Are schools becoming more insular?
My perception is that schools are becoming more insular, and the mechanisms through which expertise was shared are breaking down (with the notable exception of the small proportion of teachers who engage via social media and TeachMeets).
Why do I think that?
Over the last few month we have been trying to identify and link up with schools that might be interested in and of interest to NP3. We have gone out to our established networks of practitioners, consultants, academics, Local Authority advisors, charities working in the sector, and anyone else we could think of to tell them about the project and ask for help in linking up with potentially interested/interesting schools. The response from the network has been overwhelmingly positive - and folk have forwarded information to schools (usually via named contacts), made introductions for us, and promoted the project through their networks - but the response from schools has been underwhelming.
Colleagues in other areas (both academics and those in professional organisations) have reported informally to me that they are having similar problems connecting with schools. At an ETAG meeting earlier this week there was concern about the (perceived) growing gulf between the small minority of schools who are innovating and those that are 'doing business as usual'.
Overall there seems to be a growing breakdown of communication between researchers/professional organisations/Local Authorities/other non-school bodies and schools, and indeed between teachers across schools. Worryingly this would seem to remove important mechanisms for the sharing of expertise within and across the school/education community.
Does this fit with your experiences? If so, what could we do to reverse the trend?
Thanks Peter for this post....the insularity of schools...primary and secondary(and FE?) is a direct result of a political ideology predicated on "marketisation, privatisation and digitisation" a familiar theme for those who have read "Liberating Learning" from Moe and Chubb the right wing economists from Hoover Institute at Stanford. The erosion of local accountability and local authority support,the academitisation process,free schools and the withdrawal of the network support of organisations such as NCSL and BECTA make it difficult to share.
I think Twitter and TeachMeets are part of the solution,as is membership of Naace,ALT et al but it is a struggle.
I think another reson is lack of time for teachers to share.....I know the footfall at recent FREE cpd events here in Manchester has been poor as teachers find it hard to get release from teaching and supply and transport cots add to that burden.
What can we do about it? Well ....Toshiba have supported over 120 Teachmeets with almost 10,000 teachers so teachers are willing and keen to share.
A bit of encouragement from ministers and DFE would help? ETAG.report