Sorry, Nicky, I’m out.


Dear Nicky Morgan,

Please accept this as written notice of my resignation from my role as Assistant Head and class teacher. It is with a heavy heart that I write you this letter. I know you’ve struggled to listen to and understand teachers in the past so I’m going to try and make this as clear as possible. In the six short years I have been teaching your party has destroyed the Education system. Obliterated it. Ruined it. It is broken.

The first thing I learnt when I started teaching in 2010 is that teaching is bloody hard work. It’s a 60 hour week only half of which is spent doing the actual teaching. It eats into the rest of your life both mentally and physically. If it’s not exercise books and resources taking over your lounge and kitchen table it’s worrying about results or about little Ahmed’s home life keeping you awake at 2am. I’ve never minded this. I’ve always been happy to give my life over to teaching as I believed it to be such a noble cause. Besides we’re not the only profession who work long hours. What I didn’t realise back in 2010 is that the job would get harder each year.

First you introduced the phonics check. I was in Year 1 that year and continued teaching phonics to the best of my ability. I didn’t spend much time teaching children to differentiate between real words and “non-words” because I was focused on, you know, teaching them to read. I sat and watched child after child fail that ridiculous “screening” because they read the word “strom” as “storm”. The following year I taught to the test. We spent weeks practising “words” and “non words” and sure enough our results soared.

My second year brought with it the changes to the Ofsted framework and the obsession with data began. Oh the sodding data game! The game that refuses to acknowledge how long a child has spoken English or whether or not they have books or even food at home. The data game changed things. Attainment in Maths and English was no longer just important, it would almost entirely decide the judgement made about your school. Oh and whilst we’re on the judgements “Satisfactory” was no longer satisfactory – it was the far more sinister sounding: “Requires Improvement.”

From then on things began to unravel at an alarming rate. The threat of forced academisation hung over each set of SATs results and the floor targets continued to rise. Gove cut the calculator paper (because calculators are cheating) and introduced SPaG. Grammar was no longer for writing – it was for grammar. Around the same time he also froze teachers’ pay and doubled the contributions we would have to make to our pensions. Teachers were suddenly worse off than they had been the previous year and under more pressure than ever before.

So teaching became harder still and life in schools started to change. There were new hoops to jump through and somehow we just about managed to get through them. It meant sacrificing everything that wasn’t SPaG, English or Maths but we did it – we learnt how to play the game. Outside of the safety of our schools though there was a bigger game being played – one that we had no chance of winning: the status of the teaching profession was being eroded away. There was the incessant name calling and smears in the media from “the blob” to “the enemies of promise” and, of course, “soft bigots” with “low expectations”. You drip fed the message: teachers were not to be trusted and it worked: the public stopped trusting us.

As bleak as it sounds, those years look like a golden age compared to what we have to deal with now.

I was delighted when Gove went. I knew there was every chance he’d be replaced by someone equally awful but I couldn’t imagine things getting worse. I figured the Tories were done playing with Education and they’d move on to something else. I was so wrong .

This year brought with it our greatest challenge to date – the new assessments. For most of the year we were completely in the dark. We had no idea what form the tests would take and how they would be scored (we’re still not entirely sure on the latter.) There was also the introduction of the SPaG test for 7-year-olds (which was sadly scrapped because of your own department’s incompetence.) The criteria for assessing writing has changed dramatically.  Gone is the best fit approach and what has replaced it is an arbitrary list of criteria of the things children should be able to do – some of which are grammatical rules that your department have made up . Year 6 were tested on their ability to read long words and remember the names of different tenses. Whatever foundation subjects were still being taught have had to be shelved in favour of lesson after lesson on the past progressive tense.

In some ways I don’t feel like a teacher at all any more. I prepare children for tests and, if I’m honest, I do it quite well. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of as it’s not as if I’ve provided my class with any transferable, real life skills during the process. They’ve not enjoyed it, I’ve not enjoyed it but we’ve done it: and one thing my children know how to do is answer test questions. They’ve written raps about how to answer test questions, they’ve practised test questions at home and test questions in school, they’ve had extra tuition to help them understand the test questions. They can do test questions – they just haven’t had time to do anything else.

At the same time you’ve cut school budgets to pieces. This one hasn’t been widely reported yet but it will be over the next 18 months. I know of 3 head teachers who are considering having their own class next year as they can’t afford to replace the teachers that are leaving. Most schools I know have already cut back on support staff (read: made valuable, hard-working teaching assistants redundant.) And this is just the start of it. I suppose the only thing schools should be grateful for is that you introduced performance related pay and, with the leap in National Expectations, there will be fewer teachers getting their pay rise this September.

In many ways I’m one of the lucky ones – I work for two smart Head Teachers in a school with an SLT who genuinely care about teacher workload. Meaningless box ticking exercises are kept to a minimum and meetings are kept brief. We only have INSET on average every other week and book scrutiny/monitoring is only carried out once a term. Demands on teachers’ time are kept to a minimum but there is very little we can do to protect teachers from the unreasonable expectations being put on them by your Government, the threat of no-notice Ofsted inspections and, of course, the ever increasing risk of academisation.

