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‘Teachers enslaved as never before,’ says DfE tsar

Education Endowment Foundation CEO says lack of teacher autonomy is ironic given government's push for school autonomy

Kevan Collins, EEF, enslaved, autonomy, teachers, OECD, WEF, westminster education forum

Education Endowment Foundation CEO says lack of teacher autonomy is ironic given government's push for school autonomy

The Department for Education’s evidence tsar has said that teachers in England are “enslaved in a way they have never been before”.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said this was a “delicious irony”, given the government’s reforms to give schools more autonomy.

Last year, then education secretary Justine Greening appointed Sir Kevan as the "evidence champion" for the government’s 12 Opportunity Areas, which were set up to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children in some of the worst social mobility cold spots.

Speaking at today’s Westminster Education Forum conference about the next steps for England’s school system, he cited evidence in this week’s Education at a Glance report, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), saying: “I was very taken by the OECD report, which talked about the lack of autonomy for teachers.

“We have had this interesting notion of autonomy for schools. That’s meant headteachers get quite a lot of opportunity to make decisions, but ironically in some parts of the system that’s meant teachers are enslaved in a way they have never been before, in a system that is supposed to be about autonomy, but in some regards has never seen teachers being told what to do in the way that they are now.

“So there is a delicious irony: who is autonomy for?”

Sir Kevan added: “Throughout the system, we increasingly want people to take responsibility for their own children and not outsource that to the accountability system.”

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