Sweeping Education Under The Carpet

There is so much being swept under the carpet these days that the lumps and bumps are quite noticeable.

There must be some big brushes out there because it seems as if most of the issues in education are being hidden away.

Take for example, teacher well-being. We are told that some school leaders might be sweeping this under the carpet and not taking teachers’ mental health seriously in order to tackle the recruitment crisis.

School leaders’ union NAHT say that problems with assessment shouldn’t be swept under the carpet and have demanded urgent action from the government to address the chaotic and confusing system of assessing school children’s academic performance.

The Royal College of GPs tell us that childhood obesity mustn’t be swept under the carpet as they cite research which finds that many parents are underestimating their children’s size when they were overweight. University of Nottingham research found parents who were overweight themselves or less well educated were also less accurate at spotting a child’s higher weight and many avoided medical terms such as “obesity”, preferring to call their child “big boned” or “solid”.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA), told its 2018 congress that a “high number” of teachers are leaving their profession thanks to pupils’ bad behaviour being “swept under the carpet” amid “constant pressure” to cut the number of exclusions. Progressive teaching methods have also been blamed for fuelling the rise in poor discipline.

LGBT rights are being ignored and swept under the carpet in some parts of Australia. In Perth, girls from St Mary’s Anglican School have been denied the right to bring a same-sex partner to the school dance.

Despite schools talking tough about racism and discrimination, there are concerns that some schools sweep racist incidents under the carpet. Certainly this has been the case in universities.

It gets worse and includes safeguarding. Jeremy Forrest, a teacher at Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, had a sexual relationship with one of his pupils, a 14 year old girl and when the relationship was about to be found out, abducted her to France. The warning signs of this child abuse were swept under the carpet at the school at the time treating the child as a problem rather than as a possible victim of abuse. Other children raised concerns and these were not passed on.

Accuracy is often swept under the carpet. Matthew Di Carlo cites that teacher effects can be grossly over-rated and particular commentators are to blame for creating fake news such as “Copious research has shown that teacher effectiveness has the single most dramatic impact on student performance.”

In Ireland, digital education is being swept under the carpet too. There has been talk about raising the digital age of consent to 16 years but Harry McCann of the Digital Youth Council argues that would leave young people at a greater risk online.

You name it, it’s being swept under the carpet and that includes test results.

And although politicians are pretty good at sweeping things under the carpet (and in full view of everyone else too) it seems that education has plenty of cleaning staff willing to bury their heads in the sand or turn a blind eye to something so they can avoid dealing with a problem.

Some schools don’t sweep things under the carpet because they can’t afford a carpet so they have to keep things on top of the lino or skate on thin ice instead.

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