Schools are to be judged on how they improve children's 'wellbeing' by tackling obesity, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy.Yes, because they’ve solved the ‘reading and writing’ problems and have 100% literacy for school leavers, right? What else are they to do with their time…?
Teachers will be expected to monitor and record up to 31 detailed aspects of their pupils' lives at home and at school.
The controversial plans come as Children's Secretary Ed Balls launches a clampdown on hundreds of 'coasting' schools that are not doing enough to raise standards.‘Progress’ in what, precisely…? Ah:
He is introducing new legal powers that will force complacent local authorities to take action, even against schools that have good exam results but are not displaying sufficient progress year-on-year.
In addition, the Government is planning to introduce 'strong school level indicators' that will measure how much the country's primaries and secondaries are contributing to pupils' well-being.Whoever came up with this is living in utter fantasy land. Or should be sectioned…
Schools and local authorities could be made to gather data about 'on site health services' such as contraception clinics which hand out condoms and morning after pills.
Schools will also be expected to monitor healthy eating, look out for 'signs of abuse or neglect' (Ed – this is new..?) and record whether pupils walk or cycle to school.
The report says that this 'robust information' will be used by Ofsted in inspections from 2009 onwards. It will also allow comparisons between schools.
For once, I’m in full agreement with a union official:
Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: 'We see an increasing apparent responsibility for the ills of all society being planted on to schools.He’s not alone, either:
'The danger of that, of course, is that they will be distracted from their core task which is good quality education.
'For some schools, the well-being agenda is one that isn't particularly applicable.
'The children appear to be thriving in their lives and we could have a reverse situation where these schools will be at the bottom of any such statistical analysis.'
Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: 'The Government seems obsessed with gathering statistics about every aspect of children's lives.This government is on the way out. There’s now no question. This bonkers proposal is just another nail in the coffin, and an inside job to boot.
'It's worse than a nanny state. It's reducing children and schools to a series of numbers.'
But will Cameron’s team be any better..? I’d hope to see robust condemnation of this proposal, and a vow to scrap it the minute the Conservatives get in. But I wonder….