The Schools System and
the Draft Structural Reform Plan

chdn groupSomewhere, in my past I remember being told ‘more haste less speed.’

The Draft Structural Reform Plan is in plenty of haste. Built into that, is the feeling that there is no time to talk about these major changes in our education system that will happen by September 2010.

To discuss openly can only ever be the right thing to do. Consultation is a process that, in the end, has huge benefits including involving people, creating ownership, making changes, being reflective.

So, why is there so much haste in these sweeping changes? At what level of breakneck speed are we expected to see the education system move into academies and free schools?

The Draft Structural Reform Plan, published by the DFE in July 2010 states that they will replace “the old, top down systems of targets and central micromanagement”. The power is being given to the people and the communities, only responsible to the Secretary of Education of course.
Improvements will be made through; local democratic accountability, competition, choice and social action.

But how does the setting up of academies and free schools be democratically accountable and provide social action or indeed choice. Schools set up by parents and anyone that wants to is not the same thing as being democratic

They would, I suggest, create competition and provide choice for those who can afford to move their children and to wherever offers the best in facilities and results.

chdn and worldBut what are the opportunities for the schools in less wealthy communities?

And where does this fit with the increasing needs of children living in poverty in our country? Will it bring a good education and a chance to broaden young people’s horizons?

It may enhance children who already have much, but what about those who have not? Are we heading to a fairer society? Will this narrow the gap between the rich and the disadvantaged?

The haste in which this will happen is staggering, over a period of 4 months, including the summer break, legislation will be in place.It is hoped that the first schools will be converting to Academy status in September 2010, one month from now!

Plenty of haste at a breakneck speed for major changes.

Let’s be clear about what the changes are, and for whom, and which children will really receive a better education as a result.

Entrepreneurship – social or otherwise

Europa have just released the latest 2009 state of entrepreneurship survey – which interestingly shows that 45% of Europeans would like to be their own boss, if they could.

The EU survey suggests that entrepreneurs are held in lower regard in Europe than their contemporaries in the USA.

The survey highlights the differing attitudes in the US, Europe and Asia to entrepreneurship, but does show that the preference for self-employment remained stable across all regions.

Women seem to lag behind men and young people as a cohort expressing a preference for self employment.

Those surveyed shared their opinions of entrpreneurial individuals as either ‘job creators’ or as ‘exploiters’.

What was not a feature of the survey, to its detriment we think, is factoring in social entrepreneurship or the context of social enterprise as a vehicle for community business change.

Perhaps if more Europeans knew more about social enterprise or social entrepreneurs,  or the impact the sector can have on communities – the range of relative levels of hesitancy to outright distrust of entrepreneurship expressed might be very different.

What do you think?

You can find the survey synopsis here.

The entry pages to the European Small Business Portal can be found here.