PROSPECTS JOINS MUTUAL JOINT VENTURE TO DELIVER PUBLIC SERVICES-GOVERNMENT KEEN ON EMPLOYEE OWNED MUTUALS DELIVERING PUBLIC SERVICES
Company part of a joint venture mutual ,offering school support services
Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet Office was at the launch of the first ever joint venture mutual, 3BM ,in April. It provides a range of critical school support services. The business is made up of staff from three London boroughs; Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. They are delivering services such as financial management, IT and building development to schools allowing them to focus on education.
3BM is the first ever mutual joint venture to spin out of local government. The business is owned by a partnership between the employees and the the education employment company, Prospects. The employees own 75.1% of the business, giving them a controlling stake. Prospects has a 24.9% share and brings capital and business expertise needed to make the business grow. As a result of 3BM spinning out, the local councils could see £1 million in savings over the next four years. The mutualisation project has been supported by the Cabinet Office which had previously designated Hammersmith and Fulham Council as a national Pathfinder in 2010 to explore new ways of delivering public services more efficiently. Prospects is an employee- owned private company, and was chosen in an innovative “dragons den” process but with the partner’s shareholding capped at no more than 25% in return for their input and support. All mutual staff will own shares, with Prospects, as stated, owning up to 24.9% of the company, but subject to them meeting key performance targets to the satisfaction of the mutual.
Ministers have talked in glowing terms about the John Lewis model in business. All 84,700 permanent staff of John Lewis are Partners who own the 39 John Lewis shops across the UK and the 291 Waitrose supermarkets , an on-line catalogue business a production unit and a farm. Policy Exchange, the Prime Ministers favourite think tank, published a report recently ‘ Social Enterprise Schools’ championing the John Lewis model in education. The report said Private companies should be encouraged to take over and run state schools as profit making enterprises under a “John Lewis-style” business model. It argued the new schools, in which teachers and staff are encouraged to become shareholders, would create strong incentives to drive up standards. Under the proposals, half of any profits made by the schools would be distributed as a dividend to its partners on an annual basis, while the remaining half would be reinvested.
There are quite a few ‘ co-operative schools’ operating in England. The Co-operative College, a Manchester-based organisation, is helping to support and promote the ground-up, democratically driven growth of Co-operative trust schools. The Co-operative College has over recent years worked with the Co-operative Party and schools to develop a distinct co-operative trust model that enables schools to embed co-operative values into the long term ethos of the school. These schools are part of the Co-operative movement, with a history dating back to the 19th century. Despite some legal challenges, in just five years, co-operative schools have become the third largest grouping within the English education system, with currently over 450 operating. 30 have become co-operative converter academies, a small number are co-operative sponsor academies and we have seen the creation of the first co-operative multi-academy trust.
Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, has launched a programme to introduce employee mutuals into public services and has endorsed the aim of a million public sector workers – around 15% of the total – transferring to staff-led mutuals by 2015.
Patrick Burns, Director of Mutuals Development for Prospects says that the reason for this Ministerial enthusiasm is the increasing evidence that employee ownership can help organizations perform better than conventional counterparts in the private and public sector; as well as the micro and macro benefits to the wider economy. Prospects had elected to make the transition from conventional ownership to employee ownership. It is a former spin-out from the public sector – formed from the careers services of four London boroughs in 1996 – which now offers advice and support to authorities and staff groups interested in forming employee-led mutuals [ELMs] alongside its extensive other work in education, training and employment. Prospects services include careers services for adults and young people; the Government’s Work Programme initiative to help long term unemployed people back to work; the largest Ofsted Early Years Inspection Services contract in the country; advice and guidance for offenders; and an extensive range of education consultancy and school improvement services.
Patrick Burns was until December 2011 Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association. He written a paper about employee ownership (see below) in the private and public sector of the British economy, and how Government can help it spread.
Knowingly Undersold- How Government can spread the John Lewis effect-Prospects Policy Paper-Patrick Burns
ASPIRE-THE NAHTS SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Private operator, EdisonLearning, has secured a major contract with The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) to help improve student achievement in schools across the country as part of the NAHTs Aspire School Improvement Project. The project was briefly referenced in Michael Goves 25 April speech.
Working closely with the Department for Education and the Strategic Programme Board at the NAHT, EdisonLearning has been working with 30 primary schools, organized into three clusters of schools across three geographical areas in the UK.
