Strategy and Tactics

Francis Gilbert’s latest post is about how concentrating on good teaching, rather than creating academies, is what really improves schools http://talesbehindtheclassroomdoor.com/2015/02/02/academies-are-an-expensive-red-herring-heres-how-you-really-improve-school-standards/#comments

Here is my response:

This article seems to be suggesting that the strategy behind the introduction of academies was to improve the quality of general educational provision in this country. This is to confuse strategy, “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”, with tactics which refers to how one orders or arranges these actions “especially during contact with an enemy” (definitions from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com). The strategy was never anything but the breaking up of the publicly owned and publicly accountable state system of education. One central tactic of this strategy was to present itself to the public as a well-meaning desire to improve standards. As noted in this article it has done no such thing. Nonetheless the long-term or overall aim, the strategy, is moving ahead nicely. It is the same distinction that Ken Loach draws attention to in talking about ‘austerity’ in the UK: “Judged by its own stated goals, government (austerity) policy isn’t working – borrowing will be around £61.5billion higher than planned. Of course the reality is that austerity policies are actually designed to dismantle the welfare state, bring down wages and fully marketise the economy, destroying all the social and economic gains of ordinary people since the second world war. So from the government point of view the policies are working.”