Anger at Michael Gove in Exeter
On the 26 March Exeter teachers in the NUT went on strike. They also held a modest but colourful noisy march about changes in the teaching profession.
The March started at Northernhay gardens and ended at Sidwell Street Methodist church. There was a long, lively union meeting. In this meeting union representatives talked about all aspects of their professional lives.
Teacher’s main complaints were longer working hours, more form filling, and academies. Some teachers complained of less time in the classroom and having to stay up all night doing extra work. Sarah teacher, told me “You end up being very test driven."
Deputy sectary of DevonTUC Mike told me “We are not making widgets in a factory, they might not do very well in an exam because they bring in baggage from home.” He went on to tell me “All we seem to do is make data these days”. He went to say “(teaching) is not sustainable.
Retired teacher Robert spoke at lengh about teachers plight “My daughter’s a teacher she can barely afford to live because she has to make huge contributions to her students loans ” He went on to talk about free schools he told me “It’s a charter for any kind of nutter to start a school, it’s a charter to exploit children’s minds”
The demonstration attracted other groups, the “Socialist Worker “were there calling for a 24 hour general strike, they had lots of sympathy for the teachers and their strike. The passion and anger in the march was obvious, this was matched by the teachers passion for the job.
Free schools. Good news for Rabble mums?
Stiener SchoolsSteiner School may have a dark sideThe local Steiner school has just found a new site in Exeter University, the previously fee paying school will become a free school giving a real alternative choice for parents. Right now the school has a temporary home at Foxhays in Exwick and before then they operated from the huts in Belmount Park. Now the school is a popular free school will be available to all and is so in demand it has a waiting list.
A Stiener school is based on Steiner's philosophy, he opened schools in 1919 to educate the children of tobacco workers. This is a wholesome education that can be interpreted by the teacher the official Steiner website tells the reader that these schools will help a child be creative and questioning. There is less pressure on children to read and pass exams.There are aspects of a Steiner education that are more controversial. Steiner schools have been called "unvaccinated communities" as parents tend not to get their children vaccinated, this is because the school has a different approach to health in general believing that even serious illnesses are part children's spiritual development Steiner schools say immunization is up to parents.
Part of the Steiner way may involve putting children in a category, part of the Steiner ethos is to read a child's characteristics by their body shape and clothing. Handbooks tell teachers to look at a spiritual realm and categorize child as various entities. Some may think this is harmless but could this categorization of children be damaging? Many websites deny they use this part of the educational program.There have also been allegations of unchecked bullying, the schools believe in a "gentle" approach to discipline, there have been nasty allegations of bullying that have not been properly dealt with. This is again seen as part of childhood. The Bristol Steiner school has a robust anti bullying policy that concentrates on sorting the problem out on an emotional level, an interesting sentiment in the policy is "there is no blame"Exeter Steiner school tells readers that the school does not teach Steiner's strange philosophy but many have pointed out people would object to the stranger parts of the ethos. So Steiner, good or bad, please tweet your experiences.