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New Year’s Resolutions For Those At The Top Of The Education Ladder

For 2017, we could all do better, starting with those in power

  • New Year’s Resolutions For Those At The Top Of The Education Ladder

Well, it’s the turn of the year again; and for many of us, the time when we like to make promises to do (or stop doing) certain things.

However, as I’m sure no one will be interested in the specific ways I’m going to set myself up to fail over the next 12 months, I thought I’d suggest some New Year’s resolutions for other people, instead.

Senior leadership teams

“We will actually listen to the advice given by @seanharford regarding doing things just for Ofsted”

It is hard to know how much clearer Sean and Ofsted could be with their statements about marking and planning: both need to be appropriate and manageable. So if something doesn’t help the teacher or the students to succeed, stop doing it.


“We will ask, ‘How does this school serve the WHOLE community?’”

I’m afraid that if governors are not asking this question and ensuring the school is not excluding young people by stealth (sometimes by discouraging them from choosing it in the first place), it is obvious that no one else can or will.

Theresa May

“I will put the benefits of all young people above the internal politics of the Conservative party”

I have reached the point where I have read all of the evidence that I can lay my hands on. I’ve listened to the PM’s speeches on the matter. I’ve tried really hard to understand whence the decision is derived. But to put it bluntly: MORE GRAMMAR SCHOOLS MAKES NO SENSE.

The PM is meant to work for the overall benefit of the whole country and this policy doesn’t do that; in fact it’ll negatively affect 1,000s of children. So please, drop it – and that includes allowing present grammar schools to expand away from where they currently are situated and therefore making the government’s recent ‘consultation’ worthless.

Amanda Spielman

“I will carry on using common sense regarding the direction of Ofsted (and maybe read the Headteachers’ Roundtable Alternative Green Paper for some ideas)”

I recently read an interview where the HMCI said that schools in challenging areas are less likely to be judged outstanding because they are harder to lead.

Now, it would be easy sarcastically to say, ‘Well, that is a surprise!’ However, we can’t blame Ms Spielman for the failures of the system in the past – instead, we should be encouraging her to make the fact-based, common sense decisions that she seems to be wanting to make. This includes topics such as the potential removal of the ‘outstanding’ judgement as well as a recognition that context has an impact on outcomes.

Lorry drivers

“We will not attempt to overtake another lorry whilst going uphill”

Thought I’d try and sneak this one in; well, I do a lot of driving.

Justine Greening

“I will listen to the professionals that want to work with me to improve the education of our young people”

We are not ‘enemies of promise’ or a ‘blob’; that was an incredibly unjust thing to have said about hard working and caring professionals. The problems that we are facing with funding and recruitment are real and mean that we (and that includes you, Ms Greening) are going to fail to achieve our goals. When someone who is as positive and proud about being a teacher as I am is beginning to wonder what other job I could do – if I’m forced to leave the profession I love – then I can assure you that it must feel like an impossible task to others that are less resilient or supported by those around them.

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