Academic journal article The International Schools Journal

The Restless School

Academic journal article The International Schools Journal

The Restless School

Article excerpt

The Restless School Roy Blatchford John Catt Educational Ltd. £12.99 ISBN 978 1 909717 97 7

The Restless School puts forward the thesis that successful schools and their leaders, whilst being secure in their systems, values and successes, are nevertheless at the same time always seeking to change and improve. In explaining how this idea relates to the role of teachers and their training, how and why schools can be successful, what values are important, and the various responsibilities, challenges and demands of leadership, Roy Blatchford has written a challenging and indeed a 'restless' book.

With the assurance that comes from 40 years' experience in a wide variety of roles across the educational spectrum, both within the UK and internationally, Blatchford tackles the needs and futures necessary for schools to succeed in the 21st century. With clarity and clear purpose a series of recommendations is made as to how schools can attain the high standards and improvements that he feels should take place in order to produce excellence. Indeed it is sometimes a relief to move from lists to narrative, a narrative that includes a remarkably interesting number of appropriate and useful anecdotes and quotations.

Much of the content is concerned wdth improvement of the role and expertise of the teacher in the classroom. Blatchford states that 'schools are fundamentally about what happens in the classroom' and maintains that a teacher's contract should 'include 10-15 days a year of high quality professional development'. Certainly the thought-provoking ideas set forth in this book could well provide a series of staff discussions based on the ideas of each chapter.

Blatchford has a number of recommendations for the 'failing' school and also for what he terms the 'careless school'- not 'restless enough', content with mediocrity. All schools have teachers who, for many different reasons, are content with 'the dull status quo'. As Blatchford aptly quotes from J K Galbraith:

Given a choice between changing and proving that it is not necessary, most people get busy with the proof.

Blatchford is critical of much that he finds in schools and their personnel but is always optimistic and assures the reader, often with humour, that whatever the quality of education there are ways to ensure that things can improve. …

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