Editorial - 2010: not so much an odyssey as a non-event

1st January 2010 at 00:00
There's a host of exciting things that won't happen in the world of education this year

Very little will happen next year. There will be a World Cup, a General Election and possibly a double-dip recession. The TES will be 100, Mexico 200 and the lumbar colostomy 300. Scotland will contemplate divorcing England and Katie will almost certainly get back with Peter. But in the real world - in schools and classrooms - very little will change. The number of things that won't happen in 2010 is staggering. Here are a few selected non-events.

Budgets won't be slashed. Not because the Government will have a change of heart or because the economy will roar back into life, but because axe-swinging is a difficult and prolonged exercise - and especially embarrassing when the electorate gets a chance to grade the axe-swingers. The real hacking will be postponed until the following year.

There will not be a Sats boycott. Primary heads have sniffed enough of a government U-turn to back off; the NUT won't want to go it alone; Labour and the Tories both want to kick any unpleasantness into the long grass the other side of an election. As nobody really wants a fight, there won't be one.

Widespread industrial action will fail to transpire. Pay deals will still be in place, strike funds have yet to be swollen. No new slogans to rival "Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher ... Out, Out, Out", or the splendid "Rectify the Anomaly", as striking academics used to chant, will be coined. Militancy will be on hold - for a bit.

Grade inflation will not abate. And there won't be a fundamental review of the examinations system - it would be far too difficult and there are far too many vested interests in the status quo. There won't be any more university places next year than there were this year because there isn't any money.

Swedish models will not go out of fashion. Cabinet ministers who go out of fashion with the voters will not take up teaching as a second career - and will hopefully avoid modelling. The General Teaching Council will not change. It will continue to be disappointed by the steady stream of teachers who display a lack of professionalismfondness for drugstendency to mow down the sixth-form when drunk. Year 8 will become Year 9 but in all fundamental respects will not alter.

The press will not learn to love teaching. Headlines such as "Well-behaved pupils shame rowdy parents", "Tech-savvy youngsters slam antiquated employers", "These modern A-levels are rather difficult" and "I'm sending my child to the local comprehensive, says top columnist" will not appear.

Directives from central government will not cease. If Labour retains power the state will continue to provide the profession with the answers it knows it needs. If the Tories win they will allow teachers the opportunity to develop their own solutions but provide them with a detailed road map in the certain knowledge they will get lost. Teachers will not be trusted to teach.

All in all, 2010 is shaping up to be a rather dull affair. 2011? Now that looks like being really interesting.

Gerard Kelly, Editor, E: gerard.kelly@tes.co.uk.

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