I know I’m not alone in feeling like this. A recent survey found that nearly 50% of teachers are considering leaving in the next 5 years. Just within my own family my fiance, my sister and my sister-in-law have all quit the profession in the last 12 weeks. Rather than address this issue you’ve decided to allow schools to recruit unqualified teachers to fill the gaps. The final nail in the profession’s coffin. I don’t want to stop teaching. I love teaching but I have no interest in being part of this game any more.

Worse than being a teacher in this system is being a child at the mercy of it and to them I say this: we tried our best to fight these changes: we rallied, we went on strike, we campaigned and made as much noise as we could. I’m sorry it didn’t work and I’m sorry that I’m not strong enough to keep working in this system but as I’ve told many of you many times: when someone is being mean to you – you ask them to stop. If they continue to be mean you walk away. It is now time for me to walk away. I’ll keep up the fight though.

Maybe in time things will change and, when that time comes, I can come back to the job I loved but until then sorry Nicky – I’m out.

Yours Sincerely,


P.S: One last thing – if you do end up losing your job over your shambolic running of the Education System – make sure they don’t replace you with Boris.







238 thoughts on “Sorry, Nicky, I’m out.

    1. So very sorry to read this letter. As a school counsellor who has been asked to leave schools (primary and secondary) because of lack of funding, I also know on top of everything else the teachers are having to be social workers, as there’s very little help outside school for families and young people. It’s not fair. I hope David Cameron sees this letter. Good luck.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Nicky Morgan is going to let this travesty happen over and over…she just doesn’t seem to understand!
      She’s the one making mistake after mistake, she’s failing. Not our wonderful children.
      Our once fantastic, enviable education system is failing through her narrow mindedness and inability to take a step back and think…
      Oh dear, maybe I should put my hand up( with one of those dramatic, enthusiastic waves Zoe, you know the ones. When the children have the answer and they can’t wait to share it.) and ask for help, I’ve got this a little wrong. I must improve! What’s my next step?
      Zoe be happy as I’m sure you will be.
      Laura M (LSA)

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think she understands perfectly. It is a grand design. Decimate education and social provision of all kinds so that it can be privatised. All these f**kers care about is money. May they rot in hell.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Thank you for putting into words what so many teachers are thinking. After 29 years I finally left class teaching 2 years ago and have gone totally freelance as a music teacher and workshop deliverer. I was described as ‘institutionalised’ by my husband before I left and it truly saddens me to listen to teachers in staff-rooms as I travel around the county. I was told to ‘play the game’ by one of my headteachers on a number of occasions. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it any more.
      When will the DfE realise that children need to learn how to think and question things, not just be told them? They need to learn skills that will help them widen their own knowledge independently, not just repeat facts ‘parrot-fashion’.
      Creativity is being stifled and the pressure to ‘teach to the tests’ in order to keep the school results levels up has narrowed the curriculum to the point that we will just be churning out ‘automatons’, clones who all know the same facts, not little human beings with a love of learning and the joy and imagination to explore the world around them!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This is exactly the same system they have in France, children spoon fed grammar and conjugaison, learning parrot fashion without possibility to question anything, no sense of initative (frowned upon by the Education National) with the added threat/shame of retaking the same year again which obviously means losing their classmates and finding themselves with pupils a year younger if they don’t make the grades. The suicide rate in this country is pretty high and I’m not surprised due to the immense pressure they are under. I’m deeply saddened to read this as I have always said to my children that one of my few regrets about living in France is the elitist Education system which leaves no room for those who think outside the box. I can only think that these measures have been influenced/ordered by our European leaders. RIP Britain.


    4. Dear Zoe
      Sorry to read this resignation letter, mainly because I have better things to do like riding my horses and planning my next dinner party. As you took the time to write this, I guess we are actually not working you hard enough. Obviously ensuring all schools are becoming academies means that I can sit back and go riding more often and plan more dinner parties. All of which will be good for me. I was not put in this job to give a damn about you or indeed any of those working in state schools. If you want a good job go and work in private schools as these are the only schools doing a good job and educating our future leaders anyway. Eddie Redmayne and Benedict are such lovely boys are ‘t they? I am sorry you felt you had to write to me but just so as you are in no doubt : Do I look as if I give a f***?
      Yours sincerely
      N Morgan


      1. Woww that was really rude. Who the f***k do you think you are. Did I say you have to do it. NOOO. I’m trying to get people to participate in something important which is HELPING A CHILD WITH CANCER AND YOU WANT TO BE RUDE AND TELL ME S**T. You should be ashamed of yourself. And I don’t give a f**k if you don’t care about me but you should care about a child with CANCER. what if it was you, HUH, would you not want people to help you. Um I’m pretty sure the answer would be YES you would want people to help you. You did not need to be so freaking rude and say you don’t care. Oh you don’t care about a kid having cancer. That’s so disgraceful. And um the comment wasn’t even at you it was for someone else, NOT YOU. So hopefully God forgives you for writing such a rude comment. And I can tell that you are so self centered. So goodbye and take your happy ass out. Peace


      2. ommggggg im sooo sorrry for writing that. I thought you replied to my comment about helping a child with cancer and you were being rude. I didn’t know you were just repling to the blog post. I am sooo sorry


  1. This saddens me beyond words. My heart breaks for the children that are simply pawns in a game, a game with ever changing rules, and with no regard for their well being. Personal development or individualised growth.

