Patrick Watson provides policy intelligence and analysis, with a range of other public affairs support services, to clients in the education, skills, training and guidance sectors.
He is Managing Director of Montrose Public Affairs Consultants Ltd.
He believes that the best education systems, worldwide, give autonomy to schools, rooted in their local communities, to run their own affairs. Centrally driven interventions should be kept to a minimum, and then only in inverse proportion to success. Interventions driven by short-term political agendas can, too often, be immensely damaging to learners’ interests, imposing additional costs and bureaucracy on Heads, governors and teachers, while failing to add value or to measurably improve outcomes. Sound evidence should inform both policy and practice and the system should be accountable and transparent, driven by learners interests.
Education should not be a state monopoly and there should be mixed service provision, offering a diverse range of service providers from state, profit and not for profit sectors, demand rather than supply driven. The current system too often allows producers perceived interests to prevail.
Good teachers and good teaching are at the core of the best education systems. So, recruit the best, give them throughout their careers the best training and reward their success. If teachers fail to meet the highest standards , help them to improve, or assist their exit from the profession. We owe this to our children.
The Government’s role should be limited to maintaining an enabling environment, to allow autonomous schools to thrive, to ensure proper regulation and accountability for both standards and the use of public funds, while safeguarding the interests of the most disadvantaged, including, particularly, those most at risk of exclusion.
The big question for us ,in the UK , which we have yet to resolve, is why we are so unpleasant to each other and so adversarial and polarised when it comes to educating our children ,when the truth is we share the same aspirations for them.
The views and opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect those of our clients.
This site includes selected Montrose comment pieces for clients (about fifteen per cent of our comment output) extracted from different weekly reports. Our bespoke client reports, apart from the policy analysis element , include monitoring of the media, the web and blogosphere ( Web sites,blogs and Tweets), Westminster, Whitehall, the Think Tanks, Research and Non Departmental Public Bodies and international developments in education. Our reports are designed to suit individual clients’ interests and to support senior managers in making informed decisions. We also undertake commissioned research on education policy issues, domestic and international.
Apart from all this, I have a wonderful wife and family, sing, play the blues harp, tenor sax and ‘penny whistle’.
For further information:
Tel: 0207 207 1435
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- Careers advice and Guidance
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