I spent yesterday afternoon in Oxford, doing the usual tourist thing, taking in all the sights and soaking in the atmosphere of this very old university town – the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, the birthplace of the Morris Oxford and the Nuffield Foundation, home of the Rhodes scholarship, home of Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry. It was a wonderful day, steeped in history and a reminder again of how we need to keep the balance between looking back and looking forward as we make sense of the changing world we live in.
Nearly everyone I’ve met in meetings here in the past week has been talking about the UK’s decision to ease back on the imposition of National Standards, and breathing a sigh of relief that the decision has been made. This is curious for me facing a return to NZ where we’re about to adopt a regime of National Standards. Interesting to note that the NZEI has begun a professional discussion on the matter – even more interesting that they’ve used Ning, a social networking site to do this! Well done NZEI – and come on NZ teachers, get in there and participate in the discussions.
There’s certainly a lot of cynicism around whenever there’s a centrally imposed approach to any change or standards setting. Bureacracy is a consequence of living in a democracy I guess, but seems to me that it’s a little crazy when the temperature reaches 31 degrees, but the heaters on local buses are still on because it requires an engineer to turn them off and the drivers aren’t allowed to touch them 😉