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‘My students are making the sort of weekly progress that would make an inspector drool.’ [Image: Alamy].

‘My students are making the sort of weekly progress that would make an inspector drool.’ [Image: Alamy].

The UK’s Kafka-esque education system vexes This Writer.

Discussion of it always falls into the same problem – where to lay blame/make changes.

When central government, regional assemblies and local councils all have a say – not to mention school governors themselves, and don’t even get me started on the private influence brought in with academisation – it’s no surprise that so many teachers end up with work-related stress problems.

Perhaps this snapshot of working conditions and job satisfaction abroad is the kind of information we need (although I doubt anybody in a position to take positive action will even pay attention to it).

This line is extremely telling:

“It’s a low-pressure, high-freedom environment that places absolute trust in its teachers’ abilities. As a result, my students are making the sort of progress that would make an inspector drool.”

Low-pressure? Yes. In the UK ‘The Secret Teacher’ had 130 students; in East Africa, 75 – with no “emergency data-meetings, twilight Insets, morning briefings, and admin-centric departmental meetings”, no “box-ticking exercises of bloated middle-management teams”, no “sharp-suited Machiavellis, clinging desperately to iPads and spreadsheets in the hope that they are projecting a credible image of what a manager looks like”.

So perhaps this is the lesson the UK needs to be taught: Don’t over-manage schools and teaching.

Give them just one boss to satisfy, and make sure that they have a straightforward set of criteria to meet: “We want English to a minimum of this standard, Maths to this standard, Science to this standard”.

And let them get on with it.

Source: Secret Teacher: I moved to Africa – and realised how flawed British education is | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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