Teacher in parting shot at Gove

Herald Series: A disillusioned teacher who is quitting the profession has written a scathing letter to Michael Gove. A disillusioned teacher who is quitting the profession has written a scathing letter to Michael Gove.

A primary school teacher has penned a scathing open letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove outlining her reasons for quitting her profession after 14 years.

Lucy Fey, who works at an inner city school in Bristol, posted the letter on social media attacking Mr Gove for focusing on targets and putting young children under "huge" pressure.

The experienced teacher handed in her notice because she could no longer watch those pupils failing to meet the expected standard in the three Rs of writing, reading and maths.

In the letter, she wrote: "There is nothing better than a class full of buzzing pupils, excited about what they are learning, taking ownership of the lesson.

"This is becoming increasingly hard to achieve when we expect so much from them. There is little time to have fun, to enquire, to be intrigued, to be children. They have too much pressure. They must, 'compete with the world's best'.

"Why are we not letting them grow as individuals? Why are we damaging their self-esteem and confidence by trying to make them all fit into the same box?

"To ensure a successful future for our country we need to give children a broad, balanced curriculum which enables everyone to excel at what they are good at.

"They need to feel empowered and valued for their individual skills to be able to take risks and push the boundaries to be successful. How is that possible if they have had a restricted education?

"How will all those talented people who are not necessarily 'academic' excel in their different industries if they were not given the opportunity to hone their skills throughout their education?

"How will this improve our country? What sort of adults will they turn in to? I know I never had those pressures when I was a child.

"I handed my notice in last week. I can't do this to them anymore."

The letter was published on the Facebook page of the Teacher Roar group, which is aimed at hosting material opposed to the policies of Mr Gove.

Ms Fey said teachers were now expected to act as councillors, behaviour specialists, social workers and mental health workers, all without any formal training.

"Until recently, I was not adept at data analysis. I now know that the pupils we are teaching are not simply children, they are numbers, percentages," she said.

"The hours I have spent analysing data to decide which children need intensive afternoon intervention groups, those who need that extra 'boost.'

"Those children do not take part in the afternoon history, geography, art, science, music, PE or RE lessons as they are struggling with maths, reading and writing.

"They understand that they must miss out on subjects they are more likely to engage with, feel confident in, so they have the opportunity to achieve the required level in writing, reading and maths.

"They spend all day, every day struggling. Slowly feeling more and more like a failure, becoming more and more disengaged.

"It is amazing that every one of my pupils knows what level they are working at and what level they need to be at the end of the year.

"Children are so desperate to achieve and to please others that they naturally put themselves under a huge amount of pressure.

"If they are not working at age related expectations they believe they are not doing well despite the amazing progress they have made. They are in tears. They feel the pressure.

"They know they are not where they 'should' be. They know already, at primary school, that they may not be 'successful' in the future.

"They know that the only subjects worth anything are reading, writing and maths. They know that their options are limited."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We make no apology for expecting all children to leave primary school with a good standard of reading, writing and maths so that they can thrive at secondary school.

"We are determined to eradicate illiteracy and innumeracy and it is vital we continue to set high aspirations for all schools and pupils. All the evidence shows that if you start behind, you stay behind."

Comments (10)

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2:41pm Wed 4 Jun 14

vicn1956 says...

This is the result of 25+ years of politicians and academics putting their 2p'th in because a minority of schools did not properly educate due to left wing ideologies.
Don't make them learn their tables
they don't need to spell correctly
express themselves with no need to produce their highest standard of work
and on and on and on..................
...........
If it came down from above to hop on one leg while shouting out their targets twice daily most teachers would do it due to management telling them they have to or face incompetency procedures.
I's so glad I'm out of it after 33+ years.
Teaching was a pleasure when I started. We worked hard and all made progress and enjoyed school life. That's all changed-sadly.
This is the result of 25+ years of politicians and academics putting their 2p'th in because a minority of schools did not properly educate due to left wing ideologies. Don't make them learn their tables they don't need to spell correctly express themselves with no need to produce their highest standard of work and on and on and on.................. ........... If it came down from above to hop on one leg while shouting out their targets twice daily most teachers would do it due to management telling them they have to or face incompetency procedures. I's so glad I'm out of it after 33+ years. Teaching was a pleasure when I started. We worked hard and all made progress and enjoyed school life. That's all changed-sadly. vicn1956
  • Score: 23

