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No OFSTED - key to success in Estonia

Discussion in 'Education news' started by JL48, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    apparently . .

    Estonia: Pisa's European success story

    Mr Laidmets added: “The three pillars of the Estonian education system are the national curriculum, the second is the teachers who are highly qualified – holding master's degrees. Teachers here have autonomy. They know the expectations of the national curriculum but there is no school inspectorate or external body which assesses how they approach this.

    “And the third important aspect is parents. It is important that parents recognise that education gives people the chance to move forward and to reach their potential.”
    ViolaClef and bonxie like this.
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    Train your staff well, treat them with the respect they deserve as highly trained professionals, leave them alone to get on with their job and create an understanding amongst the population of why education is beneficial for everyone... no wonder the Estonian education system is a success story. Maybe we should think about adopting this approach in the UK.
    tenpast7, Sally006 and ajrowing like this.
  3. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Don't be silly - let's strengthen OFSTED to bully more teachers out of the profession. A far more sensible approach!
    bonxie and ajrowing like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    They don't pay teachers well over there.
    A few years ago, we got to know a very interesting Estonian lady who had given up her job for a year to come and work as a live in carer for a lady with Parkinson's, so that she could boost her salary and earn enough for her children to go to university.
  5. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It's a relatively poor country still recovering from being occupied by the Russians after WW2.

    Estonia GDP = 25.92 billion USD (2017)
    UK GDP = 2.622 trillion USD (2017)
  6. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Still a valid point, but perhaps these figures might be more relevant ?

    UK GDP per capita - $42,558 (2018)
    Estonia GDP per capita - $22,990 (2018)

    Apparently the average monthly salary of teachers in Tallin is €1500 pcm in 2019.
    Pomza likes this.
  7. danillitroff

    danillitroff New commenter

    As for mention each year, Estonia exports around $15.11 billion and imports roughly $16.38 billion. 5.5% of population in the country are unemployed. The total number of unemployed people in Estonia is 71,873. In Estonia, 21% of the population lives below the poverty line. The percentage of citizens living below the poverty line in Estonia is fairly high, but is not reason for complete concern with regard to investments. Potential financial backers should look at other economic markers, including GDP, urbanization rate, and strength of currency, before making any decisions regarding investments. Government expenditure on education is 4.8% of GDP. The Gini Index of the country is 32.9.
    ( Source: http://www.baltic-legal.com/taxes-in-estonia-eng.htm )
  8. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    Whilst one can't disagree with the third point, one wonders what happens to poor teachers and poor school leaders. Or maybe there aren't any, in Estonia? Maybe it's some kind of educational Shangri-La?

    And one wonders - or at least I do - what the point is of comparing Estonia with the UK? The population of almost any three or four London boroughs equates to nearly the population of the whole of Estonia, and without the vast pollution, ethnic and dysfunctional family issues that so bedevil our violent capital and some of its schools.
  9. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    I had to reread my post as it's nearly 6 months old. Ah well, locking people in their houses clearly causes boredom :).

    I don't have the link here, but when doing a course on management, and having read several papers on the matter, the one thing that is agreed upon across most sectors is that micromanaging causes productivity and morale to fall, good people to leave their jobs, and overall usually results in a decline in quality of output of the business or organisation concerned. Hire good people, train/support them well, and give them operational independence, and the reverse generally happens. This isn't my theory. This is the kind of management theory that the likes of Google etc are built on. As for what happens to poor employees / workers ? You can have a system that holds people accountable without micromanaging and infantilising them. No other graduate job once training is done requires the regular ritual humiliation that UK state teachers go through on a termly basis. It's not a surprise that anyone with a half decent degree avoids the sector.
    tenpast7, bessiesmith2 and phlogiston like this.
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    Not bored, but a bit more time to browse on here. I'm not quite sure what drew me to your thread but I found it interesting.