    Teachers appear to have zero autonomy and have been reluctantly reduced to test enforcing automatons. Their energy and passion quashed in the process.

    Learning is no longer about equipping children with life skills, about growth through discovery, or eating ice Lollys under the tree listening to Roald Dahl. It appears to be a production line of nonsense tick boxing, where the rules and expectations change at will.

    Teachers don’t get it, parents don’t get it and one has to question what on earth is it doing to the children, who are our future ?

    I can hear my Nanna when I find myself looking wistfully back to the ‘good old days’ when my children were fortunate enough to create art gallery’s, build dragons, build (and kick down) Berlin Walls, learn to swim, sing, read in the sunshine, write endless poetry about ‘fishes that didn’t know’ . Learning appeared individualised, joyous, motivating each child to excel in whatever was their particular ‘talent’ – yes there was testing but the impact appeared diluted by the joy/fun of the overall learning experience.

    Out of that system I watched a little girl grow up with the absolute knowledge that she wanted to teach. A little girl whose reception teacher knocked on my door, handing me some (of her own) books, saying ‘your daughter loves reading-she may enjoy these’
    – a little girl whose individual talents were acknowledged and nurtured. Her education helped give her the wings to fly and the self belief to carry her along the path to the career she always said she would have – teaching. A gifted, passionate, creative, child focused teacher!

    Fast forward two and a half decades and that little girl (my little girl) has tendered her resignation. That little girl – the ‘Piclinegirl’ is walking away from a career that she “was born to do ”
    (one of her ex teachers statements not mine!)-depriving all those young minds of her brilliance, energy, passion and creativity.

    Mr Cameron and your cronies you have annihilated our education system, you are directly responsible for teachers leaving in droves and for totally failing our future generation!

    Me Cameron and your Tory cronies – hang your heads in shame!!

    Little miss piclinegirl – I’m
    beyond proud of you!

    Love you



    Liked by 7 people

    1. Well said Mama. I retired as a head last year. The last year’s were hell. Like your daughter I loved teaching,learning and children. Being a head under the conservatives got worse abd worse. Rebel and your school fails. Play the game and your heart fails and your staff hate you. My grandchildren are suffering too. The 7 yr old will be kept down for behaviour but it’s because he’s dyslexic. How’s that going to male him feel? My 2 yr old is enjoying nursery. Play is teaching him so much. But will he cope in school? I am so sad about educations direction sorry to rant but you and your daughters letters touched me.


  2. Good on you. So much of what you’ve said rings true. I’ve been a teacher for 16 years. Whenever I think we’ve reached crisis point, things still continue to get worse. I’m sick and tired of watching good teachers leaving the profession. I refused to play the ‘SAT game’ and kept past papers to a minimum. Instead, focussing on making my lessons as investigative and enjoyable as possible. Whether this will be to my detriment, remains to be seen. I just wish the government would start listening.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ‘Grammar was no longer for writing, it was for grammar.’ How true – and how pointless. A heartbreaking read but I’m with you all the way, as a teacher and parent. Let’s hope we wake up from this nightmare soon. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Zoe. I needed to read that after leaving a recently academised secondary school 18 months ago and not really being able to shrug off a bad feeling about it. Makes me feel better to think I was big enough to walk away. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know exactly how you feel, I too have had enough. 11 years has seen all the joy and energy drained out of me. I wish I knew what else I could do instead…
    Good luck and well said. If only they would listen!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am at exactly the point you are. After seven years teaching, I have resigned. I feel the way you do about all the unnecessary stuff that gets in the way of the important bit: the teaching. The government have ruined the job I loved for me too. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is one of the saddest things I’ve read for a long time, but I understand completely. I’m a teacher myself – 31 years in the classroom – during that time I’ve witnessed many changes but I can honestly say things have never been as bad as they are now… The data driven system which pervades our schools is so wrong – it paints such a distorted picture of the progress (or apparent lack of it) our children are making. No consideration of a child’s background circumstances are taken into account – they are just a number on a multicoloured spreadsheet, never mind that some children come to school without breakfast or are caring for younger siblings and even parents, they are learning in a second language or have special needs… This government is only interested in the numbers in the boxes, they are not remotely interested in the long, hazardous, emotional journey many of our children have to make to get where they are.
    Our teachers are doing a brilliant job trying their very best (often at great personal cost to them and their own families) to nurture, enthuse and inspire children being handcuffed by generating data in the process! Things MUST change soon before the profession loses too many amazing classroom practitioners- teaching to me has always been a vocation not the branch of factory farming it is rapidly becoming… Waken up Ms Morgan and see what you and your past and present cronies are doing to our teachers and children and for goodness sake start listening to those at the chalkface – THEY are the experts!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good luck for the future!
    I understand all you have said. I loved teaching when you could actually teach! I was head of two primary schools and am glad that I am not anymore. I work in education and see demoralised teachers who want to make things better for children but are not allowed to do that by the government.
    I would not advise anyone to become a teacher. A very sad indictment of where education and schools are today.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m a deputy head/year 5-6 teacher and intend to do the same as you for the same reasons. My reason for teaching, to help children be pasionate about learning, has been destroyed. I don’t want to take part in this obscene travesty of education any more. Thank you for being brave and saying what many feel.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I left teaching 17 years ago, and this makes me so, so sad . . . . my grandson starts school in September, I read this and feel so desperate for this bright, confident and funny little boy.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Requires Improvement
    Written just now for The Girl..

