First of all before I comment on "Clive" the teacher's comments (or in fact the
foundations apparent support of them) let me first say that I have absolutely
zero time for our Minister of Education in the UK (Mr Gove) or many his
policies .. however I.M.H.O. as a parent with a child in state school (thankfully a Grammar School) and with 4 nephews and nieces in state schools :
1. I think "Clive" especially as a teacher should be setting an example to both
children and his peers, this is not an "adult humour" forum its "meant" to be the CORE ASSET AND INTERFACE of an educational charitable foundation. Unlike its peers
in the U.S.A. this forum isn't C.O.P.P.A. compliant and many children and impressionable teenagers reading/posting will take the view that its fine to
insult figures of authority in this way. By all means post intellectual and rational critique of a persons professional performance/policies and before someone says "get a
life" .. this is not humour its personal abuse and moreover its pretty stupid to personally insult the guy in the govt. whose pen stroke is most able to help with the foundation's aims of getting pi's in to classrooms ! stupid !
2. Originally when I was a kid, IT in schools was driven fundamentally by teachers with an intense interest in personal computing and without the huge sums of money thrown around in schools nowadays on "ICT".
The result was that many of us were soldering, etching circuit boards and coding (albeit only in basic and Pascal) before we sat our O'Levels. Much of this was done by teachers after school in their own time who brought in their own computers (PET's, Acorn atoms, Apple 2's, TRS80's etc). That really has been with me throughout my career in finance at "C" level in international software/hardware firms, telco's and financial services. In simple terms I have gained a hell of a lot of benefit from great teachers who in their own time (so unpaid !) passed on their own interest and knowledge. P.S. I went to state school in a very poor part of the N.W. of England in the days before the government swilled vast sums of money around schools, teachers and paid trades union positions !.
3. Fast forward to today .. and we have something called ICT which as a parent it seems to me to be teaching how to use ms office and switch on a computer and not much more and moreover in the case of many state schools it's taught by teachers with little knowledge of computing (hardware or software) and even less interest in it.
(usually the kids know more than the teachers).
Now not all state schools are like this in the school my child is at the teachers run (in their own time) after school classes in basic electronics and programming ...
However, sadly my 4 nephews and nieces just have ICT taught by teachers whose
prime skillset is English or P.E. and with zero interest and not much more knowledge of the subject. (the reason I will be buying a couple of pi's for them for my father to teach them) so although there are no after hours classes for them at school instead my father will be running them !
In terms of the Pi, from what I have seen money isn't an issue in the vast majority of schools, pi's cost circa £40 each (cased and psu) and all schools nowadays that I have seen are kitted out with pc's keyboards, TFT's en mass .. so 10 pi's is £400 which all schools will have no issue in finding if we are honest .. the real issue is finding schools with teachers with an interest in pushing for them to be bought and with the
interest and basic knowledge to use and teach using them.
4. On to the current government's policies and the foundations goals - The current govt. to its credit has recognised that the standard of both teaching and course content for "ICT" in the UK is very poor across the board and very patchy from school
to school and has committed to do something about it ...
... here should be where the foundation come in to lobby our Education Minister ... so lets hope "Clive" the teacher can set a better example going forward.
5. It's a sad statistic that the 200 best performing schools in the UK are private or the few grammar schools that are left .. and sadly you can see this also in the enquiries to the foundation where enquires about the pi from private schools are running at 5x the rate of those from state schools (whose numbers are vastly greater).
.. now none of this is a money issue or a curriculum issue IMHO its a lack of interest, knowledge, imagination and commitment from many state schools.
hope it helps