Saturday, September 22, 2007

Read this health warning first!

The glossy adverts for the headteacher posts (sorry ‘Secondary Learning Centre Leaders’ – what an old Luddite) are nestling there in the pages of the education press. The enticing appeal from Knowsley pupils is ‘Make us feel like VIPs’.

All ten Knowsley secondary schools are being closed and replaced by seven ‘learning centres’ built under the auspices of BSF. Two of the existing heads applied for jobs at the new ‘learning centres’ but were rejected. What hope is there for Knowsley teachers when they apply for their jobs?

I had an interesting post from ‘anonymous’ during the holidays. Maybe potential applicants would like to read it?

‘I read with interest your comment regarding the appointment of headteachers to the new learning centres in Knowsley, but was dismayed by your assumption that headteachers have complied with the BSF programme.

‘From the beginning of the project headteachers have challenged many of the proposals in the BSF programme but have encountered the same vague responses to questions that you allude to. Heads have found themselves in an untenable situation, dealing with half-truths and unclear responses when trying to get information about working conditions, curriculum plans, hours of opening and career prospects for staff in secondary schools. Add to that the issues around loyalty to the communities of parents and young people that we serve and you should appreciate the lack of power and influence that has caused so much frustration.

‘ Heads who applied for jobs in the new schools did so in the belief that they might be able to salvage something from this disaster - by retaining quality staff in schools they could at least provide some stability and continuity for the young people who are the subject of this ill conceived experiment.

‘The appointments process for the leadership posts has ensured that critics of the BSF programme have been weeded out and the letter to all staff from the Chair of the Staffing Commission is also sending out a clear message. There is an LA mantra that the headteachers and teachers in Knowsley are not up to the job, despite the massive improvements in achievement and attainment over the last 5 years. Sadly the new “palaces of learning” will open with exactly the scenario you describe - I wonder how many of the BSF architects from the LA will be around to see this revolution happen?’

Resistance is Futile

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