One teacher writes about the hoops schools have to jump through to please the DfE and Ofsted which has led to the slow erosion of school autonomy: ‘A few weeks ago, in the midst of one of the driest summers on record, Ofsted managed to spring a leak. What we learned was that, although straitjacketed by the Department for Education’s accountability system and the Treasury’s ongoing austerity programme, schools would soon be asked to spread their arms wide to show inspectors how broad their curriculum is. “Oh! And stay balanced as you do it.” Interestingly, much of the criticism of Ofsted’s leaked plans for its new inspection framework hasn’t come from the teaching profession, but from the DfE itself. As per Hoggart’s Law of the Ridiculous Reverse, which posits that "if the opposite of a statement is plainly absurd, it was not worth making in the first place", nobody will admit to wanting a narrower and unbalanced curriculum. At least not publicly. No, the DfE’s beef with Ofsted isn’t about vision, but about pesky facts. First, that undeniably, on the ground, in real schools across the country, the curriculum is narrowing. Second, that it can only go on narrowing under this government, even if accountability is entirely reimagined…’ JL Dutaut is a teacher of politics and citizenship, and co-editor of Flip the System UK: a teachers’ manifesto, published by Routledge https://www.tes.com/news/puff-smoke-school-autonomy-vanishes ‘The DfE’s evidence tsar has said that teachers in England are “enslaved in a way they have never been before”. Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said this was a “delicious irony”, given the government’s reforms to give schools more autonomy. Last year, Justine Greening appointed Sir Kevan as the government’s ‘evidence champion’ for the government’s 12 Opportunity Areas, which were set up to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children in some of the worst social mobility cold spots.’ https://www.tes.com/news/teachers-enslaved-never-says-dfe-evidence-tsar What do you think of Sir Kevan’s comments? Has the education system become too prescriptive? If so, who is to blame for this? What does school autonomy mean to you and why do you think it is important? Is school autonomy a thing of the past in modern education? Why do you think Ofsted and DfE want to erode autonomy in schools? Can teachers and schools reclaim autonomy?