Sunday 2 October 2016

Grade A thinking

Published 20/11/2012 | 17:00

The old and often dreaded phrase "school report" is about to take on an expanded meaning.

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From now on, principals will compile reports on (in effect) themselves, in support of the project which the Department of Education calls "school self-evaluation", or SSE.

This is an excellent move which could have many benign effects, especially since it will be linked with several developments which are already in progress and are capable of being expanded.

At the most basic level, it must prompt self-examination.

Are school principals much more likely that the rest of us to approach the task honestly and critically?

Very probably.

The teachers, too, will have their say. Their doubts about the system go far beyond grievances over pay and working hours.

Importantly, the scheme will apply to all schools in disadvantaged areas. Teachers in these schools are in an exceptional position to assess social and economic disadvantage, which of course has serious effects on their progress in education.

Frankly and sadly, any cure is a long way off. The problems of those areas have worsened since the financial crash.

The crisis also dims teachers' prospects of extra remuneration for extra work. But they will be relieved to know that the scheme should not give birth to a huge flood of paperwork.

"Keep it simple" is a good motto.

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