Martyn Beer (Bootham School Deputy Head and convenor of our on-line conferences) has contributed to a new book ‘If I were Education Secretary …’ Views from the frontline.
“Why do they have to keep on changing things?” It’s a characteristic complaint from teachers and leaders in all parts of the UK, but especially in England.
Our political system means we are locked into short-term cycles. Politicians come and politicians go. In education departments it means there is a revolving door of ministers, each often eager to implement their own priorities and projects.
Civil servants jump, new directions are announced, plans are made … and then suddenly the minister is promoted, moved to a new department, or dismissed.
It’s no wonder that lurches in education policy can feel so bewilderingly frequent and uncoordinated. And it’s also no wonder that teachers can become demoralised, be left feeling deskilled, and feel cynical about the role of politicians.
So how can we change this?
This book collects the views of serving school and college leaders, of policy-makers, and of former education secretaries. It asks them what they would do if they were in charge, and it asks those who were once in charge what they would do differently.
‘If I Were Education Secretary …’ provides a fascinating glimpse into education policy as it is now – but also a template for how it could become more powerfully coherent in the future, moving a good education system to genuinely world class.