24 September 2007

A new school year starts; will things get any better?

The start of each school term means a meeting between the Local Authority and Chairs of Governors. This is billed as a "Governors' Partnership Meeting" but really it is about two hours of Local Authority officers telling school governors what to do. I always go with a sense of optimism and always leave despairing at how clueless most people involved in Education are. These are the notes I made during the meeting:
  • The presentation on healthy school food was full of information that we did not need to know (e.g. how the report was compiled) and ended with conclusions that were not supported by the preceding data.
  • If you want to narrow the achievement gap then you need to widen the resourcing gap.
  • Target setting is still the centre of all that is happening in schools, despite it being fundamentally flawed (see previous references to Lean Thinking etc.), and there was a lot of talk about outcomes but none about inputs (each child is different) or resources. Pointless.
  • The questionnaire on the vision for schools had the views of parents as the very last question when it should have been the first.
  • The Local Authority has a Victorian view of what a school is and does not realise that the world has changed and is changing still. Schools now provide a wide range of "services" to the whole community and are part of a wider ecosystem of communities and service providers, which requires a radical rethink on what schools do, how this is managed and what resources (e.g. buildings) they need to do this.

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