Let teachers sack heads … and other ideas for a National Education Service

Labour has published its plans for a “cradle to grave” National Education Service and will unveil further details of its policy at its annual conference in Liverpool this month. It wants the NES to transform education into a right instead of a privilege, so everyone expects the same standard, as with healthcare in the National Health Service. But what would any incoming government need to do to create a truly national service? The Guardian asked people involved in education what their priorities would be.

Diane Reay, is emeritus professor of sociology of education at the University of Cambridge

“I want to see radical change, not short-term, piecemeal measures and I am not sure I am seeing it in the policy at the moment. There should be a commitment to a broad and balanced, engaging curriculum with creativity at its heart, rather than at the margins. All children should be being taught critical learning skills, problem solving and political and social awareness, rather than getting a different curriculum depending on whether they are advantaged or disadvantaged. Reciting lists of kings and queens just doesn’t do it. I also want to see a reversal of the academy and free school programme and schools brought back into democratically accountable public sector management.”

Sir Michael Wilshaw, is a former head of Ofsted and professor of education at St Mary’s University, Twickenham

“The differential in performance between secondary schools in the north, Midlands and south of England is far too great and shows little sign of diminishing. This can’t be explained by economic factors, because there is very little difference in performance at primary school level.”

“This country is failing half its future. Technical and vocational education for those youngsters who don’t progress to traditional A-level courses and university has not been good enough for many years and certainly not up to the standard of many of our international competitors. These young people are too often served up inadequate programmes of study and training at school, further education institutions and apprenticeships. This is compounded by inconsistent careers education and guidance.”

Sir Anthony Seldon is vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham

“I would like artificial intelligence to be taken more seriously, something the government has failed to do until very recently. AI will totally transform British schools and universities within a decade. It will assist them to overcome the many inherent problems with the factory model of education that has existed for so many years and provide a personalised ‘teacher’ for every student, who will be able to progress at their individual level of understanding in each subject.”

Read more views Let teachers sack heads … and other ideas for a National Education Service

Have you got any ideas? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: 1st POST, Exams, Grammar Schools, Infant, Leadership, Learning, Ofsted, Primary, Secondary, T levels, Teaching, Technology and University.


  1. Anonymous

    I’ve worked with a few teams of teachers who would have willingly sacked their head. They didn’t like being required to do the job they were paid to do and to do it properly.

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