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.