The National Teachers Union(NUT) of Great Britain came out swinging against recent efforts by the government to close down 638 schools it claimed were failing due to low test scores. These “national challenge” schools had less than 30% of pupils who met testing and grade levels according to government education authorities. However, according to NUT analysis of Ofsted reports, 26% of these schools are considered to be among the best in the nation, a third rank in the top 40% of schools and at least 50% are regarded as satisfactory. Chrstine Blower has written to each of the 638 headteachers offering NUT support in their efforts to keep these schools functioning. Blowers believes the schools could use smaller class sizes, more teachers and greater support in building positive relations with the local community.
Ms. Blowers raises an important point that anyone who has been involved in education understands: “Teachers and headteachers will be wary of wanting to join schools that could be threatened and closed.”
We live in an era in which political leaders rely on testing processes to evaluate the success of failure of schools. Great Britain has a system of school inspectors who are on the scene and interacting with teachers and headteachers. Surely, those individuals are best able to make evaluations as to the success or failures occurring in the schools. It is time to move politicians away from making decisions as to what happens in a school and empower the headteachers and teachers to make those decisions.