Ministerial address at SETT
Peter Peacock, the Scottish Education minister, is talking about the uncertainties of our fast-changing future and how Scotland, while working incredibly hard at finding ways to cope with these through its education system, is doing what many other countries are doing. I'm not sure if this is a ministerial 'could do better', but the message is a good one - no matter how seismic we think something new and groundbreaking is, someone somewhere will have thought of it and done it already, or is on the cusp of doing it. There's not point in being the best and biggest now, if in two years more shrewd nations have leapfrogged us.
It is nice to be told by your Education Minister, though, that you are working in one of the best education systems in the world. Sometimes it's just nice to know.
But a lot of this is also down to the fact that, despite falling student numbers, we are increasing our profession with 3000 new teachers a year to help bring class sizes down. The politicians have also made sure that there is less class contact time to leave more time for professional development and planning. There are also now 27 schools of ambition, striving to become as forward thinking as possible in their chosen areas along with laws to ensure more parental involvement in the education of their children. The most important change: teachers are being handed over their professionalism, and being trusted in their decisions and attitudes. This, of course, depends on having good teachers in the first place who feel empowered to improve themselves further. I like the fact that Peacock admits that there are refusenicks not taking responsibility for their part in the national changes for the better - and there's a lot of weak management of schools (15-20% according to the inspectors, apparently). But with a vast majority wanting the change away from what we've done before the hope is that they (us?) will carry it through. Well, at least John and I on Skype thought he was talking about them. Let us believe...
Grand words - is it the reality in your classroom, though?