What should the education landscape look like in 2020? This is what we’ll be asking in our five, pre-election debates. These debates expand on key themes identified by our members and which shaped our manifesto.
Career guidance is the key to social mobility. Well-off homes can tell their children about all the great opportunities open to them if they have the right qualifications. But if no-one in your family has ever had a skilled job, how are you to know about these opportunities if the school doesn’t tell you?
“We don’t want Serco exam factories” said Rick Muir, associated director of IPPR and a panelist at yesterday’s ATL debate on the role of profit in schools. This was the first in five debates ATL will be holding as part of their varied #ShapeEducation discussions, and on this occasion I was the chair.
The case for ‘for profit’ providers in education rests on weak empirical foundations. The international evidence on the performance of for-profit school providers is at best mixed.
Politicians worldwide have in the past decades tried to improve their state-funded schooling systems by introducing more choice and competition. By introducing market forces, the idea is to ensure that bad schools either are forced to improve or go out of business and that good schools expand – creating a virtuous ‘race to the top’.
The real damage to England’s schools following the reforms of the last twenty-five years is that they have become individual economic entities. When schooling starts to become a commodity, curriculum and pedagogy become commodities too.
Schools have lost faith in the ability of exam boards to mark exam papers accurately. If you need a demonstration of that fact, look no further than yesterday’s news that the number of GCSE and A-level papers sent for re-marking rose by 48 per cent to 450,500.
ATL members' deep concerns about the current inspection regime mean we are engaging seriously with the changes put forward in the Ofsted consultation for a common inspection framework in education, published this morning,
When teachers are handed policies and expected to make them a reality, their sense of professionalism, autonomy and self-belief are attacked. Until there are meaningful mechanisms for teachers to be involved in policy setting, it’s impossible to reach a state of genuine policy success.
I have long been an advocate for parental choice in education. It’s what good parents do, but there is a downside to parental choice which has caused schools here in Northern Ireland to become much more socially segregated.