The personal learning network for educators
The following blog post is not party political, merely a commentary on 23 years experience of the education system in this country under 4 different governments.
Our school has always and will always challenge bullying where they find it and yet there is a system of institutionalised bullying which damages children, demotivates and intimidates staff and creates bullies as it moves through the system.
Have the Government legislated against it? No, they promote it.
Has there been an investigation and the bullies been brought to book? No they seek to create more bullies.
So what is it, where is it, and how is it allowed to continue? Why hasn't it been stopped?
The answer is that this is how the testing and accountability system operates in this country!
It is perpetuated by successive governments and works counter to improving outcomes for our children.
This is how and why......
Central Government of whatever hue is keen to demonstrate that they are sorting education out and will by creating statistics, try to demonstrate that their strategies are successful.
These statistics rely on targets being set which will help government to show that they have been successful. These targets are not negotiated but handed out to Local Authorities and create such incredible tension within authorities to achieve them as there are significant sanctions if LA's don't meet them as this makes the Government look bad.
The pressure on LA's is immense and one man's unacceptable levels of pressure are anothers bullying.
LA's in order to meet their targets then place considerable pressure on schools and headteachers to meet the targets that the LA have been set and therefore set targets for schools (notionally with schools).
Again, when does unacceptable pressure become bullying? A fine line.
At school level, schools have to find ways of meeting these targets. The answer is to focus on how OFSTED will measure you which is predominantly on the test results.
This is why thousands and thousands of children and young people have had their entitlement to learn taken away from them in the name of standards, which is a word which has become effectively the same as test results.
Schools do their best not to place undue pressure on children in Year 6 but ultimately the wider world and parents see SATs as critical tests as this is what they are told by the government.
This bullying throughout the education system has to stop.
Test results are not the single most important determinant of a child's capability.
We can pass tests but rarely remember beyond the tests. That's because being filled with information to pass tests is not learning!
It's time to stop the bullying of schools. Highly trained educators know how children learn best not civil servants or ministers who will be head of education today and minister for agriculture or transport the next day.
Our children deserve better.
Have we got a government who'll trust the professionals to do the job they're paid to do?
The final quote below sums our education system up well and points towards a future where children can enjoy and experience learning and develop a lifelong love of learning rather than being filled with data for a test.
Tell me and i'll listen ;
show me and i'll watch ;
let me experience and i'll learn.