Schools involved in the project in the western region are located around Bristol and Reading, in the southern region around West Sussex and Kent and in the northern region around Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield. The schools are very different in their size, diversity and urban and rural locations. To illustrate this, one school in a rural location near Bristol has less than 100 students and a large urban school in Sheffield has more than 500 students.
The NAHTs President, Steve Iredale flagged this idea up in a speech in 2012, when he said that NAHT ”is taking the radical step of looking at the possibility of offering a school improvement service to support schools which find themselves in challenging circumstances.
“It’s a big challenge, but it’s something we’re interested in exploring. We can see massive benefit but there’s a long way to go. Trade unions tend to operate as trade unions and offering that level of support is a form of CPD linked to improving teaching and learning. There’s a massive challenge in there as well. There’s no question of schools escaping: there would be the same challenges from us. School improvement would be the driving force as opposed to the current Ofsted regime.”
At the launch of Aspire, on 1 May, the NAHT said the project aims to fill the gap between higher expectations and declining levels of support, offering schools access to advice, resources and support as they continue to improve the outcomes they provide for their pupils.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, who has experience in senior management in the private sector, said: “Every school wants to be good but many lack the support and networks to achieve their vision. The Aspire project is designed to fill the gap with a collaborative, sustainable model of school improvement. Schools joining the project will work in small clusters to help and inspire each other, assisted by NAHT officials, their local authority and external project management.
“What is dramatic about this is who is doing it. NAHT is a trade union dedicated to the protection and representation of our members. But we know that our members want to do the best for their pupils – that is part of their ‘reward’. The NAHT Aspire project shows that no-one is more ambitious for the young people of our country than those who work in our schools. The profession holds the answers and has the resources; it is trust, collaboration and inspiration that will trigger the innovation we need.
“This phase, now going public, is a pilot project to prove the concept can work. Ultimately, we plan to expand the reach of NAHT Aspire more broadly. The scale is already significant however: if this was an academy chain, it would be the seventh largest in the country.
The Edisonlearning team has already begun the initial Collaborative Quality Analysis process with many of the schools.
The project has been part funded for three years by the Department for Education .It will be independently evaluated by the Open University.
Michael Gove, Education Secretary, said: “I am pleased to commit my department’s support for it. I wish the project and those schools taking part in it every success as they seek to raise their performance to ‘good’ or better. I will be following this initiative with particular interest over the next two years.”
Committee expresses concerns over poor cost controls and financial oversight
A Public Accounts Committee report on the Academies programme describes a system peppered with overspends and errors, but subject to little oversight.
Millions of pounds were wasted on England’s rapidly growing academies programme because of over-complex and inefficient funding systems, according to the Select Committee report.
It urges the Department for Education to tighten its financial grip on these privately run but state-funded schools.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge, who has gained a reputation for her forthright attacks on government waste, said inefficient funding systems and poor cost control had driven up the cost of the programme.
“Of the £8.3 billion spent on academies from April 2010 to March 2012, some £1 billion was an additional cost which had to be met by diverting money from other departmental budgets.
“Some of this money had previously been earmarked to support schools struggling with difficult challenges and circumstances. £350 million of the extra £1 billion represented extra expenditure that was never recovered from local authorities.”
A DfE spokesman said the report failed to acknowledge “the significant progress that we have made in improving our systems.
“The academies programme has been a huge success. There are now almost 3,000 academy schools – more than 14 times as many as in May 2010 – with more than two million children now enjoying the benefits that academy status brings. The programme is proven to drive up standards. Sponsored academies are improving far faster than maintained schools.
“We make no apology for the fact that so many schools have opted to convert, and no apology for spending money on a programme that is proven to drive up standards and make long-term school improvements.
“The Department for Education has made significant savings in the last two-and-a-half years and has also set aside significant contingencies, which have been set against the growth in academies.”
He added that the costs of converting academies have already fallen by more than half per academy and that further savings were expected in the future.
Conclusions and recommendations
1. The value for money of the Academies Programme will ultimately depend on its impact on educational performance relative to the investment from the taxpayer. The Department has chosen to expand the Programme rapidly, incurring an additional cost of £1 billion since April 2010. While it is too early to assess the impact of the expansion on school performance, the Department will need to be able to demonstrate whether value for money has been achieved. It has yet to state how it will do so, or when. The Department should set out what outcomes it aims to achieve from the expansion of the Programme, and how and when it will demonstrate whether progress is on track and value for money has been achieved.
