There is a new language in schools and the Government departments that control them. It’s called Eduspeak.
It’s a hilarious but worrying example of how the people who work in education are becoming divorced from the parents of the children they are supposed to serve.
Do you know what deep learning and functional skills are? If not, then read on.
Satisfactory – One of 4 possible categories that the Schools Inspectorate can award. However, satisfactory is not what you think it means. The Chief Schools Inspector recently said that satisfactory schools are “not good enough”. The categories are, in order:
The “inadequate” category is known to be abysmal.
In other words, schools can tell parents that their child’s school is deemed satisfactory by the inspectors, which keeps the parents happy – whilst the schools know that its only one step up from abysmal. Teachers are kept happy because they haven’t been pointed out as being sub-standard.
Excellence & Enjoyment – these terms cannot be used together as they are mutually exclusive. Excellence is used for what matters (literacy and numeracy). Enjoyment is used for what doesn’t matter (ie everything else). You therefore can’t say a child is “enjoying reading” or “excelling in music”.
Non-Statutory – The National Primary Strategy for schools says that non-statutory means obligatory. You should also note that the Government issued Strategy are only guidelines – hence schools do not have to follow obligatory guidelines. However, if they don’t follow the guidelines, they risk being categorised by the inspectors as “satisfactory”.
Gifted and Talented – these refer to the top 10% of children in both academic and non-academic (eg sports) pursuits respectively, who are to be encouraged to develop these attributes. However, in order to ensure that these descriptions do not become elitist (which is an abomination), the descriptions have been broadened to include “the ability to make sound judgements” and “to show great sensitivity or empathy” and “to be fascinated by a particular subject”.
The terms are necessary to pacify parents who worry that their children are not being stretched enough. Radical left wing teachers unions are kept happy because they know the terms include everyone who wants to be included.
A specialist school – is a bog standard comprehensive school that has fulfilled enough form filling to get extra Government money. “Bog standard comprehensive” was a term coined by a government minister to denote the substandard state of most state schools before the government started its reform programme. Most bog standard comprehensives are now specialist schools. Of these, almost as many chose their specialism because they were weak in it and wanted to improve as those whose chose it because they were actually strong in it. Specialist schools are only allowed to select 10% of their children according to ability – which does rather prevent the schools from specialising…
An independent Government commissioned review – is a review which is authored by someone who isn’t a government employee. The job description of the review leaves little room for manoeuvre and the conclusions are highly predictable. The authors are normally chosen from a small group of people known for their reliability and unwillingness to rock the boat. The purpose of the review is to provide justification for politicians to carry out what they were going to do anyway.
Shades of George Orwell’s “double-speak”?!