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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s