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Free school head without any teaching qualifications plans to ignore curriculum

(313 Posts)
mrz Sun 10-Mar-13 11:52:06

yellowhousewithareddoor Sat 06-Apr-13 16:25:51

I'm not in London but concerned for state education in general. Its shocking that an elite bunch of friends who have never been near a state school or seemingly able to listen to teachers have this amount of power.

SuburbanRhonda Sat 06-Apr-13 21:17:45

As long as the school doesn't have a bad Ofsted, yellowhouse, I would imagine it could stay under Gove's radar for the time being. But all you need is some over-zealous governors and all that could change. I work in a community primary in a very deprived area. We've just had our first "good" from Ofsted, so we feel safe for at least a couple of years. But I honestly don't think Gove is going to stop until he turns all of England's schools into academies, one way or another.

muminlondon Sun 07-Apr-13 11:26:03

This is not just about takeover by academies - the DfE minister's wife Caroline Nash appears to have written the history curriculum for Pimlico Academy and appears also to have advised Michael Gove on applying that to the rest of us - meanwhile the rest of those consulted don't recognise the latest draft.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 07-Apr-13 11:52:21

Breathe slowly - if all your other local schools are oversubscribed, and you don't get a place, you CAN be allocated a free school. And there's not a hot you can do about it if they have decided not to follow the NC. Apart from HE.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 07-Apr-13 12:01:45

My DS's Primary wasn't safe from being changed to an Academy, despite an Ofsted rating of 'Good, with Outstanding elements'.

They chose to become the first Primary Academy in our town.

Admittedly, we know here that our LA will cease to exist and be wound up by September 2015, at which point they expect ALL schools to be Academies, so it is rather a done deal, but having a bad Ofsted rating isn't the only way schools become Academies.

The HT is doing it so that 'we can set our own curriculum'...


The school already has an abysmal record with DC's with SN's, which is, I'm sure, set to get worse.

Yet we are so short of primary places here (an entire school short...) that there IS nowhere else to send our DC's.

I'm frightened. My DS2 has SN's, and physical disabilities.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 07-Apr-13 12:05:27

The HT is already practically untouchable, lies on RIDDOR forms, denies bullying, ignores SEN's, threatens you with banning you from the school grounds for 'threatening behaviour' if you politely, whilst seated, refuse to leave without seeing him (serious incident of bullying causing a bad injury school tried to cover up), or even if you just put in a written complaint...

They use very aggressive, underhand tactics themselves, and I can't see this improving when they give the HT MORE power as an Academy.

LoveSewingBee Sun 07-Apr-13 15:03:03

Reading through the various links it seems that quite a few bankers are involved in developing new curriculum and setting up Free schools.

I don't understand how one of those new free schools can go ahead with less than 40 pupils? I thought that there were minimum thresholds (need to prove demand given the public money involved?)

The various blogs are hilarious though. I wouldn't like my kids to be taught by those numpties.

Maybe in this new 21st Century world (courtesy of one of the blogs):
Let bankers run schools and teachers run banks. Come on, let them have a go now, please .... they are itching to do so.

Actual teaching can be done by people on workfare no doubt.

Whole new approach, fits with the 21st Century, you know grin

LoveSewingBee Sun 07-Apr-13 15:09:25

Jolie same for history hmm

Your link is hilarious though.


Currently, when a teacher starts with a new class in September, they can’t be sure of any knowledge that the pupils definitely know or don’t know. Any content they teach will risk being repetitive and boring for some pupils, or confusingly advanced for others. With The Future Curriculum, they can rely on pupils knowing the content from previous years in their subject. A Year 8 English teacher can remind the class of the concept of a metaphor by referring to a specific metaphor from Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’, and be confident that all the class will know what she is talking about.*

Yeah, sure hmm

CountingClouds Sun 07-Apr-13 19:18:46

What a load of sanctimonious posts talking drivel. Our education system has been systematically degraded over the past generation in an attempt to make everyone equal. Unfortunately that equality involved dragging bright kids down to the bottom and telling everyone they were winners.

An end to competition ... everyone's wins (whoopee) or loses, who can tell the difference when PC dictates its inappropriate to challenge children because its unfair on the less able.

Only as soon as they leave school and go into the real world they have to face the reality that they aren't all winners. A lot are unable to face the prospect of hard work, using their brains, doing jobs they don't like, monotonous boredom and not having life handed to them on a plate.

State schools were untouchable, get a bad teacher, oh well just put up with them for that year and hope you don't get another next year. Get a bad head teacher and oh well your kids are stuffed for seven years. Along comes the freedom to stop all that and all you hear is moaning that someone some where is going to making a profit out of educating children better.

A lot of posters on Mumsnet seem to be trying to learn how to 'circumvent' the system to get their DC into a better school and avoid paying private school fees. Which I think makes it a big pile of hypocrisy when the same posters complain someone might make money out of improving a school. What difference does it make who gets the money if our children are getting a better education.

