Members of the country's largest school leaders’ union, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), are expected to use their annual conference to call for an end to heavy-handed political interference and rhetoric, which they claim is holding back the profession and working against pupil progress.
As delegates gather in Harrogate for the NAHT’s 2012 annual conference, school leaders will be determined to reclaim the initiative on school improvement from a government which they believe is moving the focus too far from the realities of classroom practice.
And they will argue for an alternative, positive system that sees children as more than the raw materials for statistics and instead puts their progress first.
Under the theme of “Fighting for Change – Protecting our Futures”, heads will argue that a culture of intimidation is building into a potential recruitment crisis in school leadership and, worse still, may so comprehensively demoralise teachers and pupils alike that it risks removing the capacity for improvement that comes from confidence and innovation.
In particular, the schools’ inspectorate, Ofsted, is likely to come under fire.
Delegates will hear Russell Hobby, the NAHT’s general secretary, urge agencies to work with, not against, school leaders to secure the best for pupils and stress the importance of working with parents as the natural partners of teachers in the fight to secure children’s best interests.
Mr Hobby said: “The emphasis on failure risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. It ignores the significant achievements of the past and, by doing so, saps the pride and ambition which are needed to fuel the achievements of the future.
“It is time to use our annual gathering to show that school leaders have an exciting vision for pupil progress which will get the best from, and for, our children. By supporting each other, we have the skills and resources to make the vision a reality.
“This conference is going to celebrate success and champion teamwork. There will no doubt be some very angry voices but we will not just be shouting about what is going wrong, we’ll be presenting alternatives to put it right.”
Page Published: 30/04/2012