What do you think: ‘Norfolk parents should demand more from schools’ - Dame Rachel de Souza on lessons learned from China trip

Elizabeth Truss and Rachel de Souza Elizabeth Truss and Rachel de Souza

Monday, March 10, 2014
11:46 AM

Parents should be “much more demanding” of their schools according to a leading Norfolk educationalist who has returned from a week-long trip to learn how maths is taught in China.

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Dame Rachel de Souza was speaking after a fact-finding mission to Shanghai, which topped the 2012 international Pisa league table for maths performance. The delegation also included education minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.

Dame Rachel, former principal of Victory Academy in Costessey and now chief executive of the Inspiration Trust of seven Norfolk academies, said she asked Chinese teachers what their biggest stress was. Their answer was “parents”.

She said homework goes back every day, and parents check their child’s grades.

She said: “I think our parents could be much more demanding, making sure that work is marked, and about standards. We have to work as a three - parents, teachers and children.”

According to an analysis of the Pisa tables by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, children of manual workers in Shanghai perform better than children of highly-paid professionals in England.

The findings sparked a national debate about the state of maths education in the UK, although some criticised the methodology of the Shanghai results, where a quarter of pupils in the city did not sit the tests.

See tomorrow’s EDP for more lessons Dame Rachel and Ms Truss have taken back from China.

What do you think? Do Norfolk parents demand enough from their child’s schools? Comment below or email martin.george@archant.co.uk

16 comments

  • Look at what she is saying though- the parents may not be demanding a better education and the children may not be getting it. What Chinese parents are after is success within the assessment system of China. Not the same thing as a good education at all. Payment by results mean little kids getting beaten by stressed Victorian teachers.One wonders what Chinese school pupils endure.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • The differences in culture need to be taken on board but I feel that children in this country do tend to get a bit of an easy ride - with not enough homework being set etc. The school day is also much shorter in this country. However, I wouldn't want us to embrace the Chinese parental way entirely. I remember sitting in a McDonald's restaurant last year next and listening to a Chinese mother berating her son because 'he only got 12 A stars in his GCSEs and not 13!

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    Sarah B

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Schools should be much more demanding of the parents.

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    Patrick

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Govite apparatchicks with very limited knowledge of teaching. Come on EDP lets have a critical analysis

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    No to tory boy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Fact, De Souza screws stats at her schools by excluding no-hopers from exams. Why do the 'men' at the EDP and in the Tory party lap up everything she comes out with, well you see as a former porn actress she was frequently heard 'demanding more'...LOL

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • Schools should be much more demanding of the parents.

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    Patrick

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Sorry I can't see evidence that not enough homework is set or that the school day it too short. From my observations children seem to spend too long being told what to study and not enough time to study what they want. We just seem to condition them to plod along and take orders rather than working quickly and with imagination.

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    JohnnyH

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • Does de Souza mean that parents should be more demanding of their children too? The Pisa figures, while giving us a general idea about how we are doing are not reliable and Shanghai's figures do not include the children of parents whom have migrated their from the countryside (and there are a lot of them). In the happiness stakes Chinese and Korean students are far less happy than our own, probably due to the immense pressure put on them by parents and schools to do well. And why the obsession with Maths? Most of it is inapplicable to day to day living for the vast majority of people. Truss has gone on about how if you have Maths at A level you're likely to be earning 10% more. So what - you may well have got higher grades in other subjects too - it may not be Maths that means you are earning more. Why the obsession with maths? I've got no problems with finding better ways of teaching any subject. As for Catty and V, my own experience of dealing with schools has always been positive. And yes the accountability of Academies and Free Schools is far less than when the LEA was in charge. Technically they are only and finally accountable to the DFE, which has cut about half its staff since Gove has been in charge.

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    pablo

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • When I have raised a concern with my son's school - that the school had admitted to not checking to see whether a 'specialist' was qualified for teaching primary school children, the head teacher and the governors were completely dismissive. They see no accountability to the parents. To make matters worse, when I tried to raise the problem to NCC they weren't interested either. No wonder NCC has such a problem with education.

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    Catty

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I agree with Catty. Teachers, governors and everyone else associated with education think they are above everyone else, and should you dare to complain, turn their noses up and ignore you. should you get an answer, it is always talking down to you and a pack of lies that always makes them not at fault. I cannot see the unions wearing this one either.

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    "V"

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Matron ...he's out of bed again.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Should Dame de Souza concentrate on her own schools? she can't speak for parents nor is this China were culture and tradition respects parents, relatives and teachers. This is not somthing one can snap a finger at and, hey presto, there's change.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Come EDP....a non story about someone who is in charge of 2 of the worst performing primary schs in Norfolk seeking answers we have all known for ages!! The 2 cultures are COMPLETELY different.

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    Sportswagon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • She is so full of it. What would her reaction have been if contacted by parents with concerns about perceived failings? Anyone care to chip in with the response they have had from the headteacher who leads the association of Norfolk secondary schools ? Or any attempts to tell a school they are not doing their job properly! Accountability is much worse now than it was when there were district LEA officers one could complain to directly. Now parents have to go through far too many steps only to have their concerns brushed off The only way parents can help their kids if they are in a school with a bad leadership is to move. And this is from someone who is generally supportive of teachers.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • The flawed premise used as justification for this trip was comprehensively destroyed in a report broadcast on BBC national lunchtime news early in the week before last.In it the BBC's China correspondent pointed out that in for example the 15 year old age group approx 60% of the expected number of pupils are missing from school rolls because large swathes of the population are prohibited access to education. Your article further states that 25% of those lucky to be in school were not allowed to take the relevant test.For anyone purporting to promote mathematics this is hardly a sound statistical comparison with universal education in the UK. As regards to this new found obsession with maths I for one only flourished academically when that particular monkey was removed from my back having failed O Level 4 times. Like everything else it's horses for courses and after my masters and I agreed that they could tutor me to the crack of doom without the slightest hope of success I was free to soar in other directions without any effect whatsoever on my career over the last 40 years.

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    guella

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I think that parents should pay extra taxes for their childrens education!

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    Norfolk John

    Monday, March 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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