This has been a week of blog posts on the subject of what people call ‘accountability’ but what we might also fairly term ‘compliance’. The announcement came last weekend via The Telegraph. A ‘crack down’ on heads ‘cheating’ the system through multiple exam entries (no mincing of words at The Telegraph then).
Ros McMullen pointed out here that “If you … create “cliff edges”, don’t be surprised if every single drop of energy goes into that cliff edge!” Chris Hildrew talked here about the announcement causing “confusion and panic around the land”. John Tomsett pointed out here that “What was good enough for our students last week is good enough for them this week” then goes on to explain the complexity of the dilemma facing head teachers. Tom Sherrington talked here about how we have now got “guessing, tactical maneuvering, and a fair bit of gambling.” And in an uncharacteristically melancholy piece, Geoff Barton talked here about how some school leaders are “starting to give up hope”.
I’m not a head teacher, so I’d agree with John Tomsett that I am no position to pass judgement on those who are. I’ve been struggling with the ‘what is right‘ question all week, and I’m as torn as everyone else. My emotions say ‘do what is right for the kids: do only that’, but my rational side sees the ‘cliff edge’ argument all too clearly.
This week, head teachers have been asked to choose between two things that they love equally well. They are being asked to choose between their students, and their schools. To me, this seems cruel at best, and inhumane at worst.