Any questions? Good handwriting, career advice and teacher confidence

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Telegraph | Education | Any questions? Good handwriting, career advice and teacher confidence
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Any questions? Good handwriting, career
advice and teacher confidence

(Filed: 14/10/2006)

Liz Lightfoot answers your education worries
A seven-year-old who is thought to be dyslexic produced a page of writing in lower
case which could only be described as gobbledegook although he could read it
clearly to his teacher. The teacher marked the work "good content", to the delight
of the boy. The child then asked the teacher why he had to do joined-up writing
because most of what he read was not joined up. The teacher was stumped, but did
add that it was the most intelligent question she had heard all week. What might
have been your answer?
That is a really clever question that shows how good he is at thinking about things. I would
probably have rambled on about joined-up writing being quicker, which helps in tests and
writing notes, while desperately searching for a better reason. Good handwriting is a joy but
how many of us have it? I've heard it suggested that joining up letters helps with spelling
because the hand sends messages to the brain about different patterns. Perhaps other
readers could help?
advertisement
I have noticed advertisements for the
job of bursar. Is there a body I can
contact for employment advice? I have a
financial degree and am keen to return
to work part-time after 10 years of child
care.
Bursars used to be found almost exclusively
in the independent sector but now state
schools are racing to recruit them as part of
the "remodelling reforms" designed to free
teachers from the burden of administration,
so it could be quite a smart career move.



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Telegraph | Education | Any questions? Good handwriting, career advice and teacher confidence
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Vacancies are advertised on this page and
some state schools put them on the website
of the National Bursars' Association (www.nba.
org.uk) which has information on training
courses. There's a frank account of a bursar's
duties on the website of the Independent
Schools' Bursars Association (www.theisba.
org.uk) which says that accountancy
qualifications are not essential, but
diplomacy, patience and tolerance are. After
10 years at home with your children, I'm sure
you possess these skills in abundance.
My five-year-old son was kept in at break
time last week because he had difficulty
using scissors and nicked the end of his
finger. How can we have any confidence in a teacher that does that to a little boy?
The teacher admits that her punishment was a bit harsh but says your son wasn't trying and
kept holding the scissors at strange angles. In her defence, she says she was alone with 29
scissor-wielding children because the classroom assistant was off sick. It's well documented
that some children develop motor skills earlier than others and that boys generally lag
behind girls, so I can't understand this obsession with cutting and pasting in reception
classes.
While we're on the subject of primary education, the biggest independent review for 40
years has been launched into the teaching of five- to 11-year-olds. Based at the University
of Cambridge and directed by Professor Robin Alexander, it aims to "sift facts from rhetoric
and stimulate debate about the future of this vital phase of education". Written submissions
will be open to all who wish to contribute. Readers, this is your chance to inject pedagogy
with much needed common sense. Write to Katrin Darsley, The Primary Review, University
of Cambridge Faculty of Education, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2PQ, or consult the
website: www.primaryreview.org.uk.


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