Saturday, 18 January 2014

Weekly update 18/1/2014

This week began with Labour announcing plans to introduce re-validation for teachers. The initial reaction was fairly scathing - illustrated by Andrew Old's blog. Over the following few days a wider range of views emerged from John Blake's strong defence to David Weston and Jonathan Simons' more cautious welcomes. Later in the week David Didau illustrated one of the problems with the setting of criteria for teachers with a superb condemnation of the cult of the outstanding lesson.

The second half of the week saw the North of England education conference incongruously held in Nottingham. Tristram Hunt, Michael Wilshaw and David Laws all made speeches on fairly similar themes - the quality of teachers; training and professional development. I enjoyed Tom Bennett's punchy overview of the Hunt and Wilshaw speeches.

The ongoing saga of Wilshaw's battle within Ofsted to prevent inspectors grading schools down because they don't like the style of teaching took another twist when they removed six newly published inspection reports from their website. According to Ofsted this is because of concerns about "poor wording" in light of the new, stronger, guidance on this issue. It will be very interesting to see how the reports change when republished.

But my favourite thing this week was this fantastic quote tweeted by Loic Menzies (@LKMCO) and taken from Charles Payne's "So Much Reform, So Little Change":

"Give them teaching that is determined, energetic and engaging. Hold them to high standards. Expose them to as much as you can most especially the arts. Root the school in the community and take advantage of the culture the children bring with them. Pay attention to their social and ethical development. Recognise the reality of race, poverty and other social barriers but make children understand that barriers don’t have to limit their lives. Above all, no matter where in the social structure children are coming from, act as if their possibilities are boundless."

Amen to that.

Other Highlights:

Michael Tidd has a useful overview of the new primary curriculum.

Erlend Berg reviews a worrying new study showing summer born children have a significantly greater chance of developing mental health problems.

Andy Jolley continues to make some strong arguments against the introduction of universal free school meals.

Ros McMullan on fiery form re: teaching and leadership

Chris Husbands on the lessons of Tower Hamlet's success.

Laura McInerney blogged on all seven of her "touchpaper problems" due to be discussed at an event today (18/1/14).

Rob Coe on the Government's failure to implement Assessment for Learning.

And the EEF have launched a £1.5m fund to improve links between research and practice.


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