Sunday, 13 March 2011

Develop autonomy and trust!

Lord Hill’s speech to the National Governors’ Association identified five principles that guide the Government’s approach to school improvement...
1. Develop autonomy and trust;
2. Strengthen accountability;
3. Strive for higher expectations;
4. Provide proportional support;
5. Support school-to-school collaboration.

These principles have been driving our work in Leeds for the last ten years, which is surely encouraging but the evidence base Lord Hill uses to illustrate them fails to understand and recognise the role of local authorities and National Strategies in driving change and accountability and most importantly developing creative and imaginative solutions. 

Our problems in our schools will not be solved by simply tackling failing schools by parachuting in hero headteachers or creating free schools and academies. We must change the culture in our schools and tackle in-school variation and build consistency so that every school is a great school. We must re-imagine the curriculum to develop functional skills alongside stimulating, relevant and rewarding projects and topics that encourage innovation, creativity and imagination. 

Interestingly, Lord Hill stressed that local authorities remain essential partners in school improvement and is keen to know how expertise in school improvement can be retained and used by local authorities. Suggestions to Lord Hill or the new Schools Commissioner.

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