SSAT and silencing dissent

My school is a member of this organisation (SSAT), the so called schools, students and teachers network. Our SLT obviously decided that it was worth the membership fee (over £1700 a year) and having had one of their regular updates in my inbox, I decided to go on their website.

While apparently devoted to collaboration and its aims of  getting teachers to “inquire”, “inspire”, “innovate” and “impact”, further navigation revealed a rather one sided attitude in its teaching and learning section. This includes a series of pamphlets entitled “Redesigning Schooling”, which are sent to every member school. While ostensibly saying that they do not prescribe anything, the pamphlets essentially propose a “Claxtonite” curriculum of learners learning how to learn.

I have no problem with an organisation promoting certain ideas and I fully accept the right of a head teacher to subscribe to membership of an organisation that expresses views in line with his or her thinking, although I do think the £1700 cost is pretty steep. My problem is that, having eagerly gone on to their “blog” section, I was dismayed to find that it consisted of a series of articles by various high up people in SSAT with no opportunity for anyone to comment on them or criticise them.

Surely anybody writing a blog for an organisation claiming to represent schools and teachers should be able to accept comments, whether in support or not? How democratic is this organisation exactly? From what I can see so far and accepting that I could be wrong, it sadly deserves the disparaging term “quango”, given to it by Schools Minister Nick Gibb.

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