Professionalism in Practice the PAT Journal by mmm3


									Professionalism in Practice: the PAT Journal Autumn (October) 2002
Selected articles and information from PAT's journal

Conference 2002 (Telford)

Minister meets the members
Baroness Ashton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for School Standards, addressed members on the opening day of Conference at the Moat House Hotel in Telford. She used her speech to praise and thank the workforce that provides the quality care and education that children are receiving. She acknowledged that recruitment and retention difficulties remained and referred to issues of pupil behaviour that are of continuing concern to members. The Minister outlined her role as part of the ongoing developments with the Sure Start initiative and the review of Educational Health and Social Care. She elaborated on the new discretionary powers for governing bodies, and said that collaborative ventures were to be encouraged in order to provide a more comprehensive range of family and community services. After delivering her speech, Baroness Ashton took questions from PAT members. May Castrey led by asking the Minister about her role on the newly formed curriculum review committee. Having clarified that this was an internal group looking at providing support for primary schools, the Minister reassured members that teachers would be consulted on any proposals from the DfES . After his much publicised motion on school trips at last year’s Conference, Jim O’Neill (Leicestershire) asked the Minister to share her views on this topic. In responding, she said that educational visits were a valuable part of children’s learning, but with safety considerations being paramount. in order to minimise risks for staff and pupils. Government had to learn from what had gone wrong in the past and offer the best advice to schools

The testing of children at age 7 and 11 is a topic guaranteed to stir teachers’ interest and there was much support for Janice Gill (West Sussex) who asked the Minister why this continued when continuous assessment by teachers was just as effective. Baroness Ashton stood firm on the Government’s view that measurements of pupil achievement were vital in recording effective curriculum delivery and in supporting pupil transfer to secondary school. When challenged by Pat Nicholas (Hertfordshire) about an appropriate

education system for five year olds, the Minister remained convinced that our system, that ‘offers so much to our young children’, was both flexible and fair. Caroline Wigmore (London), a strong campaigner for special schools, asked about their role in the drive to promote inclusive education. The Minister acknowledged that many changes would occur in mainstream schools in support of those pupils with special needs. expertise with mainstream colleagues. The Minister was asked to comment on the stance teachers should adopt following Government moves to decriminalise various substances. She was adamant that schools should not tolerate any form of drug taking, but should be ‘proactive’ in trying to eliminate peer pressure and the influence of drugs on pupils. As a primary school head teacher who recognises the value of teacher-support staff partnerships, Kathleen Barraclough (Surrey) asked about the Government’s proposals for appropriate training, recognition of status and remuneration for support staff. The Minister praised the dedication and commitment of these staff. The first challenge was to bring clarification to the various roles; the second challenge was to fully develop this valuable workforce, an issue currently in the hands of Estelle Morris and David Miliband. Baroness Ashton concluded wished her to address. However, special schools should not feel threatened by any Government proposals, but be willing to share and develop

by welcoming written questions on issues members

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