Reform time

Almost ‘dead cat on the table’ territory

Matthew Hood  |  23 June 2015

The secretary of state has published her new draft education bill. As Tristram Hunt pulls together the team of MPs who will be working on it, it is essential that we provide a smart opposition to this slim yet crafty document. Before we get into the blows we should be landing, let’s be crystal-clear about …

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Building schools for the future … and the past

Oli de Botton  |  1 June 2015

After an education-free election, schools are back. Nicky Morgan wants to do more about ‘coasting’ schools, all the Labour leadership contenders are talking about aspiration, and Liz Kendall has offered a more nuanced approach to free schools. The attention is welcome. For Labour there is an opportunity to think about schools in a way that …

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Reforming Ofsted

Matthew Hood  |  11 February 2015

As I sit here, trawling through our curriculum to check if we are ticking all of the ‘British values’ boxes, it has never been clearer to me that Ofsted needs reform. Teachers, school leaders and Tristram Hunt all agree, but saying things need reform and actually reforming them are very different things. Labour needs an …

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Moving targets

Matthew Hood  |  13 January 2015

Reform Time this week comes with a health warning. We are getting statistical and this week’s column is the nasty cough mixture – awful in the taking but ultimately good for you. Here is the bombshell. Under plans set out by examinations regular Ofqual and using Ofsted’s main criterion for judging secondary schools – GCSE …

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Education: May the force be with us all

Matthew Hood  |  8 December 2014

It has been a good week for talking points. First, the new Star Wars teaser was released. Second, talk of social mobility has been doing the rounds, spurred on by calls for manifesto commitments on increasing the number of grammar schools from the Tories and United Kingdom Independence party activists. As I sat down to …

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London elite? New mayor could make London schools world class

Oli de Botton  |  24 November 2014

Apologies. This is a piece about London and its schools. With Tessa Jowell announcing she wants to replace Boris Johnson and other Labour contenders circling, there is an opportunity to discuss the future of education in the capital. Any incoming mayor will start from a high base. Study after study has chronicled remarkable improvement over …

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A black belt in teaching

Matthew Hood  |  11 November 2014

My friend just got his black belt. While he’d love it to be of the Karate Kid variety, it is actually because of his ninja skills in the world of ‘process improvement’ – in short, he is an expert at making engineering projects more efficient. And, while the title of the award gives us all …

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Leadership crisis? Politicians might learn from school leaders

Oli de Botton  |  29 October 2014

Half-term can be a time for reflecting and agonising. Some school leaders review assemblies to see if their ‘topline message’ is getting through. Some consider whether the dynamics of the team are strong enough to retain the confidence of parents. Some fret over new initiatives launched with a bang at the start of the year …

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Lessons from Ofsted

Matthew Hood  |  14 October 2014

Groundhog Day again. I am heading off to a conference centre tucked away in the light-starved basement of a city centre hotel. My job? To chair another conference for headteachers about Ofsted inspections. It was interesting the first time, and maybe even the second but (I think understandably) my enthusiasm is starting to wane. However, …

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‘A world class’ teacher in every classroom?

Oli de Botton  |  16 September 2014

Two weeks into a new term and by now teachers are back in the familiar routines of school life: early starts, emotional undulations, reality TV programmes to dramatise their daily conversations. This year is different though. By the summer term, some of these teachers (at least the ‘best’ ones) could be centre stage in a new …

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