Teachers and headteachers are among those upset at what the school system has become, a number voicing their unhappiness at their inability to give their students a decent education, faced with the difficulties of constant testing and curriculums which are failing to inspire or engage.
Headteacher Kit Messenger resigned over the Government’s academy proposal, warning that schools were starting to resemble sweatshops, focused on churning out results at the cost of the students’ well being. She compared students at an Ofsted rated excellent academy to “robots” “empty carcasses that were being drilled” to the detriment of the children.
In a letter ‘to Nicky Morgan’ a teacher explains why she’s leaving the teaching profession, describing it as “ruined” and “broken”. Instead of teaching children she explains, she preps them for tests, a process no-one enjoys but it has to be done. It’s bad for teachers but worse, she says, for the children at the mercy of the system. And while they, the teachers, tried to fight what was happening she has to walk away.
‘I wrote about my Ofsted experiences and received a postbag overflowing with teachers’ anguish – here are their stories’ (TES, 8 June 2015)
Headteacher hits out in emotional letter of resignation after Ofsted inspection at Milton Keynes primary school (MK Citizen, 17 April 2018)
Headteacher Sally Ahmad, who dreamed of being a teacher since the age of 11, no longer felt able to carry on in the profession because children’s well being was being sacrificed for focus on results. In an emotional letter to parents she explained how she believed it was vital to treat children as individuals and nurture their personal growth in a safe and warm environment but that this was no longer valued by Ofsted. Citing curriculum changes, assessments and unrealistic expectations Ms Ahmad said she wasn’t able to achieve a primary school experience that fostered a love of learning and created lifelong skills and amazing memories.
Valentine Primary School head Liz Filer calls on teachers to boycott exams as striking staff flock to central Southampton (Southampton Daily Echo, 6 July 2016)
Headteacher Liz Filer called for a boycott of the primary school SATS. In attacking the recently revamped testing in primary schools, known as Key Stage 2 tests or SATS, Ms Filer said: “Children sitting in a test room with all the walls blacked out, with no equipment; that is what we have been forced to do this year. We need to boycott those SATs next year and we need to refuse to do them because they are not right.”
This is the desperate letter of an ‘exhausted and demoralised’ teacher threatening to quit (Wales Online, 21 April 2016)
A Welsh teacher writes in frustration of the stresses of his job and the risks to children’s mental health asking: “Why am I testing a six-year-old, who after three years of education still struggles adding to 10, on how many pencils can I buy with 20p if each pencil is worth 5p? Are the decision-makers the ones consoling a six-year-old in tears because he or she can’t answer a question on a test?”