2. Inefficient funding systems and poor cost control have driven up the cost of the Programme. A large part of the £1 billion additional cost since April 2010 has been caused by the excessively complex and inefficient academy funding system which has reportedly led to overpayments and errors in payments to Academies There was around £350 million extra paid to Academies which was not recovered from local authorities. This system does not operate effectively alongside the local authority system, and makes it hard for the Department to prove that academies are not receiving more money than they should. The Department has not yet brought other types of cost growth under control, for example academy insurance. It should report back to us by the end of 2013-14 on how its funding reforms have reduced systemic problems such as the under-recovery of academy costs from local authorities, and on how far it has brought down other additional costs.
3. We are not yet satisfied that individual academies’ expenditure is sufficiently transparent to parents, local communities or Parliament. Despite some improvements, key information on what academies actually spend is still only available at trust, rather than individual academy, level. This limits the ability of parents to scrutinise how their child’s school is spending its money, and of communities to hold their local school to account. The Department must publish data showing school-level expenditure, including per-pupil costs, and with a level of detail comparable to that available for maintained schools, so that proper judgments can be made and comparisons drawn to assess value for money. The Department should state how it will make robust, line-by-line information on individual academies’ expenditure publicly available in the most cost-effective way.
4. New governance, compliance and oversight arrangements for academies remain vulnerable to failure. Some serious cases of governance failure and financial impropriety in academies have gone undetected by the Department’s monitoring, raising concerns that central government may be too distant to oversee individual academies effectively. Irregular expenditure by academies and gaps in the oversight framework led the Comptroller and Auditor General to qualify the 2011-12 accounts of the Department and the Young People’s Learning Agency. Academies’ compliance with mandatory monitoring is not good enough, and it is not yet clear how well revised audit arrangements will address these issues in future. The Department and the Education Funding Agency should review the operation of the new audit and oversight regime put in place this year, and assess whether it is reducing risks to regularity, propriety and good governance.
5. Forthcoming staff cuts at the Department and its agencies may threaten effective oversight as the Programme continues to expand. We are sceptical that the Department has sufficient resources to properly oversee the expanding Programme, especially as schools now joining are less high-performing and may require greater oversight and scrutiny. The Department should review the Programme’s central resource requirements, and the extent to which efficiency savings expected from new IT systems and assurance processes are being realised, and are sufficient to offset the need for further resources.
6. The Department has still not made completely clear the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of different organisations across the changing schools system. Roles previously carried out by local authorities around accountability, performance monitoring and intervention are unlikely to be operating consistently and effectively across different localities and academy structures. We are particularly concerned that interventions in failing academies may be delayed if the respective roles of central and local government, as well as academies and academy trusts, are not clear. The Department should clarify and properly communicate the roles and responsibilities of local authorities, academy sponsors, the Education Funding Agency, the Department, the Office of the Schools Commissioner and Ofsted regarding these aspects of the Programme.
Department for Education: Managing the expansion of the Academies Programme – Public Accounts Committee-April 2013
These are telling criticisms. They suggest the need to rethink the scrutiny and oversight of academies, while preserving the principle of school autonomy. Surveys suggest that around a third of converter schools opted for academy status for financial reasons. As part of the Budget Statement 2013, the Government announced that it would conduct ‘a review of school efficiency’. To inform that review, the government said ‘we have launched a call for evidence to learn more about how schools and academies make financial decisions and the techniques that they find particularly useful. We particularly want to hear your experience of how academies make financial decisions and your opinions/ideas of how academies can improve their efficiency.’ This suggests some concerns in government over the financial management in schools (not just academy schools by the way) and the additional risks that autonomy might bring. There is an on-going debate on the accountability of autonomous schools and whether or not another tier is required to ensure greater accountability, given the reduced role of local authorities.Academies are directly responsible of course to the Secretary of State, through individual funding agreements. Critics say that the Secretary of State , along with a slimmed down education department, cannot possibly hold these schools properly to account , even with Ofsteds support.
