Welcome back to a new term and a whole new academic year in which politicians are promising more money (again) and Ofsted have a new agenda for inspecting schools.
Amanda Speilman is determined her changes will have the impact that she envisions, admitting that the past 30 years in education have resulted in increased use of data and the expectation that it has been expected to do too much! Just because we CAN use data to compare how schools are performing, and drill down to see what groups of pupils achieve in given environments, it does not mean that we necessarily SHOULD use it to infer meaning that simply results in the data driving the provision. Acknowledging in an essay, in June 2019, that things “can and do go wrong in schools when politicians fail to realise the risks involved in a trade off between autonomy and accountability”, she urges all leaders in schools to fully realise the opportunities that are now there to reshape and rebuild a curriculum that will really serve learners and restore staff faith in their own skills to lead learning effectively. I agree with her when she says this is “a moment in time to be seized with open hearts and minds”, but I am mindful that when I said the same in 2014 , when levels disappeared, and school leaders had a real opportunity to make assessment work for learners rather than politicians, many did not do it and instead simply reinvented the wheel, and the spreadsheet continued to rule for another five years !! Don’t miss the opportunities this time to follow your hearts and remember why you came into this business!
Inspir.ed is still in business, entering its tenth academic year! Available for a range of support and challenge work to help leaders improve provision in classrooms, teaching, learning , assessment and leadership, I continue to offer to customise programmes that really make a difference in School Improvement. I also offer support to Governors in Primary Schools for the all-important annual Performance Management of Head Teachers that must be completed before Christmas, but I have to admit to only having a few spaces left in the diary this Autumn! By far the most rewarding, and enjoyable work I do, is with my senior leader network groups that meet termly “to think and talk about the things that really make a difference- curriculum, assessment and self evaluation. CASE meets in BANES, Level Heads in Somerset, and a new group has blossomed in Wiltshire, led by SPA Heads. You will find details of these meetings, as well as other local and national events in which Inspir.ed takes part on the EVENTS section of the website (just scroll down on the home page.) if you want to join any of these groups, or see an opportunity to instigate a new one, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to meeting with you in year. Good luck in all you do !