At this week’s HGA we heard from Les Craggs about Haringey’s proposed Vision for Education. It seemed to me that the general feeling in the room was that it was:
- Too waffly
- Not practical enough
Les responded that a vision should be high level and , that the plan would come later, once the vision had been agreed. Of course you need to have a vision before a plan, but don’t we already have enough to go on? We want all young people in Haringey to succeed and be supported, is there anyone who doesn’t?
What schools are facing now is a real choice (voluntary, imposed or somewhere in between) about whether they want to be a Haringey LA school, a Harris/AET/E-ACT school, go it alone, or some other option. They need Haringey to give them something they can buy in to, both figuratively and literally. That either needs to be a very bold vision that is not or cannot be shared with other ‘providers’ or it needs to be a practical plan that schools can sign up for.
One Haringey governor, Julie Davies, has come up with an alternative that I think goes a good way to providing the later, with a bit of vision thrown in for good measure as headings. What do you think of her effort?
Haringey Local Authority will provide for and support its children and young people by:
Making sure we have the best people and that they are working to the highest standards
- Recruit the best and most respected education professionals, governors, social workers and advisers;
- Insist on first rate qualifications and high standards of professionalism from our workforce;
- Challenge schools and intervene when practice falls below our expectations;
- Train and develop our workforce and expect them to learn and grow as professionals in our service.
Standing up for equalities and social justice
- Challenge our schools to address poverty of aspiration, as well as the effects of poverty;
- Strive to make our schools places that are free from discrimination and prejudice of every kind;
- Expect our young people, whatever their circumstances, to leave our schools with a passion to play a full part in the world and to make it a safer, fairer place;
- Fund schools fairly so that the poorest get equal chances
- Fund school uniforms for families in need;
Making sure our young people are healthy and safe
- Ensure that all children in our community schools eat a healthy lunch regardless of their ability to pay;
- Ensure schools keep children fit and active and teach them healthy lifestyles;
- Incentivise inter-school sporting competitions and tournaments;
- Act decisively when we suspect children are neglected or mistreated;
- Work with the police and other agencies to combat gang culture and youth crime
- Help schools address all forms of bullying
Building the skills and talents our community needs to prosper
- Help our schools and children’s centres serve their communities by supporting family learning and training;
- Set up a career service to work with with local colleges, sixth forms, training providers and businesses to ensure our young people do not leave education or training before they have a secure future;
- Set up a Haringey EMA to encourage young people to stay on in our sixth forms;
- Help schools to understand the communities they serve by encouraging outreach work and facilitating translation and interpretation services which support this;
- Develop networks of health professionals, social workers, housing managers, regeneration professionals and council enforcement officers to tackle problems that affect our children’s lives;
- Do our utmost to ensure low rates of exclusion and high rates of reintegration
- Celebrate the successes of our inclusive learning campuses, excellent special schools and beacon nurseries
Building a strong and respected local authority
We know that resources are scarcer than in the past and we will eliminate waste and find ways to make every penny count for our children;
We believe that Haringey can be a great local authority which attracts and retains the best people and delivers the highest standards;
We will find ways to develop our confidence and for others to be confident in us;
We will put the past behind us and make our local authority a shining example of what a local authority can achieve in an Inner city.
We will focus on standards not structures. We will fight for the right to defend and support our own schools as the best placed local provider.
Be relentless in our drive to eradicate failure and weakness and to celebrate and promote success and excellence.
Whilst it’s not exactly what I would have written, I think it is a real improvement on that offered by Haringey, for the reasons stated above.
I think there should also be something in there about being a community school, and that means being accountable to local democratic structures and actively playing an equal role in place planning, SEN, behaviour support and sharing good practice. I would also like to see something about enjoying learning, a recognition that it is a lifelong pleasure, not just a means to an end.
Anyway, well done to Julie for this piece of work and if you do have comments please email them to Jan Doust today (it’s the deadline): [email protected]