Teachers cheating on the exams now!

How incredibly disappointing yet unsurprising it is to hear that the school examination bodies have been colluding with teachers to increase pass rates.

The reason I find these revelations unsurprising, is because of the nature of the examination bodies – private companies seeking and needing, above all, to make profits.  Given that there are several examination bodies chasing a clearly defined and relatively limited market, it’s hardly surprising to hear that they needed to use such tactics to increase their market share – indeed, how else would you do so, in such a limited and supposedly highly regulated market?

Whilst those who have perpetrated this abuse of the trust placed in them by parents are indeed guilty of some sort of crime, the real villains of the piece are the politicians who decided to privatise the school exam system.  How could it of turned out any differently?  Over provision + a limited market = a need for customer incentives.  Once you’ve decided to use incentives as a way of gaining market share and where there are so few options beyond outright bribery, this sort of abuse was almost inevitable.

Worse still though, is the fact that so many teachers were willing to participate in the abuse and just when their profession was begin to regain some of the respect and status it deserves.  After all, what else is more important than ensuring that our children are well educated?  Shame on these teachers and the damage they have done to our education system.

Half measures could cost council taxpayers dear!

Whilst I applaud the government’s proposals to make it slightly easier for teachers to do their job by restraining unruly or even violent pupils when needed, I fear this could prove to be yet another piece of bad legislation by a government that, like its predecessor, is often in too much of hurry to please.

To date I have not seen any proposals to prevent the restrained pupil’s parents, who can often be more badly behaved than their off-spring, from reaching for the Yellow Pages and setting the whole no-win, no-fee gravy train in motion.

What’s the point of telling teachers that they now have protection at one level, if in fact the education authority that employs them can still itself be sued by self serving parents?  It’s also worth remembering that it is local taxpayers, through their council tax bills, who will ultimately be picking up the bill for the avalanche of law suits that are likely to follow as newly empowered teachers begin to flex their new found muscles.

Government now needs to finish the job by offering the local taxpayer protection from the often unruly and sometimes ‘violently’ greedy parents and lawyers, who could soon be stalking the corridors of town halls up and down the land.