    Education, a subject, which we all mastered,
    to different degrees of certified achievements;
    once left, rejected, we turned our backs on it all,
    but then comes parenting, and you head back to school.

    You have to re-engage with the playground’s heaving,
    sit on shrunken kids’ chairs – at parents’ evening,
    look around the walls, a search for your kid’s great art,
    smile to yourself, secretly, because his stands apart;

    but then we only see what we want to believe,
    and we never believe what we really see:
    Long hours etched across this tired teacher’s face,
    her love of teaching – reduced by SAT’s constraints;

    phonics and screening, your child’s new true voice
    he’s hushed in the corridor, to avoid Ofsted’s annoyance.
    ‘Academisation’, is that a real word?
    My spell-check refuses, but then that will re-learn.

    Your child, that vessel, is being filled with fear,
    failure is no option for our school kids this year;
    this country is ruining the health of it’s youth,
    whilst our brilliant teachers are all told to improve.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is such a well written and genuine piece Zoe. I too have left my Head teacher job and was intending to apply for another but having stepped out, I have gained my life back and can’t seem to take the step back in.
    There are so many of us now leaving, stepping away….I feel so sad as I too am passionate about education and children’s learning. But not as it is at present, in this way.
    I have been a teacher for 18 years and can honestly say it is the worst time in education I have known. I trained initially under the tories but could never have imagined In my wildest dreams what would happen years on when they regained power! .
    Hold your head high Zoe as a true professional.
    Good luck for the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I, too, have handed in my notice for July. I, too, have a heavy heart as l love teaching. But what l am being asked to do is no longer teacher and for my own mental health, I have to walk away.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello Piclinegirl.

    I agree with everything you’ve written. I am sorry you’ve reached this point. I understand completely why you’ve had enough.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do next.
    : )

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This is so sad and yet so familiar. I have only been in teaching for four years and tomorrow start a new job outside of teaching after too many years of struggling in a job I never signed up for. I went in to teaching to teach! What I’ve had to do instead is battle with the system to find the time and means to do so – a counterproductive and soul crushing task. I look back with fond memories on my primary education and hate to think that I can’t create the same memories for others but I can’t continue in a job that takes so much and gives so little, not to me but to the children – the reason I got into the job in the first place. I fear for the future of our country if we continue to lose brilliant teachers who are ready to give their all and more. The system is broken and it can’t be fixed without major change.

    Good luck with the future and let’s all continue to encourage and nurture the love of learning and exploration for the new and magical outside of the classroom since we haven’t been able to do so within the classroom and give these children a chance to be happy while they learn.

    In this struggle together,


    Liked by 1 person

  16. We are surrounded by talented and inspirational people who know what is best for children but are unable to deliver it because they are too busy jumping through ever moving hoops. Teachers are desperately needed in difficult areas but no allowances are made with regard to where they “must” be at the end of the year. Children who begin their learning journeys two years below the “national average” (due to deprivation and often harrowing circumstances) are fully expected to reach national averages by the end of the year. If they don’t, the school is deemed to be inadequate or at best “Requires Improvment.” To get these children anywhere near to national levels means working three times as hard and still being told it’s not good enough. It’s impossible to keep up the pace required to backfill two missing years and add on another one in order to hit the end goal. It is for this reason that I’m leaving my beloved class of Reception children in a very challenging school and desperately hoping that someone tougher, stronger and more resilient than I am will take on the challenge for them because I just can’t do it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sorry but I cannot be positive about this article, I’m afraid.

    I love my job as Headteacher. I love the children and I love the staff. I hate what is happening to my profession and the impact of education policy as you describe it.

    BUT – I can’t applaud the sharing of a resignation letter which fuels a growing unrest and negativity within our profession. Who are you leaving behind to be the pupils’ champion, Zoe? how will you change things now? We need good people to remain and be positive.

    if you are as good as your mother and you imply then you should not leave for good. Take a break, reflect, refresh, and then return.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. See, this is why Headteachers and school leaders are part of the problem. Why should teachers put their happiness and indeed their health at risk? Why should we do this when the Head’s Unions have been utterly useless for years and accepted every single dictat passed down with little more than a shrug? When did they last do anything that showed them to be Pupil’s champions? Until such time as the Head’s and leadership unions actually grow a backbone, they have no right to try and use emotional blackmail against teachers like Zoe who are furious, dispirited and doing the only thing left open to them in leaving.

