Education, Education, Education.

Education is essential. We know how important it is for a society. A good education system is what every country in the world should strive for. Now education is personal to me. Why you may ask ?

Well you could say it’s a family business. My father was a head teacher, my mother worked in a school, nearly all my aunties, uncles, cousins and even great aunties were teachers. I even graduated from a teaching College. I am now a school governor. Thus my background is education. I feel passionately about this area.

Every Government has tried to improve and reform education in the UK. One could argue the success and failure of all governments in their quest to make the education system in this country the best in the world. Have we succeeded ?  Well if you look at the world league tables, then I guess you could say we haven’t.

Now don’t get me going on league tables because I don’t agree with them. Shock , horror ! I don’t agree with SATS, shock , horror. In fact I am not too keen on any official testing till the age of 16. Yes that is right you heard it, no testing  till 16. Maybe that is too radical  but Finland does it and guess what they have one of the most successful education systems in the world now.

Let’s get to where we are now with education in the UK. We have a Secretary of State, Michael Gove, who is on a mission not just to reform the system, but to change it completely.

His idea is to create this amazing education system. Yes, of course that is what we all want. How does he want to achieve this. He wants to create an academy programme. He wants free schools. His idea is choice, choice, choice. Let’s be free of the old systems of a Local Authority. Who needs that ! Give the head teachers, governors the responsibility of running the schools completely. After all its the people on the ground that know what they are doing.

Sounds good doesn’t it. Teachers and parents in control, not some stuffy Local Authority. I don’t think anyone could argue against teachers having control and parents being part of the school. Its about local communities, running local schools, marvellous.

Yes but its at this point we need to really look into the detail. I am afraid at this point it becomes political. Is it really in the best interests of the community that control is actually taken away from Local Authority and given to Gove. To centralise. Yes this is what is happening.

I fear its the contradiction of giving choice at a local level to then taking it away by centralising.

I agree that teachers, head teachers, governors are the one’s to run their school. I agree that head teachers should run their budget.

But what if there is no local safety net, no local accountability .What if something where to go wrong?

This is where it all becomes worrying. What we need is balance. We do need a Local Education Authority, where there is that local accountability, that  local support.

The key is in the LEA – Local – not CEA – Central which is what the Education Secretary is intent on creating. He could actually call it GEA – Gove Education Authority , he might as well.

Are the teachers really happy with the reforms, the academies and the free schools ?  No , the teachers I have spoken  are  not and I know a lot of teachers.

Has this reform been thought through. I seriously do not believe it has been. In the mission to create this Utopian vision of a perfect education system he has actually forgotten how important local government is to protect the interests of the community. You need local government to be there as support, to know what is happening with the local schools. A distant government , centralised in an office in Whitehall is not the answer to our education system in this country.

Oh yes and I will be writing more about education in the future on my blog.







One Comment

  1. Good post Rosie and whilst I agree with the sentiment I don’t agree with all the content.
    I’ve been involved with the development of a Free School for over a year and we are due to open in September. I understand the politics and the unjustness of it but this is what the system is like at the moment so it offers some of us an opportunity to create a learning environment that offers a real alternative to the mainstream which for some is failing them. I have worked with many head teachers over the years and as part of the consultation for this new school have managed to talk to several. Most have been supportive of what we are trying to do whilst recognising that the system is stacked in our favour somewhat as we are not constrained by the curriculm, our particular local authority’s services and can grow and develop to meet the needs of our community as we wish. All the secondary schools in my area are either now or soon to be academy trusts. Our local authority needs to pull its socks up if it is to win in the procurement stakes as there are other providers that can offer equal or even better value for money and effective education support services.
    There is still accountability. Free schools are accountable to the parents of the children attending. They are accountable to their academy trust directors and the government. I agree we need a local education authority but currently many LA’s are rubbish at the support they give so they might as well not bother! The top slicing of the schools budget by LA’s is not commensurate with the support they give to schools so being out of their control is a very attractive option.
    I am of the opinion that all schools in an area should be able to communicate and share effective practice as after all we all have the same common denominator and that is to ensure that all children have access to an education that helps them learn in the way that suits them best .

    By the way I’m no fan of Mr Gove!

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