A glitch in the system

26th July 2013 at 01:00

If we were to model our personal financial management on the way that successive Western governments have managed national economies, we would suffer penury and humiliation at best.

If teachers were to approach lesson planning opportunistically, communicate with learners didactically and assess outcomes reductively, in which Ofsted grade would this legitimately result? Yet this is how our education system is managed and assessed.

And where education has been for the past few years, the National Health Service is now invited to come. We can enjoy watching another public service being denigrated and dismantled - in that order - so that competitive, marketplace priorities can be presented as the panacea.

Imagine all the resources currently employed in negative judgement being used to celebrate good practice and develop areas where learner potential could be furthered. Imagine outside experts, with the advantage of overview, working collaboratively with those who are sometimes too busy to promote and sustain the rigour that they know their learners deserve. Imagine an Ofsted report with no grades, only offers of advice and support on how to take the provision of learning further, engaging teachers collaboratively in the process.

This would make the practice of the assessors more compatible with the teaching methodology that they claim to promote. And, while still in this delirium of summer, imagine a government asking instigators of rankings such as the Programme for International Student Assessment to what extent imagination, empathy and commitment to human rights, in the context of a sustainable planet, are crucial criteria in their rankings of a quality education.

John Hamilton, Tutor in teacher education.

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