Head Teachers’ Roundtable draws up general election manifesto

York Press: John Tomsett, left, head teacher at Huntington School, with visiting head teachers from around the country John Tomsett, left, head teacher at Huntington School, with visiting head teachers from around the country

A GROUP of influential head teachers focused on revolutionising education converged on a York secondary school to draw up their own general election manifesto.

John Tomsett, head teacher at Huntington School, is one of about ten heads from across the country who formed the Head Teachers’ Roundtable, which grew out of frustration with current Government educational policy and the Labour opposition response.

The group, along with about 40 delegates from the education sector, met at Huntington School to launch an election manifesto drive with a view to publishing in May, a year away from a potential general election.

Mr Tomsett said: “Some of the main manifesto ideas focus on separating Government business from school business.

“For example, should the Secretary of State be telling schools what punishments they can give out? We think it’s about drawing lines between schools and what politicians are involved in.

“We have a chance here to take a longer-term vision for what young people need in education instead of the current system, where education is run on three- to five-year cycles by whoever is in Government.”

Mr Tomsett said the next step for the group would be to meet Education Secretary Michael Gove and Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, for top- level talks in Westminster on Monday.

When the group was launched, it set out a six-point manifesto aimed at shaking up the way children are assessed, schools are inspected and taking education out of the hands of the politicians.

The manifesto states:

• Schools should be assessed in a range of ways, not just judged on exam results

• Ofsted should be replaced by local partnerships that would hold schools to account and help them improve

• The curriculum and assessment should be taken out of political control and given to an independent agency with a 20-year licence

• The Government should encourage small “families” of local schools in preference to large national chains

• The current system of capping the number of students who can achieve a certain grade in exams should be ended

• School accountability measures should encourage collaboration between schools and explicitly develop systems of leadership.

Comments (6)

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11:27am Sat 8 Feb 14

Blythespirit says...

Gove is a fanatical turgid lunatic. Totally out of touch and way out of line. My own children are constantly having the goal-posts moved in their education... much to their detriment. I wish the headteachers well, but doubt their success until Gove is given the well-deserved heave-ho.
Gove is a fanatical turgid lunatic. Totally out of touch and way out of line. My own children are constantly having the goal-posts moved in their education... much to their detriment. I wish the headteachers well, but doubt their success until Gove is given the well-deserved heave-ho. Blythespirit

3:00pm Sat 8 Feb 14

MouseHouse says...

Gove is the most dangerous member of the cabinet. A man driven by dogma, wholly out of his depth. the damage he has already caused will reverberate down the generations.
Gove is the most dangerous member of the cabinet. A man driven by dogma, wholly out of his depth. the damage he has already caused will reverberate down the generations. MouseHouse

6:32pm Sat 8 Feb 14

York1900 says...

The governments of this country over the last 40 years have look only at how much of state services they can put in to private hands by the front door or the back door

Private companies do nothing except look how much profit they can make out of it

Hence we pay more for these services in the long run as these companies run each other in to the ground on price till there are only a few companies left then they are able to drive up the costs on these services
The governments of this country over the last 40 years have look only at how much of state services they can put in to private hands by the front door or the back door Private companies do nothing except look how much profit they can make out of it Hence we pay more for these services in the long run as these companies run each other in to the ground on price till there are only a few companies left then they are able to drive up the costs on these services York1900

12:00pm Sun 9 Feb 14

postgrad2014 says...

It is both refreshing and encouraging that experts in their field are taking a pro-active approach and attempting to open up a constructive and informed dialogue. Good luck to them.
It is both refreshing and encouraging that experts in their field are taking a pro-active approach and attempting to open up a constructive and informed dialogue. Good luck to them. postgrad2014

12:59pm Sun 9 Feb 14

CaroleBaines says...

Gove is an idiot but teaching unions are too strong too. Good pay, hols and yes pensions have changed but still very good and pensions have dropped for us all. Striking in March too - they are barely there.
Gove is an idiot but teaching unions are too strong too. Good pay, hols and yes pensions have changed but still very good and pensions have dropped for us all. Striking in March too - they are barely there. CaroleBaines

3:41pm Sun 9 Feb 14

nearlyman says...

I think they all need to learn something themselves.
It is for the Government of the day to set education policy, whatever its leaning, and for those employed in the education system to enact such policies. That is what they are paid to do. It is called democracy, like it or not, Governments are elected by the people who, at times, have broader interests than the teachers sometimes appear to. It all looks somewhat fluffy to me, children need to be prepared for the harsh realities of the wider world rather than this soft vision of utopia.
I think they all need to learn something themselves. It is for the Government of the day to set education policy, whatever its leaning, and for those employed in the education system to enact such policies. That is what they are paid to do. It is called democracy, like it or not, Governments are elected by the people who, at times, have broader interests than the teachers sometimes appear to. It all looks somewhat fluffy to me, children need to be prepared for the harsh realities of the wider world rather than this soft vision of utopia. nearlyman

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