We don’t just need more and better teachers; we need more and better school models.
It’s in vogue at the moment to say that the way to improve schools is to have better teachers. I don’t mean to be too dismissive by saying ‘in vogue’; it is more than just the latest, passing education trend. There is solid evidence to support the assertion that effective classroom teaching is the best tool for addressing the intractable problems of educational disadvantage and underachievement.
The danger, however, of such a focus on teachers and classroom practice is that we ignore the importance of school structure – we ignore those things that create the conditions in which classroom teaching occurs: the size of a school, its assessment practices and data tracking, the number and types of staff and their responsibilities, the methods for informing and engaging parents.