Monthly Archives: December 2013

A new year, a new me!

Well another year has gone by, and we are now beginning to enter the new year. Some of us already have, particularly New Zealand.

This year has most certainly been a year of change for me. I’ve lost some people close to me this year, met some amazing new people, started this very blog, worked with some amazing schools and started to show signs of the person people have seen in me all these years. It has only been recently that I’ve been able to start seeing it myself.

Next year will arguably be my toughest yet. I have so much to accomplish this year that the pressure is high. I graduate and become an NQT in just over 5 months, so I’ll be out in the big wide world soon enough. This will also be the first time I feel a sense of achievement of what I’ve been able to do in the last 5 years of rebuilding my life from the miserable start. I don’t just want to graduate, I want to get into work by the end of this year, doing the job I dedicated my life to doing and giving as many generations to come as humanly possible the opportunities they deserve.

I’m not just set out to improve academically. I know to some people I’m still a miserable 21 year old, but believe you me, I don’t want to be any longer. I’ve always wanted to be a better person than I am, and that hasn’t changed. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve met some phenomenal people over the last few years, so if you guys are reading this, you have no idea how grateful I am for the support you’ve given me. I owe you a lot!

All that remains for me to say is HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! MAY THIS YEAR BE GREATER THAN THE LAST! I shall let Slade finish up with some music.


Computers the new teachers? Not on my watch!

An Education Minister has signalled the end of the traditional teacher as the role changes beyond recognition due to new technology. Matthew Hancock, the skills and enterprise minister, unveiled plans for computers to take the lead in “imparting knowledge” while teachers focus on “mentoring, coaching and motivating”.

“Technology is a tool to empower teachers so they can concentrate on motivation and character,” Hancock said.

Ministers have set up a Whitehall unit to examine how children can be taught by computers that use sophisticated algorithms to set the pace according to individual ability.

Hancock argues that online tuition is ‘incredibly powerful’ and could help to raise Britain from the bottom of the educational league tables.

In order to disprove Hancock’s theory, I am going to cite an example from a couple of countries high up the Pisa rankings: South Korea and Japan. This comes from a couple of videos that a former lecturer at uni who is Japanese and a program I saw on TV, of which I forgot the name of now (memory of goldfish I know!). What I noticed in both of these classrooms was quite surprising. There was no computer of any form in the classroom at all. The teacher was writing on a blackboard, the children were all writing in books and not on a laptop. These countries significantly outrank ours in the Pisa scales, and yet they teach very much like we did before we got suckered into this notion that ‘technology is the way forward’ in education. All this makes me think we should go back to the old days to even back when I was at school. I’m just about old enough to remember blackboards as they were replaced when I was in Year 1 many moons ago. Even then they were replaced with normal whiteboards and not interactive ones. I didn’t learn with all of this technology and to this day I don’t see the need for it as much as some of my colleagues in the profession do.

Pushy parents, staff clothing, and canes

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief of Ofsted, and one of the most hated names among teachers in the country at the moment after his changes to inspections to little or no warning among other things, has spoken in the last few days about not shying away from improving every English School. Sounds nice, but he also talks about a few other things.

While Sir Michael has no recollection of ever owning a cane in the 1970s, he does recall using one on pupils. “I am sorry to say that I did,” Wilshaw admits, with what appears disarmingly like a flush to the cheeks. “I was a head of year in London at a time when it was part of the disciplinary cultures and procedures of the school. It never worked. I stopped corporal punishment because I realised that it didn’t work, because the youngsters you were using the cane on were used to physical violence, often at home. It sent out the wrong message. When I look back on it now I can’t imagine why we ever did it.”

This all sounds very nice, recognising that corporal punishment shouldn’t ever exist. But the problem for some of the 400,000+ teachers is that this where all the regrets from this man end.

It is now two years since Wilshaw, former headteacher of Hackney’s Mossbourne academy, and “hero” to education secretary Michael Gove for his undeniably impressive work in building one of Britain’s best schools on the old site of arguably its worst, was appointed to head the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) to whip England’s schools into shape. “It feels longer,” he admits. Indeed for me it feels longer too.

