https://www.tes.com/news/there-reason-hope-amid-gloom-education Geoff Barton thinks the future of education is looking more hopeful, he writes: I sense a change of mood. 'We realise we’ve flogged accountability to death' For a start, the official response to the funding crisis has become less robotically dismissive. We saw that at the weekend with the education secretary’s announcement of an additional £350 million to support children with special educational needs. It isn’t enough money, of course, but it is a welcome recognition of the reality in the run-up to next year’s spending review. It’s the same with accountability. Ofsted’s determination to recalibrate inspection, and help schools and colleges to reclaim deeper curriculum leadership, shows a commitment to improving education in a genuine, long-term way rather than through gimmicky quick fixes. I also sense from the officials I meet that the current, oppressive accountability regime – the labyrinthine and ever-changing measures used to quantify schools – have run their course. Indeed, a government adviser said to me last week: “We now realise that we’ve flogged accountability to death. It can no longer drive improvement.” I sense an appetite for a fledgling idea that the Association of School and College Leaders' policy team is developing. We refer to it as "inclusive accountability". Our starting point is this: what would it look like if schools and colleges were judged on what they did for the children on the margins, and how they ensured that those with the fewest opportunities had access to the same ones as the privileged? No one I’ve spoken to about inclusive accountability has said anything other than “can we be part of it?” It may just be a sign that the age of crushing, debilitating accountability, with its perverse incentives, is coming to an end. Understated optimism Throughout the year I’ve met school and college leaders who exemplify what Muhammad Ali said about public life: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” In schools and colleges, I meet great public servants. Yes, I still see far too many who are weary and anxious, worried for their pupils, their staff and their own futures. But they also know that communities look to them, quietly appreciating someone who works hard to give their city, town or village the kind of educational institution it deserves at a time when so many other public services have withered away. As always, these leaders step up to play their part, publicly confident, even when privately panic-stricken. And this happens across the system in all types of school and college. In other words, this year I’ve seen people who won’t settle for the world as it is, but who quietly and determinedly, and usually without much recognition, are working for the world as it should be. They exemplify an understated optimism that in the current political climate means a lot. They show leadership. And for all of that, they deserve our heartfelt thanks. How does the future look to you?