Alternative manifestos aim to influence politicians’ school plans

Writing in the Guardian, Fiona Millar says proposals from headteachers, unions and thinktanks include reform of Ofsted, a college of teaching and a national funding formula…

…As one of the authors of a manifesto produced by the Headteachers’ Roundtable (HTRT) – a group of school leaders who came together three years ago via Twitter out of frustration about the direction of government policy – he [headteacher John Tomsett] will be watching keenly to see if any of his group’s proposals have caught politicians’ imagination.

“Quality of teaching is at the core of our manifesto,” says Tomsett. “What else is more important in a school? Really? Too much has happened about school structures, which has diverted some of us from raising standards in our classrooms. We have to get back to supporting teachers to be better at their job, and our manifesto is focused on that one priority.”

The group also wants entitlement to a professional development programme, leading to qualified teacher status for all teachers after a maximum of two years’ induction, and a master’s-level professional qualification after five years.

HTRT’s A Great Education for All is just one of several “alternative” election manifestos. Authors range from the right of centre thinktank Policy Exchange to left-leaning pressure groups such as New Visions for Education and Compass, the teacher unions and professional bodies…

But one issue that preoccupies every group seeking to influence education policy is the reform of Ofsted. There appears to be an almost unanimous view that the school inspection must change in favour of a leaner, more targeted inspection regime, concentrated on schools causing concern, and allied to more professional “peer review”. In other words, heads being held to account by teams of other school leaders, similar to the system used in many independent schools…

Surprisingly absent from the alternative manifestos is talk of diversity, choice, school type or government mandated structural reform – a far cry from the situation before the last election when so much attention focused on the creation of free schools. Jonathan Simons, head of education at Policy Exchange and co-author of its manifesto, thinks that is because the choice and competition argument has been largely won. “There is cross-party support for it and I see no indications of a dramatic shift, regardless of the result in May, although it will keep evolving, rightly,” he says…

More at: Alternative manifestos aim to influence politicians’ school plans

 

See the Headteachers’ Roundtable Education Election Manifesto at: A Great Education for All 

 

Lots more ideas outlined in the full article – any that particularly catch your eye? I get the impression the main two parties have some kind of unspoken pact not to talk about education much in the election campaign because they both know that under close scrutiny their policies on funding fall apart. Or am I being too cynical? 

 

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Comments

  1. TW

    “the main two parties have some kind of unspoken pact not to talk about education much in the election campaign because they both know that under close scrutiny their policies on funding fall apart. Or am I being too cynical?”

    No, merely incomplete.  Under close scrutiny their education policies fall apart.

    Policy Exchange is a far right front organisation for the Conservatives and in denial of the fact that “diversity, choice, school type or government mandated structural reform” is a failed fantasy that really only exists to turn schools into profit centres.

  2. @TW Policy Exchange rather helpfully published ‘research’ called ‘Rising Tide: the Competitive Benefits of Free Schools’ to coincide with one of Cameron’s speeches.  The only correct response was mockery:

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/03/inspired-by-policy-exchange-imagine-theres-some-data/

    Remember, Policy Exchange published ‘Blocking the Best’ before the last election.  It advocated for-profit schools.  When it was launched Gove said he would be happy if Serco ran schools: 

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/10/gove-is-in-favour-of-profit-making-companies-running-state-schools/

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