'My seven new year's resolutions for education ministers – I expect they'll be ignored...'

Ministers at the DfE are probably too busy to bother with new year's resolutions. So this celebrated former primary head has come up with some for them

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We all know that the government has had a difficult time recently, and, therefore, I have taken it on myself to draft out the government's resolutions for 2018. (I know ministers will be beside themselves with gratitude.) They will probably ignore them, but here you go: 

We will fund every school appropriately in 2018. We recognise that the austerity programme has hurt far too many schools and, inevitably, the pupils within them. Therefore, we will ensure that there are equitable resources available across the whole country and across all sectors. We will especially view positively the SEND needs of all schools and ensure that these vulnerable pupils have access to the resources and support they need.

Every teacher and support assistant will receive a substantial pay rise. We recognise that the capping of school pay has affected adversely so many individuals and families, as well as discouraging people from joining the profession. Therefore, we will support a plan to realign salaries over the next three years by scrapping the free schools programme and diverting the overly generous salaries of MAT chiefs to the teachers at the chalkface who do all the work.

The abolition of the testing regime. Whilst we recognise the need for accountability, there is also a need to cut out the pointless testing and, subsequently, the league tables and comparisons that result from them. Therefore, we are going to support the view that teachers and schools actually know what their children can do, and we are going to listen to them. This will, inevitably, save a lot of money that can be diverted to the changes we are proposing.

Ofsted itself will be inspected. Ofsted is itself not accountable and we need to find out whether it truly represents "value for money". We must recognise that it can be a negative element in the education system and, therefore, we aim to inspect the whole process and see whether it has any role to play in the future.

'Stop blaming the teachers...'

We will undergo a curriculum rethink. We also recognise that the curriculum at present is not fit for purpose and, therefore, propose a complete redraft of the curriculum. This will be overseen by a body of teachers, not a select group of individuals from the government, with the working brief: "Devising a curriculum for the needs of pupils in 2018."

Teachers' work-life balance and wellbeing will be a priority. We recognise that people have fallen out of love with teaching, and insufficient people wish to train for this wonderful job. We recognise that this may have something to do with us and the amount of work we now ask every teacher to take on. We aim to tackle this issue so we can create teachers happy in the profession who also have a life outside it...

We are going to promote positivity around the education system. We recognise that for too long we have been negative about teachers and teaching. We have blamed the system for every issue arising in society. We feel it is now time to view the profession as we would a glass half-full rather than one that is half-empty.

As a government, we feel that by making these resolutions now, teachers will be in a better position to enjoy the forthcoming year...

There you go, oh ministerial overlords. Over to you.


Colin Harris led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were 'outstanding' across all categories

To read more of Colin's articles, visit his back catalogue

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