      There should be a lot more unrest to reflect the negativity.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You make a lot of assumptions Pete. I thought Zoe herself was a school leader.

        I think the profession has worked hard to make its views heard, including Heads. Your comments are very unfair, but easy to make.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. James,

        We have worked hard, too hard, in this system created by the Tories,New Labour, and the GERM.

        But we haven’t worked hard enough to stop the children we teach being hurt, or families from being neglected, and ourselves from being driven into the ground.

        We need to shout it from the rooftops, we need to make common cause with our fellow workers and citizens, and we need to strike, to boycott, to agitate….


    2. I don’t think everybody realises the affect this has on some people. I am saddened by your dismissive response to somebody who has been so brave. I have been teaching for 22 years and I have also handed in my resignation this year. It has been a very unhappy time. I took time off like you suggest but only because I was in the midst of an emotional breakdown. I was working so hard to make changes and have positive influences to a child’s life. I worked with passion and compassion. I returned to work just over 12 months ago, after a 6 month break but everything I am being told to do goes against what I know is good for my subject and my students. It has been a heartbreaking decision and most teachers do not walk away because they can’t let the students down. I wanted to be strong and resilient and I can’t do that if I am being constantly put down, under so much pressure that it is making me ill. I spend hours analysing data and writing plans of action as to how I am going to guarantee progress when I would rather put those hours in with the individuals. Giving them the one to one they deserve. I do not fit the mould of the modern teacher and whilst you say that that is why we must stay in there. I’m sorry but I cant. I have spent half of my life as a teacher. I have smiled as I have seen the changes of those I have taught. Believe me when I say that walking away is the hardest thing I have done. I can’t possibly spend another 20 years in an environment that has so little respect fo you and your professional knowledge. I will definitely be continuing my support for young lives but this will have to be outside of the system.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Things can be changed. The Tory assault on state funded education and health care is a deliberate small-state strategic game. Mass protest, strikes, rallies and effective use of social media are the tactics that can successfully challenge the right wing establishment and news media barons. The doctors have shown the way, now teachers must take the fight to the government.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Heartless James. I hope that was a sarcastic comment.
      I hope you are not a teacher with your lack of manners. I was moved by Zoe’s writing because it is a true reflection of life in the classroom. If you cannot appreciate that then more fool you.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. wow, you obviously don’t care about the quality of your own childrens education, or perhaps you are a rich tory who sends their kids to private fee paying schools where they don’t teach these useless sats. either way, that was a very heartless comment to a young woman driven beyond the end of her tether by a system in crisis.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Go on then, you train up to be a primary school teacher.
      Oh, what’s that? “No”? Heartless & spineless?


  18. Very interesting post. I am a junior doctor and see so many parallels in the way they are attacking our profession. Instead of identifying and prioritising problems in the service (shortage of staff, inadequate funding, morale) the government invents a new narrative that all front line workers know is false – for us it was weekend mortality. Then they use this as a battering ram to force through changes that worsen the real problems. It is beyond incompetence- it is simply immoral. In the interests of the nation people must learn about the real impact Tory policies are having on services. For them it is a game to play with peoples’ lives in the interest of short term political gain. Where we see people they see profit. Where we see inequality they see commercial opportunity.

    I genuinely had no idea of the nature of your struggle until I read this post but the similarities between our struggles are so striking. You have my sympathy.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. I have two daughters in teaching and this breaks my heart. Thank you for this cri de coeur, hopefully it will melt some stony heart somewhere.


  20. I wrote the same letter last week- 16 years in and I’m off to look after my family- 2 little boys. Will be doing supply to pay the mortgage- but I can’t do 60 hours plus a week any more. Well done for being brave- tough decisions


