in Scotland since 1986.

In a scathing attack the newly-elected EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said  “We understand that it is the UK government, the coalition, that has been the driving force behind the attempt to make teachers pay more, to work longer and to get less. We know who the guilty are in this great cash robbery. But we have a clear message also for the Scottish Government and for Mike Russell, the cabinet secretary for education, in particular. You cannot hide behind the coat-tails of some Eton toffs and say, ‘It wisnae me’. Scottish teachers expect the Scottish Government to stand up for Scotland on this issue and if they fail to do so, if they fail to deliver a fair settlement on pensions here in Scotland, we are prepared to fight them every bit as hard as we will fight the UK coalition government on this issue...There is a simple choice: fight the cuts or fight us, because we are not minded to pay the price for the greed of others.”

Mr Flanagan said Westminster’s austerity measures had been “firmly rejected” by voters. Local elections in May made it clear “not only in Scotland but across Britain, that the UK government’s austerity programme has been decisively rejected”. Mr Flanagan said: “It is clear that what the electorate wants is for elected politicians to fight back against austerity and not to simply administer a cuts programme." Teaching was a stressful profession, he said, adding: “The suggestion that teachers should stay in the classroom till they are 68 or even longer is not a credible notion and it is one we will resist: 68 is way too late.”

Charlotte Ahmed, a union member from Glasgow, said: “This is theft. It’s a smash-and-grab. They’re taking money out of our pockets and putting it where exactly? The autumn is the time to turn the screw and commit ourselves to action.”