Brighouse backs self-evaluation

SCHOOLS WILL improve if teachers talk frequently about their practice, observe each other in the classroom and collectively develop materials, Professor Tim Brighouse, co-vice-chairman of the Government's standards committee south of the border, told a North Lanarkshire conference on raising achievement last week.

Professor Brighouse, chief education officer in Birmingham, rejected the use of "name and shame" tactics in England and Wales and the confrontational approach characterised by Chris Woodhead, head of OFSTED, and the second standards vice-chair.

Teachers needed more support, less criticism and information on different methods of teaching, he said. "A purposeful, as opposed to a theoretical, debate around teaching, learning and research - and time to reflect on it - is one of the most powerful things you can do in education."

He backed the self-evaluation model of accountability in Scotland. "Some of the work done by the Inspectorate is streets ahead of that south of the border," he said.

Professor Brighouse welcomed North Lanarkshire's commitment to residential and outdoor education. "There is a sea change in attitudes to learning," he said. "I am more and more convinced a school that organises a residential involving teachers and pupils has a lower incidence of problems with attendance and exclusion and a higher incidence of successful outcomes than a school which chooses not to do that."

It was about getting to know pupils "inside out" to stretch them in the classroom.

Although a strong backer of Government education policy, Professor Brighouse believed the emphasis on parental choice of school was "incompatible" with social exclusion policies.

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