  21. I have to admit that this is so true. I have taught for 23 years, 13 at a FE college and 10 at a secondary school. I have always loved teaching and have been passionate about the children whom I have taught; mainly being the low ability, EAL, behaviour problem children and SEND children. Over the years I have managed to inspire and help these children achieve better than the Fisher Family Trust predicted they would get at the end of year 11. I have put up with no pay rises, changes in pensions increased work load, hoop jumping, and academisation.
    This means 13% of the budget goes to the Academy chain before the school gets it, and for this the school gets their logo on the headed paper. I have seen how when the Trust comes to visit the school it charges the school a consultancy fee from the schools budget. I am sure that there are some good academy chains running schools, but there are also ones out to make a profit from the teaching of children.
    This government is only interested in commercial interests, children are not a commodity that can be sold, education is a way of allowing children to develop and achieve their best.
    These pressures that the government have placed on schools are putting teachers into an impossible situation where managers are making decisions as who to enter for exams and who not, where results mean more than the children’s education.
    I left the profession because I could not bear to see year 10 and 11 children have their futures decided by managers who were only interested in results, I cannot be part of this immoral practice where; results count more than a child’s education.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tory mission is small state. Everything in the public realm to be monetised. No state provision of education, welfare, housing, social services or health care. Privatised prisons, hospitals, schools, buses, trains, gas, water, electricity and rented housing.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I started teaching in 1972 and I have taught continuously since then, but the atmosphere in the Profession, the attitude of the Government and the future of our wonderful young people is now so unhappy and so at risk that I fear for the future. The youth of today are our hope and our potential and we are putting it all at risk. I see colleagues breaking, children being sold short and a Government which appears unable to see the right way forward. I am lucky that being so ancient, I can retire and tend my garden, but what of my friends? Young professionals with Families and no time to be parents as they suffocate under mountains of paperwork, data and test preparation. And my students who struggle with stress as exam success becomes the only focus of their lives. We should be Educating the young, showing them the wonder of the World, helping them to become Citizens of the future, giving them a love for learning and an enthusiasm for life.
    We cannot do all this with the Education Secretary we currently have, with priorities dominated by data gathering and Teachers with rock bottom morale, and no realistic hope for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely agree. As an older mum (60) watching my 17-year-old go through the rigours of the current A Level system and the university selection process, I’m appalled at the pressure she’s under to commit to a specific career path when (like most kids and certainly myself at that age), she’s undecided. University seems to be about what you learn and where you end up these days rather than HOW you learn to think critically, as it was in my time. The sausage-factory analogy is very apt.

      As a secondary modern pupil (failed 11-plus), the encouragement of certain teachers at a school where academic expectations were close to zero was critical in helping me get to university. They were committed to learning for the love of learning. Ok, they told me I’d undoubtedly get a better job if I had a degree, but that wasn’t the be-all and end-all. How things have changed.

      My daughter observed the other day that she and her classmates feel they are expected to get the required grades at the expense of their mental health – and they’re the bright, hard-working ones! “I might get run over by a bus tomorrow, so what would all of this have been for?”, she asked the other day, in a rare moment of gloomy pessimism. Looking back at my relatively carefree days as an A Level student in the ’70s, this struck me as terribly sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m tweeting this to Nicky Morgan. Probably 10 times today, 10 tomorrow and 10 the day after. If everyone else tweets her it too, maybe, just maybe, she might read it. Fat lot of good it will do, but at least she might read it.

    I’m leaving soon too. I had planned to be gone by summer but I’m still building a small business that’s doesn’t turn enough profit to leave just yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. On the back of this – and not for a second because of the teaching profession which is rammed full of amazing, inspirational people who give up so much of their lives to propel our new generation – I am seriously considering home schooling my future children. And it breaks my heart to say that, not because I don’t want to spend as much time with them as possible, but because they will then lose out on the social side of school, interacting with their classmates, learning how to handle bullies, learning how to support their friends when needed. And let’s be honest, we all have memories of that one teacher who changed our lives at school. I would hate to deprive them of those memories, those experiences, but in today’s education system is it worth the stress of arbitrary assessments and constantly moving goalposts?

    I hope things change soon and you can get back into the job you love. You’re exactly the kind of person kids need and would set parents’ minds at ease that their kids are getting the best possible start in life.


  25. This makes me so sad – its our children that are suffering. I have 3 children in primary school, one of them just finished SATs, and another one just about to start. By the sounds of this letter their schools are doing an exemplary job because all three are happy, loving learning pupils who are producing creative work. Yes they are being taught how to do the tests but they are also having fun times, trips out and lessons outdoors. I now know how much extra work their teachers must be putting in to achieve this. If other schools/teachers are struggling then it scares me for the future generation.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I have been teaching since 1994 and I have read a few of these ‘letters’ on FB recently. However, half way through yours I suddenly realised I was crying. I have been quite unhappy lately even though I have always loved my job and I think you have put into black and white what I couldn’t quite get a grasp on and put into words myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. So sad to read this. I left the UK in 2009 after 8 years teaching and things were pretty bad then, but then Gove happened. I have been teaching abroad ever since and as we don’t have all the stupid tick boxes and teaching for tests, and i have actually enjoyed my jobs in Portugal and Switzerland for the first time in my career. I hope to stay in Switzerland as long as possible, but if I do have to return to the UK, I would never teach there again. We have friends and family teaching in the UK who have also resigned recently who feel the same as in the letter. The government need to do something before they alienate the entire profession and people leave in droves. I couldn’t recommend leaving to teach abroad highly enough, but not everyone is in a position to do this!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Teaching has like many too many of aspects of western life has become feminised in it idiology. Teachers have become busy fools waisting their time and energy in being careing and supportive. Teachers seem to achieve status by claiming to be overworked. Schools seem to want to celebrate failure by being so concerned about the poor victimised children.
    Teachers need to let the lazy and useless fail. They need to focus on the majority. Celebrate strength and hard work. Let the students take responsibility and let them see that failiure is just that, failure. Not a place where you can get extra support and attention. For teachers to blame the government for their own failing proffesion is wrong. I have not been in a teachers union but I have lost my teaching job for speaking my mind. So what….they needed my more than I needed them and now I teach abroad where students work much harder because they understand failure. And yes they take big exams at the end if key stages and without any drama. As a teacher….it’s very easy and enjoyable.