Before taking up the post, Wilshaw told a committee of MPs that he used to glaze over when reading Ofsted reports, because the language was so dull and bureaucratic. Of all the criticisms that could be thrown at Wilshaw, a lack of clarity and straight talking from Ofsted under his leadership would not be one. His tenure has been peppered with demands by unions for his resignation.

Whether by introducing school inspections with little or no warning, relabelling schools as “requiring improvement”, dismissing complaints of poor morale among staff as a sign of progress, or questioning the stress levels of principals, Wilshaw has managed to irritate many, probably most, of the country’s teaching staff. He insists that his comments have either been misconstrued or taken out of context. And, while Wilshaw’s regrets over the use of his cane in the 1970s don’t quite extend to his employment of tough talk over the past couple of years, he is keen for his goals to be understood. “I am not going to say that I haven’t made mistakes. And one of those is I need to be judicious in what I say. But, broadly, do I regret making important policy decisions? No.”

The 67-year-old insists that everything he says and does is with the aim of rescuing children from what he described in last week’s Ofsted annual report as a “poverty of expectation” in some schools that condemns unlucky children to unlucky lives. It is, he says, the poorest children who benefit the most from the structure and discipline that he wants to see in schools.

It is not that children fail to live out their dreams because of poor schooling, but that they are not supported in even having dreams, he suggests. And it is not that he wants to be loathed or feared, Wilshaw says, but that he has a job to do. “If we are seen as a soft inspectorate, a soft regulator, we won’t then do what we should be doing. It is not so much about fear as knowing that Ofsted will be tough on schools that are underperforming. I am in this job at a relatively advanced stage of my life, so I will do what I think is necessary.”

Earlier this month figures from the respected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development compared standards achieved in core academic subjects by more than 500,000 pupils aged 15, in 65 countries. The UK was ranked just 26th for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science when tests were taken in 2012. Wilshaw says the UK can’t ignore the results. I never thought I’d say this, but I agree. That is a pretty shocking statistic. Of course what this doesn’t tell us is who the other countries were. I wouldn’t mind betting countries like South Korea, China, Finland and Singapore were all there, taking the top spots.

Meanwhile, the government’s own figures, out last week, showed that 25% of children (129,000) left primary school in July without hitting the expected standard for their age. This is quite a scary thought in itself, and poses question marks on our education system eg. how are 25% getting through and not coming out of it with everything they need?

A major theme of last week’s report was that low-level disruption by unruly pupils is a major problem that drags whole classes down, and that too many teachers are turning a blind eye to it. Authority needs to be imposed, Wilshaw says, whether that means teachers dressing as professionals, or ensuring no child is tempted to call a teacher “mate”. “It is the responsibility of headteachers to be out in the corridors making sure that isn’t happening, and impressing upon teachers that they are in authority,” he says. “Teachers who dress badly, for example, or who become too friendly with children, shouldn’t complain when children are cheeky back. There has to be a degree of formality.” I agree that there needs to be formality in the classrooms. There needs to be some ground rules to ensure the maximum amount of learning can happen. I wear a suit, which to some might seem like overdressing but that is my style. It shows children how to present themselves, and may encourage them to smarten themselves up to. I’ve seen a lot of kids even in secondary schools go into school like they’ve been dragged out of a hedge first thing in the morning, which annoys me to no end (OCD much?)

And far from criticising the pushy parents who complain about teacher performance without understanding the pressures they are under, he celebrates them for pushing standards up. In fact, he adds, more parents should write to Ofsted to complain if they feel their school is failing. Wilshaw doesn’t necessarily want to upset teachers, but all of this obviously will. Indeed, he can barely stop himself from upsetting them.

Do teachers have too many holidays? “I think the six-week holiday is too long.” Is there too much time-consuming and pressure-inducing testing in schools? Not at all, says Wilshaw, who would bring back external national tests for children at seven, to ensure that schools put as many resources into that age as to older groups. He’d even have children tested annually. “If a headteacher wanted to introduce tests every year they would receive my support in doing so,” he says.

