Thinking Out of the Exams Box: assessment through talk? (FORUM 2)
Author: DAVID DIXON
In the increasingly fragmented education service in England, with ever-tightening systems of accountability from central government, one might assume that leaders have less scope for pursuing their own agendas. However, with the diminished role of local authorities and the rise of academies and faith and free schools, it can be argued that headteachers have more freedom than ever to act as they see fit, albeit while needing to be cognisant of league tables. Many leaders seem to be suffering from a case of Stockholm syndrome (Stockholm syndrome occurs when a victim of kidnapping forms an emotional attachment with the kidnappers and ends up joining them), in that the reductionist agenda permeates the way they and their schools operate and they are passive and compliant in the face of this. This situation is inextricably bound up in the neo-liberal paradigm, which values individualism above collectivism and ‘benevolent’ marketisation above notions of well-being and happiness. Should leaders actively challenge these notions in favour of a philosophy more in tune with environmental sustainability?