Cui bono

Ok, lets do the caveats first.

There are clearly some issues that would warrant further investigation with respect to admissions. In my view social selection is the most pernicious form of selection given that it usually involves making either parents or children feel unworthy. So that needs to be looked at.

There are also some suspicions around, I’ll put it no greater, that rolls have been manipulated to remove students in order to boost outcomes at the end of phases. I’d suggest that the Education Select Committee should look into this issue in some depth across the system as if it is happening on any scale it is not just that it has an impact on those children it directly affect but it undermines the entire accountability regime that has such an impact on every school.

I have also seen some commentary around how some teachers are treated. I do know there are schools where teachers are treated very much as cannon fodder – high workloads until they decide to move on. Either to another school where the regime is less “enthusiastic” or sometimes out of the profession all together.

As I say, these issues/rumours/allegations have drifted around for many years. They are just that at this stage. I have seen little that is completely conclusive on any of these counts. Apart from some analysis of Lower/Middle/Higher ability children in particular localities, which on the face of it was fairly compelling.

So, as I’ve written before, I would like to see way more transparency over these, and other issues.

I’ll also add at this stage that I know that the Ofsted rating a school achieves is not the only way a school can be judged, neither is it always the most reliable. But it’s what we have and for the moment at least, we are stuck with it.

I’m also well aware of the shortcomings of the P8 measure. In many ways it is an improvement on what has gone before, but it is obviously not without it’s drawbacks. As I say often enough, any single number measure of a complex system is going to hide as much as it reveals.


…having said all that…

…and notwithstanding any other issues I’ve missed out…

…I really can’t get excited about Sir Daniel Moynihan’s pay packet.

There you go. I’ve said it. Out loud, so to speak.

Yes, in many ways it is obscene, of course it is. A person working a 40-hour week on minimum wage would take over 25 years to earn the same. That’s not my idea of how my ideal economy would work.

It’s about £10,000 per Harris Federation School (I don’t have the student numbers but it’s probably around £20-30 per child). I’m sure the heads of those schools would say “Gosh what I wouldn’t give for another £10k on my budget.” But I’d have to ask the question, would that extra £10k ensure you achieve the same with your school as it does as a Harris Federation school? Every inspected school good or outstanding? Excellent P8 across the 2,000+ GCSE students this year?

So until someone can show me that we can achieve great things with all schools and the children in them with salary caps and the like then if you don’t mind I’ll stick with the imperfect system we have at the moment. Unless you can show me some evidence that capping that pay packet, and probably having to get another CEO, would lead to the same outcomes. Because based on what we know about large MATs I can’t see that the evidence is there.

I can’t defend a £420,000 salary. But I can refuse to get excited about it.

It’s 2017 and there are people up and down the land taking obscene salaries for way less than helping educate thousands of children. Stop all the others first and then come back for the educators.


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