On Wednesday this week I was invited to make a presentation at the Academies Show at ExCel, to which I have had a genuinely surprising and flattering response. So I thought I would repeat here, one of the ideas I shared that seemed to resonate.
First up I admit that this is a false dichotomy. But it has been my general experience that schools are systems that function by identifying success. At its simplest we want teachers in classrooms who can spot when a child is learning... and ideally get out of the way and move on to another child. Intervention in inverse proportion to success is hardly a new idea. The thing about systems like these is that they tend to enable.
Unfortunately, the wider education system functions by identifying and, where possible, avoiding failure. By wider education system I mean Ofsted, the DfE, the EFA, the NAO, the Public Accounts Committee, HMRC et al. The trouble with systems like this is that they tend to control and when you add the context of fiscal constraint they tend to control even more.
Now to be absolutely clear, I am not advocating a return to some wild, unregulated summer of love. But the size of the arrows in my diagram above are indicative; the downward pressure is often stifling. This is a waste of money and more importantly a waste of opportunities and lives.
The focus of any new government ought to be on balancing the forces or reversing the polarity of the top arrow so that the system becomes congruous.
Just a thought...