As much as I despise the man, there are some points worth mentioning which are airing on the positive side. For Example, Wilshaw insists he will be as tough on free schools and weak academies as on any other institution. What I like about this is that this comes despite the strong working relationship Wilshaw has with Gove, he’s not prepared to be suckered into Gove’s intention to make his flagship education reforms look like a success. We’ve already seen a couple of free school dilemmas, including closures, so Gove is not necessarily going to have everything his own way with such institutions.

And there is another telling facet to Wilshaw that is lost on many. Next week the Sutton Trust is expected to publish the results of a survey showing the extent to which middle-class parents admit to having moved home or started going to church to access a successful school. The survey also found that the 500 highest-achieving comprehensives have half the proportion of pupils on free school meals as the national average.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the trust, says: “Lower-income students do better when there is a mix of students of all backgrounds in a school.” Wilshaw agrees. He abhors the social exclusivity that sees a good school becomes a middle-class school because of the £200,000 premium on homes in its catchment area.

There are other things to note in Wilshaw’s employment history. In his first headship (1985 to 2003) he turned St Bonaventure’s school, in Newham, east London, from a failing school to an outstanding one. He then moved on to Mossbourne Community Academy, which replaced the fail Hackney Downs School. Wilshaw revolutionised Mossbourne and received two outstanding judgments from Ofsted and placed eight people in Oxbridge, despite turning it into one of Britain’s strictest schools with a traditional uniform policy, haircut regulations and Saturday morning detentions.

Despite all appearances – and confessions of cane-wielding, Wilshaw may not be the hang ’em and flog ’em chief inspector many assume. For me question marks still remain over his approach to reforms. Getting almost an entire country’s teaching staff on your back is not a criterion I would place for a job as the Chief of Ofsted. That’s Gove’s job it would seem …

Who defines our curriculum?

Education is a profession that is always changing, and will continue to change as the world develops. With that in mind, our curriculum is always changing. In fact over the next couple of years Michael Gove’s plans will kick in, with the new primary curriculum introduced next year, and the following 2 years will see the scrapping of SATs, and reforms to GCSEs and A levels.

But who really defines our curriculum?

The first party involved that springs to mind is government. Throughout the last century alone we have seen the Education Act of 1944, also known as the Butler Act, which brought about a tripartite secondary school structure and streaming into primary schools, Jim Callaghan’s Great Educational Debate, which lead to the 1988 Education Act, which brought us the first incarnation of the National Curriculum, which in it’s many incarnations throughout successive governments we still have today. We’ve also seen the introduction of the Academies Act 2010, which allows schools to become academies, which gives greater autonomy on setting wages and the possibility of deviating from the National Curriculum, although schools are still assessed against it by Ofsted. To me this defies the logic of having a National Curriculum. As Nick Clegg said in an interview: ‘What’s the point in having a National Curriculum if only a few schools adhere to it?’ It is clear that the government and politics make the rules, so yes, they define our curriculum, whether we like that idea or not.

But it’s not just them. We also need people who dedicate their lives to deliver this ever-changing curriculum. This role is played by the teachers. It is the role of teachers to impart knowledge to and develop the skills of their children in order to maximise their potential for the economy, but also to achieve self-actualisation (the highest point of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). How teachers achieve this depends on the needs of the children. Teachers also have the freedom to teach how they feel appropriate if they work for an Academy or a Free School, which gives them a greater role in defining the curriculum.

Parents need to be factored into this as well. Parents by law have a duty to ensure that their school-age children are receiving efficient full time education that is suitable to their age, ability and any special needs they may have. This doesn’t, however, have to be in a school setting. Homeschooling, a method originally from the US, has found it’s way into our education system as well. As many as 1% of UK children are being homeschooled. This equates to around 60,000 children, which is enough to fill the population of my hometown 7 times over. Homeschooling does come with mixed emotions though. While there is research out there that support homeschooling, such as Ray’s (2009) study which found that homeschooled children scored around 37 percentile points higher than those who attended public school, Reich (2004) suggests that homeschooled children may not develop the social skills to interact with peers and the community. What homeschooling does definitely do though is give parents the power to define the curriculum which caters for their individual child/children’s needs.