Not against academies but they are not a silver bullet for improvement
Current government policy he claims eschews vital ingredient ‘collaboration’
The Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg, in his speech to the ASCL, last weekend, claimed that this governments academies policy resulted in a two tier system and was not encouraging system wide reform. He said “I believe Michael Gove has learnt the wrong lesson from New Labour’s school reforms. He thinks that academies are about recreating the grammar school model. A group of high flying schools which are given additional funding and support, but no plan to raise the quality of education across the whole school system. An increasingly fragmented schools landscape, while what we need is better collaboration between schools to raise standards. Labour’s original academies programme was about how you realise the comprehensive ideal – mixed ability education with rigorous standards. We focussed on driving up standards in some of the most challenging schools in some of the least well off neighbourhoods.”
He talked of an Arc of Underachievement which holds back the life chances of too many children across the country with too much inconsistency. He said “ Michael Gove thinks that the answer to this underperformance is to create free schools and academies. But if this was the case – why is the worst performing school in England, an academy. Why is that of the Free Schools who have had Ofsted inspections – all of the secondary schools – admittedly only three – have been inspected, have been giving a “requires improvement” rating, despite having wealthy intakes and not one of the schools is rated as outstanding?”
Twigg reiterated that he was not against academies, but nor does he think they are a ‘ silver bullet’ for school improvement.
He is proud of Labours academy record. He said, referring to the recent report of the Academies Commission: “The Commission is absolutely clear about the impact of Labour’s academies programme. While I know that some people would like Labour to condemn academies – I will not. They helped raise standards amongst some of the poorest children in Britain. We should be rightly proud, and celebrate the teachers and heads that delivered. As the Commission notes, “these early academies revitalised the system, including initiating a shift in culture…[they] showed just how much could be achieved with high aspirations, determination that young people would achieve well, and a rigorous and consistent approach to school improvement.”
Crucially though , Twigg believes that the current system is atomised and missing a vital ingredient for system improvement -collaboration. He said “The problem is at the heart of Michael Gove’s approach. A free market ideology fails to understand that collaboration is critical to school improvement. Andreas Schleicher, who leads the OECD’s work on education has said that “professional autonomy needs to go hand in hand with a collaborative culture, with autonomous schools working in partnership to improve teaching and learning.” He points to schools in Scandinavia, Japan and Shanghai which have embedded a culture of teamwork and cooperation. However, nearly two thirds of academies are ‘singletons’ – not part of a school improvement partnership. These represent the bulk of academies set up since 2010. An increasingly fragmented, atomised system where schools are not encouraged to collaborate.”
Twigg concluded: “Michael Gove missed a golden opportunity with the converter academy programme. He promised to promote collaboration in the Schools White Paper in 2010. He could have made it a requirement of a school becoming an academy that they support a weaker school, but he failed.”
The Secretary of State, Michael Gove , says that rigorous research from the OECD and others has shown that more autonomy for individual schools helps raise standards. He points to the fact that two of the most successful countries in PISA – Hong Kong and Singapore - are amongst those with the highest levels of school competition (Finland, though, another high flier eschews competition). He wants both competition and collaboration. In a speech to the the Schools Network in December 2011 he said “Overall, our vision for the future is of a self-improving network of schools, innovating and engaging, competing and collaborating, teaching and training, for the benefit of all our children.”
The Academies Act 2010 granted academy trusts exempt charity status, making them exempt from registration with and primary regulation by the Charity Commission, from 1 August 2011. The definition of an exempt charity is one that is ‘ not regulated by and cannot register with, the Charity Commission.’ So, they have this status because they are regulated by some other body. The Secretary of State for Education is now the principal regulator of academies and oversees their compliance with both charity and education law. But the education secretary has handed over the role of funding distribution and compliance for academies to the Education Funding Agency, which is an executive agency of the DFE. The Academy Trust signs an agreement (The Funding Agreement) with the Secretary of State , and so is accountable to the Secretary of State, not the local authority.Indeed independence from local authority control and bureaucracy has been regarded as one of the attractions of academy status.
But what happens if an academy, autonomous from the LA, is under performing or failing? This is an area where local authorities in the past have played an important role, (some, of course, more effectual than others), in spotting early potential problems.
