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Folder 15: Briefing Paper – British General Election, 2009 – May 2010


Death by Inspection “The more you trust people the thinner the rulebook, while the less you trust them, the thicker the book becomes,” declaimed the late, redoubtable Al Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers some years ago at a conference in London. It is such an obvious truth you would think it unnecessary […]

Chief Bureaucrat?

Political Banana Skins The BBC series Yes Minister was some of the finest political satire ever seen on television.  Hacker (Paul Eddington) infuriated his Permanent Secretary (Nigel Hawthorne) by his ability to pick up what seemed the right issues, and then confuse these with his need to win votes.  In one particular episode Hacker, as […]

“A House divided against itself…”

A Review of David Cameron’s Speech at the Conservative Party Conference There is a belief at the very heart of Tory policy which the faithful fear to call by its name… “It is wrong for a superior,” says Tory thinking, “to retain the right of making decisions which inferiors are already qualified to do for […]

It was a great act… but the candidate didn’t actually answer the questions

A Review of Michael Gove’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference on October 7th 2009 In late August a copy of the Briefing Paper on the design faults at the heart of English education was sent to all MPs.  Within 40 pages it distilled all the thinking of the Initiative (which itself depends on the […]

Clever Girl

Emotional Intelligence It’s a month now since the media sought photographs of teenagers jumping for joy as they flourished their  A-Level and GCSE results.  Featuring one such girl our local paper asked “Is this Britain’s brightest girl”, explained that she had achieved eleven grade A’s at GCSE.  Her father, the paper noted as they sought […]

Things Take Time

Knowledge transfer It was in the early 1980s that several business people and educationalists came together to consider whether there was a role they could play in helping education become more relevant to the needs of a technological age.  They had noted with dismay the findings of a recent Engineering Council report which showed that, […]

Head Teacher

Leaders or Managers? The Labour Party it seems is to go into the Election with a proposal that schools will in future be organised into Federations with a single Superhead responsible for six or more schools, with only a Deputy Head left on site.  The Conservatives, mindful of their often stated explanation for failing schools […]

End of a Partnership

Collapsing democracy Under the Education Act of 1944 English state education was based on a partnership between central government who defined the structure, and provided most of the funds through national taxation, and the 140 or so Local Education Authorities (LEA) whose responsibility it was to administer this in the most appropriate way on the […]

Bigger is not necessarily Better

An outdated design The opening of the gigantic new Academy in Nottingham yesterday for 3,500 secondary pupils, with twenty classes in each year-group, appalled me.  Maps had to be issued to every one of the bemused 11-year-olds on their first day at ‘big’ school.  Not long ago ‘big school’ to 10-year-olds was that place a […]

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