Posts Tagged ‘Ofsted’

Tristram Hunt is losing teachers’ votes

26/11/2014, 02:32:25 PM

by Daniel Charleston-Downes

In a recent Labour List poll, Tristram Hunt was voted the least popular shadow cabinet member. Other than himself and Ed Balls, all other shadow cabinet members were gifted a positive rating. Dr Hunt’s rating was the only one in negative double figures.

David Cameron moved Michael Gove out of the Education portfolio to protect the Tories approaching an election year. Since then, Nicky Morgan has done all that she can to placate teachers on the verge of further strikes by asking Ofsted to release clear expectations on workload. The Tories have also shifted education debate on to the only thing that they can win on, fear of Islamic extremism.

Teachers are unlikely to flock to the Conservatives at the general election, but parents might. Parents should be angry that their children have been used by Gove as guinea pigs in untested curriculum experiments and have had their futures pulled from under them by shifting goal posts. They should be concerned that 10 years of movement towards an education of inclusion is being abandoned for tighter definitions of special needs and rigorous and inflexible examinations.

But they aren’t because there is silence from the opposition. From a parental perspective, Hunt is nowhere. He has made one statement about curriculum changes, that being that the AS Levels alterations are ‘confusing’. Other than that he has attempted to position himself next to the Conservatives on family values in schools and battling extremism. Both territories that Labour are not perceived as strong on with undecided voters and that the Labour grassroots will feel uncomfortable with.

And when it comes to teachers, Labour really are in trouble. Strike action has been gaining less and less traction with NUT and NASWUT members who are increasingly concerned that unions are losing parents and alienating staff from school leaders. An appetite for further strikes has been lost by the utter contempt displayed by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition and the deafening silence from anyone on the Labour front benches.


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Teachers, if you don’t like being measured, fix the problem yourselves

08/01/2013, 07:00:03 AM

by Kevin Meagher

As schools started back yesterday for a new term, it must have felt like another upward trudge with a boulder for our leather elbow-patched Sisypeans. We know this, after all, because a recent poll found 55 per cent of teachers describe their morale as “low” or “very low”.

The gripes are familiar enough. As well as the usual complaints about pay and working conditions, 77 per cent of teachers in the poll commissioned by the national union of teachers thought academies and free schools were taking education in the wrong direction; while 71 per cent said they rarely or never felt trusted by the government, (up from 54 per cent in April 2010).

But it’s the issue of school standards that still seems to grate most. Last November, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new chief inspector of schools, presented Ofsted’s annual report. It found that schools in England are getting better – although there is still a long way to go before the nation catches up with the best in the world. There are also wide variations in the performance of schools across different local authority areas, leading to serious inequities for children in some parts of the country.

The product of nearly 25,000 inspections across schools, nurseries and colleges, it is a rigorous and useful reminder of the challenges we face in making all our schools the best that they can be. However Sir Michael’s analysis of the problem is not entirely shared, it is fair to say, by the teaching unions.


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Shoesmith outrage: a pox on all their houses

30/05/2011, 09:21:39 AM

by Dennis Kavanagh

Sharon Shoesmith addressed the assembled media last week, fresh from her court of appeal success and promptly rammed her foot so far down her throat it’s a wonder she  didn’t knock her teeth out.

“I don’t do blame”, she revealed, seconds before blaming the police and health departments for the Baby P scandal. “You cannot stop the death of children”, she told the BBC later, an extraordinary statement from someone whose department was supposed to do exactly that. My personal favourite was “I haven’t thought about compensation”; maybe she was asleep while her barrister and the court of appeal discussed damages and remedies before remitting the case back to the administrative division of the high court to settle exactly that question.

If she was never “in it for the money”, as she assured the Guardian later, presumably we’ll see a whacking donation to childline or NSPCC. That at least would put a fitting stop to the merry go round of public money behind two lots of high court hearings, representation of three public bodies and enormous sums in court time.


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