ZENNA ATKINS ON POOR TEACHERS
Zenna Atkins until recently ,Chair of Ofsted , joined GEMS a few weeks ago as its new Chief Executive .But she may well be on the move again, I am told . She replaced Anders Hultin, one of the architects of the Swedish free schools movement, who left the company several weeks ago also after a relatively brief tenure. Hultin is now with Pearson Education. Gems, a private company, runs a number of schools in the UK, and in the middle east, and was set up by the education entrepreneur Sunny Varkey.
Atkins who had a very low media profile until very recently, implied in an interview, when she was still at Ofsted that having a few poor teachers in schools was not necessarily such a bad thing, arguing that dealing with them was part of a child’s learning process. This, remember, from the head of an organisation that holds our schools accountable and aims to help drive up standards. Arguably, poor teaching is the single most important variable acting as a constraint on schools improvement . Indeed, it may go some way to explaining why investment in education has delivered lower than expected returns. But clearly it is not, based on what she has said , a priority for Atkins. It also reflects a worrying degree of complacency in the education establishment, backed by figures showing that in the last 40 years just 18 teachers have been struck off for incompetence.
Using Atkins impeccable logic, there ought to be some poor schools inspectors out there, as this might serve to aid Headteachers in developing their crisis management skills and so make them, err.. better Heads.
Atkins writes, modestly, on her blog ” Today I start my new job at Gems. I’m as amazed as anyone that I have got here! The secret of my success has always been other people.”
Good Teachers ,maybe? Actually, probably not.Atkins managed just one O level at school, so we probably have to look elsewhere for those who helped her in her career.