It’s like a recurring nightmare: problems with the educational system. Week in, week out, the papers carry stories about pupils with little grasp of the three ‘Rs’ (reading, writing and arithmetic), a poorly managed education system and big shortages in quality teaching staff.

Today the story is about poor management. According to a draft report by the school inspectorate, only one in 15 secondary schools delivers the regulatory number of hours of teaching per year.
Even worse, almost half the schools inspected couldn’t account for the teaching hours they claim to have delivered.
This begs the question: what have they been doing then? Going off for team-building exercises in the Caribbean? Apparently not.
Schools claim they have too many forms to fill in, procedures to follow and too few staff. The staff they do have are de-motivated by poor pay.
But surely it must be possible to cope with all this and still deliver the minimum 1,040 teaching hours (it’s only 130 eight-hour days) per school year.
Maybe teachers and their managers should work a bit harder. Perhaps school days should be a bit longer.
This could perhaps help solve another problem: the growing number of teenagers hanging around street corners. Local councils say the problem needs drastic action.

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