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

1st January 2010 at 00:00
There is 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 General Election, possibly a double-dip recession, a World Cup in South Africa and a Ryder Cup, much closer to home, in Newport. The TES will be 100, Mexico 200 and the lumbar colostomy 300. Scotland will contemplate divorcing the United Kingdom 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. Schools in Wales may have long been cash-strapped, and the coming year will be one of national belt-tightening. But the arrival of first minister Carwyn Jones, who has promised to boost budgets by 1 per cent, brings hope that school finances won't get worse - at least not this year.

The General Teaching Council for Wales will not change. It will continue to be disappointed by the steady stream of teachers who display a lack of professionalismfondness for drugstendency to log on to Friends Reuinited during lessons. And it will carry on pontificating about what "professional teachers" should and should not do in the classroom.

Year 8 will become Year 9 but in all fundamental respects will not alter.

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.

Over in England, there will not be a Sats boycott. Despite the fact that Wales has carried on quite happily without those tests and the league tables, the appetite to follow suit does not seem strong enough. 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.

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 the government will not cease. Leighton Andrews, the Assembly's new education minister, may have promised a "smarter and simpler" schools system and that he will review the number of initiatives run by his department. But initiativitis is a hard habit to kick, even in the "Learning Country".

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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