I was fortunate that I had one brilliant teacher after another - even the ones who were not my favourites were still amazing in terms of what I learnt from them and how they managed to make the best of my willingness to learn. Even when I was being a bit lazy I ultimately always got over myself and did my best for them. Of all the teachers who had an impact on me - in Primary School it was Mrs Hardy - we were supposed to have her in Year 2 but she was ill so we had her in Year 3 instead. She was a dragon but her no nonsense approach was brilliant and ensured we got on with the work we had to do!! Mr Ross in secondary could not have been a better teacher if he tried.
Maligned as it is at times I still think we have a great range in the curriculum. However, I think the national curriculum should be pared down further to the absolute essentials and let teachers get on with the rest.
English and Maths Vs Literacy and Numeracy
We teach the former to achieve the latter but it is not the same thing. I think at Primary we are shovelling excessive subject content assuming it will make children literate and numerate. In reality, some of the concepts only make sense in different contexts. I really only started to improve my writing when my love of history took off and I wanted to write. I think more focus needs to be on focusing on the skills not the subject and hopefully that would actually lead to some improvement and a move away from the dictated literacy and numeracy hours.
I just really enjoyed them!! I liked getting my teeth stuck into three subjects that I really loved. I am not looking down on GCSE's just that they were a means to an end for me. I also liked the freedom of not having lessons all day every day!!!
I have mixed feelings about inclusion. I have taught and supported many children who in the past would have gone to special schools. With differentiation not only can these children thrive but some also overcome the learning difficulty as it only affects them for a short period of time. However, I do feel that inclusion has been driven by idealism on one side (who see it as a failure on their part if every child is not included in a mainstream class) and financial decisions to save money and close special schools (they are expensive). These considerations actually don't take the real child into account. If it did we would have more flexible solutions, special units, more therapists, etc so that children can actually get the support they need based on their reality. This should not be compromised by ideals or by money.
Staffrmers I am looking at you!!!