For me however, the party that defines our curriculum the most is who the curriculum is for in the first place: our children. It is their needs, their aspirations, and their talents that we aim to nurture and develop to aim to maximise their potential. It is also our role as educators to allow them to access the world around them. Children need to learn the knowledge and the skills to achieve in life.

In summary, there are multiple parties involved in defining our curriculum. The government sets the curriculum and targets, even if a journalist is the Secretary of State for Education, the teachers and in some cases the parents deliver the curriculum, and the children are the ones who access the curriculum and learn from it. We all play a part in keeping the future alive for generations to come.

I’ll leave you with an adaptation of the Chinese proverb: ‘Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’

‘If you give a child an answer to a problem, they remember that one answer. If you teach a child how to solve a problem, they can solve any problem.’

Parents told head quit … by text

Well I’ve heard of disappearing headteachers, but the Southend Standard reports a bizarre way for parents to find out about a quitting headteacher which has caused outrage.

Parents claim they have been left in the dark after a long-standing headteacher of a school in Wickford suddenly left halfway through term.

Just weeks after Ofsted inspectors deemed management at the Bromfords School as not doing enough to turn the school around, headteacher Marian Spinks announced her departure yesterday. The Echo understands an email was sent to staff in the morning, while confused parents got a text message detailing a change at the helm later in the afternoon.

Ofsted officials who visited in the summer urged the school to make immediate improvements, and deputy head Martin Coulson has moved into the top job temporarily, to be supported by a team of “education experts”. But a parent, who did not want to be named, said: “We were kept in the dark and I’m not happy finding out via our local newspaper when the parents should have been informed first.” Another parent, who also wanted to remain anonymous, added: “The first I heard about it was on the Echo’s Facebook page. It would have been nice to know.”

Mrs Spinks is the second headteacher in the borough to leave in a week, with Woodlands School in Basildon also having a reshuffle, as revealed in the Echo.

A statement from Essex County Council praised Mrs Spinks’ efforts in her four years at the school, but revealed that while the school will begin the search for a new head in 2014, it may be as long as September before someone permanent is in place. The statement said: “Mr Coulson has taught at Bromfords for 20 years and is held in very high regard by staff, students and governors. Mr Coulson will not be acting simply as a caretaker, but will be working proactively to move the school forward. We are keen to ensure the school moves rapidly to an improved Ofsted assessment and are confident the changes we are making will ensure this will be achieved as quickly as possible. The team drafted in to help Mr Coulson are Richard Westergreen-Thorne, a retired headteacher with a track record in school improvement, and Christian Cavanagh, headteacher at Debden Park School, in Loughton.”

New dawn for grammar schools got dealt a double blow

To their supporters – including many among the Tory grassroots – grammar schools are an article of meritocratic faith, offering talented children from modest backgrounds the chance of a first-class education.

First, the Government rejected plans to set up a “satellite” grammar school in the Sevenoaks area of Kent.
Then the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, forcefully told a national newspaper that he did not see selection as a way to make up ground on other nations which had done better than the UK in international literacy and numeracy tests. “Grammar schools are stuffed full of middle-class kids,” he told The Observer. “A tiny percentage are on free school meals: 3 per cent. That is a nonsense. Anyone who thinks grammar schools are going to increase social mobility needs to look at those figures. I don’t think they work.”

Critics of selection have long argued that grammar schools pay too little attention to encouraging disadvantaged children to take up places – the national average for children on free school meals, the traditional discerner of poverty, is 17 per cent.

There are 164 remaining state grammar schools dotted around about 20 local authorities. Only a few, including Kent, retain a completely selective system.