3:05pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

So what's this ex-teacher going to do next?
So what's this ex-teacher going to do next? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -6

3:40pm Wed 4 Jun 14

s&k says...

Ever read Dicken's Hard Times? That's the Tory education policy. Shameful.
Ever read Dicken's Hard Times? That's the Tory education policy. Shameful. s&k
  • Score: 14

5:10pm Wed 4 Jun 14

jonone says...

Hmmmm, didn't realise primary school teachers actually taught - seems to be my job more and more. When my daughter's teacher referred to VE Day as Victory in England Day, I started to despair.
Hmmmm, didn't realise primary school teachers actually taught - seems to be my job more and more. When my daughter's teacher referred to VE Day as Victory in England Day, I started to despair. jonone
  • Score: -6

6:28pm Wed 4 Jun 14

skeptik says...

I would not accept it was all down to left wing Ideologies. Keith Joseph and others must be taken into account.
I would not accept it was all down to left wing Ideologies. Keith Joseph and others must be taken into account. skeptik
  • Score: 1

6:48pm Wed 4 Jun 14

spragger says...

'she could no longer watch those pupils failing to meet the expected standard in the three Rs of writing, reading and maths'.

Maybe she was part of the problem? She could have got her **** in gear whilst working
'she could no longer watch those pupils failing to meet the expected standard in the three Rs of writing, reading and maths'. Maybe she was part of the problem? She could have got her **** in gear whilst working spragger
  • Score: -3

7:00pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Binkie Beaumont says...

I find these comments quite hard to swallow, as a parent. I quite agree that life was very different 40 odd years ago, but it is absolutely right that children are prepared for a competitive world. The teaching profession should be relishing the opportunity to drive up standards. Michael Gove may have his faults but I do support his desire to create good schools for all children.
I find these comments quite hard to swallow, as a parent. I quite agree that life was very different 40 odd years ago, but it is absolutely right that children are prepared for a competitive world. The teaching profession should be relishing the opportunity to drive up standards. Michael Gove may have his faults but I do support his desire to create good schools for all children. Binkie Beaumont
  • Score: -5

7:32pm Wed 4 Jun 14

welshmen says...

The Liberal Left are just as bad at teaching our kids as the Islamic Radicals in Birmingham, time to stop these teaching our kids, and to train and employ British Cultured teachers, our Country, our History, and our Heritage taught to every pupil...

