Monday, July 15, 2019

The 6.30 am eye roll

Rob Hulme, Ann Coffey and me earlier today
We have a routine in our house in the mornings, it's called the BBC News eyeroll. Usually it's a tired and grumpy response to whatever half-baked gasp from a politician, business leader or John Humphrys that we might hear as we sip our coffee.

There's also a subset of that called the teacher shrug. Since Rachel qualified as a teacher and threw herself into the profession it's got worse. Whatever the social problem, whatever the business failure, whatever the impending tidal wave of dystopia that is heading our way, you can guarantee someone somewhere will pop up on the news and say "if only schools could do more..."

We had all the potential to indulge in a lot more of this today at the University's annual partnership conference for the School of Teacher Education. My contribution was to have asked two excellent local MPs to come and speak. I did ask some crap ones as well, but they never got back to me. I also had the privilege of introducing them both and moderating the response from an impressive panel of educationalists.

What came across loud and clear - and no doubt was discussed throughout the day - was a real fundamental quest for purpose. We're all for joined up thinking across government and policy areas, but there seems to be a clash of purposes at play now. The hyper-accountability on one hand, a governance free-for-all on the other. The collision of values at the school in Birmingham over the teaching of relationships seems to have brought this into sharp focus. Who else can have played a part in community dialogue before it got to the stage of shouting matches and protests at the school gate?

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