An alternative Education Vision for Haringey

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

We will

  • 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

We will

  • 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

We will

  • 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

We will

  • 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]

2 thoughts on “An alternative Education Vision for Haringey”

  1. I know that we have passed the deadline but I find your point of view very close to mine. The vision as written may be full of of ‘lovely, happy language’ but it is too broad and lacks specifics for me. When attempting to read and understand it – we have been struggling to get to grips with the implications of the latest funding formula which is delivering incomprehensible windfalls for some and others, who have been hanging on hoping that the extra income from the ACA will flow through to help the budget, have been left having to cut teaching resource. Not exactly visionary stuff

    Anyway back to the vision – thinking that they should be short pragmatic statements that drive change and attainment [much like JFK’s put a man on the moon and bring him back again] I would sign up for a bold one like …

    100% of Haringey’s children are educated in schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted by 2016.

    Simple, very scary and requires change. Also interestingly requires an LA that is helpful in driving standards for all types of school.

    1. I’d suggest sending your response in anyway, they may well take late submissions and I think your suggestion is what is needed, something strong, tangible and practical.

      However, personally I don’t think referencing outside agencies like Ofsted is the best route. Oftsed criteria change. Do you agree with the current criteria? What about the last set (changed twice in the last year)? Will you agree with the criteria in 2016?

      I think one of the roles an LA should play is to articulate why young people should go to Haringey schools: what will they get out of it; what will Haringey get out of it? LAs should be able to come up with these reasons in a local, democratic way. Ofsted is there to deal with the ‘how’ of education, local people should be setting the ‘why’.

What do you think?