A podcast of the opening presentations can be downloaded here
The UK Coalition’s first education white paper The Importance of Teaching argued that public services “improve most when professionals feel free to do what they believe is right, and are properly accountable for the results.” It also promised to create a “more autonomous school system” and to “dismantle the apparatus of central control and bureaucratic compliance.”
Since the white paper appeared new flexibilities have indeed been introduced, relating to the qualifications that state teachers require and the curriculum that they teach. A number of educational quangos have also been closed, including the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and the General Teaching Council for England.
At the same time there is a widespread perception that many aspects of public education are still not working, particularly in terms of student behaviour, especially at secondary level. For this reason it is perhaps unsurprising that the most significant regulator of education the Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED) has if anything seen its role enhanced and OfSTED has recently announced plans to step up the pressure on schools, with zero notice inspections of pupil behaviour.
So have teachers got more or less freedom and what regulatory framework would best support their work?
Munira Mirza (Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, Greater London Authority)
James Park (Director of Progressway, DEMOS associate and author of Detoxifying School Accountability)
Katharine Vincent (Programme Leader, Secondary PGCE, Institute of Education, London)
Ralph Surman (Chair, SCETT, Executive Member, Association of Teachers and Lecturers)