Wednesday, 29 October 2014
In a world where OFSTED strikes fear into the hearts of headteachers and teachers it is important to remember that the current short-term, quick fix, interventionist approach is not based on in-depth understanding of the research evidence about what works or a detailed understanding of the context and culture of schools, but on superficial data analysis and instant judgements which don't lead to sustainable lasting change or school improvement.
Sunday, 26 October 2014
Another week gone and another week where I struggle to understand why everyone is in such a hurry all the time. People constantly rushing from one appointment to another with little regard or care for anyone else; jumping traffic lights, ignoring the needs of others and pushing past people without looking or caring. I don't understand why it is but it appears that no-one seems to have any time or patience anymore and I was reminded of this wonderful poem by Brian Patten, one of the Liverpool poets.
Friday, 24 October 2014
"The assessment and accountability system is toxic because it gives one voice the power to dominate over the others, terminating the discussion, leaving people feeling bruised because they have not been engaged. It does this because it was designed in response to a breakdown in trust between education professionals, policymakers and the wider public. The system was failing, people said, and it was the fault of the professionals. Therefore, it was necessary to set the judgements of inspectors against those of students, staff and other school stakeholders, and to make their judgements the grounds for executive action against schools."
James Park: DETOXIFYING SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Monday, 20 October 2014
Saturday, 18 October 2014
Interesting times! But don't despair because what I have learned over the last twenty years and through working with extraordinary colleagues and extraordinary schools in North Yorkshire, York, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Lincoln provides us with a framework for delivering brilliant schools and brilliant outcomes for every child and young person and every community!
It is increasingly obvious that the current OFSTED inspection approach is toxic and not fit for purpose. My visits to schools in York, Leeds and Sheffield have shown me that we have created a monster that has a corrosive and destructive affect on schools and distorts how local authorities work and support their schools. I have argued for a long time that we need learning leadership, beautiful systems and intelligent accountability and, in this DEMOS report, James Park argues that the current model of accountability is profoundly toe, which would allow all children to achieve their potential, while ensuring the quality of education in schools is of a high standard.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
I spent many years of my professional life working in York and Leeds to try to ensure that every school in those two wonderful cities was a great school, every classroom was a great classroom and every teacher was a great teacher, often sadly against a background of negativity, criticism and indifference.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
Those 'goalpost shifting badgers' are only the start of it, according to Carol Ann Duffy in her wonderful poem '22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax'. All nature is in uproar, what with rule-bending ferrets, the fact-twisting skunks and the gun-jumping foxes. It all adds up, to an explanation which makes as much sense as anything else in education or politics!!
Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.
Friday, 10 October 2014
Thursday, 9 October 2014
It's funny how quickly we have got into another academic year and an important one with an election looming. Another year where we face an onslaught from our friends at OFSTED who are visiting our 'satisfactory schools' and ratcheting up the bar and rightly focusing on leadership, teaching, data, outcomes and progress. But having experienced the damage and chaos OFSTED also brings at times like this I often ask myself why do we do this and what are we trying to achieve together and I am constantly reminded that we should...
"Devote yourself to loving others,
devote yourself to your community around you,
and devote yourself to creating something
that gives you purpose and meaning."