What should it be? A expensive summer school which the wrong children will turn up to? Longer school days? Forcing teachers to give up their weekends and holidays to teach catch-up? These ideas are all being proposed in some form or other by people with a very narrow and simplistic view of what schools do. … Continue reading School recovery: a working definition
Dear Department for Education Thank you for your recent guidance to schools. To be honest, I might not have read it, and if I did I doubt I digested it very well. As a headteacher, I've been quite busy, and what I have found in recent months is that much of the guidance issued hinders … Continue reading An open letter to the DfE
Never in the field of schooling has so much effort been expended by so many for so few. Am I still allowed to reference Churchill? I've lost track. In fact, I've lost track of everything over the last 11 days. The task of bringing just two year groups back into school for a day a … Continue reading Flipping school
Imagine, if you will, a weird race which takes place once each year. The participants in this race have one hour to run as far as they can. Each year, different participants take part and the distance they travel is recorded. Of course, some participants run many miles, while other struggle to keep running the … Continue reading Knee-jerk, ill-informed ‘catch up’ plans
If you are outside of the education system it is difficult to appreciate quite how uncomfortable those inside it are feeling right now. There are many reasons for this, not least of all the responsibility we feel for the children about to come back to our schools, and for their families who are trusting us … Continue reading School’s out for summer
In plotting a way out of our current confinement our ultimate ambition is normality. There are some who call for a 'new normal', or urge us to grasp the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our institutions, but most of us would be happy with how it was, at least as a first step. For schools, … Continue reading Is memory preferable to vision?
How many plans have been laid this week, only to be relaid? Last Sunday, the Prime Minister announced that primary schools may welcome back Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils from as early as the 1st June. He also stated his 'ambition' that Year 10 and 12 students would get 'some time with their … Continue reading Best laid plans
This weekend, we are reminded that the past is a stern but benevolent tutor. On a bright, calm Friday in May, we remembered the tragedy of conflict and paused to show our gratitude for 75 years of peace between old enemies, now friends. Remembering, we hope, will help us avoid the mistakes of the past. … Continue reading The Dark Art of Policy Assimilation
School (as we know it) is the best way we have come up with so far for the mass education of the nation's youth, given the level of resource we choose to allocate to it. However, it is far from perfect. There are significant constraints that arise from the logistics of having children all in … Continue reading You had to be there
Setting work for children to complete at home during a period of lock-down is not easy. You might think it is, until you try it and see the consequences. You may make the mistake of thinking that it is just like setting lots of homework. It isn't. Homework is an add-on to lessons. It is … Continue reading What have we learnt from 18 days of ‘suck it and see’ schooling?