Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Disobedience in the Ranks? Vive la Révolution!

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Disobedience in the Ranks? Vive la Révolution!

Article excerpt

It's the beginning of a new school year and the boundaries are being tested. But we're not talking about pupils - it's the staff. It may not quite be Paris in May 1968, but there's definitely a whiff of rebellion in the air.

First, Vic Goddard, charismatic headteacher of Passmores Academy and star of Educating Essex, said last week that he would not force all his pupils to follow the proposed mandatory English Baccalaureate of core academic subjects at GCSE. Even if that meant his school could not receive an outstanding rating, which is the threat the government is using to make schools comply.

Over at Ofsted, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw was signalling that he would refuse to carry out the government's demands on the EBac, questioning whether it was suitable for all pupils.

Now this week Dame Alison Peacock, doyenne of primary education and the woman without whom it seems no government commission is complete, says that Wroxham, her Hertfordshire school, will join the thousands of others that are believed to be refusing to take part in the controversial new baseline assessment. It will instead continue to use its own internal assessments for four-year-olds when they start school in Reception (see pages 6-7).

Unlike the EBac, the baseline assessment is apparently not mandatory. However, the Department for Education says that from next year it will be the only accepted way of measuring the progress children have made in the last year of primary school. If it's the only accepted way, how is it not compulsory?

Dame Alison is adamant that she will not conform and, like Mr Goddard, will instead do what she thinks is best for her pupils. …

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