The plan for a “satellite” grammar school in Kent was hatched because Sevenoaks was the only area of the county not to have a grammar school. Campaigners had high hopes that the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, would approve the proposal. However, two applications by existing grammar schools – Weald of Kent and Invicta in Maidstone – have been turned down by the Department for Education on the grounds that they did not constitute an expansion but would create a new school. One of the main arguments used was that the selective “satellite” was to be co-educational while both the proposers were single-sex schools.

Under existing legislation, it is illegal to set up a new selective state school, but any good school – including a grammar school – can expand.

DfE officials say the door is still open for an alternative proposal which can convince them it would expand an existing school. One option would be to persuade a co-educational grammar school to put in a bid.

Sir Michael’s comments were criticised by David Davies, a Conservative MP and former grammar school pupil, who said many working-class children “got on through having access to grammar schools”.

Graham Brady, who resigned as a party spokesman in protest at Prime Minister David Cameron’s opposition to new grammar schools, said Sir Michael would do better to focus on the still large number of “very bad schools”.

Sir Michael was praised, though, by Fiona Millar, from the group Comprehensive Future, who said he was right to highlight the divide. “The problem is that doing the 11-plus tests is accompanied by a very expensive private tuition industry,” she told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.

The last time the Conservatives campaigned in a general election for the restoration of grammar schools was in 1997 when one of then Prime Minister John Major’s themes was “a grammar school in every town”.

The debate on grammar schools won’t ever end, but it will always be fascinating. I was a graduate of a grammar school. I can see how difficult it is to develop social mobility within those schools, particularly as the vast majority are segregated by gender. I guess we dealt with that as there was a girl’s grammar school not too far from us and some of us had joined lessons down there so that problem wasn’t so big for us.

Stabbed with a pencil, headbutted and punched

Well given this title, you might think I’m reporting on another rogue teacher, as I seem to do find a lot of those.

Actually, you’d be wrong. This one is actually about new figures about abuse not by teachers, but by children, some of which are as young as four years old! In one instance, a nursery school teacher was reportedly smacked, kicked and headbutted by a child in Walsall, West Midlands. Elsewhere, it is claimed a pupil punched and headbutted a staff member after grabbing them by the neck in Houndslow, West London. One teacher in Derby was stabbed in the arm with a pencil, according to reports. The Sun on Sunday has reported that teachers have been scratched, kicked and even bitten by children they were attempting to control.

Figures published by the newspaper suggested that children as young as four have violently assaulted teachers 21,000 times in the past two years. On average, there are 55 assaults in school per day.

In the 2011/12 academic year there were 10,000 attacks in classrooms while in 2012/13 there were 10,750. The highest number of attacks were in Hampshire – which saw 3709 over the two years. The area was followed by Leeds with 3,122 and then Southampton with 901. Other areas in the top ten most violent areas included Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The figures were obtained from 70 local authorities in England and Wales by the newspaper via a Freedom of Information Act.

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Teachers have more power than ever to maintain discipline.’

I find the government comment quite bizarre. If I’m brutally honest, I would look to the parents and consider why the child is behaving in that way. It is no secret that children take parents as a role model more often than not, given they are the first adult caregivers that children encounter in the world (if you discount the midwives etc). I know from experience I used to replicate aggressive behaviours that those who called themselves my parents used to use at school all the time. Took me forever to realise that what I was doing was wrong. There is only so much a teacher can do in a classroom of 30 children that they see for a few hours a day, 5 days a week for 7 or 8 months of the year when you subtract holidays. Not everything is down to them.

Subjects being sidelined for the sake of league tables

Schools are being forced to “sideline” key subjects such as art, music and physical education in the race to hit government targets, teachers’ leaders warned today.

The “relentless push” to raise standards in literacy and numeracy has caused large numbers of schools to marginalise other areas of the curriculum, said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. She said that children were missing out on a varied timetable because of the need to boost their position in official league tables.

The comments were made despite the publication of research by Bristol University that found rankings had a highly positive effect on schools – raising results relative to those nations that refuse to publish the data.

