Simplify the Payscale: There’s an allowance for teaching on an island?anseo's podcast add
In this 13th episode of If I were the Minister for Education, I try to unravel the complex web of our pay scale. I also have a go at the union, rightly or wrongly, about their role in the two-tier pay scale.
Anseo Education News - 19th May 2019 - Sorry Bonoanseo's podcast add
On this week’s news show:The principal who robbed over €200k from his school Tusla wrecks another School Completion Programme Project Why the Catholic Church wants to take back Communion The INTO has forgotten about pay equality Climate Change and we need to listen to young people A square peg in a round hole - sex education in Ireland Music Generation is Extending No one knows who’s to blame for the lack of resources to kids with SEN Teacher of the Year competitions Forcing children to remove their clothes in Austria
Scrap Single Sex Schools: I will NOT teach boys!anseo's podcast add
Ireland is the only secular country in the world where more then 2% of their primary schools are single-sex. How did this happen? The answer won't surprise you. Also, is there any truth to the notion that children perform better in single-sex schools?
Anseo Education News: 13th May 2019 - Paul Rowe Retiresanseo's podcast add
I've decided to separate the podcast into 2 - one for the weekly news (this podcast) and one for the "If I were the Minister for Education" bit.
This week I:say goodbye to Paul Rowe as he announces his retirement, get cross about voluntary contributions, get even more cross about abuse victims receiving no compensation for the crimes committed against them agree with CTYI in that we don't teach Gifted Kids well enough
School Completion Programme: Tusla hate treesanseo's podcast add
The School Completion Programme is a scheme to prevent children from leaving school early. Up until recently, it was preventative in nature, but since Tusla have taken over it, you've guessed it, it's a mess. I have renamed it the Form Completion Programme.
I also answer the question of which teacher influenced my life the most, a question I really don't like. I wonder if she'll be listening!
Congress 2019: Pathway to Nowhere and The Minor Works Grantanseo's podcast add
This is one of the shorter episodes of If I were the Minister for Education so I also take time to review the INTO Congress in 2019.News: 0:40 Minor Works Grant: 12:26 Congress 2019 Review: 22:57
School Uniforms: High spirits at an all time lowanseo's podcast add
I’m not sure when school uniforms became a thing in Irish primary schools but they’re certainly a thing now. There are very few schools (outside the Educate Together and CoI system) that don’t do uniforms but are they fit for purpose anymore? Parents tend to argue that they reduce bullying or they make everyone equal but both of these arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny. To me uniforms create more problems, particularly when it comes to gender conformity and then there’s the whole problem of religious iconography on them. Ultimately, they are divisive tools rather than giving a sense of belonging. They are also dull dull dull!
Ban Spellings and Tables Testsanseo's podcast add
Hangovers are never a positive experience and some are harder to shake than others, especially when it comes to education. We have so many bad (pedagogically speaking) ideas that seem to persist in the system. The crowning glory, of course, is the Leaving Cert, which is a terrible way to judge someone’s educational attainment, yet it persists and, worse, it is staunchly defended as being “fair” and, even, “up there with the best models.” However, there’s other things we keep on doing just because we’ve always done them – the morning news on the blackboard (or whiteboard or whatever colour the board is or will be), homework, religion, and Friday tests. Yes, for some peculiar reason, despite all the evidence that the Friday test in spellings and tables are, at best, completely meaningless, they can be harmful to most types of learners.
Patronage: Scrap the patronage systemanseo's podcast add
Choice. This is the word most used to combat my argument that we should scrap the patronage model. When it comes to education, it seems that almost everyone thinks they should have a choice of the flavour of school their child should go to. I honestly can’t understand why this would be. I don’t get to choose which fire service comes to put out the fire in my house according to my beliefs. I don’t get to choose which jail I go to if I commit a crime. I don’t get to choose which doctor operates on my heart if I have a cardiac arrest. The point I’m making is that all the above services would indicate that they all generally do the same job no matter which facility you go to. Schools are the same. They’ll even say the same themselves. If you asked a Catholic school what the difference between the curriculum they deliver and, let’s say, an Educate Together school, they would struggle to answer. The National curriculum is the same whatever school you go to. Having a patronage system which is basically led by pluralism, that is, you get to choose a school according to your preferred religion, is bound for failure because it is impossible to achieve.
Episode 006: Resource NEPS properlyanseo's podcast add
The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is probably one of the most paradoxical. It is completely undervalued and under-resourced by the Department of Education but it provides one of the most important services for schools lucky enough to be able to get a hold of them.
The interesting thing is that NEPS, if it was better resourced, could effectively take over a number of agencies that simply are not working.
