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The Next Big Thing in School Improvement

The Next Big Thing in School Improvement

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The Next Big Thing in School Improvement brings together the unique perspectives of a policy analyst, a headteacher, and a classroom teacher, to explain why it is that the school system often resists our attempts to improve it. This is a book about educational fads, why they arise, and how we might learn to live with them.

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This is a book about educational fads, why they arise, and how we might learn to live with them.

Those working in schools are subject to perpetual waves of novelty in the name of school improvement. And yet, in the long term very little actually changes. Big ideas come and go, leaving only faint clues as to their existence. The trouble is that the appealing stories that take hold will never solve the fundamental problems of modern schooling. The school system is too complex, too diverse, and too uncertain to be fixed by any Big Idea. Before too long, the Next Big Thing replaces the Last Big Thing.

The Next Big Thing in School Improvement brings together the unique perspectives of a policy analyst, a headteacher, and a classroom teacher, to explain why it is that the school system often resists our attempts to improve it. Drawing on the recent history of English education policy, a variety of disciplinary traditions, and the emerging field of complexity science, the authors present a new take on why the school system behaves in ways that defy our attempts to change it.

This is a book about finding a better way to improve our schools. It is not the Next Big Thing, but it does explain why there will inevitably be one, and what to do when it arrives.

About the Authors

Rebecca Allen is Chief Analyst and a co-founder of Teacher Tapp, the largest teacher survey in the UK. She is also Professor of Education at the University of Brighton. Until 2018, she was Professor of Education at UCL Institute of Education and over her academic career she has written extensively on school accountability, admissions, assessment, expenditure and teacher careers. In 2018, she chaired a Government working group to review how data is used in schools. Her book with Sam Sims on teacher careers called ‘The Teacher Gap’ was published in 2018.

Matthew Evans is Headteacher of Farmor’s School, a secondary comprehensive in Gloucestershire. His subject background is business and economics, which he has taught since 1995. Matthew is a published author: his book called ‘Leaders with Substance: An Antidote to Leadership Genericism in Schools’ was published in 2019 and he also contributed a chapter to the recent researchED Guide to Leadership. He holds a Masters in Education Management, is a keen blogger and an experienced public speaker.

Ben White is an Assistant Head at Maidstone Girls’ Grammar School in Kent. He combines classroom teaching with a national role in education through various partnerships and collaborations. He has written research guides for Ambition Institute and led research projects for the Education Endowment Foundation, Ashford Teaching Alliance and the Department for Education. He also co-designed Compare and Learn (a comparative learning web-app). He holds a Masters in Education and Professional Studies and currently facilitates the National Professional Qualification in Leading Teacher Development. He is also a keen blogger and experienced public speaker.

Additional Information

Author Rebecca Allen, Matthew Evans and Ben White
ISBN 9781913622879
No of pages 200
Format Paperback
Publication Date 22 Oct 2021

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