I don’t care about the attainment statistics of other people’s children.
I don’t want the totality of who my child is to be reduced to a number or a letter. P4, L1A, Down’s syndrome, SEN.
I don’t want to be held responsible for things that are beyond my control, like, whether a child I teach has had an early night, or plays on the Xbox til the early hours, or regularly goes without breakfast, you know, the things that get in the way of the book learning.
I want to remove the connection between assessment and blame – after all, that is what accountability is about, isn’t it? Who to blame when things go wrong? Who to hold to account?
Maybe I don’t want Making Sure That Schools Are Doing What They Are Supposed To Be Doing to be about blame at all. Maybe it’s too blunt an instrument, the blame game, too one dimensional an understanding of what is really going on in this business of bringing up baby. It isn’t all down to one person or one institution; motherhood or teacherhood.
I want to look through the SEN magnifying glass at when things go wrong; to examine the anomalies, to learn from them. I’ve never worked in a school where the inspectors have walked in and jobs have been lost and knuckles have been rapped, but I’ve lived through years of observing a slow slide into problems known and hinted at in report after report, research paper after research paper, and been powerless to do anything about it.
What is the point of data that doesn’t even do what it purports to do when a barrier of fear keeps you apart, parents and teachers, and solutions remain unfound?
Accountability isn’t about graphs and verdicts and whole school judgements. It’s about communication, and respect, and problem solving together.
And more than that, accountability, responsibility even, needs to be swift. We need to be able to put things right when they are wrong, and do it quickly because it isn’t about today’s taxpayers, not really.
It’s about life chances. It’s about tomorrow.
Give me transparency so that I can see what’s happening. Give me training so that I can do my job to the best of my ability. Give me social justice so that we can give all children a level playing field. Give me back the community who raised the children together, not the one that is isolated from each other, afraid of each other.
Let’s get rid of the fear.