The state broadcaster’s proxy war against the SNP now uses a dodgy dossier of ‘research’ on teachers

Now Jamie, if two Higher mathematics pupils are in a class with ten National 5 mathematics pupils, is the SNP to blame for something?

Once more Reporting Scotland reveals a love for the partisan views of trades unionists nakedly pursuing the interests of their members. It’s a sharp and comedic contrast with the BBC’s past disdain for mine and railway worker unions in the 70s and 80s. Unable to land punches directly on the popular and competent Scottish Government, BBC Scotland tend habitually to pounce on any supposed failures in those services – health, police, education – which they are responsible for. Mud sticks they hope secretly.

Today, we return to the supposed teacher shortages and undue pressures in the secondary school classrooms. The report has three major flaws.

First, there is something missing, unsaid, and repeatedly so. The public have a right to know, so I’ve inserted it in bold, in the transcript below:

Pupils are being short changed when they are taught together for different qualifications, in the same subject according to a teacher’s union. The SSTA wants to curb the practice of so-called “multi course teaching” in the same subject in the senior years of secondary school. It can mean students doing National 4s and 5s in the same subject are being taught alongside others doing their Highers in the same subject. The Scottish government recently announced a review which will look into this. Multi-course teaching in the same subject is becoming increasingly widespread, according to the union.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-49795606

So, for example a trained teacher of Mathematics may have pupils working at different levels in Mathematics in their class of 10 or so pupils. They are trained to teach mixed ability classes. It is normal to do so. I was a primary teacher and had to teach several discrete subjects. Already, by age 11/12 there was at least a 7 year-gap in the abilities of some of the pupils in my class of 30. I was trained.

Second, the research is useless as it is based on a tiny self-selecting sample. There were 23 317 secondary teachers in Scotland in 2018, up 167 from 2017.

https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/statistics/2018/12/summary-statistics-schools-scotland-9-2018/documents/summary-statistics-schools-scotland-9-2018-edition/summary-statistics-schools-scotland-9-2018-edition/govscot%3Adocument/00543847.pdf

1 200 out of 23 317 is 5.14%. A sample of 5.14% based only on those who chose to respond is so unreliable that the pupils in a first-year mathematics classes would know it was.

BBC Scotland wrote:

‘The SSTA surveyed its members on the issue – more than 1,200 responded.’ Wow!

Third, as always BBC Scotland failed to contextualise these already fatuous claims with this:

SHOCK: Scotland has 35% more teachers per capita than Tory England and 46% more than Labour Wales!

Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

6 thoughts on “The state broadcaster’s proxy war against the SNP now uses a dodgy dossier of ‘research’ on teachers

  1. Well they are still “at it ” this morning on GMS , in fact John Swinney is coming in after eight , how that man keeps his patience with the inane questions he gets from Robinson and Millar is beyond me ! .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were the usual aggressive interruptions rom Hayley Miller.

      The SSTA has always had a very reactionary membership and their ‘surveys’ have always had the gripe they wanted built into the survey, so that they get the ‘answer’ they want.

      They always imply that these young people being taught in multi-level classes are in ‘classes of up to 30’, whereas, other than in Mathematics and English such sizes are very rare. It is the subjects selected by relatively small numbers if students which most often have ‘multi-levels’ (usually two adjacent levels). Such class numbers will be relatively small and the students will have been aware of what the situation is. In subjects such as Art or Music – which are often selected by relatively few students – ‘multi-level has always been the norm, since there are substantial individualistic elements.

      Finally, the SSTA is implying that although the levels are in the same subject, that the content of these levels is ‘totally (sic)’ different. Since there has to be ‘progression’ from one level to another, it is neither desirable nor likely that there is a great difference. Curricula in subjects are usually designed in a ‘cyclical’ way. The same themes are returned to at each phase but covered in greater depth and breadth at each stage.

      At 9.00am in the headlines bulletin the ‘lie’ was repeated at great length., probably taking as much time as all the other headlines together

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a very short editorial anent the Supreme Court decision carried on today’s Scottish Legal site which is well worth a read. May I place the final paragraph (concise but withering) here for wider viewing? link and snippet below:

    https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/editorial-an-undemocratic-plot-stymied-a-proud-day-for-scotland-and-her-lawyers

    And to Sir James Eadie QC who, in his defence of the UK government, could not resist a rather condescending dismissal of the Scottish judges’ contention that his clients had prorogued Parliament in a bid to stymie it with a “whatever that might mean”. We say: now you know.

    Graham Ogilvy

    Liked by 1 person

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