What Price Outstanding?

31st May 2016

Recently I encountered a charming young man. He is eleven years old.
His parent and sibling have fled a situation of desperate peril. Like so many, they have NRPF (no recourse to public funds), which means life is eked out on meagre scraps we choose to offer. London is expensive so they inhabit one room.

Some of you have noticed his age and will predict the next bit of awfulness. He is in Year 6. He does not speak English. He has been traumatised.He has been out of school since last summer.

Why? Because no local school could find themselves able to offer a place.Were they full?


So why could our public funded institutions, designed to educate all of our children, not find a space?

Because he needs help. Because Year 6 is a key year. Our high stakes system means that no-one dare risk a “drop” in standards, because they might cease to be outstanding. If you are unlucky enough to lead a school that gets downgraded, your career is probably over.
Headteachers are like football managers

So is it surprising that schools find a way to protect themselves? No.
But really at what price to a child?

If, as most people who read this surely do, you work in a school; look at your Year 6.
Do you have spaces?
Do you admit new vulnerable pupils?
If not, look at your local area.
Look at the windows when you head home.
Behind those windows, how many desperate ten and eleven year olds are spending their days in a small room robbed by the current system?

Maybe the price of outstanding is too high for our consciences.