Letters: Ofsted, take note – there’s more to learning than recall | Education


Ofsted’s obsession with memory as the key to children’s learning and as a measure of the effectiveness of a school’s curriculum is misplaced (“Ofsted’s ‘pop’ quiz tests are unfair to schools, chiefs say”, News). Learning is more than recall, and everyone’s recall is unequal. If they were tested themselves, how many inspectors could remember what they had been told a year or two before during a previous inspection? If inspectors don’t remember, why should they expect learners, especially young children, to? The Chief Inspector should reflect on the wisdom of the old adage, education is what remains after you forget what you learned in school.
Professor Colin Richards
Spark Bridge, Cumbria

Ofsted Director Amanda Spielman’s report on the severe delays in the development of young children due to periods of lockdown is hardly surprising given that the Labor Government’s inspired disposition and policy of creation of Sure Start centers in 1999 was sabotaged by Conservative governments who cut funding by two-thirds since 2010. At the start of the Covid closures, more than 500 centers had been closed.

It’s a classic example of how national politics repeatedly come and go. The head of Ofsted and the government have an opportunity to demand and fund the reinstatement of pre-school centers for vulnerable young children. The skills, experience and established centers of their staff are a national resource that have been able to adapt to the vagaries of national lockdowns and alleviate some of the sad picture revealed by Spielman.
Simon Clement

As an experienced school inspector, I am fully aware that the humanities and creative subjects are seriously neglected by a large number of public and independent schools in the run-up to Year 6 Sats tests, preparation for 11+ in the high school and lobby areas. to major independent schools. All these measures represent cramming, with all the inconveniences that ensue. Gradgrind, you’re not dead yet.

As for 11- and 12-year-olds unable to clearly explain the “principles of the rule of law”, perhaps our illustrious Prime Minister and his Chancellor should pass the same test. How do your readers think they would score?
Una Stevens
Compton, Winchester

We need GPs of all ages

Torsten Bell uses US data to argue that when GPs retire, use of other emergency services increases (“Why baby boomers might end up healthier if their GPs retire early “, Remark). That in itself would be an argument for strengthening primary care in the UK. Bell then argues that new GPs are more likely to be re-diagnosed with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, concluding that retiring GPs may be good for patients, while pointing out that it also increases the cost of health care.

We believe that continuity of care from GPs not only saves lives and money, but also leads to longer life expectancies. The age of your GP is not the issue here. It is their absolute lack. The UK is facing a GP crisis long before the pandemic. We need to retain our GPs at all stages of their careers – but especially those with many years of experience – who are also best placed to support and mentor junior GPs and the ever-growing number of allied health professionals who are employed to try to prop up a failing system in the UK.
Doctor Lizzie TobertyGP, Doctors’ Association UK; Dr. Ellen WelchGP, Cumbria; Dr. Simon HodesGP, Watford; Dr Shan HussainGP, Nottingham; Doctor Lizzie CrotonGP, Birmingham; Dr Neena Jha, GP, Hertfordshire; Doctor Louise Hyde, GP, Wales; Dr. Rosie ShireGP, Warrington; Dr. Kartik ModhaGP, London; Dr Ayan PanjaGP, Hertfordshire

Group athletes by strength

If Kenan Malik is right and it’s strength and muscle mass that are the problem for transgender athletes to change categories from male to female or vice versa, then maybe the categories are wrong (“Pool to the track: Arguments about trans athletes don’t have to make everyone loser”, Commentary). Why not base them on strength and muscle mass, let’s just say categories 1, 2 and 3, depending on where the personal readings of the athlete place them on a scale combining these two factors. Every sport should revamp itself, but why we have to categorize people simply as men or women has always intrigued me.

I know it simplifies things, but sometimes things have to change, and getting people to fit into convenient boxes doesn’t work for everyone.
Ian Hogg
North Leigh, Witney, Oxfordshire

Long Covid: does rehabilitation work?

Ravi Veriah Jacques is right to point out the lack of treatments for long Covid syndromes, especially those with significant fatigue, and the lack of research underlying this (“I’ve had Covid for a long time and I despair let the government ignore its scourge”, Commentary). He may be right about the link to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). But we disagree when he dismisses rehabilitation treatments, such as Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which have been shown to help relieve fatigue linked to many diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and CFS. It would be weird indeed if for a long time the Covid had to be the only disease from which rehabilitation could not benefit. Their usefulness does not imply that the disease is psychological.

As leaders of the Pace trial he mentions, we also believe he is misinformed regarding the Pace trial of these treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, which found CBT and GET to be treatments moderately effective and safe, as long as they were properly negotiated and dispensed by trained people. therapists. Yes, Nice recently advised against offering GET and using CBT only to reduce distress, but four of the Royal Medical Colleges did not endorse this advice as they considered Nice to have made mistakes during the review of evidence.

CBT and GET may help some people with long Covid but, unless we fund research to test them, we will never know for sure.
Professor Peter WhiteEmeritus Professor of Psychological Medicine at Queen Mary University of London; Prof. Trudie ChalderProfessor of Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy, King’s College London; Prof Michael SharpeProfessor of Psychological Medicine, University of Oxford

Birthday wishes

Anna Bahatelya’s wish for her 100th birthday reminded me of an old story about Hitler and his desire to know his future (“What do I wish for my 100th birthday? That Putin will die”, News). He had heard of a rabbi who was reputed to be able to foresee, with some accuracy, future events. Hitler summoned the rabbi to Berlin and asked him if he could predict when he, Hitler, would die.

He replied that all he could predict was that it would happen on an important Jewish holiday. Hitler asked what holiday and the rabbi replied, “Fuhrer, when you die it will be an important Jewish holiday.”
Ronald Oliver
Elijah, Fife

Make mine that of a laborer

As for the furor over the renaming of a ploughman’s lunch to a ploughman’s lunch (“Can I have a word on…a good barney’s cheese and pickle”, Commentary), why not introduce the lunch of a plowwoman, similar to the first, but with the addition of an egg? As in a croque monsieur that becomes a croque madame, the poached egg on top is supposedly reminiscent of a bonnet.
Margaret Riley
Blackrod, Lancashire


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