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Mahatma Gandhi once said:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Less is More.......

Dear Ivor

So glad you had a good time and have returned to the keyboard invigorated. I must admit our bold flashes of inspiration may not have evolved into clear manifesto points at this stage, however a degree of brainstorming is required before we settle on the finer points. Have raked through our cerebral meanderings so far and was wondering if instead of producing a huge tome of our intentions, perhaps we could take an audacious step forward or even backwards and state what we intend not to dabble too much in?

Have a sneaking feeling that if governments could deliver a fix for education it would have done it by now. We need to depoliticise the system and let teachers, young people their families and the wider community help create the education model for the future. Your statistical discoveries were interesting, if not a little overwhelming! However now is the time for a daring move, let’s increase our teachers’ salaries, improve working conditions and reduce down class sizes. No more tinkering at the edges with relentless party political initiatives, strategies, programmes, policies and packages, which lets face it all cost a fortune. Education is the glue of our society and the experience of our young people and teachers should be a positive and enriching one.

It is ridiculous to expect teachers to deliver education in an environment like that experienced by Alex Dolan. Schools must be supported in imposing sanctions on unruly pupils who routinely disrupt the education of others. They should not be forced into swapping one disruptive influence for another, if they feel that this would be detrimental to the well-being of their staff and other pupils. At the risk of being politically incorrect, the current inclusion at all costs policy for downright abusive pupils within main stream education needs to be reviewed, we can’t allow the actions of the few to mar the experience of the many. At the moment it feels like we are failing them all.

It is going to be a tough job for our Head of Education and Innovation, and I know that I shouldn’t display a preference at the moment for an individual candidate, but the more I read about Dr V Rataj-Worsnop the more I am taken with her passion both for teaching and for the aspirations of young people. Have copied the following passage from her article “Spreading the news” hope she doesn’t mind.

I have been a teacher for 21 years and have taught the IB programme for well over a decade now, but I still feel humbled by the young people who choose to aim for the IB diploma. My personal target for 2002 is a 100 percent diploma pass rate with at least one 45-point diploma. Why not aim for the stars? As the poet Robert Browning once wrote, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.”

Can't help feeling the RB quote applies to us! Would love to have her views on the article about Alex Dolan’s experience?

Perhaps the next issue we should look at is butting out of the NHS?

Poll xx

PS apparently statistics is the science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures. Am working on a few of my own!

PPS thanks so much for the dvd, so glad you got the singalong version, Robin is too!