It came after primary league tables published by the Department for Education showed that 767 state schools in England failed to meet minimum standards in the three-Rs this summer.

The number of failing primaries jumped by almost 50 per cent over the last 12 months after the Coalition changed the key indicator used to assess pupil performance.

For the first time, schools in England had to ensure at least six-in-10 pupils gained good results in separate reading, writing and maths assessments taken at the age of 11 or face being turned into an academy under new leadership. Previously, reading and writing results were combined to form a generic English result, meaning that poor performance in one discipline could be propped up with relatively good results in the other.

David Laws, the Schools Minister, insisted that tougher targets acted as an incentive for schools to improve, adding: “We are determined to drive up standards as quickly as possible in schools where there has been stubborn under-performance for years.”

But Dr Bousted said the move was often achieved by improving the three-Rs at the expense of all other subjects.
“We agree that it is vital for schools to focus on reading, writing and maths, but in the relentless push to get 60 per cent of students to level 4 in these subjects, other important areas of the curriculum such as art, music and PE get sidelined,” she said. “Primary education should not be solely about getting children ‘secondary school ready’.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: “However important it is, there is more to a child’s development and their readiness for secondary school than their score in a flawed test. There is more to a school than their ranking, which conceals how hard the school must work to achieve its results.”

The comments came as research published by Bristol University suggested that league tables do improve performance in schools. A study by the university’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation assessed the impact of the abolition of secondary school league tables in Wales in 2001 – comparing it to England where rankings have been maintained. It found that the decision had a negative impact on Welsh schools relative to those in England, with pupils dropped by two GCSE grades on average. This effect was concentrated in the lower 75 per cent of schools, with the poorest and low average ability schools falling behind the most.

New league tables, not good results

A lot of primary schools will probably find this article rather alarming.

New targets for reading, writing and mathematics were brought in this year. These targets are tougher than before in an attempt to improve standards for education.

Well the statistics don’t make pleasant reading. Targets were missed by 767 schools of more than 15000 in which final year pupils take SATs exams. This is higher than last year, when the targets were not so demanding – but comes against a backdrop of overall improving results. About three-quarters of the pupils achieved the expected Level 4 or higher in reading, writing and maths.

And 63% reached a tougher measure brought in this year, which the government says shows children are ready for secondary school. One in five children (21%) reached the even higher grade, Level 5.

The league table data was released by the Department for Education (DfE). Individual schools are now deemed to be below target if fewer than 60% of their pupils do not achieve Level 4 or higher in reading, writing and maths and pupils are not making the expected progress in these three subjects between the ages of seven and 11.

Those falling below targets could be put under new leadership, turned into academies or closed down.

The government says the targets are “firm but fair” and the evidence is that schools “respond to the challenge of a higher bar”. It says the data suggests schools are improving and that last year 834 primaries would have fallen below the new standards.

A spokesman for the DfE said: “This government brought in higher primary-school floor targets with one aim in mind – to drive up standards. Schools respond to this challenge. The floor standards we introduced were tougher and performance is improving. Heads, teachers and pupils deserve credit for meeting the challenge head on.”

Some results from 25 schools were “annulled” or not counted, the government says, because of “maladministration”. This may include: cheating, opening test papers early, incorrect storage of papers, giving children unsupervised rest breaks, teachers failing to cover wall displays. Many of the annulled results were in maths, but in 11 cases, results for reading were also not counted.

The data compares areas all over England. So here are some good and not so good performers:

Unsurprisingly London schools continue to perform well. Other high flyers include: Richmond upon Thames, Trafford, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Sutton and Solihull. It’s noticeable that the majority if not all of these schools are all around the London area (my geography isn’t that great).

