Farewell Mr Taylor

So, Mr Taylor is following his mentor Michael Gove to the Ministry of Justice, presumably to head up the Youth Justice Board. The YJB was one of the success stories of the coalition, presiding over a dramatic fall in both the numbers in youth custody and in offending rates among young people. I hope that Mr Taylor, if indeed that is his new role, will help continue the trend towards both further reducing offending and the rehabilitation of those that do commit crimes. He might start by looking at the staffing challenges faced by the schools that produce the greatest numbers of young offenders.

Meanwhile The Secretary of State has the task of either finding a replacement or reorganising the whole training and professional development unit within the DfE. Could the name of the National College now disappear from sight as Mr Taylor’s job is handed to one or more civil servants to manage? This would take us back to the position last seen in the early 1990s before the Teacher Training Agency was created to oversee the reform of teacher training that took place under Kenneth Clarke.

Personally, I hope that there will still be an identifiable lead on teacher training and development. Sir Andrew Carter must be an obvious choice for the job after his report earlier this year. But, it might be good to have a woman in a senior position. Perhaps either an executive head or one of the CEOs of an academy chain might fit the bill, especially if it is a chain with a good record on both recruitment and professional development. Alternatively, someone running an organisation such as Teach First might be considered.

However, the salary level could be unattractive to many if the post falls within the new strict guidelines on public sector senior pay. No doubt a secondment could overcome even that problem.

Whoever takes over, whether an outsider or a career civil servant, will have less money to play with and will no doubt be expected to focus more on the recruitment and initial training part of the brief than on professional development that will no doubt be devolved to schools as a means of cutting costs? Such a dangerous move might really affect middle and senior leadership development over the next few years but probably won’t have any immediate impact on the political landscape.

Regular readers of this blog with know what my agenda is for whoever takes on the role. Convincing the Treasury that expecting trainee teachers to pay fees is not helpful would be my number one ambition for anyone taking on the job.

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