This will be a shortish post.
Today, we awake to find that the Conservatives have declared ‘war’ on mediocrity in schools. Cameron and Nicky ‘Gove’ Morgan have decided that Requires Improvement (RI) is ‘not good enough’ Heads are under threat again and face being sacked. Schools are once more being told that no matter what they do it will never be ‘good enough’ and the ‘carrot’ promised by the Secretary of State, Nicky ‘Gove’ Morgan has magically turned into a very big stick.
Is this Really About OFSTED and its lack of support for Academies?
With Thousands of schools currently under the banner of RI, I have to wonder if this is just about schools or is this a dig at Sir Michael Wilshaw, who has inspected a number of academies and decided that they simply are not working and he, and his inspectors, have branded many of them as RI or even put some into special measures. Is this the real reason behind today’s announcement – “how dare you criticise our academies programme!”
When Nicky ‘Gove’ Morgan was asked this morning about a report – A GOVERNMENT REPORT! – which stated that there is NO EVIDENCE that academies have any effect on school improvement she simply dismissed it and said, “I disagree”. If only life were that easy Mrs Morgan. You occupy a very special and privileged position gifted to you (not won through experience, qualification or – as far as I can tell, any hard work in the field of education) which allows you to universally ignore any and ALL reports/evidence that you just don’t like. However, those who work in education, who gain their position through hard work, qualifications, experience and expertise – CANNOT ignore you dictats. We are compelled by law to do what you say. And this, let me remind you, is democracy!
So what are you going to do about the many, the very many, academies which require improvement? Turn them into err, academies? No of course not – that fate only awaits any school which is not currently an academy. Your thinking is that the structure of the school is the cure-all. Well it isn’t.
Conservatoires – the next generation of academies
How about this for a solution.
We need a new name, a new structure for those academies that are in special measures or that are RI – what about creating Conservatoires? We could have instead of the X Academy, the X Conservatoire?
And just think – the name would be a constant reminder as well as to which party they owe their name to Conservative – Conservatoire – PERFECT.
The New Conservative Education Ad Campaign
I even have an ad campaign for you if you like (though it is unoriginal and based on another popular ad campaign)
Are you fed up with being RI? Are you an academy that just didn’t make it? Well, don’t worry, the DfE has the perfect structure for you – become a Conservatoire! Why? Because your worth it!
I’m sure that for a small fee you could even get Cheryl Cole to front the campaign (small fee compared to the Billions wasted on academisation so far!)
War, let me remind you Mr Cameron, is Ugly
One last thing Mr Cameron and Mrs Gove-Morgan, war is ugly. Wars are seldom quick and the collateral damage can be immense. In any war there is never really a victor, a winner, but there are plenty of losers. Wage a ‘war’ if you like, but within the education community we prefer to work WITH each other rather than be at war with one another.
Be careful what you wish for. There are about 470,000 teachers out there who all have a vote. There are many others like me, no longer a day-to-day teacher, but a qualified teacher who has devoted over 25 years to a career that cares about children, and I am a voter as well. Ignore all my qualifications, expertise, advice and experience if you must, but teachers will always do the best for their children in spite of what unqualified, unexperienced, ill-informed politicians say.
DfE Conservatoire – the perfect solution to all your RI problems, ‘because your worth it’!
(yes the typo in the ad is deliberate, after all it’s a DfE Ad!)