Wednesday, July 01, 2009

MOTs for teachers

Yet another reason why I'm glad I don't teach in England:
"The government yesterday unveiled plans to roll out a licensing system, similar to that in place for doctors and solicitors, under which all teachers will be assessed regularly by their headteachers and face being barred from schools if they are not performing well enough."
I doubt there is but just in case there are any teachers suffering from the illusion that their profession is something akin to the legal or medical: take a look at your wage slip.

It goes without saying that they haven't thought this one through. I doubt it'll run for the following reason: at some point it's going to dawn on headteachers that this teacher assessment will involve them going into classrooms on a regular basis while there are still children in them. Anyone who thinks this is going to happen doesn't know anything about how the modern school operates. Prediction: government and unions will come to some shit compromise that involves more power to middle management since 'school leaders' will be too busy spreading their managerial expertise like a prize stallion spreads his semen to do anything as mundane as actually stepping foot inside a classroom.

Unsurprisingly, given his track-record, Conor Ryan thinks it's a good idea:
"It makes sense to ensure teachers' skills are up-to-date, though it will be important that the focus is on what matters to good teaching, and not on simply reinforcing passing fads."
By suggesting it could do anything other than reinforce passing fads, Conor Ryan forfeits any serious claim to our attention. Actually we need to amend that: it will obviously do this and strengthen the cult of the manager - the latter here is regrettably anything but a passing fad.

Disappointingly, David "I'm a school governor" Aaronovitch deprived me of some amusement because he failed to take up this MOT thing directly - but he's still on not bad comedic form when he asks the question, "Who said school targets don’t work?" Um, well - quite a lot of us have been saying it for some time, David. I appreciate we're just 'producer interests' talking so not worth paying attention to - but there was this Cambridge University review thingy - the most thorough review for 40 fucking years - that came to pretty much the same conclusion. But why bother with that when you can wheel out some anecdote about Jim Callaghan in the 1970s?

I could point out that tank-boy then goes on to conflate the National Curriculum with targets - obviously related but not the same goddamn thing - but I don't have anymore time for remedial education. How about MOTs for pompous windbags pontificating on the subject of education instead?

Update: Francis Gilbert on the subject:
"I bet the brown-nosers will love the idea of introducing teachers' licences: they'll thrive on the paperwork and back-covering. But most good teachers know that the idea is asinine. The only people who need their licence revoked are the jokers running our schools."

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