Episode 005: Scrap the NCSEanseo's podcast add
When one looks at the number of agencies involved in education, one has to ask why there are so many and what do they actually do. The NCSE is the National Council for Special Education. Back when they started in 2003, there was very little work done in the area of special needs in education. It had a range of functions which were very necessary, and over the years, it was able to establish lots of research and lots of systems for allocating schools with resource hours and additional staff, in the form of SNAs.
Back in the day, if I needed an SNA, I would make a call to my local NCSE officer (the SENO) and he or she would come to my school and allocate an SNA for a child that might require it. My resource hours were calculated on the number of children in my school who had particular needs – 5 hours per week for autism, and so on.
Then the recession came. Then the cuts. Then the bureaucracy.
What we now have is an organisation that is no longer needed. It has basically become a place where paper is pushed around. Children with additional and complex needs now beginning primary school are unlikely to get additional support for several months because so much red tape has been put in the way.
Episode 004: Make a decision on Gaelscoileannaanseo's podcast add
Let’s call a spade a spade. As much as Gaelscoileanna don’t encourage it, they have become an unofficial “private school” for Middle Ireland. Everybody knows it but saying it out loud attracts vitriol like no other. So, I’m saying it. I can only go on my own experiences but if you go to almost any area where there is a Gaelscoil built next to a non-Gaelscoil, it won’t be too long before you’ll see.
It’s not a criticism of Gaelscoileanna and, in fairness, there’s nothing they can really do about it. Their aim is to have as many people in Ireland learning through the Irish language and, I guess, it doesn’t really matter what the motivation is. The problem, unfortunately, is that for all the increases in Gaelscoileanna, there is still very little Irish being spoken from day to day in this country, even by those who send their children to Gaelscoileanna (and from what I hear also from children in Gaelscoileanna on yard!)
Anyway, even if I am wrong, we still face a massive problem with our native language in that almost nobody speaks it on a daily basis. However, ask anyone on the street, you’re likely to find people would like to be able to speak it.
Why don’t we kill two birds with one stone? How about we make all primary schools into Gaelscoileanna? This will ensure everyone has access to their native language and there will be no need for parents to drive past several schools to get to the only Gaelscoil.
However, maybe we should decide not to have Gaelscoileanna at all and teach Gaeilge in all schools in the same way – as a subject?
Episode 003:Fund ICT properly, not as part of minor worksanseo's podcast add
We’re well used to cuts in primary school. Over the last decade or so, funding to primary schools has been chopped at every angle, sometimes very obviously and sometimes in a kind of invisible way.
The Minor Works Grant is paid to schools for minor repair work that needs to be done. This has been the case for a long time. However, the Minor Works Grant is now issued to include the purchase and maintenance of ICT equipment.
In this episode I track the history of technology in education leading to this "cut" by stealth. I also acknowledge the latest round of funding and give some advice on how best to spend it.
Special Episode: Cumasú is Coming at Youanseo's podcast add
Joe McHugh used to be famous for being the Minister for the Gaeltacht despite not speaking Irish. He then became famous for re-learning the Irish language to fluency. Now he just can’t stop talking Irish, so it’s no surprise that the latest Action Plan for Education has an Irish name, Cumasú, which sounds a lot more interesting than its English translation.
Thankfully, McHugh has kept his big promise of ensuring a slowdown to the initiatives in education as his Action Plan has only 280 of them! In fairness to him, not all 280 of them are relevant to primary level, so I decided to go through them and you can too! Here’s the link to the document: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Corporate-Reports/Strategy-Statement/action-plan-for-education-2019.pdf
Episode 002: Give equal funding to primary and second levelanseo's podcast add
In some ways, everyone probably already knows that secondary schools are funded better than primary schools. However, to what extent is this true? In this episode, I explore the different areas where primary schools are left behind and I argue that in most cases there is no good reason.
Before that, we look at any relevant news that hit the newspapers this week including: why we aren't teaching Irish badly, a new General Secretary and a senator's plans to get us all teaching yoga!
Main episode content starts at 11 minutes.
Episode 001: Separate Church and Stateanseo's podcast add
For our first episode I thought we'd start with a light, unemotive topic! In 2019, 97.5% of Irish primary schools have a religious patron body, with all but 3 of these schools under a Christian patronage. However, with Ireland already a diverse country, with 20% not falling under the Christian umbrella, and many people turning away from traditional Christian values, how is this still happening, and why?
Even more strangely, publicly the Taoiseach has stated he would like complete church and state separation, and even the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has declared there needs to be more diversity in schooling in the country.
This episode explores the history of our education system before delving into why religion is so rooted in our primary school system.