On Saturday, I attended the 'Picking up the Pieces' conference in London on the future education after the present government. The speakers were Peter Mortimore, Peter Downes, David Wolf, Stephen Twigg and Sir Tim Brighouse.
Here are some random and personal thoughts on the day - in no particular order of significance.
Whilst, inevitably , I did not agree with everything which was said I was struck by the way in which all the speakers approached their topics with wit and good humour and avoided the kind of personal abuse we have heard so much from Michael Gove and those who support him. No comments of the type about 'stalinists' and trotskyiites let alone the bonkers comparisons with Andreas Brevik or President Assad which have appeared on this website.
I was also impressed by the emphasis speakers placed on the need for education policies in the future to be founded on evidence. Naturally, that begs the question of whose evidence and will it be used selectively. But at least they seemed serious about getting a body of independently reviewed research on which to base future policy rather than rushing around cherry picking policies (even parts of polices) here and there like some latter day Mr.Toad, so characteristic of the present government.
If I needed any convincing (which I didn't) I was left certain that the lack of accountability of academies will become a huge issue before the next election as will the shambles we are getting into over planning for future school provision , referred to in another thread by Jess. And this wasn't simply based on what I heard from the floor but during discussions with conference attenders from opposite ends of the country.
Finally, I sense the government is going to find increasing resistance from headteachers. This is not just based on this conference but there are a lot of straws in the wind - the comments by Geoff Barton at the TES festival the same day and the new heads group discussed on this site recently to name two. Heads are enraged and bemused by the sheer illogicality of policies like having a national curriculum which only applies to half the secondary schools in the country. Why on earth will the heads and governors of the other half not cherry pick the bits they want like academies -particularly those from good or outstanding schools which have nothing to fear from Ofsted.
So a good day, all in all, which I suspect sent quite a few people home in a much more optimistic frame of mind than they had arrived in.