    1. Obviously you weren’t failed for not working hard enough. Waisting instead of wasting, careing instead of caring, proffesion instead of profession and “they needed my more …” rather than ” they needed me more ” Just exactly what do you teach ? Not English I hope.
      No doubt you are a strong proponent of the 11 plus, write kids off at 11 as thick or lazy ? You are exactly the kind of teacher who is best leaving the profession and teaching foreigners who don’t realise just how bad your spelling and attitude is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your comment. You are of course correct. I am just not good enough for the UK profession. I am however interested in this 11+ idea. It sounds wonderful.


    2. Martin writes: “Teaching has like many too many of aspects of western life has become feminised in it idiology. Teachers have become busy fools waisting their time and energy in being careing and supportive.”

      Spot the spelling mistakes colleagues: ‘Ideology’ not ‘idiology’, ‘wasting’ not ‘waisting’, ‘caring’ not ‘careing’.

      Please get the basics right and then return to tell us about how teaching has gone down hill because it has been ‘feminised’ in your words, because teachers are expected to be caring and supportive.

      Fortunately, I know many male teachers who are caring and supportive of pupils. The fact is, not all male teachers share your misogynistic and uncaring approach.Thankfully.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you for your comment. You are of course correct. I am just not good enough for the UK profession. I am however interested in this 11+ idea. It sounds wonderful.


      2. I’m not uncaring. The issue is that I am increasingly expected to play the role of councillor to students who feel entitled to bring their problems into the classroom. I care that students develop into self reliant and self responsible individuals. Yes my ideas are maybe old fashioned but standards were higher in the past.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. The problem is, of all the teacher support systems are stripped away – no social workers, no trained staff for kids in crisis, no father figures to lay down the law, nor even dinner ladies! – then the teacher, like it or not, ends up forced to be all these things.
      Or are you so heartless you’d turn a blind eye to victims and bullies alike because “it should be someone else’s problem”?


  29.!let-our-kids-be-kids/dewri Let our kids be kids

    ‘What did you do in school today?
    You do not look your best.
    Was it too much fun in the playground?’
    ‘We had another test.’

    Two thousand three hundred and thirty one –
    Now divide it by thirty seven.
    These are the joys of key stage two
    And soon you’ll be eleven.

    ‘What did you do in school today?
    You’re tired and need some rest.
    Were you dashing about on the playing field?’
    ‘We had another test.’

    Decimals, fractions, division.
    We’ve been doing them through the week.
    We sit in our class with our heads bowed down.
    We’re not allowed to speak.

    ‘What did you do in school today?
    Just get it off your chest.
    Did you chatter with your friends a lot?’
    ‘We had another test.’

    Circle the conjunction.
    Find the subordinate clause.
    Which is the passive and active voice?
    ‘We had to stay indoors.’

    And so the term progresses.
    The school, it cannot fail.
    Drill them, drill them drill them.
    Until they’re gaunt and pale.

    Squeeze out creativity.
    Squeeze out joy and fun.
    The government needs data .
    On your daughter. On your son.

    Their profile’s on the matrix.
    The stat’s are on their grids.
    Are schools now merely factories?
    Just let our kid be kids.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Couldn’t agree more with your link Martin. Let’s get a balanced view into the debate rather than from decades of teachers who’ve been ‘brainwashed’ at training by liberal university lecturers. I was too, but soon saw the futility and unworkable nature of child-centred education (from research developed originally in rural villages of good kids in small classes) unless in a Rousseau-type situation of one-to-one. I always found there was plenty of room for creativity, sport, music and drama with end of year exams/SATS/tests to discover comparability and attainment between classes and local and national schools. I always agreed with my teachers when they complained they would have to teach ‘to the tests’ because the children’s Maths and English etc. would improve….which they did. The children were soon able to work more quickly on more advanced Maths, especially at their secondary schools, as well as compute in their minds the change from £10 for three Mars bars at 60p each when their tills had failed. Their writing soon improved to become legible, coherent and understandable to the reader. Creativity then took off. As far as the younger children and ‘tests’ are concerned, they soon got used to regular testing (i.e. when they could not ask the child next to them for the answer – how futile and restricting is this!). In fact they didn’t realise they were doing SATS, as it was similar to their regular ‘tests’ or in Science like their normal lessons. Anyway, every time a child is asked to read to the teacher or what the total cost of four 5p sweets cost are being tested! The stress is either instilled by the parents or by the teacher’s own stress. The development of a good memory and inquisitive mind to take in and retain new knowledge (which forms a platform for later accelerated learning) is far more beneficial to children of primary school age than the endless hours of nebulous, experiential creativity that shows that water is wet (I actually learnt this on a science course once!).


  30. I now teach in a private school in Moscow- ex Head Teacher of 2 UK schools and 20 years experience but as I cared more about the children than the results I didn’t fit any more. I love actually being able to teach the children and not jump through hoops!!


