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Dream schools are hard to find

On a recent course as part of my National Professional Qualification for Headship preparation, we were asked to describe our "school of the future" given unlimited budgets.

The group I worked with described a small secondary where "no child could fall through the cracks", where parents, young people, health professionals, other schools and the wider community worked in partnership to generate high-quality learning for all, as well as a better community beyond the school. We talked about reducing obesity and crime and wove achievement and celebration into the life of the school.

The trouble is that there aren't many schools like that in the secondary sector. Our dream learning community was mixed, non-selective, non-denominational, did not have a specialism, nor did it have trust-status or sponsorship that gave a commercial organisation dominance on its governing body.

It had 400 young people on roll and every adult could know the name of every child.

Maybe it is no coincidence that there is a crisis in finding heads. Maybe government policy is generating schools that passionate educators do not want to lead.

Frances Child

School improvement consultant

3 Serpentine Road

Selly ParkBirmingham

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