The Local Schools Network

Below is my response to an article written by Francis Gilbert (one of the founders of the Local Schools Network) entitled ‘What is Good Teaching and How Can We Encourage It?’ The piece begins with Gilbert explaining that he’s just been on Newsnight. He goes on to say that the majority of the discussion on Newsnight was about whether performance-related-pay (PRP) will improve teaching standards. I decided to comment on PRP:

On the subject of ‘performance related pay’: it is one of a number of key characteristics of a marketised system because it introduces ‘flexible’ pay, that is it leads to a weakening of terms and conditions for those actually doing the hardest work: teachers. It lends itself to a more ‘hire and fire’ approach; it appeals not to a teachers’ mind-set, expecting to work in a supportive and collegiate environment, but rather to a managerial mind-set more used to thinking about the bottom-line (i.e. treating a school like a profit-making business).
Interestingly PRP was implemented in the 19th century (then known as ‘payment-by-results’). This was more as a result of ignorance than our current politician’s cynical desire to turn over a democratically accountable public service to private business interests. It was subsequently abandoned. Why? Because it led to ‘teaching-to-the-test’, a narrow curriculum and fiddling with results; this is what it will lead to in the 21st century as well. Teachers back then – almost all them women – successfully unshackling themselves from ‘payment-by-results’ was a big step in the right direction for people’s education in this country; it was also an early step towards the professionalization of teaching.
It’s understandable that politicians assume PRP is a good move because these careerist politicians are themselves incentivised by big money interests (think of all those ‘revolving doors’ between Westminster and the banking/corporate world, a classic example in our case would be Gove and Murdoch): doing everything they can to sell off our publicly owned and managed schooling system.
The question ‘What is good teaching and how can we encourage it?’ is, of course, a perennial one. There is masses of research out there to answer this question but it is not what underpins our current system (a good example: the ignoring of the Cambridge Primary Review). This is because it is not what drives policy.
It’s heart-breaking to see our more social model of education being sold off like this. If it’s true that our education system produces politicians who can’t see beyond their own greed and a generation of teachers who know practically nothing about the real motivations of these same politicians (the marketisation of education is well documented and understood at an academic level; you only need to look to the US to see where we are headed) we must question it in its entirety.

I was glad to have responses from Francis Gilbert and also my hero Janet Downs, a proper journalist.

The whole post can be found here: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/07/what-is-good-teaching-and-how-can-we-encourage-it/

On the subject of ‘performance related pay’: it is one of a number of key characteristics of a marketised system because it introduces ‘flexible’ pay, that is it leads to a weakening of terms and conditions for those actually doing the hardest work: teachers. It lends itself to a more ‘hire and fire’ approach; it appeals not to a teachers’ mind-set, expecting to work in a supportive and collegiate environment, but rather to a managerial mind-set more used to thinking about the bottom-line (i.e. treating a school like a profit-making business).
Interestingly PRP was implemented in the 19th century (then known as ‘payment-by-results’). This was more as a result of ignorance than our current politician’s cynical desire to turn over a democratically accountable public service to private business interests. It was subsequently abandoned. Why? Because it led to ‘teaching-to-the-test’, a narrow curriculum and fiddling with results; this is what it will lead to in the 21st century as well. Teachers back then – almost all them women – successfully unshackling themselves from ‘payment-by-results’ was a big step in the right direction for people’s education in this country; it was also an early step towards the professionalization of teaching.
It’s understandable that politicians assume PRP is a good move because these careerist politicians are themselves incentivised by big money interests (think of all those ‘revolving doors’ between Westminster and the banking/corporate world, a classic example in our case would be Gove and Murdoch): doing everything they can to sell off our publicly owned and managed schooling system.
The question ‘What is good teaching and how can we encourage it?’ is, of course, a perennial one. There is masses of research out there to answer this question but it is not what underpins our current system (a good example: the ignoring of the Cambridge Primary Review). This is because it is not what drives policy.
It’s heart-breaking to see our more social model of education being sold off like this. If it’s true that our education system produces politicians who can’t see beyond their own greed and a generation of teachers who know practically nothing about the real motivations of these same politicians (all is well documented and understood at an academic level) we must question it in its entirety. – See more at: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/07/what-is-good-teaching-and-how-can-we-encourage-it/#sthash.fJL3JPf4.dpuf
On the subject of ‘performance related pay’: it is one of a number of key characteristics of a marketised system because it introduces ‘flexible’ pay, that is it leads to a weakening of terms and conditions for those actually doing the hardest work: teachers. It lends itself to a more ‘hire and fire’ approach; it appeals not to a teachers’ mind-set, expecting to work in a supportive and collegiate environment, but rather to a managerial mind-set more used to thinking about the bottom-line (i.e. treating a school like a profit-making business).
Interestingly PRP was implemented in the 19th century (then known as ‘payment-by-results’). This was more as a result of ignorance than our current politician’s cynical desire to turn over a democratically accountable public service to private business interests. It was subsequently abandoned. Why? Because it led to ‘teaching-to-the-test’, a narrow curriculum and fiddling with results; this is what it will lead to in the 21st century as well. Teachers back then – almost all them women – successfully unshackling themselves from ‘payment-by-results’ was a big step in the right direction for people’s education in this country; it was also an early step towards the professionalization of teaching.
It’s understandable that politicians assume PRP is a good move because these careerist politicians are themselves incentivised by big money interests (think of all those ‘revolving doors’ between Westminster and the banking/corporate world, a classic example in our case would be Gove and Murdoch): doing everything they can to sell off our publicly owned and managed schooling system.
The question ‘What is good teaching and how can we encourage it?’ is, of course, a perennial one. There is masses of research out there to answer this question but it is not what underpins our current system (a good example: the ignoring of the Cambridge Primary Review). This is because it is not what drives policy.
It’s heart-breaking to see our more social model of education being sold off like this. If it’s true that our education system produces politicians who can’t see beyond their own greed and a generation of teachers who know practically nothing about the real motivations of these same politicians (all is well documented and understood at an academic level) we must question it in its entirety. – See more at: http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/07/what-is-good-teaching-and-how-can-we-encourage-it/#sthash.fJL3JPf4.dpuf
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