Archive | October, 2016

Schools and the Suppression of Creativity

31 Oct

The Learning Renaissance

exams_alamy photo credit: Alamy

It has been argued before that the fundamental structures of school, in echoing the practices of early industry are designed with efficiency rather than effectiveness in mind. Not surprisingly, the development of creativity is not regarded as a primary objective. Despite this, the UK education system has produced people of extraordinary creativity, far beyond what would have been expected.

The managerial model of school leadership, which is so pervasive, looks at schooling as a process of maximising outputs in terms of examination successes at the key age stages so it could be that creativity is currently at greater threat both by the marginalisation of creative expression subjects in the curriculum and from the abandonment of traditional creative endeavours like school choirs and orchestras, eisteddfods in Wales and dramatic productions and cultural exchanges.

This article outlines the problem of creativity within a school context: Everyone is born creative, but…

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Where is the MAT agenda going?

31 Oct

Robert Hill's blog

Now that Justine Greening has announced that the government is abandoning plans to coerce all school into becoming academies – at least for the time being – it’s a good moment to reappraise where we are with the academies and the multi-academy trust (MAT) agenda.

Here are ten issues for school leaders, governors and policy makers to reflect on:

  1. Schools (apart those deemed inadequate by Ofsted) can now decide in their own time whether and how to become an academy and join a MAT. They have the space to find partners with a shared vision and values and undertake due diligence. There is now no excuse for forming what I call ‘manic MATs’ – i.e groups (of often local) schools rushing to huddle together because they are frightened of being ‘done to’ or taken over by a ‘predatory’ MAT. A school now has the time to consider and identify those…

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Where is the MAT agenda going?

31 Oct

Now that Justine Greening has announced that the government is abandoning plans to coerce all school into becoming academies – at least for the time being – it’s a good moment to …

Source: Where is the MAT agenda going?

Grammar Schools – 1955 Revisited

10 Oct

The Learning Renaissance

Gaining on the swings: Franzenia daycare centre, Helsinki, where the emphasis is on creative play. Photograph: Karin Hannukainen/University of Helsinki Photograph: Karin Hannukainen/University of Helsinki

There seems a desire in current UK government education policy to return to some mythical era when all was right in the world. About the year 1955 to be precise before the US gave the UK some home truths about its imperialist adventuring in Egypt during the Suez invasion in 1956!

Anyway, to see how far ‘selection’ is away from a successful 21st education experience, let’s take a quick and illustrative look at the Finnish education system. This is an article by Frank Butler in the Guardian: No grammar schools, lots of play: the secrets of Europe’s top education system | Education | The Guardian

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A Sad Tale of the Dismantling of State Education Accountability

5 Oct

The Learning Renaissance

Life in a multi-academy trust is like working on the Death Star, says our Secret Teacher. Photograph: Allstar/Lucas Film Life in a multi-academy trust is like working on the Death Star, says our Secret Teacher. Photograph: Allstar/Lucas Film

In the UK the current government policy is to strip schools from the local accountability of the county councils and pass over control of schools to Academy Trusts. A similar process is underway in the United States, branded as Charter Schools. In effect, this is the handing over of state educational assets to private companies to the tune of billions of £s or $s! At the same time local accountability of these schools is taken away from local people.

The people running these multi academy trusts (MATS in the UK) generally operate on a managerial management model which stresses product rather than process and looks to solve issues in short time scales. The accompanying article gives a flavour of how the process feels for a teacher: Becoming an academy destroyed my…

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Grammars: The Reverse Ferret Begins

1 Oct

Disappointed Idealist

Back in July I wrote a blog about how Gove’s destruction of the locally accountable state education system and its replacement with a market-based system of private firms contracted to the DFE, would lead directly to the return of selection. Perhaps unwittingly (although I am in no way as convinced of Gove’s principled opposition to grammars as his fans are), he had prepared the ground for selection to be reintroduced without having to change the law, via the private edubusinesses often referred to as ‘academy chains’. I was immediately howled down by furious Govians, who were genuinely outraged that I dared to ascribe responsibility for this to their hero, and who were in absolute denial about how the market Gove built would facilitate this. Indeed, I was told categorically by one ex-Gove advisor that MATs couldn’t do this, as it would require a change to the law. Right. So…

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