Thanks to TV, the state of education is on full public display

There’s nothing like a good TV drama, is there? The suspense, the highs and lows, the compassion you feel for the characters who don’t quite meet with a happy ending. Tes reports.

During the promotion of the BBC2’s School, the show promised to lift the lid on the realities of education today. The good, the bad and the ugly. And after another hard watch on Tuesday night, there’s no doubting that the many problems ripping through the sector are now on full public display.

We’ve seen what happens when a school is dealt the potent cocktail of a damning special measures judgement, a drop in admissions (due to the Ofsted judgement), and then a big drop in funding (due to the fall in admissions).

We’ve seen the stress, anger and heartbreak suffered by all staff members and, in particular, the toll it can take on the senior leadership team and headteacher. Last week, the head, Mr Pope, walked away from his school for good.

ITV, too, has chosen to put schools in the spotlight. A recent storyline in Coronation Street saw secondary teacher Brian Packham being bullied by his headteacher. The head, Phil Gillespie, is the character of nightmares. He threatens to fire Brian unless the Christmas production is outstanding, he sends him emails at 2am and pushes him to work all-nighters (and then reprimands him for it).

As teacher workload and exclusions dominate Corrie, back in the real world there’s been further developments at Harrop Fold, the school you’ll know from Channel 4’s Educating Greater Manchester. The school, previously rated good by Ofsted, has been placed in special measures. Harrop Fold may no longer be on our TV screens, but its story continues to play out in the public sphere. Former headteacher Drew Povey quit in September after he was suspended alongside three other staff members due to “administrative errors”. At the time, allegations of off-rolling were rife.

The most prevalent issues in education are being broadcast in the homes of the general public in a way that has perhaps never happened before. We already know that it’s promoting debate. But sadly, it’s one drama that teachers, parents and pupils can’t switch off when the programme ends.

Read the full article including a Corrie SPOILER Thanks to TV, the state of education is on full public display

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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