The BBC reports comments made by Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco at the Institute of Grocery Distribution’s annual conference in which he says
“As the largest private employer in the country, we depend on high standards in our schools,”
“Sadly, despite all the money that has been spent, standards are still woefully low in too many schools,”
“Employers like us, and I suspect many of you, are often left to pick up the pieces.
“From my perspective there are too many agencies and bodies, often issuing reams of instructions to teachers, who then get distracted from the task at hand: teaching children.”
I hope that Sir Terry isn’t trying to blame the appalling treatment my partner received at a branch of Tesco (which, by the way means that we will never again shop at a Tesco store) on school standards. Poor service isn’t because of poor school standards, it’s because of poor training on your part. It’s a Tesco uniform that person was wearing. It was Tesco who approved their presence on the shop floor.
Sir Terry’s final point is quite right and one I see first hand almost every day. Some schools and local authorities have an obsession with paperwork, external consultants, change for the sake of change and half baked fad of the week initiatives rather than concentrating on getting the basics right.
What I have seen is that teachers aren’t just distracted from the task of teaching children, they are railroaded into half witted schemes by incompetent management who care nothing for the school or the students. Instead of managing the students and their problems, management are concerned only with achieving exam results with as little provision as possible. Teachers’ morale plummets further as a result, the troublemaking elements in the school (from management and students) pick up on that and then people wonder why standards are seen as being low?
Perhaps Sir Terry could use some of his influence to get Ed Balls and Gordon Brown to get in touch with me and arrange a session where each of them is left in a real classroom with some real year 10 or year 11 students. As a former Chancellor of the Exchequer I’m sure Mr Brown is ideally qualified to teach a year 11 maths class. In fact I know just the class for him. While Mr Brown is teaching the year 11s, I’m sure there are a number of teachers who wish to challenge Mr Balls on his views and policies.
What about it Gordon?