WATCH: How heads have coped with a 'blizzard of change'

10th March 2018 at 09:32
ASCL president Carl Ward
ASCL president Carl Ward talks to Tes about the changes which have swamped the education system, the role of teaching assistants and what skills students will need to stop robots stealing their jobs

Yesterday Carl Ward, the president of the Association of School and College Leaders, criticised the government for engulfing the school system in a "blizzard of change" with its education reforms.

“What has happened over the past few years is quite frankly, ridiculous,” he said.

Tes caught up with him during the conference to discuss how business would never have attempted such a scale of change, the role of teaching assistants and whether the government should scrap the English Baccalaureate.

Mr Ward, chief executive of the City Learning Trust a 3-19 partnership of schools in Stoke on Trent, told Tes that "it had been difficult on many occasions" being a school leader during such a period of turbulence. 

While he said reform is sometimes necessary, he'd frequently been told by people working in industry that "in business, they wouldn't have activated so much change so quickly".



Earlier during the conference, education academic Professor John Hattie had criticised the explosion of teaching assistants in English schools.

Responding to his comments, Mr Ward said: "There are thousands of TAs across the country who do a fantastic job".

However, he said it was "right to look at the quality of TAs", and it might be appropriate for more highly qualified teachers to work with the students who struggle most.



During his speech, Mr Ward had criticised the impact of the EBacc on subjects like design and technology, which have seen their GCSE entries slashed since the reform was introduced.

Mr Ward told Tes he didn't think the EBacc should be "scrapped". But he said there needed to be "more balance" in the qualification system and that the government needed to ask itself what skills will be required by students who won't enter the jobs market until 2035.

"The key thing is that we scan that event horizon of education," he said.





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