The restoration of discipline – including corporal punishment – uniforms, traditional teaching methods and stricter exams (e.g. ‘0? levels);
- The reintroduction of grammar schools with entrance exams at 11 and 13;
- The reversal of the programme to close special needs schools which penalises the most vulnerable;
- The reintroduction of competitive sports and daily Christian assemblies;
- The teaching of old-fashioned literacy skills (as opposed to clearly failed “modern” teaching methods);
- The teaching of old-fashioned mathematics skills which have practical application to everyday life;
- The teaching of a full curriculum of British history. This will instil in our young people knowledge of and pride in the history, cultures and heritage of the native peoples of Britain, and not the cherry-picked politically correct drivel being fed to children today;
- The abolition of fees and the restoration of full grants to university students studying proper subjects (as opposed to fake “social sciences”);
- The improvement of school food as proper meals have been shown to be linked to behaviour and achievement;
- The ending of the scandalous and racist neglect that has left working class white boys at the bottom of the table for academic achievement;
- The introduction of tax breaks for home-schooling parents or direct subsidies as their fair share of the education budget;
- The introduction of a compulsory Community Award Scheme for all school-leavers to teach them work ethics and social and community values. This would consist of work caring for the elderly or handicapped people, or environmental or heritage restoration projects, or military training. These courses would be character-building and instil discipline, social and community values and work ethics in all young people. Service in this scheme would entitle each individual to get ’something back’ from the society to which they have learnt to contribute, such as free university education, a properly supported apprenticeship, or business training and start-up capital for would-be entrepreneurs.....
The Liberal Left are just as bad at teaching our kids as the Islamic Radicals in Birmingham, time to stop these teaching our kids, and to train and employ British Cultured teachers, our Country, our History, and our Heritage taught to every pupil... The restoration of discipline – including corporal punishment – uniforms, traditional teaching methods and stricter exams (e.g. ‘0? levels); - The reintroduction of grammar schools with entrance exams at 11 and 13; - The reversal of the programme to close special needs schools which penalises the most vulnerable; - The reintroduction of competitive sports and daily Christian assemblies; - The teaching of old-fashioned literacy skills (as opposed to clearly failed “modern” teaching methods); - The teaching of old-fashioned mathematics skills which have practical application to everyday life; - The teaching of a full curriculum of British history. This will instil in our young people knowledge of and pride in the history, cultures and heritage of the native peoples of Britain, and not the cherry-picked politically correct drivel being fed to children today; - The abolition of fees and the restoration of full grants to university students studying proper subjects (as opposed to fake “social sciences”); - The improvement of school food as proper meals have been shown to be linked to behaviour and achievement; - The ending of the scandalous and racist neglect that has left working class white boys at the bottom of the table for academic achievement; - The introduction of tax breaks for home-schooling parents or direct subsidies as their fair share of the education budget; - The introduction of a compulsory Community Award Scheme for all school-leavers to teach them work ethics and social and community values. This would consist of work caring for the elderly or handicapped people, or environmental or heritage restoration projects, or military training. These courses would be character-building and instil discipline, social and community values and work ethics in all young people. Service in this scheme would entitle each individual to get ’something back’ from the society to which they have learnt to contribute, such as free university education, a properly supported apprenticeship, or business training and start-up capital for would-be entrepreneurs..... welshmen
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Wed 4 Jun 14

TheCaveman says...

I regularly exchange emails with a teacher I know in Swindon - and HER spelling and grammar is atrocious, I despair at the huge amounts of taxpayers (OUR!) money being thrown into what are at best overgrown playpens.

As an employer I am appalled at the standards of literacy and numeracy I see in the majority of job applicants I see (like, erm, you know....). The country is sinking deeper in the mire, unable to compete as it should in international markets thanks to the incredible decline in education standards.
I regularly exchange emails with a teacher I know in Swindon - and HER spelling and grammar is atrocious, I despair at the huge amounts of taxpayers (OUR!) money being thrown into what are at best overgrown playpens. As an employer I am appalled at the standards of literacy and numeracy I see in the majority of job applicants I see (like, erm, you know....). The country is sinking deeper in the mire, unable to compete as it should in international markets thanks to the incredible decline in education standards. TheCaveman
  • Score: -1

7:53am Thu 5 Jun 14

jenkinsroy says...