Elizabeth Truss MP, the junior education minister, made it clear recently in a Commons question that ’ it is not the role of local authorities (LAs) to intervene in underperforming academies. Academies are autonomous from LAs and their performance is a matter for the Department through the Office of the Schools Commissioner. If a local authority (LA) has concerns about an individual academy, we expect the LA to raise these concerns with the Academy Trust in first instance. If the LA feels that the Academy Trust is failing to take sufficient action concerns can be raised with Ofsted or the Secretary of State.’
Two questions then arise-if LAs no longer have the powers or budget to oversee academies, how are they, within an autonomous school system , supposed to spot potential problems with schools? And who, apart from Ofsted, is there to fill this accountability gap?
The difficulty in giving a straight answer to both these questions explains why the debate continues on whether or not some form of intermediate tier is required between the SOS and schools, as part of the ‘intelligent’ accountability framework.
Sir Michael Wilshaw , the Chief Inspector,told the Education Select Committee on 13 February that local authorities should be able to “identify under performance in academies “They have a powerful part to play in local authority schools, those schools they control, and those outside their direct control,” Sir Michael said.“They identify under-performance in academies. They should be writing to the chair of governors and the sponsor of that academy and contacting the academy division at the department.”He also said that he wanted Ofsted to inspect academy chains and is in talks with the Secretary of State on this issue.
The Children and Families Bill 2012-13
Overhaul of SEN
Significant reforms to services for vulnerable children and radical proposals to allow parents to choose how they share up to a year’s leave, to look after their new-born children, have been announced.
The Children and Families Bill, published on 4 Feb, includes reforms to adoption, family justice, an overhaul of Special Educational Needs, reinforcing the role of the Children’s Commissioner and plans to introduce childminders agencies. It also includes the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees. The proposed Shared Parental Leave reforms will give parents much greater flexibility about how they ‘mix and match’ care of their child in the first year after birth. They may take the leave in turns or take it together, provided that they take no more than 52 weeks combined in total. These changes will allow fathers to play a greater role in raising their child, help mothers to go back to work at a time that’s right for them, returning a pool of talent to the workforce. It will also create more flexible workplaces to boost the economy. This Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on a date to be announced. This Government Bill was presented to Parliament on 4 February 2013. This is known as the first reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage.
Summary of the Children and Families Bill 2012-13
Adoption and virtual school head (VSH)
The Government wants to see more children being adopted by loving families with less delay. Children wait an average of almost two years between entering care and moving in with an adoptive family. The Bill supports the reforms set out in An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay including by promoting fostering for adoption and improving support for adoptive families. The Government is committed to improving life chances for all looked after children. Their educational attainment, while improving, is not doing so fast enough. We know that a virtual school head (VSH) can have a positive impact on the educational progress of looked after children and so the Bill will require every local authority to have a virtual school head to champion the education of children in the authority’s care, as if they all attended the same school.
Family justice system
The Government is reforming the family justice system so that it can deliver better for children and families who go to court after family separation or where children may be taken into care. The reform programme is tackling delays and ensuring that children’s best interests are at the heart of decision making. The Bill will implement commitments the Government made in response to the Family Justice Review including by introducing a time limit of 26 weeks when courts are considering whether a child should be taken into care and making sure more families have the opportunity to try mediation before applying to court.
Special educational needs (SEN)
The Government is transforming the system for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), including those who are disabled, so that services consistently support the best outcomes for them. The Bill will extend the SEN system from birth to 25, giving children, young people and their parents greater control and choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly met. It takes forward the reform programme set out in Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability: Progress and next steps including by:
replacing old statements with a new birth- to-25 education, health and care plan;
offering families personal budgets; and
improving cooperation between all the services that support children and their families, particularly requiring local authorities and health authorities to work together.
The Government is reforming childcare to ensure the whole system focuses on providing safe, high-quality care and early education for children. The enabling measures in the Bill support wider reforms to substantially increase the supply of high quality, affordable and available childcare and include introducing childminder agencies to help more childminders into the market and offer greater support and quality assurance and removing bureaucracy so that it is easier for schools to offer wrap-around care.
Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC)
The Government wants to make sure that the Children’s Commissioner can act as a strong advocate for children, helping to embed a culture where children’s interests are put first. The Bill will help improve the Children’s Commissioner’s effectiveness, taking forward recommendations in John Dunford’s Review of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (England) including giving the Commissioner a statutory remit to promote and protect children’s rights.
