Justine Greening

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What do teachers want from the new Education Secretary, Justine Greening?

Politicians will come and go, but teachers will always be here for their students as long as they are not pushed out by policy. It’s just a shame to see we are so divided as a nation, in terms of what we want for ourselves that cuts far deeper … (What next for Nicky Morgan?)

The average term of office is ~800 days – for any Education Secretary.

“Greening’s predecessor, Nicky Morgan, was in power for just 727 days – less than double the average for an Education Secretary. To match this longevity Greening would need to still be in post until 24th September 2018.” (Great Education Secretaries)

Justine Greening

Image: The Independent

What should Greening achieve?

1. Credibility:

If you want to keep your credibility, tell teachers the truth. Tell the truth, all of the time.

Where Gove and Morgan went wrong, they started to manipulate the facts to suit policies and their political party. This soon started to berate the profession to a point where David Cameron has to demote Michael Gove (July 2014) because he was clearly hated by the teaching profession. Potential voters went on strike before the general election in 2014. Only in the past few months, Morgan’s relationships with unions have started to fray and teachers recently voted to strike earlier this month.

They both lost credibility.

2. Competence:

You can be credible, but not competent. You may be truthful, but you could be ill-informed.

I want to see our system – our teachers – working in classrooms using evidence-based research to inform the work they are doing. For professional development to be meaningful and backed by robust and long-term funding, evidence must be freely accessible and have time to impact on the lives of students. Let’s eradicate poor decisions from inspection teams and myths generated by subversive think tanks, so we can truly work from an informed position.

If people do not trust your judgement, you will have little influence. You will therefore lack any competence.

3. Trust:

Teachers need to believe in the message and the messenger. Having credibility and competence will not see you very far if you do not show that you care for those that you are put in a position to work for.

I want a system that is peer-led and has less high-stakes. Where schools, school leaders and teachers are monitoring and evaluating in peer-to-peer networks, in a more developmental sense and not in the current ‘high-stakes’ format that we have come to associate OfSTED with. We work in a system which has an increasing data-driven industry, where outcomes are vital for admissions, budgeting and job security. All this makes the job harder to achieve and the high-stakes model makes it harder to recruit than ever before.

Today, gimmicks and fads are high on the agenda and we are working harder to eliminate preferences in publications. More work needs to be done, but recent efforts to bust myths have been warmly received. I highly suggest you do the same and share it widely with your colleagues. Let’s get back to doing what we do best. Teach.

Trust us to do our job and we will do it well.

Work with us:

Ms. Greening. You will need to work hard to gain the respect of a profession, one that feels berated and in dire need of some love and care. There are plenty of good schools across the country working tirelessly to improve standards of teaching and learning. Get out of your office and visit teachers working on the front line. Behaviour is good in many schools. Teaching is good in many schools and many schools are good.

Work with us. Trust us and most of all, engage and allow us to get on with the job in hand.

As Mike Cameron writes: “Firstly, just tell the truth. Secondly, don’t be ideological … and the most important advice. Be competent.” (Blog)

TT.

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@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of being most influential in the field of education. He remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing resources and ideas online as @TeacherToolkit, he has built this website (c2008) which has been described as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the UK Blog Awards (2018). Read more...

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