Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

In the news

Heads do make a difference

ASCL hit back strongly at a press release from the Policy Exchange in April headlined 'Heads don't have the power to make a difference', on the think tank's latest report on education. ASCL was quoted in the Daily Telegraph, Western Mail and BBC, saying this was 'nonsense'.

"Anyone who has worked in a school will know it is nonsense to say that headteachers do not have an impact on pupil learning," said Martin Ward. "They do this by setting high standards for teaching quality and ensuring these are achieved."

In fact, ASCL agreed with much of the content of the report, which was a more balanced and thoughtful analysis than Policy Exchange's press release implied. It stressed the importance of distributing leadership tasks and said that quality of teaching was the biggest influence on pupil learning.

Annual conference coverage

ASCL's annual conference received excellent coverage in all the national and regional papers, and in particular in the TES and SecEd. The papers picked up ASCL's concerns about soaring exam costs, funding inequalities and the debate about which GCSEs are more difficult.

The Daily Mail ran a large article on data overload, the Daily Telegraph carried a page 6 headline article on workload affecting headteacher recruitment, and the Guardian, Independent and Times all carried the story about GSCEs. SecEd's front page coverage led with the banner headline 'Just say no!'

Basic skills

Vice president Brian Lightman, head of St Cyres School in Wales, defended Welsh schools against the accusation by employers that schools weren't doing enough to teach basic skills. 

In the Western Mail on 1 March, Brian pointed out that most literacy and numeracy problems among workers are in the 30 to 65 age group. "Over the last decade an enormous amount of work has been done to raise standards."

He added: "We need the support of employers to work and engage with us. We find it very difficult to get employers to give up their time to work with us and look at what we're doing. They need to speak up and get involved."

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