Last Thursday, I, along with other bloggers, was invited to a meeting with Nick Gibb at the DfE. It involved discussing and clarifying the new White Paper – Educational Excellence Everywhere. I don’t know why I was asked. I don’t know all the bloggers who were asked or who declined. The other bloggers that did attend can identify themselves if they wish but I don’t think it’s for me to list them. I was told that I might get a bit of “who do you represent” from a twitter friend – well, of course, I represent no one other than myself and am unashamedly looking at this from a primary perspective, in which I am a minority in most ways (except being female).
It was interesting to meet with Nick Gibb, who I was impressed by. Certainly he was more optimistic than I about primary schools and their leadership, their capacity to change and become an evidence-based profession.
I think it will take more than autonomy to wean off many from their way of working. I appreciate that Ofsted has made many changes but these are still not trusted sufficiently in my neck of the woods. But I think the only real solution to that is time and consistency. Habits that have formed over decades are not going to be changed over the course of a year or two. It’s about the long game.
Which is what the White Paper is about – the Conservative Education policy set out bare. The reality is they can do this with confidence given the state of the opposition and the non-policies of the Labour Party. I don’t know what Lucy Powell’s alternatives are. Education policy does not win elections – the economy does – but having some plausible policies is still important. But then where can Labour go? The Conservatives quote Hirsch and Old Andrew, have working committees which you can’t accuse of being politically bias or even necessarily conservative.
My initial thoughts on Principle 1 are as follows:
(I couldn’t copy and paste with all the colours so jpeg-ed this – there are two links won’t work in this format which are as follows:
- Sinead Gaffney’s post on part-time work
- A link to an organisation that assesses whole classes for attachment disorders.)
One of the things that did occur to me is how despite some of the shambles over assessment, they have not lost hold of the reins. In all fairness, they keep developing their education policy and all anyone else can do is play catch up. The unions, and the Labour Party, are thrown the most predictable of curve balls which they go for every time, every time. Academisation is a case in point. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are changing ITT, CPD and QTS as they wish. In the end, the white paper is a list of things they want to do – the question isn’t will it be implemented but how much and how soon.