PM announces plans to rescue failing schools

Sacking heads and putting super-teachers in schools that get a poor Ofsted report are amongst measures the Conservatives will introduce if they win the next election.

David Cameron has promised wider and more rapid powers to improve failing schools in England, the Independent reports.

Eight regional school commissioners will be given increased powers to get rid of governors and headteachers in schools identified by Ofsted as failing, and remove these schools from local authority control. At the moment the commissioners oversee academies and free schools, but not schools run by LAs.

However, this may exacerbate the existing shortage of headteachers; according to John Daly from Eteach Appoint, schools are being forced to fill headship positions by recruiting retired heads on an interim basis.

If he is still Prime Minister after the 2015 election, David Cameron also wants to create a pool of elite teachers that can be sent to schools where they are most needed. By 2020 the National Teacher Service will have 1,500 teachers at its disposal, to help underperforming schools anywhere in England.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “We have witnessed a revolution in school standards over the past four years, with more young people being taught in good or outstanding schools today than ever before. But there is more to do, and the next phase of the plan must go further and faster in targeting the schools where failure has become ingrained.”

Do you think these measures will stop schools failing and improve the education pupils receive? Share your views with the Eteach community!

8 thoughts on “PM announces plans to rescue failing schools

  1. Yeah – right!
    Where will the eight regional commissioners come from ……. umm how about retired or semi retired school management !
    Forget it – more political hot air. The great shame is that there appears to be no way to rescue a failed political system which has systematically wrecked education regardless of party over the last 30 years.
    Not one politician from any party has come up with any proposals in the last twelve months which amount to proving they have a clue what is happening ……. take the privately educated Tristam Hunt who suggested last week that teachers should swear the equivalent of the hypocratic oath by way of proving their professionalism ……… the mind boggles at just how inept and removed from reality these people are …… GRRRRR !

  2. Right on Felix…
    When will voters be able to sack incompetent politicians without having to wait for the five years of damage they’d inflict on us to expire ?

    As soon as these meddling power-heads get out of interfering in schools , the better for teachers and students !
    Bone-headed ideas come one after the other like infectious plagues generated from diseased minds !

  3. Agree with the above comments. How about sacking Ofsted? Only met 1 inspector who seemed to know what he was doing; that was about 20 years ago!

  4. It saddens me to say that I believe Felix is all too correct.
    Education is first and foremost a human and formative process, encompassing perhaps a hundred times more immeasurable than measurable aspects. Yet because, as Felix says, the government in general know so little about the vast majority of the nation’s schools, they do unto them the only thing they know how to; legislate and thereby risk burying a school’s spirit. Ofsted work on the principle that if a man/woman is a teacher, you can understand them by walking a few yards in their shoes. And not with an intention to help and improve but to check on their “standards” by a scary prying assessment process. The power afforded such abusive inspections is one of the biggest scandals in our society. Ofsted, I would suggest, is allowed to police our schools in a far more aggressive and inhuman manner than we would ever nowadays permit the actual police force to do.
    A struggling (I prefer that word to “failing” as it speaks more of dynamism than damnation) school has typically a staff straining hard to prevent sinking morale and keep ill-health at bay, led by a super-stressed Head: a team, frankly, who have twice or thrice the demands of their colleagues down the road who can rise confidently from their beds in the morning and bounce along to enjoy doing their celebrated work in their “outstanding” school. They all too often have huge and time-consuming parent/staff relationship problems, which they are almost helpless to mend when the Ofsted police are more and more frequently at their door and producing public writings which give ammunition and confirmation to vociferous parents that the school is “on probation” and fair game.
    So what does Cameron say he will do? Send out his team of Commandants (sorry, I meant Commissioners – aren’t senior police called the same, incidentally?) to sack the Heads and Governors of these schools (that is, the on-site and knowledgeable teams working to improve them), despite there being no likely replacements for them.Such a stupid bungle will then be disguised by the arrival of a temporary teaching superhero or two who will be well supported and financed, win the parents’ hearts and make things all the more impossible for the permanent staff thereafter to hold their heads high and do the real jobs.
    What clever, positive and understanding chaps we make PM!

  5. Agreeing with every comment above, I really don’t see the need to sack anybody. If a school is struggling it needs help and support from the government, not ‘banishment’.

    I do however feel bringing somebody in who is experienced and fully understands the situations of those in the school to help try out new strategies is completely beneficial. We can often get a mental block when morale is low and struggle to see much needed changes – especially if we are not ‘meeting expectations’.
    Sometimes -Ofsted and the Government aside- suggestions from a new mind is exactly what we need as teachers.

    I feel there may be some merit in this new proposal, but it does need tweaking.

  6. Where will this pool of elite teachers come from? I left a well paid job in IT because I was expected to travel and troubleshoot at the drop of a hat. What will they be paid, where and how will they be accommodated, and how long will they spend on each assignment? As a rule, the most mobile teachers are the least experienced. My experience of schools who are not performing well is that they need a stable team to put it right. Even superstars won’t have the time to gain the trust of students if they are only in for a few weeks. Who will select, support and monitor them, or will they become another breed of consultants, disappearing in a cloud of smoke just before the sh*t really hits the fan!

    The whole thing stinks of fag packet policies – except now no-one smokes, they try and write the whole thing in a tweet! It would be laughable if it was not so damaging. Students don’t have many chances if their schools are failing them. FE is no better, and night schooling is all but dead. Academies and free schools are not changing the picture – for every success story there seems to be a horror somewhere else. The bottom line is that education has to be properly planned and funded. Schools rarely fail overnight, but slide down a slope. Intervention needs to be supportive, not confrontational.

    I have seen schools where things have started to go wrong. Management then set up a new layer of planning, monitoring and questioning (but rarely offering positive support), and teachers start going off sick with stress. The school then slips further as the remaining teachers feel less and less valued and look elsewhere for work. Behaviour gets worse as supply and short term teachers come in to fill the gaps and needy children find there is no stability. None of this will be addressed by pushing the head and governors aside and bringing in Superteachers.

  7. Thank goodness for a wave of astute responses! However, I do think it necessary to acknowledge that there are weak headteachers and classroom teachers. But a huge amount of pressure arises from the refusal to allow mistakes as a natural aspect of learning. This applies to pupils, teachers, management, parents and society at large.

    Mistakes are seen as grievous intransigences for which someone has to be blamed and maybe punished. Where is the opportunity to learn from them, if you get kicked out? Where is the opportunity for helping people to learn from their mistakes, if we exclude or alienate or suppress or ridicule?

    Ironically or otherwise, tolerance can lead to greater creativity and far higher standards of productivity and intellect.

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