Shared parental leave and flexible working
The Government is committed to encouraging the full involvement of both parents from the earliest stages of pregnancy, including by promoting a system of shared parental leave, and to extending the right to request flexible working to all employees. The Bill will implement the commitments in the Government’s response (November 2012) to the modern workplaces consultation.
THE FOURTH WAY
Reform needs vision collaboration and public engagement
Educators and policy makers, according to Professor Andy Hargreaves, increasingly recognise that the old ways for effecting social and educational change are no longer suited to the – fast, flexible, and vulnerable new world of the 21st century.
In their book The Fourth Way, Professor Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley, examine the three ways of change that have defined global educational policy and practice from the 1960s to the present. They then offer a new Fourth Way that ‘ will lead to remarkable leaps forward in student learning and achievement.’
So what are these ways for approaching reform?
The First Way of state support and professional freedom led to innovation and new social movements, but also uneven school performance, inconsistent leadership, and educational improvements informed by intuition and ideology rather than evidence.
The Second Way of competition and educational prescriptions – in which innovation gave way to standardisation, uniformity, and inequity – led to great costs in teacher motivation, leadership capacity, and student learning.
The Third Way attempted to balance professional community with accountability, but has instead according to the authors, become overly preoccupied with collecting, analysing and tracking students, teachers and schools with endless quantities of data. This is now the dominant reform strategy in many regions; short-term, quick-fix solutions designed to produce instant lifts in achievement scores prevail over long-term, innovative and sustainable reforms for the 21st century.
The Fourth Way draws on first-hand and rigorous research evidence of outstandingly successful practice from across the world to offer a vision and a plan for a more successful, challenging, and sustainable educational future. From top-performing Finland to the impressive achievements of community engagement in America; from the most turned-around school district in Britain to a dynamic network of 300 high schools that lifted achievement dramatically by helping each other rather than responding to heavy-handed interventions from the top; and from the conservative-controlled yet innovation-oriented province of Alberta to union-driven reform movements in California – this book shows what works well, why it does so, and what we can learn about forging new and better paths of educational change.
The Fourth Way is informed by a strong sense of history, some of the world‘s most influential policy theory, and the authors’ own painstaking evidence.
Michael Fullan says it is – a powerful ‘catalyst for coherence’ in a field that badly needs guidance. Anthony Giddens, author of the Third Way (remember him?) and intellectual guru for President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair, agrees that the Third Way has reached its limit and that it is time to engage with the Fourth Way of educational and social change.( I am not terribly convinced that the Third Way ever gained much traction)
So what, in essence, is this Fourth way?
It is about connecting three distinct elements. First, there must be a national vision and a clear sense of where a country is going. The focus is not on the country’s rankings. It is about “who we are, what we are and why we are”. This is the first element that drives the performance that follows. The second is professional collaboration, which involves teachers working with teachers, schools working with schools, and more local discretion for decision making. (again the theme of collaboration crops up) The third is public engagement, which actually means that the government loses control because there is more democratic inclusion of the public deciding the way it is moving as a society. It also means the profession is redefining professionalism. In other words, the professionals gain more autonomy from the government, but also less autonomy from the public, parents and communities over time. Therefore, practice has to be open to public definitions and understandings of what school is like.
The principles of the Fourth Way consist of six pillars of purpose and partnership that support change, three principles of professionalism that drive change, and four catalysts of coherence that sustain change and hold it together.
The six pillars of purpose and partnership include:
• An inspiring and inclusive vision
• Public engagement
• No achievement without investment
• Corporate educational responsibility (this is about corporate involvement, not with control for financial benefit but as a community responsibility. Furthermore, this is a moral community responsibility)
• Students as partners in change
• Mindful learning and teaching (this is about an approach to teaching, which is not just the implementation of a script, or a quick response to an external demand. But it is more about mindful, deeply engaged, critical, and challenging teaching and learning.)
The following principles are at the heart of this argument:
• High quality teachers
• Positive and powerful professional associations
• Lively learning communities
These are the four principles that sustain change and create the coherence:
• Sustainable leadership- It is about thinking about how leaders work with other leaders, and how schools help other schools.
• Integrating networks – very often networks will consist of schools next door, the schools in the same community, and the schools that may even be competing with each other.