If you don't like a Free School don't send your child to it - simples.
If other parents don't like it either it wont get the support and will have to close.

Just like evolution the schools will get better.
If a teacher is bad they will get fired - simples.
If a teacher is good they will get paid more - simples.
Same goes for heads.

A million times better than the state ideology where bad teachers have a job for life and bad heads/bad schools are allowed to ruin kids lives for years.

If a teaching qualification makes teachers good teachers then Free Schools will be filled with them. If there are better teachers without the requisite bit of paper then I say give them a job. The cream will float to the top.

This gives more power to parents and I for one intend to use it. No longer will we have to put up with whatever dross the council doles out. And if I had to I would get off my fat arse and start my own Free School. So why don't you put your money where your mouth is, stop moaning and take matters into your own hands... or are you expecting life to be handed to you on a platter?

I embrace the new power we now have to force standards in schools up, the sooner the old state titanic submerges the better off our children's future will be.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 07-Apr-13 19:21:05

Hahahahahahaha. Every Y8 child will understand a metaphor, using an example from Tennyson's Ulysses?!


My 15yo DD, with SN's, in Y10, wouldn't know a metaphor if it jumped up and bit her on the arse.

Trying to get her to learn to spell is hard enough...

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 07-Apr-13 19:24:36

Now my 11yo Y6 DS1 could explain a metaphor, using an example from Tennyson's Ulysses, but he IS a very unusually bright 11yo.

There NEEDS to be differentiation within the curriculum - in Y6, my DD was working on p-scales, P5 in Maths. My DS1 is working on lvl 7 & lvl 8 Maths, in conjunction with a teacher that comes in from the Secondary school.

If you taught them both the same thing in Y6, with no differentiation, my DD wouldn't have had a damn clue what you were on about, whilst my DS1 would have been bored stupid!

LoveSewingBee Sun 07-Apr-13 19:30:39

Couthy to explain - this 'Future curriculum' stuff is written by people who have never taught, so that may explain a few things.

It is a disaster waiting to happen. I am blessed that my kids won't have to endure this latest fad of the Tories. Labour did damage but nothing on this scale ...

The big problem is that they let people lose on education who have neither any commitment to nor any understanding of education and can easily flutter to something else if it all goes wrong, leaving the poor kids to pay the price. It would take years to undo the damage they are about to do. sad sad sad

Arrogance beyond belief.

So, teachers come on, take over the banks and let the banks take over the schools hmm

LoveSewingBee Sun 07-Apr-13 19:35:01

The cream will float to the top hmm didn't work so well in banking did it?
Didn't work so well in the now deregulated energy market (high bills for customers, big profits for firms, lots of fraudulent behaviour by the companies year after year after thousands of reassurances from the regulator that they had really sorted it and that we would all benefit through better price/quality, yeah ....). Another myth.

CountingClouds Sun 07-Apr-13 20:10:15

An easy jibe to blame all the problems on bankers, they actually did what every person in this country wanted them to do for us. They made us money. Banks were just the catalyst that burst the bubble, exposing the greed of everyone living beyond their means.

So what use was/is bankers education? Likewise teachers?

Of course teachers aren't in it for the money, they are in it for the love of the children. That doesn't stop them blackmailing the country with strikes, demanding more money, hmm hypocrisy?

Another easy jibe to say the energy market is corrupt, rather than looking at the truth, as if there was some golden era when it was perfect. The truth is that fuel is more expensive, we are consuming more, and importing more. Yet when we try and build more nuclear stations, use shale gas etc, all you hear is the screams of the NIMBY's ... Its always easier to blame other people than look at ourselves.

The bubble has now burst in the education system. Years of pretending it was all getting better, yet now it turns out it was all a lie, they were just making exams easier, teaching to the test, telling schools what questions were going to be in the exams, inflating grades, a race to the bottom.

The bubble has burst on state schools and from now on we will get the education we deserve. If parents want a good education then its within their power to have it, if they sit on their hands and expect someone else to provide it for them then they will have to shut up and take what is given.

I for one will be making sure there is a great school in my area.

LoveSewingBee Sun 07-Apr-13 21:39:41

A merchant banker is one of the key people involved in the new curriculum. Several bankers are directly involved in setting up free schools.

