Further problems at Derby’s first ‘free’ school: a couple of weeks ago there were reports of a DfE investigation into dodgy financial dealings, denied by the school. Then came reports that female teachers were required to wear headscarves, whether they were Muslims or not, and that girls were being made to sit at the back of class. It is now being reported that the expected OFSTED visit will happen very soon, and quite right too. This ‘school’ typifies the utter stupidity of Gove’s ‘free school’ nonsense. You’ll recall that this ‘school’ (and I’m using inverted commas to imply this isn’t a school in the sense that any sensible person would understand it) opened in September in ‘temporary’ buildings (ie, part of an office block). There was promise that a ‘new building’ would appear during that first year but, here we are, 13 months on and, guess what, they’re now in TWO office blocks! How can Gove blather on about high quality education and rigour when kids are allowed to be taught in this way?
Talking of ‘teacher dress’, yes, I’d say teachers should dress smartly, bearing in mind that those in practical subjects need something a bit, well, practical: not easy to teach art or run around a sports field in a suit. So I’ve no great problem with the new brooms at Sinfin (sorry, Derby City Academy) insisting that staff ‘dress as if for an interview’. The new regime has also instituted a new uniform for kids and spent loads of dosh on actually giving everyone a new blazer and so forth. There’s a new rule banning mobile phones (good luck enforcing THAT one!). However, wasn’t the academisation of this school rushed through because of its poor standards? So, what is puzzling me is, why has there as yet been no steer on teaching and learning? Surely, if they are going to do better the key is not what anyone’s wearing but what is happening in the classroom. Or could it be that there really wasn’t much wrong and the academisation was just a put up job between the DfE and OFSTED. Nice new buildings too.