Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A letter to the teacher ...

"Dear Teacher
I am writing to you today following the publication of the White Paper Your Child, Your School, Our Future: building a 21st century school system."

So begins a letter from Ed Ball, Minister of State, to teachers in the UK today. Head teachers got their version. Boards of governors got their version. Support staff got their version.

So, you've got to think that probably the white paper is reasonably important as far as schooling in the UK is concerned. I've had the chance to read the teacher letter and skim read the 18 page summary version of the white paper. Yep, on a quick summary, it looks pretty significant.
Here's a couple of the highlights so far ..

1. Pupil Guarantee - a 4 page document outlining the rights and expectations that pupils have. eg every pupil will go to a school where there is good behaviour, strong discipline, order and safety; and how about this one - every pupil will go to a school where they are taught in a way that meets their needs.

There's more, much more, like the Parent Guarantee, but this is a good place to start. I'm sure there isn't a school in our part of the world, or the UK for that matter, that wouldn't have something like both of the above points as part of their vision/strategic plan. But how many of them mandate them and have them as part of a student "guarantee"? A published one for all to see and be held accountable to?

Another part that appealed ... teaching seen as a Master's level profession with a new Masters in Teaching and Learning with associated professional development, oh, and the accountability part ...

So far I like what I read. Leighton Smith on ZB this morning was on about the Herald editorial supporting league tables for NZ, same in Aus, and so it's interesting that the planets are aligning with the UK going to publish school scorecards and faciliate league tables. Maybe some of the education leaders in these countries are talking to each other ... or maybe not. I'll look more at the UK plans in the next few days.

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