I don't know of any teachers who have gone into banking, but they may as well, clearly, transferable skills involved in banking and teaching. hmm

beezmum Sun 07-Apr-13 22:41:46

There are so many misapprehensions and groundless assumptions in this thread it is hard to know where to start.
Just because you were an advisor for the new curriculum doesn't mean your ideas were implemented, clearly not in this case, so no hypocrisy. This said both curriculums are based on Hirsch's view that skills can only be developed if the contextual knowledge is in place. This is not a failed idea in America. Hirsch's ideas were implemented in Massachusetts which now tops the states educationally. In New York these ideas were trialled and the success of the New York schools that followed this curriculum led the Mayor to do a U turn on his previous support for a more skills based literacy program. It was plain bizarre or possibly just ignorant to the point of ridiculousness that the petition of 100 educationalists in the Independent named Massachusetts as the sort of Educational system Gove should be looking at to get his ideas.
Just because the Nash's are rich and Conservative doesn't mean they are bad news or in it for the money. They sponsor rather than profit from the academy- since when was the desire to give something back something to be scorned? Pimlico Academy was turned around very quickly from failing to outstanding due to their sponsorship. It is outrageous to describe the Curriculum Centre they pay for as either staffed by ignoramuses (sp?) or non teachers. Whatever your ideological viewpoint it would be grossly unjust to describe Daisy Christodoulou as anything but enormously motivated, well informed and actually an experienced teacher. Those who know her but disagree would be at least that just.
The reason I know what I do is just because I am interested in educational ideas as a secondary teacher and so have done lots of reading and. It is not because I know these people or would vote with some of them!
BTW I agree that someone in their twenties without teaching experience should not be a head. However, given the track record of the whole organisation and the success of this sort of curriculum elsewhere I would send my children.

beezmum Sun 07-Apr-13 22:58:49

BtW i don't actually like the idea of non teachers in charge of schools and I certainly don't like the idea of schools being run for profit. What I am saying is that in this case you are picking on some people who are committed and have proved themselves to be very successful. Go find a different target!

CountingClouds Sun 07-Apr-13 23:07:27

very well said beezmum.

The only point I disagree with is that just because a person is in there twenties doesn't mean they cant run a school. I know few heads over forty that should be sacked instantly instead of having another 20 years destroying children's educations.

How many heads actually teach in a school? Its a business, whether it makes a profit or not, and a good manager can make a difference no matter what their age. Experience would usually be a huge benefit but then it can also stop new ways of thinking. It ability that counts.

LoveSewingBee is obviously one of those people stuck in the past unable to see outside the envelope. If a wealthy banker wants to give back and sponsor a school then I applaud him.

muminlondon Sun 07-Apr-13 23:11:19

That's interesting - no one had criticised Daisy Christodoulou in this thread so there must be some reason why you defend her in particular. It's not clear from her biog on the Curriculum Centre whether she is still teaching but she does seem to have more experience than Annaliese Briggs, as a Teach First trainee. I wonder why she was not chosen as head of Pimlico Primary instead?

Normally a newly qualified teacher is supervised by the head, but in this case Annaliese is also the head, so she certainly will need support from the new leadership team when they are appointed.

specialknickers Sun 07-Apr-13 23:13:51

Free schools and academies are a sick joke perpetrated on the plebs by the ruling classes. Essentially, here's the wheeze: Anyone with enough cash can set up or "back" one of these schools. This means paying no tax (schools have charitable status) so nothing ventured, nothing gained... Most of these schools are in urban areas and therefore occupy valuable land. All you have to do is hire some numpties (no teaching experience or qualifications necessary) and then sit back watch the money flow in.

It as naff all to do with education.

CountingClouds Sun 07-Apr-13 23:37:11

specialknickers - its was 'working' class union reps that reinvented the word 'plebs' recently to execute a conspiracy to destroy a person who they didn't like. That's the sick joke and people like you perpetrate and it make me nauseous. Its a very good reason why Unions should be made illegal.

Fact: whether or not something is tax deductible doesn't make it free. It still has to be paid for. Free schools cannot be run for profit. The land which free schools are sited on cannot be sold to benefit the sponsors!

muminlondon Sun 07-Apr-13 23:48:37

'Its a very good reason why Unions should be made illegal.'

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

CountingClouds Mon 08-Apr-13 00:21:59

lol - indeed

ipadquietly Mon 08-Apr-13 00:32:52

Even if free schools aren't being run for profit Things may change, they are sucking millions of pounds from the education coffers in capital funding. Toby Young's West London Academy appears to have cost £15m, whilst Pimlico Academy seems to have cost a mere £35m.
This money is coming from the education budget, at the same time as money from central government for renovation and maintenance is being slashed.

beezmum Mon 08-Apr-13 08:05:07

Maybe I misread the previous posts. It appeared when I scanned the thread that Daisy Christodoulou personally and her Curriculum Centre were being criticised up thread for example saying she had no teaching experience.
Thanks for your response Clouds. I agree that some twenty year olds could do a better job than some 40 year olds but she will lack on the ground experience that means that however capable this individual is she risks coming very unstuck. I know the Curriculum Centre is responsible for much of the academic decision making but when I think of the heads of primary schools I have come across they need lots of experience of staff and parent management and in creating a positive ethos. I don't think a theoretical understanding will be enough.

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