Anger over accountability

11th March 2011 at 00:00

I disagree with the way accountability has gone, and is going, even in the new proposals for inspection (TESS, 25 February). They remind me of a statement by John Seddon, author of Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: "Doing less of the wrong thing is not doing the right thing". Allowing parents to "trigger" inspections constitutes the collapse of this country's child protection systems. Of course, any complaint should be followed up, but that is another matter.

The vast rise in the complexity of our jobs and the sea of change on every front render an inspections and specifications approach utterly unsuitable - for class-committed heads like me, impossible. There is a major cost to this with the stress and absence triggered by a snapshot specifications approach, instead of a systems learning, problem-solving, solution-focus mentality.

I also disagree with the inspectorate's imposition of a "requirement" on the developmental pathway of Curriculum for Excellence, in particular its "seven characteristics of successful implementation". This and the current HMIE matching of How Good Is Our School? to CfE is, in my view, the destruction of CfE in terms of "building the curriculum".

Until relatively recently, inspection was very different. It was curriculum-focused, with observation, participation and feedback on lessons, discussing aspects of the curriculum - not "indicators" and wholesale sweepthroughs of everything, where the conclusion and the indicators do not really "say what they are saying".

Niall MacKinnon, Sirius, Avernish, Kyle.

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