Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Teacher Alert!

Schools have been told they must report on children's puberty development. Due to growing concern about the gap between girls and boys interventions are recommended to bring boys into line. Special gifted and talented groups are to be formed for High achievers who reach puberty at nine. Special tests are being developed to identify slow puberty achievers who are to be put on the action plus register and given extra support  to reach puberty and catch up with their peers. Teachers are required to report to parents on a continuum which shows whether or not their children are below or above average for their cohort. It is important that parents can compare their child with others of the same age. Puberty tests are being prepared and will be administered to all children in year 6 for this purpose. The government has announced targets for schools. 80% of all children will be expected to reach puberty by age 12. This can be adjusted for boys who are known to mature more slowly. However, this does not mean that schools can opt out of recommended strategies to accelerate their development. Ofsted will be required to inspect school's attainment in puberty and results will form part of the league table results so parents can choose schools who achieve highly in this area. Critiques claim that children can reach puberty at any time between 9-15 and say actions to accelerate puberty before children are developmentally ready can cause damage to children's self-esteem and confidence and impact on their neurological pathways. . A government spokesman says such 'trendy left' thinking will lead to British children falling behind in international league tables. "It is clear that those whose puberty is given attention at an earlier age make greater progress and all teachers need to ensure recommended practices are followed." A spokesperson for the teachers' unions said they were concerned that such high stakes testing would lead to children who were not meeting the targets for puberty being medicated so schools could meet their targets. Psychologists warn that interfering with children's natural development in this way will distort our understanding of child development. Guidance on how to ensure your school meets the new targets are available on the DES website.