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.

Technology, Technology, Technology

Well the politicking is getting underway and, following on the theme from my last blog, schools are under pressure again. The usual sticks are being waved; the performance data isn’t good enough, behaviour needs improvement, teachers need better degrees etc. So the remedies are coming thick and fast. However, several elephants in the room are being ignored. We have the continued school ‘apartheid’ caused by the fee paying, the grammar and the ‘popular comprehensive lock out’ sectors. We have substantial cuts in budgets and we have Technology. What we don’t have much of is a recognition that all young people need to see the worth and feel a part of their education (especially for those whose parents are unable to engineer school choice for their children). Young people need to have both a voice as well as a choice. Technology is capable of providing both. There are already established forms of  on line supported learning. It is possible for the young (and the rest of us) to learn on line and to motivate ourselves through having options, as well as having learning programmes tailored to our needs. Coincidentally, this method of learning can be also be considerably more resource efficient  as well as enhancing opportunity. Perhaps the advantages that technology can provide will encourage politicians to locate the current debate in the future rather than in the past.