Well Mr Michael Gove /HITLER a question
for you and all how have commented
up to today 5/6/2014.
You lot seem to be doing lot of mouthing
about the teachers not doing there job right?
If I am right did you the parents not put your kids
in this school yes or no ? I think yes so in my eye
you are just as bad as the teachers .
And I suggest you all watch what you are saying and
go to your school in the daytime are see the pressures
the teachers are under then you can comment the true
staite of thing .
And as for Mr gove what would you do if all the school closed
and the teachers did not turn up for work are you going to teach
them or are the parents of the children because if this work
environment keep up that is what will happen but of course
it will not affect you Mr gove you will not have to stay of work
to look after the kids will you but the mum and dad will have too
So all of you with kids in schools after reading this take my advice
look at it from the teacher eye if not one day you will take your kids to school only to find out it is shut and you will have to return home with them this is how bad it is getting the changes are need but not in one
lump sum it will take time but this idiot Mr gove WANTS IT NOW ALL
DOING THIS WILL COST HIM HIS JOB .
But you the parents will still be stuck with the look after your kid
when the school is shut will you not
So before the **** it the fan it would be a good idea for ALL you parents
out there to talk to your schools and the staff then tell Mr gove
he must slow down with the reform before it is too late.
Also have you parents ever stopped to look at the big picture NO YOU HAVE NOT you drop them off at school and go yes or no? YES
P.S. think about this as well come 2015 he will be out of a job this is why
he is trying to get all the changes in now why so he can say to is mate in the pub I did that I tried to control the school and failed this is just his C.V.
he does not give a **** about you or your kids if you do not believe me
check him out he has failed more time than the teacher have look into him right and then you will know how hard it is for your kids never mind the teacher you must have noticed changes in your kids when school time come well it is have to do everything at once and it is doing there HEADS IN school is a prison now not a place of learning.
Then what will you parent do when all the teachers are gone as well
and you kid are at home all the time .
As I say in this comment you must look at all the sides look into the school look into Mr gove and then make a comment when you have all
the facts .
I think from the home work I have done on Mr gove he is a spoiled man
alway got what he wanted so now he wants to go out with a big ban then he can tell all the world what a good boy he has been if only this was true
his reforms are too fast too hard and need time but as I said in this coment he is running out of time 2015 he will be out
Well Mr Michael Gove /HITLER a question for you and all how have commented up to today 5/6/2014. You lot seem to be doing lot of mouthing about the teachers not doing there job right? If I am right did you the parents not put your kids in this school yes or no ? I think yes so in my eye you are just as bad as the teachers . And I suggest you all watch what you are saying and go to your school in the daytime are see the pressures the teachers are under then you can comment the true staite of thing . And as for Mr gove what would you do if all the school closed and the teachers did not turn up for work are you going to teach them or are the parents of the children because if this work environment keep up that is what will happen but of course it will not affect you Mr gove you will not have to stay of work to look after the kids will you but the mum and dad will have too So all of you with kids in schools after reading this take my advice look at it from the teacher eye if not one day you will take your kids to school only to find out it is shut and you will have to return home with them this is how bad it is getting the changes are need but not in one lump sum it will take time but this idiot Mr gove WANTS IT NOW ALL DOING THIS WILL COST HIM HIS JOB . But you the parents will still be stuck with the look after your kid when the school is shut will you not So before the **** it the fan it would be a good idea for ALL you parents out there to talk to your schools and the staff then tell Mr gove he must slow down with the reform before it is too late. Also have you parents ever stopped to look at the big picture NO YOU HAVE NOT you drop them off at school and go yes or no? YES P.S. think about this as well come 2015 he will be out of a job this is why he is trying to get all the changes in now why so he can say to is mate in the pub I did that I tried to control the school and failed this is just his C.V. he does not give a **** about you or your kids if you do not believe me check him out he has failed more time than the teacher have look into him right and then you will know how hard it is for your kids never mind the teacher you must have noticed changes in your kids when school time come well it is have to do everything at once and it is doing there HEADS IN school is a prison now not a place of learning. Then what will you parent do when all the teachers are gone as well and you kid are at home all the time . As I say in this comment you must look at all the sides look into the school look into Mr gove and then make a comment when you have all the facts . I think from the home work I have done on Mr gove he is a spoiled man alway got what he wanted so now he wants to go out with a big ban then he can tell all the world what a good boy he has been if only this was true his reforms are too fast too hard and need time but as I said in this coment he is running out of time 2015 he will be out jenkinsroy
  • Score: 1
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