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STEVE IREDALE NATIONAL PRESIDENT

We can find a better way Welcome to the latest LF, which I trust you will find both thought provoking and interesting, with articles ranging from Rona Tutt’s thoughts on the merging of the National College and the Teaching Agency (page 17) to a review of the NAHT partnership with ShelterBox (page 14) and the positive impact that this has had on so many people. As I write this editorial I am starting to reflect on my year as NAHT President, which comes to a conclusion at our annual conference Birmingham in May – which is guaranteed be exciting, given its new format (page 8). Over the past year, I have had the privilege of visiting many branches, regions and schools around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and have met some inspirational colleagues. I have also made many great friends. When I’m on the road what strikes me more than anything else is the sense of frustration, sometimes combined with anger and occasionally disbelief, that arises when members share with me the impact of what is often flawed policy and decision making from on high, based on cherry-picked or questionable evidence. It still beggars belief that education remains a political football, with the game and its rules changing depending who is in power. It really is about time there was an open and honest debate involving all key players about the future of education and learning in our country. However, despite this negativity, I have been encouraged by the growing determination of school leaders and colleagues at the chalk face to see the profession regain control and prove there is a better way. The NAHT has a big part to play here.

It is very easy to say no when something is thrust upon us with little or no true consultation, but much more progressive to provide an alternative and then prove it can work. As Henry Ford so aptly put it: “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Our soon-to-be-concluded development of an alternative inspection model is a case in point. It is our firm belief that inspection and school improvement are inextricably linked in our relentless drive to raise standards. Sadly, the current approach to inspection demonstrates a lack of understanding of this. More inspection and monitoring is not school improvement. As a profession we must continue to have high expectations of all our children and a desire to work together to create a system where the learning and progress of all children and young people is central, and where the curriculum meets the needs of every child. It must also be one where we are empowered to lead without constant interference from those who believe they know better and where it is our role to support and challenge each other. No matter what type of school we work in we have a responsibility to see the bigger picture and collaborate with each other for the benefit of all.

‘It still beggars belief that education remains a political football, with the game and its rules changing depending on who is in power’

Leadership Focus is published by Redactive Publishing Limited on behalf of the NAHT

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