‘Let’s take ownership of our schools’

Has there ever been a better time for schools to grasp the nettle and start building the schools that our children truly deserve? Veteran head Colin Harris writes in Tes.

We all know the problems that schools face and how the government seemingly feels about us. Some 2,000 headteachers don’t march down Whitehall for the sake of their health. Both they and their colleagues feel pummelled into submission by cuts and a system that offers them little or no support.

Is it any surprise that so many teachers and school leaders are fleeing the profession? That this has become a genuine recruitment and retention crisis can be in no doubt.

Build a ‘culture of happiness’ in schools

The positive side of being in such a precarious place is that we have nothing left to lose.

We cannot afford to lose any more teachers and we can’t afford for morale to be so poor. So it’s time for us to do something about it. 

In short, it is time for schools to re-evaluate.

It is time to take ownership of our schools and ensure they are there to meet the needs of our pupils, and not some faceless politician. Schools may struggle to tackle the pay rise, but they can tackle the workload issue and ensure teachers do have a work-life balance. Ditch all pointless data collection.

Schools need to aim to do only what is right for the children, within a culture of happiness. In doing so, they will promote confidence and resilience and improve both pupils and teachers’ wellbeing. We must do away with “capability” culture.

Through embracing some of this approach, we can help heads and teachers to tackle the reality of life in 2018, and we might even be able to reclaim our school system.

Read more Let’s take ownership of our schools’

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