Sunday, 13 July 2014


I spend a lot of time in schools with talented, committed and passionate colleagues and it seems to me that the increased emphasis upon, traditionally defined, academic success is having a damaging and destructive impact on teaching and learning.
I was talking to a young colleague this week and in her school they are facing an unwavering emphasis on content and knowledge, important as that is, alongside a significant reduction in time, effort and resources to areas outside this narrow subject matter, and an unspoken refocus on why we teach and what is considered important in education. Alongside this narrow approach to the curriculum we are offering young people, punitive measures and a culture of fear and intimidation only accelerates the shift towards the standardised basics that high performing systems like Singapore, Finland and Ontario have left behind them. 

What we are seeing in Singapore, Ontario, and Finland, is a growing and successful emphasis on teaching and empowering teachers and young people as learners. As high performing educational systems further develop their approaches policy makers in the DfE and OFSTED should wake up and see that the journey to outstanding requires a different and more balanced approach.

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