Here’s last week’s posts. If you are a Labour supporting teacher and you’d like to write something for us, please get in touch.
The culture that surrounds education and schooling in the UK is so dominated by social class it is really quite extraordinary. We know from research that the biggest factors in success at school are family background, parental support for education and aspiration.
And so it begins again. Another school year – my 22nd, for the record – and another massive structural change plan for education. According to the reports on Radio 4 this morning (well, it is my 22nd year in teaching and so you can forgive me for living the middle-age, middle-class dream) this is the most radical reform of schooling for half a century. I confess to giving a hollow laugh as I negotiated the journey to work. Whether it was the emphasis on ‘reform’ or the emphasis on ‘radical’ that caused my sarcastic snicker I’m not quite sure.
If there is anything that crystallises my sense of despair with the national political situation it is the government’s latest attempt to expand academic selection.
I’m not an active member. If I’m honest, I’ve always been put off by emails that invite me to meetings that begin with “Dear Comrade…”, so the thought that now I might be insulted or abused as a Blairite (and a Blairite I unquestionably am) hardly entices me any further.
In February 2006, Sir Ken Robinson asked the question at his TED talk, “Do schools kill creativity?” His speech was charming, funny, engaging and gave a convincing argument that we should be doing more to engage in creativity in schools. The talk is the most viewed TED talk of its history seen over forty million times in the talk’s ten-year history. It has made Sir Ken Robinson a well-known name in education and often referred to in professional development.
When justifying why we need grammar schools, Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, said:
“Because some children need to be academically stretched”.
= 80% of children in the UK don’t need to be.
“We must reward hard work and aspiration” said Prime Minister, Theresa May.
= 80% of children have low aspirations and don’t work hard.