Where have I been?

Long time no posts!

A couple of months back I resigned from my position at the SSAT. My intention was to try and set up a business (using the social enterprise model) with a colleague. The reaction to the resignation was to place me on gardening leave which is where I have been fro the past short while, in a kind of limbo. Being paid, but not really able to do anything useful, which has been a little frustrating.

It has, however, given me some time to think which is always a valuable experience. For all of us in education the changes of the past six months have presented challenges. To those completely in favour of the changes it is the challenge of how do I get done what I want to (before someone else comes in and changes it again). For those completely against the changes it is the challenge of maintaining some of what has been built in the face of the onslaught of new ideas.

For many, like myself, who sit somewhere in the middle (or, if the truth was to be known, somewhere off to one side) the changes present as many opportunities as they do challenges. There are (at least) two ways to expend energy when faced with a change you don’t like (by which I mean don’t agree that it will have an outcome that is sympathetic to you own desires).

The first is to work with the change and use its mechanisms to ensure that the outcome it does produce is as close to your preferred outcome as possible. There are few changes ever where it is not possible to disrupt and subvert the authors intention in this way – the education system is far to complex for this not to be possible. This is not an ideal methodology to have to adopt in a so-called mature democracy, but hey, needs must when the devil drives.

The second is to rail against it, oppose it and seek to prevent it happening. And there are issues for which this has to be the answer. Personally, however, I don’t see any such area within the current proposed changes. Taken as a whole they certainly lack coherence, parts of the changes are simply wrong-headed (I’m sorry, but Latin is not the answer to any sensible question about our education system or national needs) and others, such as the decision to put the E-Bacc percentages out before and school had a chance to react to the changes, stink of political opportunism – the reaching for the nearest and biggest stick to beat schools with.

So, I’ve had a lot of time to think, and will be posting some of those thoughts here as and when time permits.

In the meantime, until 25th January at least, back to the gardening!

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