How long, not long
because what you reap is what you sow!
Rage Against the Machine – Wake Up

If you sit on the fence for too long it will break.

There comes a time that you need to wake up and do something about the issues that cause you restless nights. There comes a time when you need to stand up and step forward. Words are one thing, action is quite another… When that one voice raises up in to the tower and fragments into a commotion– a colony of other voices all in tune with their discord… there comes a time.

Let’s do a twitter poll on it shall we?

It would seem that action is hard to do. It is as though too many of us are contented keyboard warriors. I have written a number of blogs recently (the irony!) that are just dark reflections upon the current state of education. I now question myself in terms of – what is the point of this? Am I just some lefty head teacher, so naïve in my self-absorbed world that I actually believe my blogs and articles will get noticed? A tick on the rump of a large endangered beast – it would seem my efforts are disregarded due to more important struggles.

Sometimes the font can indeed be mighty though.

This week @nytimes tweeted:

Have you experienced a petty crime in London? Click to tell us your story.

(Your submission may be selected for publication.)

@Tsui_Patrick ‘I was walking down Regents St when I saw a sign in a shop saying “Coming this Fall”. Fall? It is not Fall, the correct term is autumn. What next? Studying Maths without the S?’

The resulting thread was comedy genius at its British best. Thousands of tweets each and every one ‘trolling’ the New York Times… they eventually acknowledged it with a ‘touché’. As cutting as many were all this told me was sarcasm (our second language) no matter how sharp-witted, funny or canny… is no substitute for proper action.

System change will not come from a torrent of barbed tweets or shrewd blogs because the people who have the power to make the changes are NOT listening. Or so I thought.

My local MP’s office contacted me this week – they want a meeting in February- A look around the school and a chance to discuss current issues. Part of me feels I may be told off (I mean that tick on the rump can be irritating) – part of me feels NO I no longer want to talk about this… it’s too late… The rational professional in me wants to talk, put the argument across and ‘hope’ that other MPs are added to the voices in parliament who are increasingly angry about what has happened to our education system. Good will goes a long way in public service but my reservoir is dry.

There used to be a time when unions scared me. There used to be a time when a google search for Union Action wouldn’t result in GOV.UK being the top search. Now don’t get me wrong unions needed to change. My father was a shop steward and in the 1980’s he suddenly became a staunch Tory because of the outrageous behaviour he was asked to support without question. When I look back I see that resistance as vital. Unions cannot hold governments to ransom – BUT, what do you do when your words; backed with strong on the ground evidence and independent facts are ignored?

Put it in a blog – write a rather terse email?

LORETTA: I agree. It’s action that counts, not words, and we need action now.

COMMANDOS: Hear! Hear!

REG: You’re right. We could sit around here all day talking, passing resolutions, making clever speeches. It’s not going to shift one Roman soldier!

FRANCIS: So, let’s just stop gabbing on about it. It’s completely pointless and it’s getting us nowhere!

Life of Brian.

My problem is this; at the risk of career suicide – In Education version 20 point 19 I see NO ONE as having the answers that will improve THE WHOLE SYSTEM. I feel that all a school leader can do is plot a selfish course through the times. Do what is right for your community – forget system leadership, forget collaborative working (Unless it benefits YOUR SCHOOL), forget offering your skills on other boards and charities, forget ‘doing the right thing’, forget moral purpose, forget the most vulnerable, forget anything that will not keep you off of the Daily Mail or Mirrors Worst Schools List… To survive – Play the business game, be ruthless, put results above all else, cultivate a school in to the words of DFE minister speak. Make your expectations so high that the most vulnerable have no place… Cut the wheat dispose of the chaff.

Of course this is just a dystopian fiction – none of that last paragraph is based on reality… What type of crazy education system would that be? Reading it would fill anyone with a sickness resting within the trunk of their bowels. Education has not slipped that far – has it?

What prompted me to write this blog was the way #Banthebooths has gained traction. As controversial as it is to some I feel that it was important enough to raise and therefore important enough to be reviewed. Maybe this is the future? Grassroots organisations that don’t just SAY they don’t like something – They follow up on it. I have a feeling that the process that Paul Dix etc are going through right now will be worth understanding. How do you make the change you want? Develop the strategy and take those first steps – because in Education version 20 19 I feel that this will be the most effective way forward.