Thursday, April 19, 2007

I have another dream...

I visited another 'Dream School', they were created in 2004/5 as another way to address 'failure'. In this school only five teaching staff stayed and a team of first year (NQTs) teachers were appointed. There was a new Principal who came from the Board of Education and resigned after a year.

There was a change from 'Reconstitution' in that the existing teachers could reapply for their jobs but they had to write a letter, be observed three times by a panel of five people and go for a competitive interview. As one teaching assistant (they're called 'para-professionals') told me, "We lost good teachers who went to teach in easy schools".

The new teachers in the 'Dream School' had to teach an extra two hours a day, there was another high turnover of staff after the first year. The School Board did give them extra resources like a school nurse, social worker and other support staff. A new Principal listened to teachers and helped some of the new ones. It was an extremely challenging school, I saw a young teacher with the patience of a saint - I'd have been ranting and raving at them.

I got the impression though that it had been a close run thing, why 'experiment', just give the schools more money and lift children out of poverty.


I'd be interested to know what the parents, students and local communities think about "dream schools" - are they generally pretty positive about them? Or have they had protests like we've had here over academies?
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