‘We’ve lost the room and freedom to give children an excitement about learning’

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Schools that are regimented and too focused on ticking boxes and tests are taking the enjoyment out of education, an incoming teachers’ leader has alleged.

Schools that are regimented and too focused on ticking boxes and tests are taking the enjoyment out of education, an incoming teachers’ leader has alleged.

Alison Sherratt (pictured), the new president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), says that teachers have lost the “room and freedom to give children an excitement about learning”.

She said: “School days are too broken up into regimented tasks, with the days dictated by a strict timetable with little room for changes to reflect how children learn and what’s best for specific children.

“And far too much of what is taught is based on what children are going to be tested on, which leaves little time to pick up children’s questions about other issues or explore topics of interest. We’ve lost the room and freedom to give children an excitement about learning.”

Ms Sherratt fears that school league tables and data-gathering are seen as more important than what children are actually achieving. 

She continued: “We test children too much, put too much pressure on them to pass arbitrary levels and put far too much pressure on teachers to get massive scores for all their pupils. At this rate it won’t be long before someone says that 100 per cent is not good enough.”

The new president also blasted the government for not listening enough to the profession or showing teachers enough respect.

She added: “It really angers me that today’s teachers don’t seem to be respected by the government. Each year their experience and knowledge seem to count for less. Government consultations have become shams, with too little time for teachers to respond, and, when they do, their views are often totally ignored.”

Ms Sherratt has been teaching since 1973 and is a reception teacher at Riddlesden St Mary’s CE Primary and Nursery in Keighley, West Yorkshire.


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