Boredom, Brexit, and British Teachers Abroad

Education news has been pushed to the sideline by the upcoming EU referendum, but schools and teachers are now stepping into the fray to warn that Brexit might negatively impact children's education, citing the difficulties it will create for Languages departments and the funding problems it will create at university level, particularly for students pursuing a career in sciences, where EU funding and international cooperation is especially important.

Figures show that over half a million teachers will be leaving Britain to teach abroad in the next few years, driven by a combination of better pay, more comfortable working conditions, and high demand for English-style schooling. This has led to concerns that British schools, already in the grips of a teacher shortage, will find it harder and harder to employ the best teachers as more and more are lured overseas.

An English teacher in Scotland recently made news when she was fired for her “boring” teaching and refusal to improve. Lessons apparently included copying out the teacher’s notes on clips of Jurassic Park, silent reading, and numerous “punishment” exercises.

Yet again, Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) are under the spotlight for dubious business practices. Strikes are planned at schools in the Schools Partnership Trust Academies chain as a “curriculum restructure” sees arts subjects ditched and leaves over 80 members of staff facing redundancy. This comes as financial auditors are increasingly concerned about the management and lack of financial transparency in MATs, and a recent investigation in The Observer reveals just some of the ways that academy chains have been cutting costs in order to boost their profits.

Finally, as Michael Wilshaw steps down from his post as head of Ofsted, he leaves with a few parting shots at the Department for Education, claiming that academies are failing to show any significant improvements over the council-run schools they have replaced. His planned successor, Amanda Spielman, is already under fire for her lack of teaching experience, as she stands to become the first Ofsted chief to have never held a teaching position.

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