Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Passing the baton...

Hands passing a baton

Although his presidential year is drawing to a close, Malcolm Trobe promises to continue campaigning as immediate past president for more intelligent use of data, better pre- and post-16 funding and resolution to PFI legacy issues.

The realisation that my year as ASCL president is drawing to a close was brought sharply home to me this week when an email arrived from school with the draft of next year's school prospectus attached.

My year as ASCL president has been hugely enjoyable and an unforgettable experience. I have, however, missed the contact with young people and the dynamics of being in school so I am very much looking forward to returning to Malmesbury School in September.

As I have being saying to our members all year we are indeed privileged to have the opportunity to influence the lives of the future generation. So as this term moves to its conclusion I am thinking about how I will readjust to life in school - and how they will readjust to having me back!

I have also considered what is essential to pass on to Brian and Jane as incoming president and vice-president so that impetus in these areas is not lost in the transition. Brian will be leading Executive through the 2007-08 public policy agenda in July as we consider our priorities for next academic year.

As immediate past president I will still be involved in a number of areas and have already identified my ASCL priorities for next year.

Value added

Next year I want to continue the drive to have a baselining of value added and CVA and remove the over-emphasis on the current norm referenced system.

Council heard from Professor David Jesson in June about his concerns for the current system and, although not agreeing with everything he said, I simply cannot understand why the government persists with a process that cannot show any system improvement, given that the current norm referenced method will always show 50 per cent of schools below the regression line.

As a pilot school on the post-16 value-added project I was relieved to see the delay in the implementation of this measure and will be working to ensure the DfES develop a better and fairer methodology for 2007.

Funding

The association has a long-term commitment to persuading the government to have a more equitable funding system and I will use my position on the School Funding Implementation Group (SFIG) to continue to press our case.

The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) for education is better than for other services but will be very tight, giving little room for redistribution at both national and local levels.

Any pay rise above the widely forecast 2 per cent for both teaching and support staff will put great pressure on the 'headroom' and there will also be the financial demands of meeting the funding needs of the under 5 year-olds and the implementation of the new
14-19 diplomas.

Similarly I will continue my work with the LSC on the funding of post-16 education. Many of the decisions taken during the next few months will affect the funding system for the next three years so we must make our views clear at every opportunity.

PFI and BSF

We have had some very positive responses recently to the concerns we have voiced on both the PFI legacy issues and on BSF. This has led to a series of meetings with the DfES, Treasury, Operational Task Force of PartnershipsUK and most recently the chief executive of Partnerships for Schools as well as considerable publicity in the papers and on the radio. I will continue to present members concerns and their ideas for the future so please keep me informed of all developments in this area.

Headquarters

I must thank everyone at ASCL headquarters for their support and help this year. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to work with John Dunford and his team. Being in headquarters quite regularly this year I have seen the hard work and dedication that our staff have given to the association and its members.

On your behalf I would like to publicly thank them for all their considerable efforts, without which the association would not be the thriving and progressive organisation it continues to be.

Members

It really has been great to meet so many of our members from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; from both the state and independent sectors; from schools and from colleges. I have been hugely impressed by the commitment of school and college leaders to strive for the best for the young people in their charge.

The originality and inventiveness shown as people have tackled the many challenges that we now face is inspiring. The sheer passion, drive and energy that leaders have demonstrated as they continue to raise the standards in our schools and colleges is awesome.

Can I remind you of this quote from the PWC report into school leadership: "School leaders have a lot of which to be proud. They have led the implementation of a series of major national initiatives in the last three years, during which time, levels of pupil performance have continued to improve and are currently at an all time high."

My congratulations to you all!

So it only remains for me to wish everyone a successful end to term and an enjoyable break over the summer. I hope that you are able to come back suitably refreshed in September for the rigours of the new term. It has indeed been a privilege to be the association's president this year and I wish Brian Lightman every success in this role next year.

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