  31. My daughter gave up teaching last year after three years of unmitigated hell, for all the reasons other teachers mention. My daughter has always wanted to teach having enjoyed learning. As we now have academies which don’t need to keep to the National Curriculum, why don’t schools just ignore it and revert to “older” types of teaching: just use something which has worked at your school before? You could always call it home teaching, just in quite a big home.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. When are we ever going to learn that a Tory Government sees every facet of life as a means to an end .Education is not about improving lives it is about using the system to generate wealth. The NHS ,the same , Transport the same Social Services ((HAHAHA} the same The end justifies the means every time . Morality, Ethics, Society itself all myths There is but one God and his name (say it quietly } is wealth

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I know the feeling entirely.

    First: sympathies and commiserations.

    Second: I hope you quickly find a place to stand, and a decent lever! Because there are certainly times when (moving swiftly from Archimedes to Galileo!) “it does move, though”.

    The only other things is I like the wry quip about Boris at the end. You might have added: Or IDS. Or indeed, Gove.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thanks Zoe, this is such a powerful post. I’ve been in education for over 32 years and we seemed to have lost sight of so many important aspects of what education is about. I discovered this poem in a NAPE (National Association for Primary Education) magazine from Autumn 2004. It’s from Margaret Gilvary, a Headteacher who retired in 1958:

    Now This Is What I believe:
    Our main purpose is to civilise;
    we must give the children a rich life, but calm, free from pain and pressure,
    in a place where they can live and grow joyously, securely, calmly.
    I believe in the discipline of good books.
    I don’t worry whether they understand the meaning of all we read to them,
    if I see they are catching a love of beauty and cultivating a rhythm in their lives.
    So we plan the day subtly, so as to give unbroken periods of work and leisure.
    Our whole job is to encourage learning.
    There’s a clearly defined thread running through the day,
    but so fine as to be no hindrance.
    Yet so consistent as to give security, and build up stability.
    Above all, a school must be a welcoming, warming place, filled with wonder.
    We have to win the five year-olds, then all is won.
    Steady, exploratory living in a peaceful atmosphere, is all I crave for children.
    We must be sparing of regulations, and even the youngest boys and girls
    must be free to continue what they begin and helped to see it through to a satisfying end.
    Industry has to be encouraged all the time, but there must be fallow periods as well;
    even what looks like idleness, will perhaps be left untouched by the teacher,
    in her wisdom. In a harmonious community,
    children will assume unheard-of responsibility and we must foster this.
    They will attack vast enterprises; let them learn to choose and select.
    I want to send out civilised, courteous, thoughtful, healthy, questioning,
    vital human beings of high purpose, with self-control and love of good things.
    In all that we do we must be mindful of their needs and not our own,
    and of their immaturity and weakness.
    We can afford to be prodigal with our most precious possessions;
    bring them into school; no harm will come to them; they will be a profound influence.
    Only the best is good enough for our purpose.
    A day of sharp breaks, of chopped up compartments and unnecessary disturbances,
    competing and goading is not a real life at all.
    Every child has to be helped to do something well; it is in all of them; we have to find it.
    We have to do a lot of standing aside, and watching maybe,
    before we know how to find it. That is an important part of our work.
    All I aim for is an enrichment of these children’s lives; the growth of their powers,
    their generosity, their affection and humanity, their personalities, their judgement.

    Don’t Nick Gibb say we could teach like teachers did 50 years ago? Oh, if only that were true!


    Liked by 1 person

  35. Further Education is now being treated in a similar way. The Tories modify a successful system to ensure its failure, point to the failure, distance themselves from the failure by blaming others and then using this apparent failure as grounds for selling it off to Tory Party donators on the basis that ‘it’s the right thing to do’.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. I resigned from permemant teaching after 6 years too and now do supply. As an outside observer I can see how much worse things have got in the 5 years since I’ve left, I’m so glad I am no longer part of it, I don’t intend to return to this ridiculous system and am seriously considering whether it is one I’d want my children to be part of when the time comes. I have tweeted your article to Nick Morgan but I don’t suppose she’ll listen 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  37. When Gove moved to the MoJ my teacher friends laughed at me. I pointed out Gove was considered a step up from Grayling, and was much more competent.

    I’ll just let you think about my previous 5 years…


  38. Reblogged this on and commented:
    I am often mistaken for being ‘anti school’ this couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact my brother is a teacher and I have many friends in the profession. We must listen to them, they are at the forefront of a system gone mad. On that note, here’s a MUST READ:

    Liked by 1 person

  39. How can anyone so ignorant be put in charge of education? Has she ever been a teacher? I was a teacher, and later lecturer in FE, for 35 years. It was the most wonderful experience. I would not dream of suggesting it to anyone now as you will be treated as dirt. I am just glad I do not have children to put through school. Home tuition is presumably the only solution. I suppose it doesn’t matter to Tories as they will not be using the system meant for the rest of us. Why does anyone ever vote Tory???


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