If it’s not hospitals with pigeon poo, it’s the police and their bangers. If it’s not the lack of VTOL fire engines for remote areas, it’s teachers’ workloads. Today the Herald and others, have funnelled the findings of the latest ‘research’ from a teachers’ union, the NAS UWT, on pupil behaviour. Here’s an extract from the Herald:
‘More than two-thirds of teachers responding to a union survey have said they believe poor pupil behaviour is a widespread problem at their school. Almost 700 teachers responded to the survey teaching union NASUWT carried out in Scotland between February and this month. A total of 67% of the 673 respondents said poor pupil behaviour was a widespread problem at their school.’
There are more than 51 000 teachers in Scotland. I can’t fid the NAS UWT membership in Scotland, but these results are taken from a UK-wide survey where 5 000 of the 300 000 members responded giving a sample of 16.66%. That would be OK if it was properly sampled but it’s based on self-selection where only those who were bothered enough responded – squeaky wheel gets the grease? Self-selecting samples are completely unreliable and a union containing at least some maths teachers clearly knows that but, hey, representing members interests comes first.
But wait, there’s more!
Do you believe poor pupil behaviour is a widespread problem at your school?
Judging by the report, the research question triggering 67% of the 673 respondents to agree was close to the above. ‘Poor pupil behaviour’ is a bit inclusive is it not? Looking out of the window at dogs fornicating? Doodling? Talking in class? I feel sure if you’d asked my colleagues and me, that question, back in 1980, you’d have got 99% agreeing. The guy drinking in the walk-in cupboard refused to respond.
‘Today’s teachers less worried about poor behaviour than they were under Thatcher. SNP blamed.’
Interesting that the Grauniad headline is about 24% of teachers experiencing violence – I guess the Scottish sub-sample doesn’t reach anywhere near that figure or else it would have been highlighted.
Yes so they’ve gone for the bigger ‘poor’category.
The Herald went ‘big’ on this story today but there was no mention of a Scottish sub-sample in their report. Similarly they reported a few days ago on a survey carried out by the NEU (NUE?) Teachers union which had 12,000 responses but no mention of how many came from Scotland and whether the findings of the Scottish sub-sample, if it existed, were in line with the main findings. I was unaware that these unions had any significant presence in Scotland and the failure of the newspaper reports to mention any specific results from a Scottish sub-sample would appear to confirm their Scottish membership is not huge.
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The National Education Union has no members in Scotland. The NASUWT is essentially an English based union, which has a very few members in Scotland, c<5%. It assimilated a very small Scottish union, the Scottish School Masters Association, which split from the EIS in the 1950s, because – horror of horrors! – the EIS had negotiated equal pay for women!! (who have always formed the majority of the teaching force.) In a typical Scottish secondary school, they will have fewer than 5 members, if any. It has always been reactionary. It has always opposed any innovation. In their view, pupil conduct has always been getting worse. The quote given in the article is almost word for word the kind of quote the SSA was issuing in the 1960s, when I first entered the profession.
The few who are in the NASUWT in any school are usually in it because the EIS has, rightly refused to support their unreasonable, idiosyncratic and verging on fascist views. There are so few of them that any opinion they express just is 'anecdotal', because the sample just cannot be large enough to give a generalisable view.
However, that doesn't stop NOmedia!
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Good morning, I award your work a gold star for the verity and brevity of “Counter-propaganda and citizen journalism since 2014”. And you get another gold star for your links to sources and high quality conventional journalism. Have a third gold star for re-posting these links to refresh the memories of your readers. Take a fourth gold star for building on the contributions of your commenters/researchers. Accept a fifth gold star for the title “Talking up Scotland” and giving me the facts to do that.
As ever, best wishes to you and yours!
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Whoa! Whoa! Too much man! That is easily the best encouragement I’ve ever had. I award you 5 gold stars for ability to cheer-up!
Wait a mo, why is TuS only the 5th or 6th most popular Scottish politics blog?
Alasdair is appointed TuS Honorary Historian.