2012; Multi Academies, School Direct, ICT,Prejudice

2012 promises much by way of radical change in education, some of the change engineered by government, some as a fall out from government. Multi Academies are a logical response by groups of schools who wish to collaborate in the face of a shrinking Local Authority, the chance to pool scarce reources and the threat of predatory school chains. Multi Academies may be supported centrally because they will provide fewer ‘centres’ for administrative purposes. I have written before about the likelihood that all of this will lead to some kind of eventual reinvention of a Local Authority – still the most efficient model to support schools . Until we reach that point, it will be exciting for schools to work closely and to explore the benefits.

School Direct heralds the new age of Initial Teacher Training whereby schools will become the key players in ITT. Schools have always enjoyed engagement with ITT for a variety of reasons, not least as a very good way to recruit staff. The danger here is that the market will produce dominant school groups (aided by Teaching Schools) and the self interest factor could lead to the exclusion of the majority of schools from ITT.

With both Michael Gove and the Guardian calling for a radical overhaul of ICT something is bound to give,except that nothing can until we find/support several thousand trained teachers to deliver Computer Science. However, ICT clearly to become the curriculum reform candidate of the year.

Prejudice seems to be on the rise if the problems in the football world are anything to go by. We are told that when things get tough, common decencies take a hammering. Apparently we stop caring for each other. Schools have always been key factors in the creation of a tolerant society. It is to be hoped that whatever political alternative develops as the strategy for the next 10 years, it will call for a consensus on education that begins with a true picture and looks at what works well and what is reasonable.

Advertisements

Strategies for Schools: Ten Thoughts for Turbulent Times

  1. The need to protect your own capacity to develop and sustain high levels of achievement by each student and each member of staff.
  2. To conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,Threats analysis to assess your situation objectively and to consult with all your stakeholders about the school’s priorities.
  3. To avoid invitations to join projects of the  ‘how to fill the vacuum left by Local Education Authorities, or how to help us to sustain our QUANGO, or how to maintain another school’s position of influence, or how to run the system with less funding’ variety, unless they relate to schools, institutions or agencies with whom you share the same young people and families, or schools with a genuine and pressing need to which you can, in some part, respond.
  4. To remember to differentiate between the political whims and swings of the pendulum, from that which is unchanging and which will not be reversed or dropped at some future point.
  5. In consultation with the whole school community, to save costs and through collaboration with other schools and partners, to achieve economies of scale and commissioning power.
  6. To sustain and develop your recruitment by taking advantage of and developing your existing ITT Partnerships. Be ready for the training places opportunity offered by School Direct in 2012, identifying prospective employees in advance, ensuring that your school is a highly desirable employment and career destination.
  7. To secure Academy status under your own terms and to seek to consolidate your position and that of your partners’ by having a clear and unambiguous ethos and perhaps an affiliation to an umbrella organisation (e.g. Schools Co-operative Society, Faith Groups, Local Authority, Commissioning Mutual, Local Area, Trust etc).
  8. To develop closer links and collaboration with your Secondary, Junior and Infant link schools.
  9. To ensure quality in your classrooms and management systems through research, critical enquiry, dialogue and reflection.
  10. To strive, as appropriately and as far as possible, to achieve the goal of all your students, staff, visitors and friends finding your school to be a happy and rewarding place to be.