• Responsibility before accountability- is not about having no accountability, but about responsibility before accountability
• Differentiation and diversity- Differentiation in diversity involves understanding the different ways students learn and the different intelligences they have, which can help teachers teach differently
Andy Hargreaves is the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. The mission of the Chair is to promote social justice and connect theory and practice in education.
Dr. Dennis Shirley is Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Shirley received a contract of $592,000 to lead an international team on a study of the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement in Canada.
The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change [Paperback] Andy Hargreaves (Editor), Dennis Shirley (Editor)
Gove attacked for not bothering to convince stakeholders that his policies are right
Laura McInerney, a teacher, Fulbright scholar and Policy Development Partner at consultants LMKCO is concerned , as she sees it,about the Secretary of States unwillingness, or inability, to sell his education reforms to key stakeholders. McInerney has had an almost continuous dialogue on Twitter with Goves respected special adviser, Sam Freedman , due to move to Teach First as head of research, around this and related themes.
She says Gove can and should implement the policies he has long championed – free schools, the Ebacc, terminal exams – but through the correct processes.
She blogs ‘ In recent weeks Gove has stomped heavily on the processes of an informed democracy that hold politicians accountable once in power. If a Secretary of State steadfastly refuses to answer questions in the Education Select Committee about their latest reform, this matters for accountability (see Q11-36) . If in that same meeting the Secretary of State says they will ignore the independent regulator’s serious concerns about a GCSE reform, it matters for accountability (see Q46). When the Department for Education has one of the worst response rates to requests for Freedom of Information, it matters for accountability. When the civil service – bound by a code of political impartiality – sends out tweets about teacher strike action which feel to teachers to be heavily politicised, it diminishes an impartially informed democracy. And when significant education policies are announced through the pages of a newspaper that citizens can only access by paying the corporation (the Times) at the centre of 2012’s biggest media scandal, then –surely! – democracy and accountability aren’t just suffering, by now they are on the floor and weeping.’
A little strong, perhaps, but she concludes that Gove does not have to change his policies simply because people don’t like them, but as part of an informed democracy he does need to convince people he is right.
Certainly Goves performance before the Select Committee recently raised some eyebrows as he refused to discuss with the Committee Ofquals (well known) concerns about the timetable for the introduction of the new EBC for reasons, that were not very clear (concerns shared, incidentally, by the exam boards). He must be careful not to allow the perception to be created that he lacks transparency or is being obstructive or ignoring process, as this suggests a lack of confidence in his own policies. It is very easy to become prickly and over defensive if attacked and Gove is, by nature, a courteous and confident debater and advocate. He is more than capable of making a strong case for his own policies without leaving the impression that he is careless about the need for full transparency and accountability. It would also help in this respect if his department improved its poor record( yes it does have one of the worst departmental records ) in responding quickly to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and in answering parliamentary questions (PQs are supposed to be answered within three days but can take up to six weeks) which junior minister Elizabeth Truss was challenged on recently in a Select Committee hearing.
- PAYING FOR RESULTS-CAN IT HELP RAISE PERFORMANCE- OR DOES IT CORRUPT THE LOVE OF LEARNING?
- PROSPECTS JOINS MUTUAL JOINT VENTURE TO DELIVER PUBLIC SERVICES-GOVERNMENT KEEN ON EMPLOYEE OWNED MUTUALS DELIVERING PUBLIC SERVICES
- PROFESSOR TONY WATTS RESIGNS FROM THE NATIONAL CAREERS COUNCIL
- EDISON LEARNING AND THE NAHT UNION LAUNCH A SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE WITH DFE BACKING
- THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF ACADEMIES-WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE ARE CONCERNS?
- PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE REPORT ON ACADEMIES-SOME CONCERNS OVER FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
- CAIRNS OF BRIGHTON COLLEGE BACKS ACADEMIES
- IS CAREERS ADVICE IN SCHOOLS EFFECTIVE OR IS IT TOO EARLY TO SAY?
- LEMOVS TEACH LIKE A CHAMPION -TOP TECHNIQUES USED BY THE BEST TEACHERS
- THE PUPIL PREMIUM AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS
- EDUCATION EXPORTS-NEW GOVERNMENT STRATEGY IN THE WINGS?
- INSPECTING ACADEMY CHAINS-ON THE AGENDA
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- SPECIAL NEEDS
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