Headteachers chief rallies against government’s ‘crazy schemes’

The Guardian is reporting that Britain’s headteachers are being urged to stop struggling to make the government’s “crazy” initiatives work and instead tell ministers to rethink the schemes they disagree with…

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), will send out a rallying call to the country’s school leaders at a conference this weekend, urging them to stand up against bad ideas.

“It is possible to make a good idea fail and, frankly, it is possible to make bad ideas succeed,” he will tell delegates to the NAHT’s annual conference, in Liverpool on Sunday.

“You’ve proven that time and again in rescuing the government from its own mistakes. Perhaps you should stop doing that. It only encourages the crazy schemes when you find a way to make them work.”

Hobby will also use his speech to warn that innovative headteachers in the state school system are being “tamed” by an all-powerful inspection regime which is compromising creativity and creating a compliant profession.

Speaking at a conference briefing on Friday, Hobby, whose union represents 29,500 school leaders across all phases of education, said: “We should be a lot stronger in saying, ‘look you’ve not given us enough time. This is not well thought through’, and asking the government to go back to the drawing board…”


I’m sure there will be a lot of sympathy for Russell Hobby amongst readers but, just days before the general election, is it actually right to be suggesting headteachers should subvert the will of a democratically elected government?

Whether we love them or hate them, we do have governments to set policies – including education policies – and get the chance every five years to throw them out if we don’t approve.

Perhaps if Mr Hobby wants to set education policy himself he should be standing for parliament rather than talking to members at his conference? 


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Categories: Learning and Policy.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Hobby’s right but only brave SLTs will do it; Ofsted’s independence is questionable & funding “agreements” quickly halted

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Politicians know that they have schools by the proverbial “short & curlies” as if schools “rebel” MPs remove funding

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Despite protests from Ofsted regarding independence, they are just the DfE’s lap dog and drive party policy in schools

  4. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove We’re in the midst of a structured dismantling of state ed. God help us if the Tories hold sway after Thurs.

  5. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove I loathe and despise OFSTED with a passion. HMIs were good, they observed and helped. OFSTED just destructive.

  6. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove It does seem that way. Exodus from teaching should be a massive worry for those in govt but seemingly isn’t

  7. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove Totally agree – inspection needs to get back to being the supportive entity it was originally designed to be

  8. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove No-one has overview of what type of teachers are needed or whether or not they are being trained or how many?

  9. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Recruitment is becoming a lottery and really really good staff are quitting mid-year.

  10. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove I think we’re almost at the stage of being short in every subject to be honest

  11. andylutwyche

    “acet2001: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Tories worse but Labour not blameless either.” Agreed

  12. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove That’s a decent number. STEM subjects are worse but it’s also the calibre of some applicants

  13. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Basically the country is short of ‘teachers’ per se. Potential newbies few and far between, old hands want out

  14. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove Many of those who qualify teach abroad or just keep the qualification as “fall back”. Trainee numbers meaningless

  15. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove Some schools get no applicants for some posts; even those posts with added financial benefits.

  16. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Trouble is in short term lower TLRs are insignificant. Can earn more doing a couple of hours tuition.

  17. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Of course hopefully TLRs lead to career progression but even then the rewards are outweighed by the stress.

  18. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove Being a head of department in the current, data obsessed educational climate, is barely worth the stress or money

  19. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove After 38 yrs, with 27 on SLT I’m OK but worry for the future of ed. Dismayed to see ASCL_UK asking us to lie!

  20. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK They want us to tell potential new entrants that job has never been better. Kids – yes, otherwise -no

  21. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK Oh dear. But those who believe that soon discover that it’s not true & tell friends etc. pointless lying

  22. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK Completely agree. Short term ‘solution’ to recruitment but not one that will work in the long run.

  23. acet2001

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK Just shows how desperate Heads are becoming. Understandable but just wrong.

  24. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK It will be extremely damaging as any remaining trust will evaporate.

  25. andylutwyche

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove ASCL_UK Hearing stories of teachers literally poaching “good” staff from previous schools. Not good in any way

  26. Governments should not be setting curricula or giving Gov’t approval to particular teaching methods.  But when teachers via unions protest, they’re labelled ‘enemies of promise’, ‘Marxists’ blah, blah.

    The sad thing is that teachers haven’t been vocal enough in denouncing the ever-encroaching control of education by consecutive Governments.  The Governments that control education control the minds of their citizens.  That message hasn’t been shouted loudly enough.

  27. Andy_J_Barnard

    NAHTnews SchoolsImprove I love how they say almost half of inspection teams include an actual practitioner! And the rest?

  28. Nairb

    Headteachers’ first responsibility is to their pupils. They not only have the right, they have a duty, to stand up to ill thought through government schemes, which are often based on the whims and prejudices of ministers. Gove is a classic example.

  29. kcsmith442

    NAHTnews SchoolsImprove antiacademies Pity HTs didn’t oppose the coalition changes 5yrs ago.Too many wanted to make a name for themselves

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