The business plan for the Department for Education (DfE) has been published and it makes for interesting reading.
The overall aims are well meaning but alarm bells started ringing for me at various points. The DfE will, ‘reform the school curriculum and qualifications.’
The curriculum needs regular tweaks and occasional overhauling to ensure that it meets the needs of pupils but I’m anxious about this one. Any major change to curriculum means schools will have to rewrite policies and plans, be trained in delivering the new curriculum and buy the required resources. A new exciting curriculum was set and ready to go under the previous administration but the baby and the bath water have gone out of the window and it looks like this government will be looking to the US for inspiration. Because we don’t have any inspirational educators here, right?
There’s also a section on reviewing and reforming provision for children with special educational needs and if they don’t rope in Guerilla Mum to help with this, then they’re missing a trick.
The rest of the document looks interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing how things progress.
There is a section on transparency, however that makes for interesting reading. As several newspapers have picked up, schools will be expected to publish teachers’ pay, qualifications and absences.
Will parents withdraw their children from a school because Mr. X has a few days off with a cold every January or Mrs. Y was off having a hysterectomy last year?
Will little Johnny learn better from a teacher with a teaching degree or a subject-specific degree plus a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education)?
Who’s the best Maths teacher? Her with the degree from Oxbridge and two years’ experience or him who went to the Poly and has twenty years’ experience?
Perhaps there will have be a point system and if the teacher falls below a certain level they get shipped off to Shankem Comprehensive, the sink school for rubbish teacher and kids whose parents have too much going on in their lives to care much about parental choice.
As for teachers’ pay, I’m not sure what this achieves but if teachers have to show their pay packets perhaps all public sector workers will have to. GPs waving their bank statements around? The military offering up name, rank, serial number, gross pay, tax and national insurance?
The prime minister has already humbly offered to accept a reduced pay packet in the name of public service. Which is very considerate. But I expect that most teachers don’t have a personal fortune worth squillions backing them up.
So in the interest of transparency and to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow educators, here are my qualifications:
MA (school and college leadership and management)
B.Ed (hons 2:1) English and Drama
Grade seven clarinet (pass)
Sixth form French prize (no sniggering at the back.)
Badges from brownies and guides: various including hostess, boatswain and jester.
Who could possibly pass up a set of qualifications like that?