Are you proud to be teaching in our education system in England?
On the 17th June 2015, Education Minister Nicky Morgan discussed The Future of Education in England in this press release at the Sunday Times Festival of Education at Wellington College. In this blog, I capture the highlights for all busy teachers to read in less than 5 minutes.
“If it’s possible for this headteacher, this school, this area to achieve that greatness, why would anyone else settle for less?”
Why not share this summary with your leadership team?
- We need to ensure that young people master the basics in primary and develop that deep understanding in secondary. Anyone disagree with this?
- ‘Rigor’ is mentioned three times.
- ‘Character’ is mentioned twice. No wonder buzz words are appearing on Ofsted documents and the lips of teachers up and down the country.
- A core education is reiterated. Nicky Morgan defines this as ‘flexibility and choice’. One of ‘Nicky Morgan’s’ “guiding principles – and I’m sure yours, too – is that every child, no matter what their family circumstances, no matter where they’re from or what their background is, can succeed if we give them the tools that allow them to achieve that success.” Does ANY teacher disagree with this?
- Finally, development of ‘skills’ are given a greater emphasis over the recent ‘knowledge’ debate. “…we run the risk of creating a generation who excel at passing exams, writing essays, absorbing information, but children without the skills they need to tackle the challenges that lie ahead …“
- Recent academic reforms are described as a ‘restoration of our qualifications and examinations system to the gold standard.’
- The “fledgling academies programme and a network of self-governing schools around the country continues to set their own direction! But – to be abundantly clear here – it’s not the fact of being a free school or an academy that leads to this excellence. Rather, it’s what being an academy or a free school stands for.” What about the ‘outstanding’ comprehensive school Nicky?
- Believers in local authorities will feel their spines shudder at the next sentence; “Greater competition and collaboration in the system. Encouraging local schools to learn from each other, share best practice and even partake in a bit of healthy rivalry!” Described as ‘ freedom beyond the red tape and bureaucracy.’
- However, Nicky Morgan does acknowledge that ‘ that improvements don’t happen all at once’ when discussing coastal and rural schools versus urban area; and on pupil premium students she says, “the historic focus on in-school gaps in attainment can’t be our only focus – instead we should be ambitious for all.”
- Nicky Morgan ends with a reassurance; “do not mistake stability for silence, to presume that education is no longer a priority for the government … The dust must settle; we must give schools the chance to seize the opportunities our reforms offer.” Some good advice here …
The full speech can be found here.
My headteacher will never forgive me for saying this, but I really hope the DfE or Nicky Morgan will read this message and come and visit our school. I agree entirely with this vision, but I’d just like to keep this in check with reality and the challenges that we all face as teachers. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds who, attending school in itself is simply a success story! There is every need to expect these students to also achieve and be part of an academic and rigorous curriculum, but in all honesty, it simply isn’t realistic in all situations (for every child). Our school system is not sophisticated or well-advanced enough to support the most challenging and neediest of students in our society; if they are to be measured by a linear model of examinations or shoe-horned into studying ‘certain’ subjects …
I hope this helps provide a snapshot for every busy teacher. Why not share this with your colleagues, especially your leadership team.
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