Wednesday 19 December 2007

EMAs: Education Mess Around

Whilst perusing other blogs, I found myself nodding along in agreement to this comment about EMAs. EMAs are Education Maintenance Grants (or something like that) which are weekly sums paid to sixth form students as long as they turn up to lessons and stay in education past the age of 16. In theory this sounds all well and good. In practice it means that our school now attracts a whole extra quota of ne'er-do-wells and has to provide courses for them to take, such as "Deckchair Studies" and "Hair and Nails". And as many of these students have previously failed to gain a C grade in any GCSE subjects, they also re-sit a few exams.

Or rather, they are supposed to. Instead, I have a couple of slots per week on my timetable which are for some crappy waste-of-space course to which these students rarely turn up. I obediently do all the necessary preparation, and was quite enthused to start with in that typical September way; I researched ways to teach the course in an interesting way to get the best out of such slackers, and prepared topical resources. And for the first few sessions I did relish having just a few students to concentrate on, as they each had some tutorial time with me to work one-on-one whilst the others started projects. But now these sixth-formers have wised up to the fact that they can still get their grants without actually having to do very much at all.

Therefore today I had a class devoid of students, until one turned up half way through the sesssion, blowing gum bubbles and nodding along to his ipod, no books or bag or even a pen. I just sent him away again in disgust and went back to clearing out my book cupboard and eating the chocolates I'd brought in for prizes. So yeah, it worked out well for me. But at some point I'm going to be expected to be accountable, and these slackers will have to sit their exams...

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