Articles by Tessa Matthews
Tessa is an English teacher in the UK and blogs about education. She is passionate about the need for more knowledge in the English curriculum. Her ideas are grounded in both her own experience working in a challenging school, and the suggestions put forward by writers such as E.D. Hirsch and Daniel T. Willingham.
What effect do OFSTED have on the way schools are run?
“Tessa, you simply can’t have children reading in silence when Ofsted come in; you can’t show progress that way.” It was a bright, cold day in November and the clocks were striking 11. An urgent meeting was called at lunchtime; it could only mean one thing. Coded messages were passed between teachers in the corridors: […]
What should we do about kids who aren’t making progress?
My saviour, the school bell, lets out its victorious shriek right on time every single day. A fanfare for the overworked and underpaid: its cheery song bestows a triumphant feeling of glee and exultation upon those still clinging to the last fragments of their sanity, congratulating them for having made it through another day. Except […]
What restricts teachers?
“We live in fear of the boxes; we are worried about what might happen if we simply refuse to keep ticking them.” Tessa Matthews argues that most teachers have little faith that the ‘boxes’ they are forced to tick are helping young people - and wonders what might happen instead if teachers challenged the ‘restrictive powers’ that cast a shadow over education.
Is this an education?
“What should they do, when they realise that their education is limited?” Tessa Matthews challenges an education system that allows young people to receive a narrow education - and which subsequently narrows their educational and career opportunities.
Do we really have high expectations of our students? Or is it just talk? Part Two: Curriculum
“Miss Matthews, these texts aren’t exactly very inspiring!”- Year 10 pupil, Galaxy High. Last week, I blogged about the low expectations Galaxy High has of the behaviour of its students; this week, I want to go a step further and suggest that low expectations are so entrenched in the system that even the curriculum we […]
How does OFSTED help failing schools?
“We must play the game.” For almost two years, my school was in ‘Special Measures’, Ofsted’s category for failing schools. A number of blogs I have read over the past few weeks really struck a chord with me (particularly this one), as they so accurately reflect my own experiences. I want to argue that the […]