    All agreed; I'm sure that's correct.
    Yes, I'm sure you can. My school has exactly that sort of system, which is why we are all generally happy to teach there.
    I think that many headteachers have perhaps not been able to get over the fact that they are working with some adults as well as with children. One headteacher I had when I was an NQT was a woman whose manner of speaking when she bothered to address staff was rather like the way one might talk to a class of 7 year olds.
    I've not read the issue put quite like that before, and it has made me think. I was at one school once for a couple of terms where there was definitely that feeling of a "ritual humiliation" to come, now I think about it.
    I'm not sure that is true! My degree is pretty reasonable and I'm very happy to be teaching!

    Overall, I still think that it is poor - sometimes completely incompetent and almost farcical - school management rather than Ofsted that causes most of the problems in schools.
    tenpast7 likes this.
  11. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Certainly when I've been in good schools, the leadership has always been good too.

    How can we attract more decent leadership material into schools ?
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  12. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Senior school managers get promoted for all sorts of reasons. There are a lot of very young people in senior management positions where they are totally out of their depth. There are also a lot of incompetent managers of all ages.
    The pole climbers tend to be ruthless. Promotion at any cost. No interest in teaching, they want out of the classroom. I have met many. Most flit between schools regularly and develop the vital skill of being responsible for nothing.
    The MAT system promotes this kind of management. Bizarre performance management which ensures very few get a pay rise and teachers judged by spreadsheet. If you want to climb that pole, you need to get with the program. I have heard many senior managers praise the flightpath system.
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  13. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    Taking moscowbore's comments into account too, with which I largely agree, I think that it's a question of personality types. The couple of really good heads I've worked with would, I believe, have been successful leaders in almost any sphere they had entered. Equally, the appalling ones would probably have failed wherever they had gone.

    I suppose the keys are
    a) some kind of better process other than the creepy stuff that m/b mentions for sorting out who has the personality to lead - other industries/areas in society have ways of doing this that have met with some success, and
    b) having a much easier process to get rid of heads who are obviously not up to the job. The only way they seem to go now is after a lousy Ofsted where the governors sack them. But by then they can have screwed up many staff careers and many students' life chances.

    There are no easy answers, I don't think, though I'm fairly confident in my own mind that the two issues I mention above are somehow relevant. It needs more pondering.
    becky70 likes this.
  14. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Problem is there's quite a shortage as it stands. How do you get more of the kind of people you would want to be a headteacher applying for the job ?
    becky70 likes this.
  15. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I don't necessarily think that that is the problem.
    To succeed in any career, you have to do what the career demands of you, without too much fuss but enough initiative, creativity spark and whatever to ensure that people realise you have the capacity to move on and up.
    Mrs P and I have come across a fair few heads and deputies. None of them started off looking anything other than positive and all of them wanted to do the job well.
    School leadership has always been tough, but at the moment with the constraints of Ofsted, finance, curriculum to say nothing of a pandemic it's tough.
    My last mainstream head understood all the things that made up good education, and when things were going well he was a wonderful humane generous man. When things were less good and finances were tight, ofsted were snapping at his heels and perhaps he felt there were some weak links in his system, he was somewhat hard nosed and a good few colleagues ended up not speaking well of him.
    Others I've known remained too autocratic as times changed and became ill, some just became ill. One lovely (but effective)deputy was probably too gentle and humane when he took on a tough urban school.

    Teachers thrive best when they're trusted and have the tools for the job. The same goes for heads and deputies.
    My experience has been comparitively narrow, I'm sure others will take different views.
    Jonntyboy, becky70 and bessiesmith2 like this.
  16. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    I personally am in favour of drastically reducing SLT numbers in Schools. Employ more frontline teachers to manage smaller class sizes and build up professional trust.
    Get rid of OFSTED and instead use peer observation to develop and share best practise.
  17. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Most heads I've worked for have been average at best. I suspect there aren't enough good heads to go round - especially for primary schools. Apparently, one in seven primary teachers needs to become a head just for each school to have a head, regardless of quality. I'm pretty sure that less than one in seven of us would be up to it, myself included!
    I don't think it helps that people are climbing the career ladder so fast - someone I know became a head after only seven years of teaching. I think you really need more experience than that. It seems like you either climb the ladder within five years or leave the profession.
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  18. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    I don't know. I need to think a bit more...
    JL48 likes this.

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