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The 2013 Teacher Crystal Ball Predictions

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Happy New Year! I wish you all the very best for the start of a new and hopefully extremely rewarding year.

Below are predictions made by British classroom teachers as to what the year may bring:

 

Tom Sherrington, head teacher, Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford

We are moving towards a system where teachers and heads are continually on the defensive with a curriculum and assessment framework that patently doesn’t meet the needs of all young people. In 2013 we will see a fight back aimed at filling the intellectual vacuum at the core of education policy. I’m excited about the SSAT Redesigning Schooling initiative beginning in March involving practitioners, academics and policy makers, putting professional expertise and pedagogical excellence at the heart of our thinking about a world class system. I’m hoping more heads and teachers exercise the autonomy they already have to do what they think is right but, as the next election comes into view, some clear policy alternatives will emerge. It’s challenging but exciting.

 

Sally Law, principal teacher of English, Marr College, Troon

Ever the optimist, I predict that 2013 will bring confirmation to Scottish teachers that all the hard work they’ve put into implementing A Curriculum for Excellence will have paid off and that it will become evident in the smooth transition from the Broad General Education (BGE) to the first ever National 4 and 5 courses. On the other hand, 2013 may also bring further cuts to resources and support staff; in spite of the amazing efforts of the profession to raise attainment and meet the needs of all learners there is no doubt that further cuts will impact on our young people.

 

Andrew Jones, head of religious studies and sociology, Goffs School, Cheshunt

2013 will be a year of sustained questions and answers in religious education. The questions will be asked by RE teachers and those concerned with children’s spiritual, moral, and cultural development. The answers will come from the secretary of state for education and his advisors. Questions will include what will happen to RE if GCSEs are abolished? Will RE have only one examination body? Will the RE GCSE short course slowly slide into oblivion? If the short course goes, will the statutory requirement to follow locally agreed syllabuses be bypassed by schools? Will the uptake of RE at KS5 be affected by its exclusion from the EBacc? Let’s hope Michael Gove has some enlightened answers.

 

John Taylor, head of philosophy and director of critical skills, Rugby School, Warwickshire

The spectacularly gloomy philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said that hope is the confusion of desire with probability. That is altogether too pessimistic a view to take as we look towards the New Year, but Schopenhauer’s words do remind us of how easy it is to slide from finding a prospect likeable, to finding it likely. So, setting the rose-tinted spectacles aside, what might we say about the prospects for teaching and assessment in 2013? I think it will be the year when we start to take seriously a concern, which is extremely widely shared, about how assessment and league table accountability measures distort and constrain teaching. Enough voices are now being raised, and enough problems acknowledged, for it to be high time for the ‘teach to the test’ culture, and the mechanical ‘accountability through measurable outcomes’ strait-jacket to be put under the spotlight and subjected to critical scrutiny. What might emerge instead? Is it possible that we will see the start of a renewed focus on the value of learning for its own sake, and a strengthened determination to allow teachers the freedom to teach as they know best? I’d like to think so, but whether that is more a matter of desire than probability, time only will tell.

 

Ron Glatter, emeritus professor of educational administration and management, The Open University

2013 will be the year in which the damage caused by the absurd distinction between maintained and non-maintained (in other words, academy) schools will finally hit home to policy-makers. Initiated by Labour and vigorously promoted by the coalition, it foments division, fragmentation and artificial hierarchies. We need to rebuild a unified system with all publicly funded schools brought within a common legal and democratic framework. Why do I think this will begin to happen in 2013? Perhaps because I’m an incurable optimist, but there must come a point at which the problems generated by an arbitrary and unmanageable set of arrangements will become impossible to ignore.

 

Eugene Spiers, assistant head teacher, John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge

I predict that more and more teachers will turn to Twitter as their first port of call for ideas, resources, inspiration and personalised CPD. For most of my career I often heard about the best teachers in whichever school I was working in and less often I would get to talk to them or see them teach. Twitter has changed all that. It is like having the most inspiring, supportive and challenging staff room available to you whenever you want it and wherever you are.

I also predict continued attempts to destroy comprehensive education and undermine teachers in the UK and as you would expect Twitter will represent the anger and disappointment at these policies (and also some support) but, mostly there will be continuity. A continuity of sharing and a continuity of ideas and of getting on with the job in hand whatever the politicians decide.

 

Adam Lopez, teacher, Tavernspite CP Primary School, Pembrokeshire

In 2013 the digital divide between teachers will reach a critical level. The advances in hardware, software and their applications continues at a relentless pace, with those who have resisted adapting to the evolution of modern teaching becoming harder and harder to support. The educational resources and tools offered free in most cases online provide the modern teacher with an unprecedented armoury for conducting engaging and immersive lessons. The sharing of great practice and ideas over the internet has opened the door of possibility; no longer do enthusiastic teachers have to rely on learning solely from those only in their local environment.

We are stepping beyond a threshold into a new technological era in education. The advent of thematic and student led approaches to learning has further prompted a necessity for adaptable and dynamic approaches to educating. It is time for those who educate to fully embody the values that they attempt to instill in others – that of lifelong learning coupled with an intrinsic desire to grow and thrive within the changing world around us; seeking out boundaries of possibility and not cursing the irrepressible tide of change.

Click on the link to read Who is Going to Stand Up For Bullied Teachers?

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

Click on the link to read Our Pay Isn’t the Problem

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