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My own personal view on UK Education and bits n bobs


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Westminster Education Forum Keynote Seminar: My two pennies worth at the meeting

Westminster Education Forum Keynote Seminar: The future of the teaching workforce – tackling workload, raising standards and supporting professional development

Timing: Morning, Tuesday, 7th July 2015

Venue: Central London

 

posh init

 
What follows is my speech…I ignored advice and rushed it!

Been a HT for three years. Have become Vice-Chair of the Headteacher’s Roundtable.I have tried here to show some context with the issues with workload. When I started this speech it was a list and it was well over 1,000 words. So I doubt I will be able to list them all.

I have some hope at the end, if I get there!

But, I’ll start by saying all of the issues we are discussing in this section could be solved by the government listening to the profession and using evidence:

 Structures make no difference to how successful a school is or will be.

Schools direct has failed to attract new teachers in big enough numbers

Teaching schools are a mixed bag and sit heavy with the worry about ofsted downgrading them. Many have not been inspected since 2011, so their outstanding may no longer be.

Fear is the driving force in education. Fear of losing your job because of one year’s set of exam results or one inspectors view on education. I got called brave when I stopped grading lessons…this was in the light of over-whelming evidence that it was flawed…i can confirm that we work with staff on workload…we designed our assessment systems with staff…I was called brave because I did something that put me in opposition to ofsted…that shows how crazy the system is. For a school the personal views of an inspector can be great or catastrophic depending on that view
It takes time to turn a school into a great school. It takes even longer if your cohort arrives with below average attainment. 
Since I started in working education, education has changed every single year that I have worked. These started slowly as most were to do with vocational education, but each year there has been more and more that as a school we are expected.

I do want to point out that I came into teaching late. I came from the easy street of corporate sales in a multi-national and running my own business. I can tell you I have never worked as hard.

I felt the only thing I could bring today was to give you an understanding on all the things that have changed (that I could remember). I was very tempted to set the list to a faintly recognisable Gilbert and Sullivan tune.  
It is impossible for me to list everything, when I started.

Ofsted changes to the framework. 

There have been 4 major changes to how an inspection is conducted. Since 2010 there have been 76+ updates, revisions, clarification etc  
Impact on the behaviours of school has been enormous. 
New Exams. New Accoutabilty

This year new GCSEs in two subjects graded 1 to 9 with all others still A* to G (in some of those History for example there have been three revisions to the spec over the last 4 years with another to come) and 

new A levels in from now on 14 that are linear (all exams taken at the end) with the rest remaining modular (units taken at the end of Year 12 & 13). More becoming the modular the year after, but still a mix economy until 2017.
All these changes mean SoL need to be re-written. The delivery needs to be looked at and replanned. The assessments need to be rewritten
We have had changes to the accountability measures of 
5A* to C, 
5A* to C including English and Maths, 

Change from criteria referenced back to norm referenced

vocational equivalents being worth 6, 4, 2 and now 1 GCSEs. 

Students being able to resit and count in league tables and now not, 

1,000s of courses that were part of the accountability measures but now are not

contextual value added, 

value added, 

floor targets changing each year, 

Ebacc 

and from next year progress 8, attainment 8.  

gaining ground or rebranded as coasting schools

The new Sixth Form accountability measures have a 41 page technical guide, you have to know this to ensure you don’t make a small mistake that could cost you your job.

All of these mean that there is a myth of autonomy when it comes to curriculum choices for schools

League table create huge pressures and can be blamed for dubious practice
We have dealt with or dealing with wider issues and refer to Sean Coughlan’s talk earlier today. This is with the wrap around care disappearing:
We have also seen the removal of funding from 

external careers advice service, 

mental health services, 

drugs awareness groups, 

targeted youth services, 

community police officers working in schools, 

social services ability to support schools in regards safeguarding.

all impact our ability to help and support children. Which means more time trying to find help and support for families.

Every Child Matters, 

SEAL, 

SEN, 

SEND, 

SMSC, 

PLTS, 

careers, 

Obesity,  

WEX, 

PSHE, 

sex ed, 

section 28, 

equality act, 

healthy eating, 

school specialism, 

citizenship, 

British values, 

e-safety, 

risk assessments for trips becoming larger and larger, 

character education, 

prevent duty, 

collective worship, 

enterprise, 

financial well-being, 

In fact every single social issue being presented as a failure of education. 
In terms of safeguarding there have been three changes to government guidance in the past three years. Our safeguarding policy is 95 pages long, all staff read the summary, were trained in the summary, then government changed the summary 

As Tom Sherrington reminded me there are many reasons to feel positive; 
“There is EVIDENCE. There is a growing understanding that teaching is complicated; that there is no one correct way to teach…. But still, that some things work better than others

OfSTED has changed its position radically in the last 18 months – but still has a long way to go. Trust in the top of the organisation is high, albeit that Whilshaw has an inability to praise. But the engagement from Mike Claddinbowl initially and continuing with Sean Harford have been welcome
Recognition of the role of CPD is at an all time high.
There is also a slow awakening to the value of a high trust culture within in schools
There is a massive ground-swell of profession led activity;
Social media, teachmeets, conferences, bloggers with reach and influence, school-university partnerships, research projects, the Nat Bacc Trust, Research Ed, Northern Rocks, National Teacher Enquiry Network”….and where I am the Vice-Chair, the Headteacher’s Roundtable
 

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