Those areas not quite so great include: Poole (NO, that’s my neck of the woods! 😦 ), Bradford, Luton, Isle of Wight (not surprising given recent media articles about schools there over the past couple of years), North East Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Medway. In Poole, 33% of primaries are considered failing by the government’s benchmarks. In a further 17 local authorities at least one in 10 schools did not meet the key performance target. As I plan on going back to that area to teach, this presents a challenge to me. As a graduate of education there, I will make it rise again. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Woman teacher struck off after being found half-naked with pupil in a lay-by

It seems to be a day of striking off teachers on the agenda today. This one comes from the Mail.

A teacher who was found half-naked in a lay-by with one of her teenage pupils has been struck off for two years. Eppie Sprung Dawson, 27, admitted having sex with Matthew Robinson – who was 17 at the time of the offence – and was found ‘unfit to teach’ by a disciplinary panel.

Although the English teacher was placed on the sex offenders’ register after admitting her wrongdoing in court and has now been banned indefinitely from her profession, she can apply to be reinstated to the teaching register in two years.

Last night, the teenager’s mother said Sprung Dawson had been given little more than a ‘slap on the wrist, not a punishment’. Sheree Robinson, 44, added: ‘If she is potentially allowed to go back to teaching after two years, what is to stop her from doing something like this again? She should not be allowed to teach again, in my family’s view. I think this comes back to double standards and you have to wonder if she were a male teacher whether the door would be left open for her to teach again. She should not be allowed to teach children of any age ever again as she clearly has problems which caused what happened with my son.’

Sprung Dawson was just four years into her career when she seduced the dyslexic teenager after offering extra help with his lessons. They were caught having sex in the front seat of her car in a lay-by after she had driven the boy out to the countryside from a school dance that they had both attended.

A passing police patrol spotted condensation on the car windows, and when officers approached they saw Sprung Dawson and the boy naked from the waist down. The teacher lost her job at the Catholic St Joseph’s College in Dumfries, southern Scotland. Her three-year marriage to her lecturer husband Ranald – the 32-year-old son of the former Solicitor General for Scotland Lord Dawson – also ended.

Mr Robinson, now 18, has since moved out of his family’s farmhouse in Dumfries and in to the shamed teacher’s marital home in the Scottish market town. Studying joinery, he has told his mother and father, Jonathan, 45, that he is just friends with his former teacher.

The Robinsons have previously accused Sprung Dawson of ‘buying’ their son with gifts such as Xbox computer games and rugby shirts. They told the Daily Mail in September that they believed the couple had been having sex for up to four months before they were caught. Mrs Robinson said she did not believe her son’s claim that he was no longer sleeping with his former teacher.

Sprung Dawson, who is now said to be working in a bar, was struck off by the General Teaching Council For Scotland (GTCS) in Edinburgh. She was not present at the hearing, but in a statement read to the GTCS panel, she agreed to being struck off and admitted having sex with Mr Robinson four days before Christmas last year.

When a teacher appears before the GTCS, it can either take no action, issue a reprimand, grant conditional registration or remove the teacher from the register. In removal cases such as this, teachers can be banned from applying for reinstatement for a maximum of two years. A source familiar with the process said it was ‘rare’ for a teacher to apply for reinstatement, and suggested that Sprung Dawson would struggle to have her ban overturned because of the sexual nature of the case.

The Scottish Government will now decide whether to put her on a list excluding her from working with children or vulnerable adults. Sprung Dawson pleaded guilty in July to sexual activity with a person under 18 while she was in a position of trust as his teacher. She was spared jail after Dumfries Sheriff Court heard how she had been abused as a teenager by a man 29 years her senior.She was told to complete a course of psychosexual counselling as part of a six-month community payback order, and placed on the sex offenders’ register for the same period. Mr Robinson is understood to be one of a string of young lodgers who have stayed at Sprung Dawson’s home.

OK so am I reading this right? A teacher has sex with a pupil in a car in Scotland, gets struck off for two years maximum? I agree with the teenager’s mum, that is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. If they can return to the profession in two years time they’ll probably do it again. I hope the government permanently exclude this woman from working with children and vulnerable adults, and anyone else who thinks they’re getting away with such acts. It’s about time we started to be tougher on these people.