I believe in inclusive and collaborative classrooms that value each child rather than solely competitive ones that devalue some of the children while taking away the creative aspects of teaching. I believe in strong professional development through local accountable networks of schools and have personally seen excellent teachers made to feel "de-professional" through the process of "Special Measures." This led me to take retirement at the end of this term and to try to make a small contribution towards those organisations that are influencing government to re-build an integrated and accountable system.
As a child I was educated in Johannesburg and attended 7 different schools as we were forced to flee South Africa because of our parents' political involvement. Three of us were educated in Secondary Modern schools in London but one of us got into a Grammar. It was clear that one of us was privileged, although we three got to see for ourselves how the teachers alienated their pupils and used threats, humiliation and fear as control techniques. We also found out how our friends performed unsuccessfully in school in contrast to their "cleverness" out of school. At school we learnt that having the cane made pupils unite against the authority of the school. My husband and I sent our children to the local Comprehensive where they had a good education.
I studied with Open University hoping to become a teacher, while at the same time campaigning to keep my children's school and other local schools from becoming Grant Maintained and opting out of the LEA. I was working as a Learning Support Assistant full time and had two young children. Finally, I completed a PGCE at London Metropolitan University and began teaching in Reception (with brief years in KS1) but then greatly enjoyed Nursery until this time of being in "Special Measures". As I retire, my nursery is implementing ability grouping to accelerate learning as a result of "Special Measures" and directives from the Executive Head even though the Report from Ofsted, which put us in "Special Measures", stated our "children make good progress in Early Years" and sited EY as a strength of the school.
The Academy and Free School policy along with the depletion of LEA's and political influence on Ofsted, will serve in the future as an example of how expensive, destructive and divisive some Education Policies can be. I was delighted to hear that retired teachers can continue to be NUT members and with organisations like AAA, and Local Schools Network who inform, influence and persuade, we can hope to make the current disgrace of an Education policy, a thing of the past - not to be forgotten - but not to be repeated.