18 July 2008


Below - Door to the classroom where I worked for twenty years.
Today was the last day of the school year. The week has been especially hectic for me - staying till after six each evening in order to pack twenty years of work into boxes with hundreds of sets of books - all to be delivered to the new school that has emerged phoenix-like behind the old main block built in the early sixties. And would you believe it - all week we had to continue working with our classes. Not one single day given to staff in order to prepare for the move. This evening I feel utterly drained.

And at around eleven o'clock today - surrounded by boxes and one and half hours before we had to vacate the old block - our KS3 English SATS results arrived from ETS Europe ( A Division of ETS Global BV). I scanned the A3 size lists which should have contained results for all 180 of our students but alas no! Any child with a surname beginning with A, B, M, N, O or P did not have a result. Quite bizarre. How could they even think of sending us incomplete results lists?

It's been in the news a lot this week. The incompetence of ETS and the buck passing of politicians and their officers. So many schools haven't received their long-awaited results and those that have - like mine - have discovered serious errors - such as no results provided for fifty children! ETS were given a £156 million contract in order to administer SATS tests in England and Wales for the next five years. You can research their chequered history very easily on the net. Why were they employed in the first place and why should our national school tests be farmed out to a slick profit-making organisation that make lots of promises and can't deliver. What is more - it is an American company! It isn't even rooted in our education system.

I feel quite disgusted and I know that when the damned scripts finally arrive from ETS, I will have to spend several hours checking them for marking errors before demanding a re-mark. It's all bollix! Anyway... now for six weeks holiday. Teachers' rest. Thanks to my fellow tax payers.
Perhaps they should change their strapline to - Promising. Procrastinating. Profiting.


  1. SATS - Stupid, Superfluous, Scrap 'em.
    And let teachers get on with their job.

  2. Bloody teachers' holidays! It's payback time...hence the crappy systems to make sure you eat into your free time. Pure envy.

  3. Well, rest up a bit, YP, in the meantime...
    NZ has been going the privatisation way in recent years.
    I don't think it is the answer.

  4. Seeing an education ministry anywhere in the world that uses any sort of common sense is about as likely as seeing a watermelon balancing on a drinking straw in a full gale.

    Here in New Zealand the Education Ministry spent countless millions on introducing a great stack of new curriculums in all subjects and on teacher inservice to implement them in the 1990s. These were all throw out last year (they are perfectly ok) and by 2010 all primary schools will have to have in place complete new curriculums that have been designed in consultation with their local communities. The whole thing is a sort of mad metaphor for what is happening world wide with just about every aspect of our lives. Why does this stuff happen? who drives it? No one wants it! Have we all gone bloody mad?

  5. A well deserved holiday, YP. No time for moving to new building = par for the course. Same happened to us when I did my year's contract in a closing school two years ago.

  6. DAPHNE - What has always pained me about these bloody SATS is the implied lack of trust in those of us charged with delivering education to the masses.
    MOPSA - Pure envy? Living on that Devonshire farm seems like one long holiday to me complete with animals, cranes and exciting barn conversions!
    KATHERINE - Sometimes The State should accept that some responsibilities are too importantto be farmed out to money-grabbing private companies who ultimately care far more about profits than the service they are meant to be delivering.
    TILLERMAN - Hi! So that makes at least three bloggers in NZ! All this expensive change in education and who carries the can in the end? Nobody. At the frontline, people like me are the ones who have to live with changes we never wanted in the first place as we await the next batch of changes.
    JENNYTA - I am not surprised that it isn't just us who have been shat upon like this. And there's the SuperHead at the end of term praising us for getting ready to leave. It wasn't praise I wanted love it was TIME!

  7. How do you feel about leaving your home of 20 years Pudding? Was it melancholy or woopie?

  8. I think that no time to move = totally unreasonable! (Some staff at my school were excused from sports day in order to to have a free day to move from one office to another.) Moving a whole school must be a nightmare, hopefully the new building will make it worthwhile...

    Enjoy your holiday (I know I'll enjoy mine!)


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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