SCHOOLS Minister Nick Gibb exposed a fundamental flaw in education policy when he challenged inner-city academies to embrace the “no excuses” approach that is transforming standards in urban American schools.
If this is the way forward, it should apply to all schools rather than those academies favoured by the Government. All pupils in Leeds should have a right to benefit from good practice. They also have a right to expect the very best teachers, a profound point made by the education guru David Weston at the inaugural Educated Yorkshire conference in which he highlighted the importance of professional development.
Mr Weston was right to do so. There is a danger, as the morale of the teaching profession becomes sapped by Government interference, that classroom leaders simply go through the motions and lose sight of the reason why they sought a career in education – the chance to share their passion for learning.
Of course, Mr Weston’s approach needs to be handled sensitively – it will be counter-productive if it becomes just another tick-box exercise – but it should not be dismissed out of hand. After all, the most successful schools are those which have the ability to recruit, and retain, the very best staff. Ensuring that this happens across Leeds holds the key to the city’s commendable attempts to raise standards.