The education week that was: Hinds sets out his stall on school accountability

Education secretary seeks to ease the accountability burden on schools, as predecessor Greening sparks debate with Eton discrimination call

Martin George

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This was the week when Submarine Hinds surfaced after laying low for most of the past four months.

Since entering Sanctuary Buildings in January, the new education secretary has announced a review of exclusions and an effort to cut teacher workload, but little else as far as schools are concerned.

But in his speech to the National Association of Headteachers on Friday, Damian Hinds outlined a plethora of measures aimed easing the burden of accountability bearing down on schools, and improving teacher recruitment and retention:

But it was a relatively modest £5 million pilot scheme to explore the idea of giving teachers sabbaticals that caught the attention of much of the media.

One thing Mr Hinds did not offer was the injection of cash the many schools are crying out for, but heads nevertheless gave him a warm reception.

After last week’s Tes bombshell that many GCSE candidates cannot read an analogue clock, we heard claims that mobile phones also mean that young people can no longer read maps.

Technology also raised its head in the form of fears that the growth of artificial intelligence could lead to educational apartheid, with poorer pupils taught by tech while being overseen by bouncers, with their more privileged peers enjoying a more rounded schooling.

And it was that educational divide that provided the week’s biggest talking point: should employers discriminate against candidates from Eton?

That suggestion from former education secretary Justine Greening, first reported by Tes, sparked vigorous debate across the media about privilege, private schools and contextual recruitment.

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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