Alternatives

Other countries are guided by a long-term plan, use evidence and benefit from strong national institutions

Overseas countries with recognised success in education operate in a policy framework that contrasts starkly with England. There is no belief in policy “silver bullets”. Policy does not markedly alternate between governments and no single ideological approach points to success (other than recruiting and retaining the best possible teachers). Most significantly, according to the edpol correlation analysis, successful countries share “public confidence in government effectiveness”. Effective policy is built on stability and consultation; planning for the long term; benefits from societal buy-in; and trust that allows teachers to succeed.

Curriculum reviews tend to take place at regular, long-term intervals. Change is incremental and in nearly all cases includes extensive consultation and feedback – at the very least to gain practitioner buy-in. Participation is wide; process is formal and repeated; reviews are both top-down and lateral – all are extensive and use of evidence and expertise is generally high.

Strong national institutions are well established – typically over 20 years old and usually much longer. They provide advice, representation and research. Research institutions are usually government-funded, independent and well respected. The policy framework is usually managed by central government, but there are plenty of examples of delegated authority, principally where there are federal governments.

There are however elements of the English system that provide particular value, notably local and MAT initiatives that can provide diversity and innovation.

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